I have had the pleasure of seeing Depeche Mode during their Tour of the Universe twice, in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale. At a total, I have been blessed to seem them five times altogether. This leads me to this DVD capturing a performance of DM during the Tour of the Universe in Spain. Seeing this show twice and purchasing several of the recorded performances, I am very familiar with this tour. [I am a rabid Depeche Mode fan, so my review might be a bit basis, they could put a beat to the Wendy’s dollar menu and I would be jovial.] I believe that this movie/DVD concert is an accurate depiction of this tour.
The album they were promoting was “Sounds of the Universe” which was met with a mixed response. I for one love this album and believe it will mature nicely in the DM catalog. The performance showcases five songs (six if the bonus track is included) from the SOTU album. These songs translate majestically when performed live. “In Chains” is an amazing opener, haunting and captivating, reminding me of “Higher Love”. “Wrong” is a fierce and powerful in this performance.
As for the classic Depeche tunes, they are all here (for the most part). The blessing and curse of DM is that they have so many songs it is going to be challenging to satisfy everyone. “Personal Jesus” and “Walking in My Shoes” is a couple of the stand outs. I overall am pleased with the set list here and at twenty-one songs, the concert is jammed packed.
After watching this concert I have come to the conclusion that Depeche Mode still “has it”. The show had energy, the band was in top form and the crowd was totally “in the zone”. The interaction with the crowd and the band at the closure of “Home” was touching, at the risk of sounding a bit maudlin. As for the production of the DVD, the sound was very good and the cinematography was very slick. There are myriad angles used in this presentation; close ups of the band and crowd, view of the stage, bird’s eye view of the audience and some post-modern views such as out of focus shots and outlooks via speaks and/or other equipment.
The second disk is exclusive to this four disk set and features bonus material. The bonus material is montages of the show/backstage, the screens used during the show, the four promotional music videos from SOTU, rehearsals for “Wrong” and “Walking in My Shoes” (the band and Dave sound amazing). Last but not least is an interesting documentary about the tour and the ups and downs the band experienced being on the road.
The band went through some calamities such has Fletch losing his father and Dave’s health issues. I found the disclosure from the band being both candid and reserved, a nice balance. There was also some humor throughout this documentary that was refreshing. Listening to Martin talk about how he was once afraid that he would drop dead on stage was funny, believe it or not.
When this documentary was over I was left with a bittersweet feeling. Depeche Mode has been around for (just about) 30 years. The band appears that they don’t want to be one of these bands that end up “flaking out” and washed up. Dave candidly speaks about how he realizes he is almost 50 and doesn’t want to tarnish Depeche Mode if he isn’t at top form. It makes me question how many more tours they have left in them. I am sure they will still record music (I hope), in one way shape or form, but will they tour again? Like many DM fans, I feel that this band is still in top form. In addition, they are relevant because the music they make is unique. Their unique sound morphs beautifully live; the audio CDs in this set are proof of that. I believe that this four disk set is a no brainer for a DM fan. This show will be treasured by me as a keepsake and a memory of a great tour, by one of the greatest bands.
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Joshua E Hoppock (The_Straw_Man)
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Tour of the Universe : Barcelona 20/21.11.09 is a video release by Depeche Mode, featuring an entire concert from their 2009/2010 worldwide Tour of the Universe, shot at Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona, Spain on the 20th and 21st of November 2009. It is the first Blu-Ray disc release by the band.
This concert film was released in three formats: the standard edition including the concert DVD and the two audio CDs, the deluxe edition with additional special features DVD and the two audio CDs, and a Blu-ray disc with the concert and special features.