‘Angel’ in Riverside

Truth be told, I’ve never been a Depeche Mode fan. Having been raised on country music and transitioning not so smoothly into rock and heavy metal, I never found myself longing to listen to them. The only songs I was familiar with were those that had been covered by harder bands (namely Marilyn Manson & Lacuna Coil’s covers of “Personal Jesus” and “Enjoy the Silence,” respectively.

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By Tyler Davidson

By Tyler Davidson

Truth be told, I’ve never been a Depeche Mode fan.

Having been raised on country music and transitioning not so smoothly into rock and heavy metal, I never found myself longing to listen to them.

The only songs I was familiar with were those that had been covered by harder bands (namely Marilyn Manson & Lacuna Coil’s covers of “Personal Jesus” and “Enjoy the Silence,” respectively.)

If anything were to change me into a fan, however, it would be the “Touring the Angel” live performance.

To celebrate the Sept. 25 launch date of the band’s double DVD & CD set, “Touring the Angel: Live in Milan,” a special screening of the concert was held at the Riverside Plaza’s Regal Cinemas.

As I walked, briskly, into the near 300-seat auditorium, I was startled to see almost every single seat filled with die-hard Depeche Mode fans. Not wishing to fumble for a seat in the dark, I rested in the very front row, a decision that later proved to be a good one.

A 20-minute documentary kicked off the screening.

Containing interviews with not only the band, but also Anton Corbijn, the man responsible for directing the band’s “Suffer Well” video as well as creating six giant screens for the tour, the brief piece granted the audience special insight into just what goes into the making of such a monumental series of events.

After the credits rolled the band took the stage and, suddenly, the traditional movie theatre atmosphere was decimated. The night had now adopted the feel of a live concert, complete with catcalls from the females in the audience and raucous applause following each and every song.

The sixteen songs to follow most definitely turned me into a fan of the band, as lead singer David Gahan’s smooth vocals were backed by guitarist Martin Gore’s entrancing riffs as well as the infectious synthesizer sounds of Andrew Fletcher.

Gahan possesses a commanding stage presence, gyrating and dancing around in a manner certain to have influenced Velvet Revolver’s Scott Weiland, a flamboyant style adopted from the legendary Mick Jagger.

From the opening song, recent hit “A Pain That I’m Used To,” all the way to the encore that everyone clamored for, “Never Let Me Down Again,” the energy didn’t stop once during the performance.

RCC student Scott York commented, “It was so crazy. You’d never think we were just watching something taped. The fact that people were chanting ‘one more song’ after it was over like [the band] could hear us was just awesome.”

One surreal moment of the night occurred near the end of the band’s set, as they launched into mega-hit “Just Can’t Get Enough.”

A single fan, sitting in the row behind me, stood on his feet clapping along with the beat and singing along, sparking a chain reaction that had almost every single person in the auditorium on their feet doing the exact same thing.

As the hundreds of fans (myself included) stood, sang, and clapped, for that one song, it was as live as it could possibly get.

The fan that started the show of devotion, 17-year old Byron Lima, has been a Depeche Mode fan for the last several years. The Rubidoux High student claimed he “missed the Staples Center show, so this was the next best thing.”

“I really like their lyrics and the melodies they use,” Lima said.

During his interview in the documentary that preceded the performance, Gahan put the current state of the band into the simplest of words: “No one can mess with Depeche Mode and what we’ve created so far.”

After witnessing this concert, I’m more than happy to share those sentiments.

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