I’m in Heaven: Depeche Mode in Concert

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I know I have other posts to put up of events that I’ve attended.  Before I post those, I must indulge a little more in my love of Depeche Mode, as I have just seen them in concert over the weekend at The Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista through Live Nation.  That long awaited night was more than worth the wait, because it has been eight years since I have seen them live.  I went with my husband, my sister and her husband.  We then met up with my best friend Janice, and friends Angi and Suzanne, and we all sat together on the lawn.  Eileen, who saw Depeche Mode with me for the first time back in 1985, was also supposed to attend, but she couldn’t make it due to work obligations.  When did we grow up?  I also got to see my friends Shirley, Rene, Tifany and Merrick (he is pictured below in the third shot), and I want to say hi to Suki, Kirsten and Suzi, who I didn’t get to see, but I who I know were there.  I love that so many people I know share the same love of such an influential band.

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When we arrived at the gig, my sister and I left our men to “jump” the long line by making $10 donations each to the Sleep Train Foster Kids charity program.  This allowed us to get some good real estate in front of the lawn area.  Unfortunately, we happened to be right behind a speaker post, making picture capturing challenging, but still doable.  Crystal Castles opened up, and my husband described them as Garbage, but darker.  I can see why they toured with Depeche Mode, as they definitely are in the same genre of music.  I’m afraid that I was way too anxious about Depeche Mode to fully pay attention, so I won’t attempt to review their performance.  I’ll have to give them a listen when I’m off of my Depeche Mode high.

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As it started to darken, I felt my anxiety rise.  And the moment the lights went out and the first few notes and lights began to emerge, I leapt up from my seat and lunged forward.  Everyone laughed as they have never seen me move so quickly.  I think I scared my poor husband, thinking he had to save me from falling down to the walkway below.  Although I knew I was in full control of all of my faculties, I felt my heart nearly beat out of its chest hearing my all time favorite band live again.

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I enjoyed every second of this concert, because I am a fan in every sense of the word.  I have loved this band for more than half my life, and I felt I have been with them through everything.  I can assign a Depeche Mode song to every important event in my life and create a soundtrack that would describe the very essence of who I am, and where I have been.  This is why I wanted my husband to attend this show with me because he is a part of the soundtrack of my life.  If you ask my son who my favorite band is, he will tell you resoundingly that it is Depeche Mode.  Their music has permeated every part of my existence, down to the name of my blog.

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It really is difficult to choose any one favorite part, but if I was made to choose, I would say hearing But Not Tonight live was amazing (I think Janice enjoyed what we called the porn intro to Personal Jesus, and my sister enjoyed Black Celebration because of memories of the “curtain drop” and A Question of Time because Dave brought back his spinning from days of old).  I have always enjoyed that song, specially the extended version, and I even bought the soundtrack to Modern Girls just because that song is in the movie.  It really summed up everything I felt that night, because there wasn’t a night quite like that night.

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My first concert was the Some Great Reward tour, and the evolution of their show is quite astounding.  My husband and I watched The World We Live In And Live In Hamburg video cassette yesterday (yes, you read that right) and we just marveled at just how young they were, and I was when I saw them in concert so long ago.  They played to half of The Sports Arena back then and it was sold out.  Here they are now, larger than life, still selling out, but bigger venues.  They sold out The Rose Bowl at their beginning of their ascend in 1988, and look at them 25 years later.

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In reviews I have read, and opinions I have heard about the song choice, I feel like I should step in here and remind those who are more casual fans that I think omission of the incredibly popular older songs like People Are People, Strangelove, Everything Counts and Master and Servant were by design.  Their song library is 23 albums deep.  How can you possibly fit years of hits into a two-hour set without including your most current music?  You can’t.  If you have been along for the ride as long as I have, you would have heard songs live that you will never hear again, and I think that’s how it’s meant to be (check out my post about some of the shows I have attended and the set lists from those concerts to see what I mean).  They’ve been around, they’ve played it all, and now they’re going to play what they want to, in the style they choose.  Enjoy it while you can.

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My husband said he enjoyed the concert because he got to hear his two favorite songs, Policy of Truth and Enjoy the Silence, but also because he has never attended a fully sold out show.  During Never Let Me Down Again, he was stunned at the sheer volume of people following Dave Gahan, knowing exactly when to sway their arms (I explained this is because of the 101 concert).  He truly was impressed, and was very glad we experienced this together.  I have included the set list below from Setlist.fm, and also the video I recorded of But Not Tonight.  I know this isn’t quite a concert review, but more of the experience of a true fan, expressing how happy I was to see my band.  In the words of Martin Gore, I felt like I was home.


