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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 27, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 43
'Never Let Me Down' - Depeche Mode triumphs at Key Arena
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'Never Let Me Down' - Depeche Mode triumphs at Key Arena

by Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writer

DEPECHE MODE
KEY ARENA
October 21


As many musical icons from the '80s have learned, it's a slippery slope bringing in new fans and keeping your old ones happy while still maintaining your relevance and - let's be honest - your cool. Time isn't kind to artists touring ten or fifteen years from their prime. Remarkably Depeche Mode is still going strong nearly forty years since their 1981 debut, Speak & Spell, was released. Despite career highs and personal lows, they have continued to refine and innovate while influencing multiple generations of electronic musicians along the way. Depeche Mode is not a nostalgia act, and never have been.

The 'Global Spirit World Tour' stopped at Seattle's Key Arena Saturday night, mid-way through a sprawling nearly year-long journey around the world. (The tour ends in March 2018 in Brazil.) The energetic set pulled heavily from later period albums and Spirit, their current release and 14th studio album. The core trio comprised of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher looked sharp; still every bit the understated, handsome dark horses of electro-pop they always have been, Dave's bombastic mic-stand twirling and vest-sans-shirt paired with elegant trousers notwithstanding. Fluffy '80s singles like 'Just Can't Get Enough' or 'See You' weren't present, instead favoring stylish albums like Music for the Masses all the way to Violator and Playing the Angel.

In addition to showcasing the distinct DM sound they have mined since the late-'80s, there were songs that bridged the two halves of their career ('A Question of Lust,' 'Everything Counts,' 'Stripped,' 'Somebody') followed by 'Enjoy the Silence' and 'Never Let Me Down Again,' songs that established the band's current look and feel. Having collaborated with Dutch photographer and music video/film director Anton Corbijn since the Black Celebration era, Corbijn's creative direction and stark, grainy style have kept Depeche Mode en vogue for three decades now. 'So Much Love' and 'Poison Heart' built momentum to truly epic tracks like 'I Feel You' and 'Personal Jesus,' both of which closed the set along with 'Walking In My Shoes' and a cover of 'Heroes' (David Bowie certainly has been on many artists' minds these last two years in concerts).

Though some fans may have left without their staple songs, Depeche Mode delivered a balanced show with ease and obvious enjoyment in both the present and the not too distant past. Perhaps working together for a lifetime while exorcising your personal demons many times over either makes or breaks a lifetime partnership. In the case of Depeche Mode, they're definitely winning.

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