1993-05-31 Garbsen, Hannover, Germany

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Notes

This was the first open-air concert of the tour: big "D" and "M" symbols were left and right of the stage.

A concert review by Andrew Perry in the August 1993 issue of British 'Select' Magazine:

Imagine you've got a band together, you've snatched the point blank oppurtunity to join Depeche Mode's European tour a few dates in, and after you first number, you have 25,000 people in front of you holding their tickets aloft and screaming the word "pfui!". It's the German word for "boo", of course, and it's probably your fault for being involved in the Jethro Tull-meets-Toyah madrigal nightmare of Miranda Sex Garden. Still, no wonder Spiritualized quit this very job three days ago.

As Mark E. Smith probably said once, treat people like animals and they'll behave like animals. These humungous outdoor gigs bring out the basest mob instincts. The Garbesen ain't exactly a stadium, just a field the size of Finsbury Park, bordered by trees. It's been intermittently pissed on all afternoon, and Elton John was here yesterday. Frankly, it's one huge dehumanising ceasepool.

But what other options are open to a band like the Mode? They did the arena bit with Violator in 1990. Staying indoors would be bottling out. Even though we Brits have consistently been putting them in our Top Ten for over a decade now, we still have a problem with four saucy geezers from Basildon being global pop icons. They are. Check the movie 101 for proof.

Germany's really the Mode's spiritual home. In the UK, Songs of Faith and Devotion has sold 150,000 copies - an awful lot for an album preoccupied with themes of submission, lust, and a desperate belief in humankind. Out there, it's 650,000 in six weeks, and still counting. So while we will have to suffer the ignominy of visiting an athletics ground in Crystal Palace to witness the boys in action on these shores in '93, this hippo's paradise is just one of seven Teutonic ports of call.

A mere hour before they're due to step before their impersonally adoring public, Martin Gore and his two otherwise unrecognised key-tapping cohorts (do all British bands have an Other Two?) are faced with Germany's empathy for their oeuvre at a "meet and greet" with its rock press. Hands sweaty with big-moment anxiety thrust microphones mostly under Gore's nose, while sheafs of questions about his views on Life's Crushingly Vast Complexity fire his way in crap English at a rate of about ten per second. Thickly made-up, sporting that shaved-all-around-but bubbly-blond-on-top hairdo and dressed in what can oly be described as a pair of silver glitter bondage keks, the lad's totally dazed. "Well, yeah, faith and religion is, er, a thing I've always, y'know, been interested in."

He's rescued by the appearance of Dave Gahan. It's some entrance. Long black spangly jacket, luscious new mane (beautifully combed), spotless white jeans and a fluffy, white dress shirt right out of Poldark. He's lost his voice, we're warned, and he can hardly string two words together, but the smile, the aura! Thirty freeze-frame seconds that make TV slo-mo seem like a Prodigy video, and he's gone. Effin' Ada! We're talking Jaggeresque.

The effect is only marginally less dazzling when Dave darts between huge, swirling 40-foot-high net curtains during the opener, "Higher Love", giving everyone tantalising first glimpses of their hero. Behind him, way up on a podium that'll have Cecil B DeMille punching his way out of the ground to film it, the other three tinker away with inanimate industry. The crowd goes 25,000 carat apeshit and somehow, it's totally comprehensible.

Whether everything the backroom boys are doing on DAT or not, you soon realise that Dave's carrying the show with rabble-rousing pirouettes around his mike-stand and a histrionic bow after "World in my Eyes". But (and we were warned) his voice sounds farily gruff, especially when he asks if everyone's "awroight". It's still daylight when projections, again concocted by Anton Corbijn, start flashing on the backdrops and the screens beneath the podium, making the tinklers seem another ten feet higher up. Those beaky goblins prance around on them during "Walking in my Shoes", and for "Stripped", there's someone writting the song title over and over again, and lots of belly buttons. If only someone would switch off the twilight.

It all gets really rocking on "Condemnation", when Gahan's bluesy confession gets a female gospel backing and images of flickering candles, and "Judas", the one that sounds like Clannad, provokes unbridled lighter waving. They're winning. Gore steps down to warble and strum a couple of songs. The guitar may be stringless and made of inflatable plastic - it has ceased to matter and, anyway, it's hard to tell from 500 yards. He's still strapped on and blasting out feedback when Dave jogs back for "I Feel You", which gives you a hint of what stadium Mary Chain would be like, right down to Gore's head-down bubble-curl silhouette and Gahan's crucifixion postures.

"In Your Room" (set closer), "Personal Jesus" and "Enjoy the Silence" (first encore) soar in near-hymnic celebration of melancholy and godlessness. The Mode have taken on this transparently rubbish way of doing live music, and done it with a bit of class and intelligence. When they even have the sense of humour and the total bullocks to finish with "Fly on the Windscreen" (we must look very small to them), and "Everything Counts" (but hell, there's filthy lucre at stake here), they're damn close to earning your faith and devotion. But a sewage farm is no place for worship.

Set list

  1. Intro
  2. Higher Love
  3. Policy Of Truth
  4. World In My Eyes
  5. Walking In My Shoes
  6. Behind The Wheel
  7. Halo
  8. Stripped
  9. Condemnation
  10. Judas (*)
  11. Death's Door (*)
  12. Get Right With Me
  13. I Feel You
  14. Never Let Me Down Again
  15. Rush
  16. In Your Room
  17. Personal Jesus
  18. Enjoy The Silence
  19. Fly On The Windscreen
  20. Everything Counts

Sources

  • Source 1 is a very good audience recording.

Ticket

Credit to stefler.