  1. Very nice. I was really excited to be at the concert again but wish Jen was able to go. Like you, I loved Martin’s version of But Not Tonight, as it is one of my all time fave songs of theirs. I had read a few months ago that he performed it this way in Europe, so I was so happy he did it for our concert. I saw another set list for another city where they did Higher Love, and wish they did it for ours, but I still loved it all. I have to say I enjoyed this one better than the last tour but maybe because it was at the Hollywood Bowl and to me that venue was just different for me. The most memorable song from that tour that I loved was Strangelove. It was good to see you real quick there and it was an awesome show. See you in a couple weeks at Pet Shop Boys! – Merrick

  2. Oh I’ve missed a great tour haven’t I………..I so wanna swear (of course I wouldn’t on here) but reading this post has more than made up for it and your pictures are so amazing!!

    I would have loved to have seen the mode in the USA as well as from what I hear the atmosphere over there is so different to us Europeans.

    Thank you – thank you – thank you for the post and pics. I think I will be reading it, then reading it again and again 😉

    1. Awww Paul…it really was great, there’s no other way to put it. I’m glad you like my post and the pictures. Martin’s rendition of “But Not Tonight” literally made me cry! Also, I’ve made just a couple of edits because I wanted to push this post out quickly to get another post up before the end of the week.


  3. Great post!! I will be travelling from Australia to the Birmingham concert in the UK in January ’14. I have never seen them in concert and as you stated “And the moment the lights went out and the first few notes and lights began to emerge, I leapt up from my seat and lunged forward”, I laughed as that will be EXACTLY what I’ll be doing too!!

  4. I am listening to “But Not Tonight” as I type this. I actually have some tears in my eyes because it brings back some memories. I really enjoyed the show and so glad that we shared it with our husbands. Even though I did not know the new songs, I was so happy to hear “But Not Tonight,” “Black Celebration,”(that curtain going down!), and “Question of Time?”(Dave and his spinning!). All I can say is that Depeche Mode is one of the bands that I think I have seen more than 5 times, in which I will definitely keep going to. 1) I also like them and 2) I always enjoy it with my SISTER!!!!!

    1. I know…that version Martin sang just makes me all emotional or something! It was definitely fun to see them with you again, but now to share the experience with our husbands! I’m going to listen to the live version of “Black Celebration” just to hear the part where everyone starts screaming!


  5. We´re pleased to see that you had a great night. Thank you for posting this piece – it´s very well done. 🙂 By the way, special greetings from Mr Midnight 🙂

  6. LOVE THIS POST! I have been listening to Depeche Mode so much since the concert here in Brooklyn and you captured what you experienced so well and just brought back some happy recent memories for me! When we were leaving the concert I heard a few people grumble that DM didn’t play ‘Strangelove’ and I got SO annoyed. I didn’t say anything but I wanted to turn around and say, Really? Is that the main song that you know? Are ya kiddin’ me? You just got to hear ‘But Not Tonight’ and what were the odds that they were ever going to play that in concert?!? I think they looked and sounded great and it was sold out here in Brooklyn too. All these years later and they can still sell out a show! XO, Jill

    1. Thank you Jill! I think we are all listening still to DM after our concert experiences. They’re just so good and it’s great to see them live again. That’s exactly how I felt…Martin presented a beautiful rendition of a song they’ve never performed in concert, over “Strangelove”???


  7. The stage and lighting looks incredibly. A couple of my friends went to the show and they were also raving about it. I didn’t know Crystal Castles were the opening act, I wonder how they did in a bigger venue. I saw them a couple years at the HOB and there was a lot of moshing, drinks thrown in the air, and lights that could cause epilepsy. It was a very interesting show but I promised never to see them again in a small venue. 😐 haha/

    1. Hi Laura! I wish I would have paid more attention to Crystal Castles. I guess the 8 year wait for my all time favorite band just took over and I could barely concentrate on anything else! They did have a quite a “flashy” show as far as the lights were concerned, lol!

      Depeche Mode was AMAZING. I highly recommend you see them sometime!


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