The band has returned to North America for the third leg of their 2023 tour
Depeche Mode brought their Memento Mori Tour to an enthusiastic crowd at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC on Monday night (Oct 23rd).
The tour is named after their most recent album, itself a Latin phrase meaning, “Remember you must die.” Indeed, the group has suffered a recent loss in that of guitarist Andy Fletcher in May of last year. Surviving members Dave Gahan on lead vocals and Martin Gore on guitar, keyboard, lead and backing vocals have decided to continue on. In doing so, their loyal fan base has kept the music very much alive.
Depeche Mode opened with “My Cosmos is Mine” and “Wagging Tongue,” both numbers of Memento. They flowed effortlessly into 1993’s “Walking in My Shoes,” which proved a singalong for the crowd.
“Sister of Night” made an appearance as the fifth song of the night, though the rarity “Policy of Truth” took that spot at Barclays Center in New York two nights prior. In DC, the infrequently-performed, “A Question of Lust” appeared, with Martin Gore providing lead vocals. This proves that despite Depeche Mode occupying the electronic rock/pop space, these concerts are not overly programmed or reliant on a setlist as a crutch.
The electronic elements in Gahan and Gore’s music are more melodic than some of their genre counterparts, allowing them greater flexibility in the live environment. The focus is on how the synthetic elements aid the melody, rather than lathering on top of and hiding it. Guitar-driven “I Feel You” and the seminal “Never Let Me Down” are perfect
In fact, this Depeche Mode concert has a poignant acoustic moment, as Gore led the new song ”Soul with Me” with only the piano backing him.
A three-story M stood at the back all night. Unsure if it stood for the second word in their name, or the album title Memento Mori, it acted as the curiosity-piquing centerpiece to their stellar light design. The lights seemed to honor Depeche Mode’s club beginnings; brooding when necessary and vibrantly pulsating at other times.
With Memento Mori, these Rock and Roll Hall of Famers may be processing loss and grappling with the very human inevitable reality of where life’s journey ends. But, their voices are robust, their high-energy stage presence defies aging, and the music will live on.
If Depeche Mode literally translates to “fast fashion,” this group came into fashion fast and will never go out of it.