DVD MUTE, PLAYGROUND RELEASE:
MARCH 1, 2003 REVIEW: FEBRUARY 23, 2004
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
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").
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.
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.