Today synthpop legends DEPECHE MODE are about to release their long awaited new live album/DVD, called Live In Berlin. The release – which features a best-of from their performance in the German capital – basically presents everything you’d expect from the British elder statesmen of electronic pop. Dave Gahan sweating, topless and in sparkling form for a man in his early 50s, the obligatory Anton Corbijn stage design and visuals, tender Martin Gore solo performances, the hand waving arms during Never Let Me Down Again in the end and of course, the most common hit singles of the past three decades. I Feel You, Personal Jesus, Precious and Enjoy The Silence.
Well, let’s face it… even from a fan perspective DEPECHE MODE‘s recent setlists have become a bit predictable over the course of the years. As a fan, you find yourself longing for more besides these well- known evergreens. And although we’re quite aware that it is always tricky to pick a perfect setlist out of a 30-year-long career NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION might have a few suggestions to add on the next run of shows.
1997’s Ultra album suffers from a general lack of live recognition since the band never actually toured the album back then (but went on a special Singles tour in 1998). Quite a shame, considering the relieving blues Mr. Gahan interprets right here.
Quite incomprehensibly why the band never played this little pop gem from 1987s Music For The Masses ever again after their legendary Pasadena show on June 18, 1988. It’s one of the strongest moments of DEPECHE MODE‘s 80s catalogue and deserves a comeback.
Even 15 years after its initial release Exciter remains DEPECHE MODE‘s probably most discussable record among fans. Whether you like the reduced production of the late Mark Bell or not but Shine really stands out as a hypnotic anthem that invites the listener to drift away.
‘Sea Of Sin’
Definitely one of the finest B-sides in DEPECHE MODE‘s discography. This dark grooving gem is taken from the golden Violator sessions that undoubtedly resulted in some of their finest compositions. It’s never been played live since its release.
Okay, the band’s 2001 STOOGES cover is quite unlikely to be ever played live. But, please, all Gahan devotees just imagine the sweating frontman delivering a sexy dance and a sensual vocal performance with this song and you’ll understand the potential.
First of it… this bonus cut from the Songs Of Faith And Devotion should have also been on the actual album. At least the band could do this lovely song a favour and include it in their live set in some form.
Another victim from the Ultra non-touring policy. Although Martin Gore played a lovely piano version during the 2009 Tour Of The Universe the song would also work great in a full-band version with Dave on lead vocals. The fire still burns within this track. Indeed.
‘Shake The Disease’
Same problem as with Insight. Although Gore performs this 1985 gem for a couple of years now in a lovely acoustic version we wouldn’t mind giving it a richer musical environment with the whole band performing it. Come on, it can’t be that hard.
This one from 1984’s Some Great Reward is one of DEPECHE MODE‘s finest dark wave anthems of the 80s. A sinister piece of synthpop about life’s cynical ways. Another track the band hasn’t played since the legendary 1988 Pasadena show. Its lyrics might seem a bit cheesy today but fans really love this one.
Bringing 1981’s Photographic back to the band’s 21st century setlist already was a challenge. But what about the B-Side of their debut single Dreaming Of Me? It’s another fan favourite and a while ago RÖYKSOPP and SUSANNE SUNDFØR gave a perfect example on how to transfer this one into the here and now. Something for the ‘farewell tour.’
‘Stories Of Old’
Another one that’s never been played live in the band’s career. Even more strange since DEPECHE MODE rediscovered the song in 2009 and surprisingly performed it in a studio session for the deluxe version of their Sounds Of The Universe longplayer. A great version but unfortunately a unique occasion.
‘People Are People’
And finally… yes, we’re all aware that especially Martin Gore is a bit ashamed of the song and its lyrics nowadays. Still, it’s one of their big classics and it wasn’t even performed once in the past 26 years. We think DEPECHE MODE should embrace the shamefulness, especially since they won’t stop performing the overplayed Just Can’t Get Enough for years.