Dave Gahan Live Monsters

Dave Gahan's solo debut, Paper Monsters, didn't meet the high standards set by his 20-odd years of recording with Depeche Mode, but it did fare better onstage for the accompanying 2003 tour. The documentation on Live Monsters makes for a solid portrait, although it could have used a more original location. Like DM's last few concert-videos, Live Monsters is shot in Paris and although the hall isn't stadium-size, it doesn't have the intimacy of the clubs Gahan performed at during the North American leg of his tour. That aside, the concert footage still has the same unfiltered honesty that our man delivers throughout his performance. Unsurprisingly, the peak moments are when Gahan takes on a handful of Mode classics and really rocks them out with his new band. Without any pre-programmed sequences, they make "A Question of Time" and "Personal Jesus" sound almost rockabilly, and deliver a brief, but frenetic, disco-funk workout in their version of "Never Let Me Down Again." The band (whose keyboardist here is the same Vincent Jones of the Grapes of Wrath) is just as forceful with Gahan's solo material and even more inventive when they perform alternative takes in the unplugged and jazzed-up segments of the DVD. There's word that another Mode album is coming up in the next year, but Gahan looks so comfortable with the crew on Live Monsters that it's safe to say he just might be better off sticking with them. Plus: documentary. (Mute)