Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Depeche Mode Live in Spain DVD review

music video review

Depeche Mode: Tour of the Universe
Grade: B-

For the past couple decades, Depeche Mode has pushed visual boundaries in concert with longtime artistic director Anton Corbijn. Getting everything to work on home video though is a different story. Tour of the Universe, filmed in Spain last November, often suffers due to distracting camera work and lackluster images. Shots from the fans’ perspective block onstage action, while lingering on insignificant focal points proves detrimental.

The two-hour concert finds the veteran synth pop trio in satisfactory musical form. Some new tunes (“In Chains,” “Hole to Feed”) get the proceedings off to a sluggish start before they eventually pick up steam during “It’s No Good.” Lead singer Dave Gahan - looking like a leaner version of Social Distortion’s Mike Ness nowadays – vigorously works the stage, but rarely uses the catwalk. 

Despite sounding good, he has the crowd take over entire song choruses way too much. “I Feel You” lacks the usual rocking punch; Martin Gore’s dramatic vocals on luxurious, yet sedate tunes (“Jezebel,” “Home,” “Dressed in Black”) kill any momentum. Still, “In Your Room,” “Fly on the Windscreen” and “Never Let Me Down Again” summon the old DM excitement and lullaby-type ballad “Waiting for the Night” finds the guys’ voices meshing nicely.

Besides a live CD, the set is available in three versions. The DVD/Blu-ray bonus content includes a tour documentary, additional live songs, New York City rehearsal tracks, four music videos culled from 2009’s Sounds of the Universe (car-stuck-in-reverse rampage clip “Wrong” is simply harrowing) and Corbijn’s screen films/montages.


Kim said...

Depeche Mode is a fantastic band. I do plan to watch this concert DVD. Thanks for reviewing this and it sounds like the new DVD has good and bad points.

newwavegeo said...

Yeah, I've seen them put on some tremendous shows in the past and release amazing concert DVDs. It really shows you that if all the elements aren't exactly in place, the whole presentation can suffer.