Published Jul 25, 2009The deafening, zealous welcome for Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher (along with a touring drummer and keyboardist) meant Toronto was out to prove it is the capital of Depeche Mode's fanbase. On a gargantuan stage complete with a large disco ball screen overhead, the electronic pop pioneers appeared decked out for the occasion: Gahan in a sparkly vest and skintight tux pants, Gore in a silver sequined three-piece suit and copious amounts of body glitter.
Beginning with the first three songs from new album Sounds of the Universe, the band delivered a colossal-sounding rendition of the recent single "Wrong," as Gahan bellowed the chorus from what sounded like a boom mic, and later on "Come Back" oozed out of the speakers with the distorted levels of My Bloody Valentine. As soon as they hit "Walking In My Shoes," the older songs started to creep in and the band really hit their stride. And they didn't disappoint: "Fly On the Windscreen," "A Question of Time," Gore's "Home," "In Your Room," "Policy of Truth" and the set-closing tandem of "Enjoy the Silence" and "Never Let Me Down Again."
The massive jumbotron behind them was integral to the show, projecting images fit for each tune: from a devious-looking raven, to the trio dressed as astronauts to various camera effects capturing the band at work. But even more impressive was the fitness of Gore and Gahan, who moved and acted like the last decade hadn't passed them by. The front-man did repeated pirouettes with the mic stand, like he was 25 again, and never missed a chance to shake his ass right in stage front - amazing seeing as he's recovering from both major surgery on his bladder in May, and a leg injury from earlier this month.
The encore was a dream come true for the many seasoned fans. "Stripped" was as raw and dirty as ever, "Master and Servant" turned into a singalong game and "Strangelove" was pornographic - literally, thanks to a steamy film featuring a topless nymph getting her toes sucked by another woman. As expected, they bowled the 16,000 capacity audience over with a romping version of "Personal Jesus," surprisingly followed by a tender duet by Gore and Gahan on "Waiting for the Night." As they bid adieu, Gahan asked the crowd sing "Happy Birthday" to the 48-year-old Gore, but most people in attendance left feeling like it was their own personal celebration after a two-hour-long gift by their favourite band.