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Depeche Mode – Madison Square Garden – September 9, 2017

Depeche Mode playing the first of two sold out nights at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

We spent this past weekend in New York City to see Depeche Mode play Madison Square Garden. NYC is one of my favorite cities, and we’re lucky to live close enough that we are just a short car or train ride away. Although we were only in the city for about 24 hours, we managed to hit a lot of our favorite spots. Here are some quick NYC travel tips, along with a review of the Depeche Mode concert.

 

NEW YORK CITY TRAVEL TIPS

Tip #1: Don’t drive into Manhattan. Parking in Manhattan is very expensive, and traffic is a nightmare. Since we are in Philadelphia, we have a few options to get into Manhattan without driving. You can take the train – either Amtrak (which can be expensive) or NJ Transit. A cheaper option is to drive to Staten Island, and then take the Staten Island Ferry. You can park at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal for just $8 per day. The ferry is free. Once you get into Manhattan (the ferry takes you to Battery Park), you can easily access the subway to get anywhere you need to in the city.

The Staten Island Ferry is free, and a great way to get into Manhattan.

 

You get a great view of the Statue of Liberty during the ferry ride to Manhattan as well.

 

Tip #2: Our favorite lunch place is called Souvlaki GR. We go to the Midtown location, which is just south of Central Park and across the street from Carnegie Hall. The food is fantastic, and very reasonably priced. Check them out at https://www.souvlakigr.com/.

The inside of Souvlaki GR is decorated to make you feel like you are in a restaurant on one of the Greek islands.

Tip #3: For a great breakfast place, I recommend Johny’s Luncheonette. It’s a tiny place where you sit at the counter, but you will get a great breakfast for a great price. Expect to wait in line to get in on the weekends. They also serve lunch. Check them out at http://www.johnysluncheonette.com/.

Tip #4: For a nice hotel in a great location, check out the Radisson Martinique Hotel. Located on 32nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenue, this hotel is close to everything – Madison Square Garden, Times Square, Macy’s, etc. For NYC standards, the rooms are a good size. The price is also very reasonable for the location. You can check for rates and availability at http://www.themartinique.com/.

Our queen-sized bed was very comfortable.

 

We were upgraded to a suite, which gave us a separate sitting room.

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THE CONCERT

Warpaint

Warpaint warming up the crowd prior to Depeche Mode taking the stage.

Warpaint formed in Los Angeles in 2004. An Indie rock band, current members are Emily Kokal (vocals, guitar), Theresa Wayman (guitar, vocals), Jenny Lee Lindberg (bass, vocals) and Stella Mozgawa (drums).

Warpaint released their first EP – “Exquisite Corpse” – in 2008. The EP was mixed and mastered by Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, who was Kokal’s boyfriend at the time. In 2009, the band signed to Rough Trade Records, and began to tour the U.S. and Europe extensively.

The band released their debut album – “The Fool” – in October of 2010. In 2011, they continued heavily touring the U.S. and Europe to promote the album.

The band will be releasing their third studio album on September 23rd titled “Heads Up”.  You can download the album here:  http://amzn.to/2z2QmFR

Warpaint came on stage right at 7:30 p.m. The band was definitely no frills. They knocked out song after song. In fact, the one criticism I have, is that they didn’t have a lot of interaction with the crowd. They were up on stage doing their thing, but didn’t really encourage me or the rest of the audience to get into their music in any way.

I find their music to be very reminiscent of The Cure. While the music is clearly meant to be dark and a bit brooding, I think it would add to the show for the band members to have a bit more personality and stage presence.

Warpaint is supporting Depeche Mode throughout the North American leg of their world tour. You can keep up with the band and their tour dates on their website – www.warpaintwarpaint.com.

 

Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode taking the stage for N1 of their two-night stand at Madison Square Garden.

I grew up with Depeche Mode. The soundtrack to my childhood was music from The Cure, Violent Femmes, New Order, and Depeche Mode. This is my last remaining band on my “bucket list” of bands to see, so seeing them live is an experience I won’t soon forget.

Depeche Mode is an electronic band formed in Essex in 1980. Depeche Mode is made up of Dave Gahan (vocals), Martin Gore (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Andy Fletcher (keyboards, bass guitar).

Depeche Mode released their debut album – “Speak & Spell” – in 1981. That was the first of 14 studio albums that has kept the band relevant through the ‘80s, ‘90s and today.

The band gained huge international success with the release of their 1986 album “Black Celebration”, which featured hits like “Stripped” and “A Question of Time”. This was followed by “Music for the Masses”, which was full of hits including “Strangelove” and “Never Let Me Down Again”.

By the time 1989 rolled around, the band was at the top of their international fame with the release of the album “Violator”. That album contained megahits “Personal Jesus”, “Enjoy the Silence” and “Policy of Truth”.

