Touring the Angel
It was Saturday 21st of January 2006 and I was packing up things
to drive to the LTU Arena in Duesseldorf, where Depeche Mode was
going to play later that evening. The clock showed 15:30 and my
girlfriend and I were heading to the car to get there. Since the
"Boot" fair was also taking place close to it, we decided to
park the car a bit outside and to get to the location using the
public transportation. We had just entered my good old Mercedes
when it started raining cats and dogs. Just great...
We managed to catch a subway and headed to the LTU Arena, using
the nearest available switching point. When we arrived it was a
few minutes past five and it seemed the entrance of the hall had
just been opened, people started running on the inside of the
big fence to get the best places in front of the stage, while we
took our places in the long row outside, waiting to get inside.
Lucky enough the rain had stopped and fifteen minutes later we
were inside the big Arena, which should contain about 50.000
Depeche Mode fans later this night.
We were heading to the stage and came decided to stop at the
right corner of it. The place seemed to be ok, only small people
in front of us and perhaps 5 m to either the stage or the
catwalk. The stage was almost set up for and contained a lot of
huge items which were covered with some black cloth. The
speakers were playing some more or less boring electro drum and
bass loop, which seemed to repeat over and over again.
Around 17:30 and the place was still not even halfway filled. A
lot of guys were running around selling beer and other drinks in
special "Touring the Angel" plastic cups. A 0,4 l beer was 3 EUR
plus 2 EUR for the cup. Since nobody was going to return the cup
the refill will be cheaper :) than the 1st one. Anyway there
were still lots of time to kill until the support act by "The
Bravery" was going to start.
The average age of the fans was 35-40 from what I guess, so it
seemed to be one of the few concerts where you aren't the oldest
fart in the hall :). The people in front of the stage also
seemed to be really nice; the mood was almost like at an Atari
Party, no pushing just kind people and happy faces all over the
place. As you know time flies when you have a good time and
while we were joking and talking, we hardly noticed that the
clock showed 19:30 already. While being distracted that way we
hardly noticed that place filled up more and more, the inner
area of the arena is already crowded with Depeche Mode fans,
while the seats are not yet fully used, however that changed
within the next 30 minutes and when finally the lights went out
and "The Bravery" started to play a few songs.
I hadn't heard from that band before and I have to admit they
were no real burner but not bad either. Their music was mainly
guitar based and the singers voice reminded me somehow of Robert
Smith when practising :). Anyway some of their songs were really
nice, while others were hardly mediocre. Perhaps my opinion is
on them is also influenced by the bad sound setup. The volume of
the voice was too low compared to the other instruments and the
bass was far too loud, which made me think about the complaints
concerning the sound quality I had read about at
www.depechemode.de earlier on that very day. Lucky enough
Depeche Mode used a completely different sound setup and I am
really glad to say that it was perfect. While listening to the
Bravery my mind wandered back to the 2001 tour. Too bad that Fad
Gadget alias Frank Tovey already passed away so early. I would
have loved to see him touring with Depeche Mode again, the guys
who were lucky enough to get tickets for the 2001 tour can call
themselves really glad, since they got two top gigs for one.
However a few songs later, when "The Bravery" had finished their
performance, another loop of drum and bass was presented to the
audience while the stage was being prepared for Depeche Mode.
The black cloths were removed, showing a big silver ball with
neon signs and displays on top. A few minutes before 21:00 the
crowd started to send "la ola" waves circling through the arena
to get warm also the cheering and applause started before
Depeche Mode even entered the stage.
Five minutes later the lights went out and Depeche Mode entered
the stage. I hadn't seen Depeche Mode live for ages; and to be
honest I haven't seen a lot of bands live in the past ten years.
Dave Gahan looked good like always, it seems the last 20 years
hadn't changed him much. Also Martin Gore was easy to recognize
and wearing a strange costume with somehow reminded me of a bird
:). Andrew Fletcher seems to have gained a bit weight over the
years, but who hasn't? Depeche Mode seemed to be in a good mood,
laughing and making jokes.
After a short intro, which was hardly recognizable the band
started playing "A Pain that I'm used to". Dave tried to
motivate the crowd to sing which wasn't too successful perhaps
because the newer songs were not so well known by the fans. And
I have to admit that I am not really familiar with more than the
refrains of the new songs even though I bought the album ages
The next song was "John the Revelator" and it was nice to see
the screens behind and beside the stage were fired up, but
instead of simple live feeds from the stage they displayed the
images were processed with demo like effects, which was nice for
all the people in front of the stage but surely bad for the
people at the other end of the football-hall.
With the first few notes of "A Question of Time" the crowd in
front of the stage went completely wild, while the rest of the
hall stayed calm. Also the 1st people started to sing and I
guess even the worst motion dyslexic started to recognize that
nodding alone won't be enough this time.
The next songs were "Policy of Truth" and "Precious" which was
really cool. While "Walking in my Shoes" was played, Dave
managed to get the crowd to sing the refrain for him. It seemed
even the people in the middle of the LTU Arena were awake now.
"Suffer well", "Damaged People", "Home" and "I want it all"
followed and also "The Sinner in me" was played. Some of these
slower songs were surely put onto the setlist to give Dave a
Rest, while Martin was singing. However it seemed the band was
in good shape, Dave's voice was brilliant and all the tracks
sounded exactly like on the CD apart from the live variations.
When Depeche Mode started to play "I Feel You" the good mood
seemed to have caught even the last row. Singing was obligatory
from here on and the vibe was fantastic until the end. Even the
last visitors on the tribune stood up and started to dance when
"Behind the Wheel" was played.
This continued with "World in my Eyes" and "Personal Jesus",
which was the starting shot for the whole 50.000 people to wave
their arms in the air. During "Enjoy the Silence", which was the
last song of the regular setlist the fans took the whole singing
and the vibe surely reached its peak level. However when Depeche
Mode left the stage the crowd continued cheering and calling
until the 1st encore started around 22:30.
This time they picked some older, well known songs "A Question
of Lust" was followed by "Just can't get enough" and "Everything
Counts" which left the whole arena seething. After these tracks
Depeche Mode left the stage again, but the cheering and applause
So there was a second encore (22:45 +/-) with "Never let me down
again" and 100.000 arms waving in the air, and finally
"Goodnight Lovers" where Dave and Martin went arm in arm onto
the catwalk into the middle of the crowd. At the end of the song
Dave kissed Martin on the cheek, which would have been
unthinkable at earlier times due to some tensions within the
It's a bit sad that today's concerts don't contain real bonus
songs, only a fixed setlist with planned bonus songs. Also the
prices for merchandising articles with 30-40 EUR for t-shirts
and around 100 EUR for a sport jacket are a rip off. But the
mood in the LTU Arena was great and even the Band seemed to have
their fun. Sharing looks, talk to each other and laugh... nice
to see that the band seemed to enjoy the concert as much as we
did. Personally I hope the concert was recorded for a live DVD,
so I can dive into that memory again, but it seems they picked
the concert in Milan for it. The DVD will be available at the
end of September
Thanks for a perfect evening Dave, Andrew and Martin and the
"guest" musicians on keyboard and drums, I'll be there next time
for sure ...
A Pain That I'm Used To
John The Revelator
A Question Of Time
Policy Of Truth
Walking In My Shoes
I Want It All
The Sinner In Me
I Feel You
Behind The Wheel
World In My Eyes
Enjoy The Silence
A Question of Lust
Just Can't Get Enough
Never Let Me Down Again