Review – Depeche Mode Scorched The Pepsi Center

Depeche Mode
Photography By Cadance Peterson

Every once in awhile, a show will come along and challenge your expectations for live music. Whether it’s the musicianship, the audience or the atmosphere, the experience transcends that of a concert. Depeche Mode’s stop at the Pepsi Center on Friday night for their Global Spirit Tour was the embodiment of such a challenge. Between the throngs of people belting their songs from every corner of the arena to the thoroughly thoughtful setlist, Depeche Mode put on one of the best shows of the year.

Making their entrance to the Beatles’ “Revolution,” Depeche Mode was greeted with a deafening cheer. People from all walks of life had come, rising from nearly every seat in the arena and howling as the band launched into “Going Backwards.” Lead singer Dave Gahan sashayed across the stage demanding complete attention as the band blazed through the track, leaving a trail of ashes as they scorched the stage. Hit after hit tore through the arena, the band was seething with guttural emotion and fury that many of their contemporaries could only dream of. Gazing out across the arena you could see nearly every person emanating the fiery onslaught of the band, screaming the words, pumping their fists and dancing to the propulsive tracks.  Not one second of the show lulled, as the band played like a well-oiled machine with devastating precision.

Depeche Mode

Throughout the show, moments of intimate connection between the band and the audience would emerge. Whether it be the thousands of voices joining together to sing “Everything Counts” or the crowd lighting elevating the arena during the particularly tender rendition of “Somebody,” there seemed to be an unspoken bond that amplified the experience. Perhaps it was the nature of the band and a testament to their longevity with their fans, but whatever the case, Depeche Mode catered to that bond, eschewing some of their biggest hits like “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Policy of Truth” for deeper cuts that the ravenous crowd ate up with fervor. In fact, the sense of connection was so intense that it felt as though the room would collapse under the weight of the mutual admiration.

Depeche Mode

The pinnacle of the night, however, was neither Depeche Mode’s biggest hit nor flashiest visuals, it was an ode to the late David Bowie. As soon as the iconic guitar line of “Heroes” rang out and people made the connection, there was an instantaneous moment of reflection that seemed to envelop the entire audience. The magnitude of the moment weighed heavily on our minds as the fitting tribute got underway and remained for the entirety of the song. The thought that we were seeing Depeche Mode conquer the stage in 2017 with the loss of Bowie and so many other artists of the same era was not lost on the audience nor the band.  In fact, that very same thought seemed to resonate throughout the show, evident in the urgency of Depeche Mode’s performance. In a blaze of skill and stamina, Depeche Mode was playing to the honor of their legacy and decimating everything in their path. It was nothing short of amazing.

All photography by Candace Peterson.

  1. Great article! However Depeche Mode did not perform Just Can’t Get Enough or Policy of Truth this time around. It was a fantastic concert! This is a band that had a two hour standing ovation. Thanks again!

    1. Thanks for the read Debra! However, when I wrote “eschewing some of their biggest hits like “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Policy of Truth” in this context I am saying that they did not perform those songs.

  2. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I told someone it was almost a “spiritual” experience. Simply amazing!

  3. “Heroes” is a particularly important song for Depeche Mode as when they were a trio of Vince Clarke, Martin Gore, and Andrew Fletcher and calling themselves Composition of Sound, they overhead an unknown singer performing “Heroes” at a Basildon, England youth center. They quickly asked the teenage singer to join their band. That person was Dave Gahan. Soon, they weren’t calling themselves Composition of Sound but Depeche Mode.

    By the way, I flew in from Los Angeles to see the show and it did not disappoint.

    1. Hi!

      Thanks for the comment! Check out the full sentence. We wrote “eschewing some of their biggest hits like “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Policy of Truth” which means they did not perform those songs.

    2. Yes, that is what the word eschewing means. He’s saying that didn’t play some of their biggest hits such as “Just Can’t get Enough” or “Policy of Truth”

  4. Going to be seeing them for the 12th time tomorrow night in Tingley Park. “Just Can’t Get Enough” of them!! 4 DECADES…DAMN in old!!!…..CANT WAIT!!!

  5. Seeing them tonight near Chicago. So excited. How long was their set in Denver? How many encores?

  6. I went to the Tinley Park (IL) show last night, traveling 300 miles each way to see them. It looks like the set list was identical to your show (and all US legs so far). I read the review by the Chicago Tribune and was disappointed by their opinion. I’m glad I came across your review. It describes to a T how I felt about last night’s show!

  7. Actually – I just saw this show and it was not very good. They could have mixed it up a bit with some of here hits – People are People maybe? This was perhaps the most boring concert that I have ever been to…. I think the band needs to sit through 2 plus hours of unknown songs to figure out you need to mix the new with the old…. I want money back…

    1. I have to agree with Don, above. I was at the same show in DC and it was very subdued for the better part of the show. I knew they’d play a lot of their newer music, but I was hoping for some of the hits interspersed throughout. I’ve been a fan for 30+ years, but this was only my second time seeing them in concert. When I saw them for the Delta Machine tour they played more of a mix of newer and older hits.

  8. Must have been a different playlist than Austin…. pretty much all new stuff with a few oldies thrown in…Not even the best ones! Thoroughly disappointed and was a very slow in parts. Ugh…I was so looking forward to this concert

    1. That is strange. The show in Dallas was amazing. They played a lot off of their new cd, but there was plenty of classics. Enjoy the Silence, In Your Room, Never Let Me Down Again, Personal Jesus, Somebody, Question of Lust, Walking in My Shoes, World in My Eyes and Everything Counts were on our set list. I admit I wanted to hear People are People, but the show was great.
      David Gahan was on point and had the crowd completely engaged.

  9. This was a fantastic show, every last bit of it. Thank you to my beautiful daughter for taking me !

  10. Absolutely Blown Away!!!

    My wife and I saw them at Starplex in Dallas 9-22. From the first note David Gahan had the entire audience’s attention. His vocals were so spot on and amazing. The emotion he sings with has a way of just resonating in your soul. I am so glad to see Gahan has fought and beat his demons. He has emerged as on the most charismatic musicians to grace this Earth.

    Martin Gore’s voice was so beautiful when he sang Somebody. His guitar playing, keyboard and back ups were on point.
    I especially enjoyed the video they played while singing In Your Room. The ballroom dancing was strange at first, but it worked so well with Gahans lyrics.
    I have been to at least 60 concerts in my life, and this was by far one of my top 3.

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