Published Jun 01, 2002Filmed on the final date of last year's Exciter tour, this double-disc DVD captures the synth-pop pioneers in rejuvenated form, delivering an equal mix of new songs and reinterpreted classics. While the mood is customary Mode melancholic and confessional the musical presentation often verges on electronic blues with Martin Gore on guitar, gospel singers in the wings and a live drummer holding it down with polyrhythmic fury. But as always, lead vocalist Dave Gahan is the star diva of the show. Despite his much-publicised battle with heroin, he flows with nothing but vitality throughout. His vocals are occasionally over-expressed and exhortative, but he also reaches angelic heights on the near-silent moments of "When The Body Speaks" and "Freelove."
In many ways, the film is a testament to his rebirth and while some fans may feel that's something to celebrate, I personally think director Anton Corbijn wastes too much visual time on the subject. There are too many close-ups of a shirtless and sweaty Gahan losing himself in the music, even when he's not really contributing to it. For this viewer, the real action is on the backdrop: film loops of rain running counterpoint to the bass pulses of "Waiting For The Night"; a goldfish swimming a lethal tango with a shark during "In Your Room"; and the fragmented shadow-play in the break-down to "Dream On." The second disc of the DVD features some of the visuals on their own with the concert music as a soundtrack. There's also the chance to watch "Never Let Me Down Again" from three different camera angles; it would have been wiser if this option was available for the entirety of the concert disc, as the DM live experience is truly one of a multi-focal spectacle. Other bonuses include interviews with the band on topics everything from religion to the future of DM as well as the technicians and the fans outside of the stadium. Lots of stuff that Mode heads will watch with anticipation, although I doubt that even most obsessive will last through Corbijn's hour-long still-frame analysis of the show. While One Night In Paris does not have depth and insight of the D.A. Pennebaker documentary 101 (1989), it's a telling statement on DM's ability to reinvent themselves with minimal retro chic.