Live Review: Depeche Mode – Letzigrund Stadion, Zurich, 18 June 2017 by Mark Wong

Depeche Mode have always held a very special place in my heart. Whenever I listen to their music I have very fond memories of my time at college. During this part of my life my music technology teacher introduced them to me by recommending their 2001 album Exciter. After doing extensive research into Depeche Mode’s discography, my life was never the same again as I learnt to love and appreciate the electronic music genre.

Live Review: Depeche Mode – Letzigrund Stadion, Zurich, 18 June 2017

Despite missing four songs from Depeche Mode’s set due to a three-hour flight delay and the strict venue security policies, I finally made it inside the Letzigrund Stadium. As I was walking into the venue Depeche Mode were coming to the end of A Pain That I’m Used To. Ironically I felt like these words perfectly summed up the difficult situation that I had just experienced getting into the venue.

Finally getting settled into the crowd, the band launch into an absolute classic: In Your Room. The eerie and disturbing atmosphere of the song is supported by Anton Corbijn’s incredible visuals of a woman and a man dancing in a choreographed sequence in a room. Tracks that were played from Songs of Faith & Devotion were the only ones that were supported by visuals with a narrative to them. Walking In My Shoes depicted someone who was trying to deal with their sexual identity.

Hearing the opening funky synthesised riff of World In My Eyes had me smiling like a complete idiot because of how much I cherish and adore Violator. While being a brilliant front man, vocalist Dave Gahan also possesses a sexual prowess on stage as he touches inappropriate parts of his body while singing “Now let your mind do the walking and let my body do the talking”.

Guitarist Martin Gore is given a segment in the show to perform two songs; A Question of Lust and Home. Hearing how different these songs are from one another makes me appreciate and admire him more as a songwriter. During the end of Home, Gore waves his hands like an orchestra conductor to cue the audience when to sing back the melody.

“…the message that Depeche Mode put across is poignant as it succinctly ties in to current times.”

Analysing both the selection of songs for this tour and the themes from new album Spirit, the message that Depeche Mode put across is poignant as it succinctly ties in to current times. It can be argued that Spirit subtly references the recent political mishaps such as Brexit and current President of the United States: Donald Trump. Gahan stands on a podium during the middle eight of Where’s the Revolution? It almost feels like he’s running his own political campaign where he’s telling 30,000 people that we should all be making a radical change to our future.

Towards the last quarter of the set list, Depeche Mode prove why they are still the masters of their genre as they play the quintessential songs that cemented their name in music history. It was during songs such as Enjoy The Silence where the crowd were at their loudest. It never fails to impress me because of the technical master class it shows, such as the arpeggiated guitar riff and precise quantized drum beats. Towards the end of the song Gahan doesn’t even attempt to sing the chorus as he positions the microphone towards the crowd to let 30,000 people finish the remainder.

Depeche Mode pay a beautiful tribute to cultural and musical icon David Bowie by covering his legendary song Heroes. Being almost a year and a half ago since the music world lost Bowie, the tribute is a wonderful reminder of why his impact on music was so important and influential.

“Depeche Mode finish on a triumphant note by playing two of their heaviest songs: I Feel You and Personal Jesus. These were perfect song choices as they re-injected energy back into the set.”

Depeche Mode finish on a triumphant note by playing two of their heaviest songs: I Feel You and Personal Jesus. These were perfect song choices as they re-injected energy back into the set. Hearing how insanely heavy Depeche Mode’s sound was absolutely floored me as they comfortably proved that they have the musical ability to compete with any current rock band. Once Gore ignited Personal Jesus’ bluesy guitar riff, there was a guy stood a couple of feet away from me who was jumping up and down like a man possessed. At one stage I thought he was going to start a mosh pit!

Considering I missed the first few songs, it’s an experience that’ll always treasure. An evening filled with electro-rock anthems made me remember why Depeche Mode remain the rightful kings of the electronic genre. In a world where disposable and forgettable pop tunes are constantly being churned out of the current music scene, I’m thankful for bands such as Depeche Mode for keeping the true spirit of electronic music alive.

FULL SETLIST from Depeche Mode – Letzigrund Stadion, Zurich, 18 June 2017

1. Going Backwards
2. So Much Love
3. Barrel Of A Gun
4. A Pain That I’m Used To
5. Corrupt
6. In Your Room
7. World In My Eyes
8. Cover Me
9. A Question Of Lust
10. Home
11. Poison Heart
12. Where’s The Revolution
13. Wrong
14. Everything Counts
15. Stripped
16. Enjoy The Silence
17. Never Let Me Down Again

Encore from Depeche Mode – Letzigrund Stadion, Zurich, 18 June 2017

18. Somebody
19. Walking In My Shoes
20. Heroes (David Bowie Cover)
21. I Feel You
22. Personal Jesus