Everything Counts: Depeche Mode travels through the decades in a stunning return to Philly - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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When Depeche Mode took the stage Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center, they kicked off the show with two brooding songs from their 2023 album Memento Mori, “The Cosmos Is Mine” and “Wagging Tongue.” The new material sounded great, but before you began wonder how much we’d be hearing their back-catalog at this concert, the band launched into a run of DM bangers that spanned from the mid-80s (the sadly still prescient “Everything Counts”) to the late 90’s (“It’s No Good”) and the 00s (“Precious”). Lead singer Dave Gahan and songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Martin Gore have been in the band since the beginning, and through their vivacious stage presence, one could tell they still enjoyed and appreciated their fans’ love. They were accompanied by keyboardist /guitarist Peter Gordino, who brought texture and harmonies to the show, and drummer Christian Eigner, who amplified it with a heavy rock energy, filling out the live experience.

Gahan’s voice sounded amazing, and as he sprinted from side to side of the stage, twirling and leaping and working the crowd, it was clear he has definitely been working out. His pilates skills were unmatched — you cannot tell me he doesn’t do at least one 15-minute wall sit session a day — and he showed off his glutes every chance he got (not that anyone was complaining). He danced around the stage non-stop and didn’t take many breaks; his charisma has only increased with time, and he had the Wells Fargo Center crowd in the palm of his hand.

Depeche Mode | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Though more of an understated presence compared to his bandmate, Gore spotlighted his prowess at creating wonderful hooks on both keyboard and guitar. Hearing the catchy intros to “Personal Jesus” and “Stripped” live were a reminder of what an incredible tunesmith Martin Gore truly is, and at the midway point of the set, he took lead vocals on a gorgeous performance of “A Question Of Lust,” as well as the loungey torch song “Soul With Me” from Memento Mori.

The visuals throughout the concert were inventive and exciting compliments to the music. They included videos and animations by frequent collaborator Anton Corbijn —  a few of his circa-90s photos of founding member Andy Fletcher, who passed away last year, were used on “World In My Eyes,” where they morphed surreally into one another, his glasses off then on, his eyes open then shut —  as well as grainy video filters on the performance, and multiple and identical versions of Gahan dancing. On the new single “Ghosts Again,” footage showed Gore and Gahan re-creating the famous chess scene from Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, with Gahan as the knight and Gore as death.

Depeche Mode | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Not only was the main set stunning, but the encore was an event in and of itself. It began with a gorgeous version of Violator‘s “Waiting for the Night” that featured Gahan and Gore standing at the edge of the catwalk harmonizing on the verses. Then they gave us the 1-2 punch of the ridiculously catchy “Just Can’t Get Enough” into “Never Let Me Down Again,” that featured the most intense arm-waving I’ve ever seen from a crowd.

Sweetly, the evening ended with the band singing “Happy Birthday” to a very patient fan named Mary who held up a sign saying it was her 45th birthday in the front throughout the night. It also seemed very characteristic of Depeche Mode to do something so thoughtful for a fan; they truly seem to enjoy creating an unforgettable experience for the crowd, and tonight was no exception.

Depeche Mode | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Trippy Brooklyn four-piece DIIV played a woozy set of echo-soaked dream pop and shoegaze to open the night. The band were energetic and reminiscent of British bands of the early 90s, complete with a video backdrop of the band posturing whilst on the road. Check out more photos of both their set and Depeche Mode’s in the gallery below; after a few days off, the band’s Memento Mori tour picks up Saturday night in New York City at Madison Square Garden.

Setlist
Oct
25
Depeche Mode
Wells Fargo Center
  • My Cosmos Is Mine
  • Wagging Tongue
  • Walking In My Shoes
  • It's No Good
  • Policy Of Truth
  • In Your Room
  • Everything Counts
  • Precious
  • My Favorite Stranger
  • A Question Of Lust
  • Soul With Me
  • Ghosts Again
  • I Feel You
  • A Pain That I'm Used To
  • World In My Eyes
  • Black Celebration
  • Stripped
  • John The Revelator
  • Enjoy The Silence
  • Waiting For The Night
  • Just Can't Get Enough
  • Never Let Me Down Again
  • Personal Jesus
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