You want to give them every opportunity for success, given Dave Gahan's return from the dark side of addiction. Unfortunately this tour to promote Exciter is woefully out of step. Maybe that's because the new album is disappointing and far from edgy and it's hard to pretend otherwise.
It started off well enough with a rousing "The Dead of Night". Since there aren't a lot of gems on the new album, for instance "Dream On" isn't half bad, they insisted on playing the most abominable song "Breathe", surely not a song that will be played live again in the years to come. I thought I would fall and crack my head on the cement floor from boredom, but then "Freelove" redeemed them a bit.
Fortunately Depeche Mode have a great chest of old favorites to pull out. Hearing "Enjoy the Silence" live is always thrilling, as is "Personal Jesus". "Never Let Me Down Again" sounded great while "Walking in my shoes" has special resonance now. I always keep my ears pricked for "Master and Servant", but they never play it.
And it's not just the oldies but goodies either. Songs from Ultra have also landed in the Depeche Mode lexicon, like "It's no good" and "Home"
How about those special effects on this mega-tour? Yawn. Apart from a cool black and white short film in a diner, the light show extravaganza consisted of a blue screen with a fish swimming back and forth (ooh) or desert images (ahh). Gahan did run back and forth across the stage while a camera tracked his actions. Wow! My computer screensaver is more exciting.
Their lackluster performance doesn't banish them forever. They're allowed a free "Get out of jail" card for all their work over the years. But for the next tour they absolutely have to seem a bit less bored onstage.