Depeche Mode live in the Holy Land!

Depeche Mode blew the Holy Land away with hype and hysteria in recent days, confirming their status as superstar pop gods. Or something similar. And their concert last night showed that despite a career spanning over 30 years, they’ve still got it, as most of the 50,000 fans crammed into the Ramat Gan stadium to witness a long, long, long awaited show will undoubtedly testify.

I’m a big big fan myself, and have pretty much everything they’ve ever recorded, so there was no way I was going to miss this show, as I’m sure most of the crowd felt too. I even had friends taking days off work to “warm up” for the show, with beers aplenty and Depeche Mode tracks blasting away to get in the mood. Depeche Mode have a huge following in Israel and this show, the opening date of their world tour, was seen as some sort of compensation for the band’s 2006 last minute cancellation, which upset many fans.

Our tickets were for the grassy floor area and fortunately enough we got there early enough to get a reasonable spot. Not as reasonable as some of the hard-core fans lined up around the stage, but close enough for me to get a good glimpse of Martin Gore’s hairy armpits. The warm up bands were OK: a local band called Terry Poison tried their best to get the crowd going, but I think most eyes were on the lead singer’s short skirt and how high it was actually riding (I think it muffled her ears at one point). Or perhaps that was just me. Then quickly into the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who were OK too, but they seemed to have a few fans around and had people a little more interested in their music, rather than their legs. Though I could be wrong.

Then, of course, a little teasing, before the main attraction..this clip might give you an idea of the size of the crowd, which was impressive.

And then they they were, three boys originally from Basildon, England, about to strut their stuff in the Holy Land. And yes, they did strut! It took them a while to warm up and even say “Shalom” (I think it was after the third song that they actually said something to the crowd), but no doubt about it, they are a class act. I even hoisted my wife onto my shoulders at one point so she could scream at Dave Gahan but she got shy and just smiled sweetly at him. And she gave up filming with the camera when I couldn’t stop dancing and jumping her up and down. Never mind.

Their new songs didn’t go down amazingly, probably because they’re just too new, they still sounded great to me. It was their classics which brought the house down, especially songs like Enjoy the Silence, I Feel Love, Never Let Me Down Again (my personal fave), Master and Servant, Stripped (in the clip below) and the ultimately perfect song for their final encore in the Holy Land, Personal Jesus.

All in all, a great show, but I can’t help feeling a little disappointed somehow. I might be being a bit picky, but I think a few things let them down.

  • Firstly, the new songs are too new (the album was released a couple of weeks ago) and nobody really knew them. When prompted to sing along with Dave there was an embarrassing moment that brought a few laughs because nobody actually knew the words. OK, this is a world tour promoting a new album, but perhaps there were too many new songs (I think 7).
  • Secondly, the opening of the concert felt a little automatic, as if they were going through the motions. There was absolutely no interaction with the crowd, which was a bit cheeky if you ask me. Not even a “Shalom”.
  • Lastly, the video screens. I don’t know who was in control of them, I guess the Israeli production team, but for some songs they just didn’t use them, and when they did they used all these effects that meant you couldn’t really get a proper view. Here I’m thinking of all the smallish people in the crowd, (such as my wife) who aren’t six foot plus. The Paul MacCartney gig back in the Autumn had huuuge screens that meant we could see everything, right from the back of the crowd, and they didn’t play arty little videos either…

So a great show, but perhaps just shy of amazing. Perhaps the hype had built up expectations, but I know I’m not the only one slightly disappointed. But yes, I’m still a huge fan and yes, this show has made me want to go out and buy the album (and not download it), so it ain’t all bad.

Check out our gallery of pictures from the show, mainly of the huge, impressive crowd.

Marks out of 10: 8.75 (sorry guys, just couldn’t give a 9).

5 Comments

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  4. stephen

    June 19, 2009 at 3:33 am

    Cannot WAIT to see them perform new music.
    Production is always top-notch!

    Arty? WTF, dude its a concert! Relax, dont become a nebish.LOL!

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