After a shatteringly beautiful duet of ‘Waiting for the Night to Come’ at Dublin’s Malahide Castle last night (14 June), Dave Gahan and Martin Gore shared a warm embrace. Gore beamed, “Thank you Mr. G”. The passing of their bandmate Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher has brought them necessarily and immeasurably closer together as a unit. There was no choice, if they were going to continue to make new music.
On a blistering evening in north Dublin, Depeche Mode put on a show of mastery, class, love and soul. Young Fathers and Just Mustard provided support. Gahan is such a superb showman and had the 25,000 crowd in the palm of his hand from the get-go. Decked out in a jazzy waistcoat complete with a splash of pink on the back, Gahan strutted and stomped like a crazy mix of Nosferatu, The Phantom of the Opera and The Joker.
‘Walking in my Shoes’ was played very early in the set-list (perhaps, too early…), however that track really took the gig to another level in a short space of time with the crowd singing along to its iconic chorus. Gahan was suitably dressed for the number with his dazzlingly bright white patented shoes, which he took great pride in framing for the audience. Looks aside, Gahan’s voice is something else to behold in a live setting.
The set list featured five songs from their latest LP, Memento Mori. With Gahan taking a deserved breather after the lively ‘My Favourite Stranger’, Gore enchanted the crowd with the 1997 tune ‘Home’ before an acoustic version of ‘Soul With Me’. Gore’s more angelic and ethereal voice is a perfect foil to Gahan’s diverse and deep baritone.
Violator’s opener ‘World in my Eyes’ was dedicated to ‘Fletch’ with huge images displayed on screens of the keyboard player and founding member whom they lost this time last year. The crowd responded to Gahan, mirroring back at him the hand signal to represent Fletch’s signature glasses and his passing.
‘Enjoy the Silence’ was blasted out into the Dublin sky before they re-appeared for the encore. This kicked off the most memorable moment of the night was when Gahan and Gore walked down the stage runway to sing that version of ‘Waiting for the Night to Come’. There was a genuine desire from them to look into the eyes of the audience at close quarters and really savour every moment of this experience. It was special.
‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ almost seemed inappropriately jovial as the next song. The brilliant ‘Never Let Me Down Again’ from 1987 followed, with of course, ‘Personal Jesus’ to close. “Dublin, you really are the best!,” came Gahan’s closing salvo. Last night, the love was mutual.