music video review
Depeche Mode: Tour of the Universe
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.