Throughout the rest of the ‘90s and into the 2000’s, the band continued to record music, despite the many issues lead singer Dave Gahan faced. His problems with drugs and depression led to not only issues with the band, but with several brushes with death. He had a drug-induced mild heart attack in 1993 during a show in New Orleans, where the band had to do the encore without him. In August of 2005, he attempted to commit suicide by slashing his wrists. And, in May of 1996 he overdosed on speedball in Los Angeles. He has since cleaned himself up.

The band released its latest album – “Spirit” – in 2017. They immediately announced a world tour in support of the album, which started in Europe and came to the U.S. in August. I attended the first of a two-night sold out run at Madison Square Garden in New York.  You can download the “Spirit” album here:  http://amzn.to/2gU8VWu

We had great seats for the show – on the floor slightly right of center towards the front of the back floor section. Depeche Mode took the stage shortly after 8:45 p.m. and played until 11:00 p.m. From the minute they took the stage with opener “Going Backwards”, the band went all out. Gahan walked on stage in a red suit jacket (which he quickly took off to reveal his signature black and red vest), black pants and red shoes. He walked and danced around the stage the whole night.  The rest of the band was also dressed in red and black, going along with the theme of the “Spirit” album.

The first part of the show was heavier with songs off the new “Spirit” album, so when they went into one of their older hits – “World in My Eyes” – the crowd went crazy.

About halfway into the show, everyone left the stage but Martin Gore, who performed an acoustic version of “A Question of Lust”. Gore continued on lead vocals for the next song – “Home” – as well. After “Home”, Gahan came back on stage, and the show really cranked into high gear.

 

Martin Gore got some time in the spotlight, taking over lead vocals on a couple of songs throughout the set.

 

After a slower “Poison Heart”, the video screen showed the familiar symbols from the Global Spirit Tour, and they went into their first single off the “Spirit” album – “Where’s the Revolution”.

The band playing “Where’s the Revolution” was one of the highlights of the show.

 

The band then started running through their vast catalog of past hits. They played “Everything Counts”, “Stripped” and “Enjoy the Silence”. The show hit its crescendo when they went into “Never Let Me Down Again”. Gahan had the crowd worked into a frenzy, getting them to sing along to the familiar refrain. Gahan came out onto the extended stage, and even used several air cannons to shoot what appeared to be t-shirts into the crowd at the end of the song.

Dave Gahan on the extended stage getting the crowd to sing along.

 

After “Never Let Me Down Again”, the band left the stage. The sold out crowd knew there was more coming, and lighters and cell phone flashlights lit up the arena, while the crowd cheered for more. Those cheers were answered, with Gore coming back out on stage to do a beautiful version of “Somebody”, which is one of Depeche Mode’s few ballads.

The rest of the band came back on stage, and gave the crowd more of their hits including “Walking in My Shoes” and “I Feel You”. We also got a great cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes”. At the end of “Heroes”, Gahan gave a kiss and pointed to the sky in honor of his late friend, Bowie.

Dave Gahan is a true showman, and had the crowd into the show from beginning to end.

 

Gahan asked the crowd if they wanted one more song. Of course, everyone was waiting for the band to play their biggest hit – “Personal Jesus” – and they weren’t disappointed. There seemed to be a small problem with the volume on Gahan’s microphone for parts of the last two songs making his powerful voice hard to hear, but he made up for that by having the crowd sing along to the familiar words of both songs.

Before I knew it, the show was wrapping up. You can tell when a concert is good, because very few people left the show early. In fact, it took about 30 seconds or so for the house lights to come back up, and I think a lot of people in the crowd were holding out hope that the band would come out for a couple more songs.

Even though the fans would have loved more, the show wrapped up after the band played 20 songs over 2 hours and 15 minutes.

 

After all these years, Depeche Mode is still amazing and puts on a high energy show. I never had the opportunity to see them in their younger days, but it’s hard to imagine it was any better than what I witnessed Saturday night.

You can still catch Depeche Mode tonight in NYC for the second night of their two-night stand at Madison Square Garden.  The rest of the North American leg of the tour continues through the end of October, when Depeche Mode returns to Europe with more shows through the end of February. The Global Spirit Tour wraps in South America in March of 2018. Check out www.depechemode.com for information on all of their upcoming shows.

Set list from the Saturday, September 9th show.

 

Set List: Going Backwards, So Much Love, Barrel of a Gun, A Pain That I’m Used To, Corrupt, In Your Room, World In My Eyes, Cover Me, A Question of Lust, Home, Poison Heart, Where’s the Revolution, Wrong, Everything Counts, Stripped, Enjoy the Silence, Never Let Me Down Again. Encore: Somebody, Walking In My Shoes, Heroes (David Bowie cover), I Feel You, Personal Jesus

Have questions about Warpaint or Depeche Mode?  Traveling to New York City and have questions or need suggestions?  Comment below or e-mail me at tips2livebywriter@gmail.com.

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