Sunday, September 22, 2013

Depeche Mode, Bat For Lashes @ Molson Ampitheatre, Toronto (September 1, 2013)


  Depeche Mode: photo by Michael Ligon

It's only been a little over three weeks since I saw UK greats Depeche Mode at Molson Ampitheatre but somehow feels like an eternity. Back in the mid to late 80's when I was in high school my favourite bands were The Smiths, The Cure, New Order and Jesus and Mary Chain. Another band I had an affinity for were Depeche Mode who soundtracked many a Saturday night back then when I use to listen to CFNY 102.1 FM's "Club 102" DJ'd by Chris Sheppard [back when he was actually spinning GOOD music]. It is somewhat surprising that I'd never seen them live. I'd consider going to their 2009 show at Molson Ampitheatre and had let that opportunity slip by and it took a good four years for them to return so I wasn't about to let the opportunity to slip by again.

Opening act Bat For Lashes made a valiant effort to entertain the crowd, vocalist Natasha Khan supple, ethereal vocals wrapping around such delectable tracks as "What's A Girl To Do", "Sleep Alone" and "Daniel and while I enjoyed it, I felt a bit disconnected watching it from the lawns without the benefit of even some video projections. Some appreciate, if polite, applause from the crowd but there was no question why everyone was there that night.

Bringing their "Delta Machine" tour to town, the band's 13th album of the same name released earlier this year, the three original members of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher plus a few supporting musicians showed that they still bristle with energy. Given their decades-spanning catalogue, there were innumberable variations of a setlist the band could have come up with but I would say that the setlist they had for this show was a good balance between their classic period [anything from 1993's Songs of Faith and Devotion and prior] and their latter-day material [starting with 1997's Ultra, the band which for me didn't seem the same after the departure of member Alan Wilder; I'd basically stopped listening to them at this point]. The classic period material was of course my favourite with the highlights for me being Martin Gore's vocal take on a sublime acoustic version of "But Not Tonight", the trifecta of songs closing the main set which included "A Question Of Time", "Enjoy The Silence" and "Personal Jesus" and the 4-song sequnce of "Halo", "Just Can't Get Enough", "I Feel You", and "Never Let Me Down Again" (complete with the obligatory mass audience arm swaying) that ended off the encore. That the show took place the day before Labor Day, while the flickering lights of the Canadian National Exhibition midway shone in the distance, there was an overwhelming sense of nostalgia that came over me at times, that had I seen them while I was still in high school or university (back in the mid to late 80's and into the early nineties) and the show had taken place just before Labor Day, this is what it would have felt like. So it took me more than twenty years to see them live. Better late than never.


  Depeche Mode: photo by Michael Ligon


  Depeche Mode: photo by Michael Ligon


  Depeche Mode: photo by Michael Ligon

Photos: Depeche Mode, Bat For Lashes @ Molson Ampitheatre, Toronto (September 1, 2013)

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