Depeche Mode at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 9/18/2013

Photos by Groovehouse
Depeche Mode
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
September 18, 2013

People talk about how improbable it is that Keith Richards is still alive to tour with the Rolling Stones, but for a time there in the mid-'90s, it seemed equally unlikely Depeche Mode would ever hit the road again. Singer Dave Gahan suffered a heart attack (in 1993), attempted suicide, and finally had to be revived by paramedics following a heroin overdose in 1996. Richards may have been an addict longer, but to my knowledge he has never had to be brought back from the dead.

Of late, DM has settled into a familiar cycle, releasing new albums every few years and embarking on lucrative tours. Of course, as with most bands whose peak years are well behind them (and whether they like it or not), Mode is largely a nostalgia act. Folks who abandoned the group circa Ultra may not even be able to name their recent efforts (hint: the latest is the Violator-ish Delta Machine). But really, who cares? None of that matters much when you're arguably the greatest electronic band of all time, having influenced everyone from a-ha to Rammstein.

Besides all that, Gahan's been clean for quite some time now. And if Wednesday night's show is any indication, he's back at the top of his game. putting on a sinewy, animated performance that was in diametric opposition to a certain other lead singer's as he and fellow DM lifers Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher held a steamy CWMP crowd in the palms of their black-lacquered hands.

"Welcome to My World" opened the show, with Gahan, Gore, and Fletcher emerging in full leather/vinyl/something-shiny-and-probably-really-freaking-hot regalia. The crowd's enthusiasm was most likely in response to the crowd's appearance and not, you know, any familiarity with this particular Delta Machine cut. This was followed by "Angel" from the same album, following its track order, and might have led some to worry that DM was about to play the album in its entirety. Fortunately Gahan removed his jacket at this point, distracting everyone.

Joining the band onstage were keyboardist Peter Gordeno and drummer Christian Eigner. Three keyboardists strikes me as a bit excessive, even as the conspiracy theorist in me wondered if Fletcher wasn't just playing GTA V the whole time.

My personal high point may have been the third song, "Walking In My Shoes" from the (in my mind, anyway) unjustly unappreciated Songs of Faith and Devotion. More to the point, from that song on, the crowd was Gahan's. As he's become more ... "seasoned," he's abandoned some of his goofier stage antics (and adopted others, specifically some David Coverdale-ish moves with the mike stand), but he engages his audience like few other front men I've seen.

And those abs! Mercy.

Next up was "Precious," their biggest single from 2005's Playing the Angel. It was, however, accompanied by videos of cute doggies doing, well, cute dog things. How very precious indeed. Crowd pleasers "Black Celebration" and "Policy of Truth" followed, reminding us how extensive DM's catalog really is. "BC" was one of three cuts played off that eponymous album, with only one song in the set predating it (more on that later). Some Great Reward was ignored entirely, even though it contains at least four songs that would've brought roars of approval from the crowd.

Well, most of them. I really can't stand "Somebody."

Review continues on the next page.

Location Info


Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, TX

Category: Music

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I saw them last July in BBK LIVE in Spain. It was a Festival. This is not the best way to see a band. Only 2hours, open air, with people who - maybe is not a real fan-. But they were fucking amazing on stage. They still are the Kings after 33 years on stage. I´m counting the days until my next gig on JAnuary. Madrid.

I appreciate very much that Dave Gahan is much more a sweet, warm and next to the fans on this tour. So plenty of happiness and Joy. Not anymore a kind of cold-diva-ice.



Matt Herring
Matt Herring

Changing up the classics. Like retread for songs. Same, but different. Great show, great band, staying relevant, not staying the same. Growing, changing, evolving.

Maria Rodriguez
Maria Rodriguez

Loved it!! Dave Gahan and his moves will always have my heart lol


DM played 3 songs off 'Black Celebration.'

Re: Violator- I'm not sure why playing the biggest songs off their biggest record is considered 'hoary,' unless that term applies to every band that ever existed.


I have a question for the masses...I haven't been to CWMP in many years and last night was the first time I went to a show as an audience member, not as a stagehand. In the last 15 years, has there been a ban placed on sub-cabinets? I ask because either the DM sound guy sucks on a level never before seen in major concerts, or he was not allowed to have any bass in the mix. The best part of "Enjoy The Silence" is the bass line IMHO and I couldn't hear a damn thing, and what the hell was going on with "Just Can't Get Enough"? Anyway, I will agree that Gahan's voice is in great form, as was Gore's although he seemed to be channeling Andrew Lloyd Weber on a few numbers.

Eric McPhail
Eric McPhail

I was slightly disappointed in the ballady restrained version of "Black Celebration."

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