Some people may have thought that life after Depeche Mode was not probable, even not possible, but proof positive came last year with the releases of Martin L Gore’s "Counterfeit 2" and Dave Gahan’s "Paper Monsters". Both albums showed that the quality even as separate units was still very much there, and the promise for the future with Depeche Mode is still to come. Both men set out on tour in promotion of these albums, with Gahan touring extensively, as opposed to Gore’s more low-key gigs. And so it is to the release of the former artist, with his release on DVD "Live Monsters", to see if the set cuts it live.
The bulk of the footage is taken from the recording at the Olympia, Paris, and includes, probably unsurprisingly, some classic Depeche Mode moments ("Personal Jesus", "I Feel You", "Walking in My Shoes"), among the recent material. The gig is electric, with the new material (especially tracks such as the opener "Hidden Houses" with its seething electronic siren opening, "Black and Blue Again" and "Dirty Sticky Floors") seeming to go down well with a receptive crowd as much as the more established material (including a storming version of "Personal Jesus").

Gahan is a consummate performer, and appears in his element among the Parisian youth. The sound quality is fantastic, and even when Gahan’s voice wavers slightly off key, there is enough going on sonically to afford little attention to it. The new material appears to stand up well live and has definitely captured the imagination of the fans on show, passionately singing throughout the entire set. Gahan also is clearly enjoying it, singing tracks with a raw passion seen increasingly rarely in modern times. When you hear him sing "I’m not very nice…" ("Black and Blue Again") you know he probably means it! Think of this performance to be more in tune with the vintage rock performers like the Rolling Stones, especially on tracks like "A Question of Time" than modern era types, real and sweat-soaked. Good songs, well played, and performed with presence – this is truly a case of the man back on form. The climax of the set finishes with an encore that really makes you wish you had been there to see it.
The extras are worth looking at also, a good acoustic set shows the raw quality of Gahan’s voice to a tee, and the short film is mildly diverting. Overall a DVD that highlights that one of music's true star performers is still just that, a naturally gifted live performer, and the thought of him fronting his original band on this form is ever more tempting.