Depeche Mode @ Madison Square Garden, New York

Sounds of The Universe Tour, Madison Square Garden,
August 3rd, 2009, Review by Ian Fford

Disclaimer: If I see something wrong with a show, I will not hesitate to state it. That having been said, I found this concert was perfect in every way.

Depeche Mode’s sensory delight at Madison Square Garden was sold out and I was lucky to be there. To say “The show was amazing” is an understatement…. I don’t drink or do drugs, but I left the concert high!

They opened with two tracks from their new album and went into an number of classics. I don’t think the playlist could have been in a better order, and for that reason I really don’t want to give it away. Thinking back on it, it made sense, but at the time each song came as one nice surprise after the other. The real treat was a duet by Dave Gahan and Martin Gore sung on a runway out in the crowd… you can probably guess but I’m not saying which one.

The visuals were stunning. It reminded me of watching Underworld’s music videos, they make sense but you don’t consciously understand why. The screen had an LCD hemisphere near the top and they made incredible use of it and the screens on each side of the stage. Perfectly orchestrated lighting completed this spectacular presentation – four curved trusses on winches, each loaded with moving head lights, plus plenty of stationary truss lighting and a giant LCD panel behind the stage… all working together so perfectly as to move you out of this reality and into a two hour music video.

Dave Gahan still has that mysterious ‘it’, and he commanded the audience with his mere presence. He knew when to let the crowd sing, made us clap, dance and jump. He exuded more and more sexuality as the concert went forward. Martin Gore did a couple of solo numbers as well. His energy is more reserved than Dave Gahan’s, creating a nice balance.

In short, the show was genius and will be hard to top… by anyone. I was on my feet for two hours and it felt simultaneously like fifteen minutes and twenty years. I was hesitant on this latest album, now I’m hooked.