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remnants: Depeche Mode, Madison Square Garden, 11 September 2017
Reach out touch Dave
The overwhelming emotions tonight were gratitude and survival and celebration, all of which of course are related, especially with this band in this city on this night. There wasn’t as much adulatory dancing in the audience as there was the last time I saw them, out at Jones Beach in the middle of the summer, but the crowd was on their feet and intent and immersed.
Gahan is still a study of whirling intense energy–he holds that stage in an iron fist and uses every inch of it. (Heh.) he is less grandiose than he was back in the day, but more graceful, flawless and assured. He is a highly underrated frontman, and his voice is miraculously still warm and vibrant. He knows when to go for the kill.
The audience was particularly affectionate during the Martin Gore solo spots, singing along loudly in support. Gore always seems abashed and surprised, and Gahan seems to relish his compatriot’s moments in the spotlight.
The sound was immaculate and the stage and lights top notch. There was even a curtain hung as sound baffle in front of that center scoreboard thingie. I have never seen that before.
The set was a good solid mix of new and old. Dave dedicated “Heroes” to the 9/11 first responders; DM are one of the few who can comport themselves adequately with this particular composition. It was unexpected and moving.
It’s cliche to point to “Personal Jesus” as a highlight but it felt unhinged and unfettered and shimmered with the decadence of the past, enough to remind us, enough to warn us.
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