Depeche Mode – Hollywood Bowl

Concert review by JD Alvarez

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – On Sunday August 16th, 2009 at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, southern California’s alternative music fans flocked to see their favorite band of the 80’s and 90’s, Depeche Mode. Hard to believe, but it’s been 30 years in the making of this iconic band, and their faithful fans still can’t get enough of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher.

The Bowl was filled with multi-generational fans wearing everything and anything from jeans, to leather jackets to business suits to leather chaps and yes, even diapers. While other not so inhibited fans were sporting spiked hair, tons o’ tats and creepers. There was even a guy with a cape and crown floating around. Not to be outdone by their fans, Martin was sporting a stylish silver outfit that would have even brought a smile to Elvis. Dave on the other hand was made up in his trademark black vest.

DM is touring in support of their latest album release Sounds of the Universe {Capitol/Mute}.

Despite canceling Bay area and San Diego shows due to doctor’s orders, Dave Gahan went on and showed no signs of illness or fatigue. DM opened with In Chains. Although not one of their trademark tunes, the crowd received the song well. Dave followed up with a current tune Wrong. This brought out the sounds of screaming “cult-likeDemode fans of all ages.

Although the band formed in 1980 in Basildon, England, DM has proven to reach icon status with releases covering three decades. This fact was not overlooked by their adoring fans. The lad’s have come a long way since their days as Normand and the Worms and Composition of Sound. The crowd began to lose their proverbial minds once DM’s mainstay songs took center stage. Songs such as Walking In My Shoes, It’s No Good, A Question Of Time, Precious and Fly on the Windscreen.

However, the mood became somewhat subdued when Martin tried their current balled Jezebel. Unfortunately this song fell very flat, but the crowd was respectfull. They were just sitting in agnst waiting for the next song. It did not take long as DM came back shortly thereafter with Policy Of TruthIn Your Room, Enjoy the Silence and Never Let Me Down Again.

The  highlight for lifetime fans was hearing DM deliver on I Feel You. The crowd was in a frenzy when Martin started off with a guitar riff that impressed even the strongest of critics. Dave followed up with his haunting and boisterous sound. The performance was a statement that the lads from Basildon were all grown up. A fact that devoted DM fans Joe and Leonie Mulvahill of Huntington Beach would swear by.

In addition to the sounds, were the sights. The visual arts display included a video show that centered around a globe that displayed hiroglypic-like symbols, Mtv-ish astronauts displaying the band members in their space helmets, a good-old fashioned typewriter ball and other images for no rhyme or reason. The color scheme brought the stage to life. A virtual kalidescope of colors engaged the crowd throughout the show. The visual arts added to an already electrifying expereince for the crowd.

There was a blasphemous rumor circulating the Bowl that the band would not being playing their signature ballad. Luckily for the i-tunes obsessed teens, and the silver haired groupies; Martin did not disappoint in the encore. Gore belted out the song that anyone with a pulse loves… that is, Somebody. Lifetime DM fan Melissa Bass of Montrose said this song touched her soul. There were many souls in the Bowl that night that felt the same way. The encore continued with Stripped and crowd favorite Strangelove.

DM returned for a second encore. Although planned, it was very well received by the crowd. The lads followed-up with Personal Jesus, then closed with a slow melodic tune, Waiting for the Night.

Depeche Mode played another night at the Bowl, and then scheduled to move on to play at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

The opening act was Sweden’s Peter, Bjorn and John. Most popular for their recent alternative genre hit Young Folks.

Concert play list: In Chains, Wrong, Hole To Feed, Walking In My Shoes, It’s No Good, A Question Of Time, Precious, Fly on the Windscreen, Jezebel, Home, Come Back, Policy Of Truth, In Your Room, I Feel You, Enjoy The Silence and Never Let Me Down Again.

Encore number 1: Somebody, Stripped and Strangelove.

Encore number 2: Personal Jesus and Waiting for the Night.

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