Live Review: Depeche Mode — Live in Nimes 2013

Useless to say, after my deception of last DEPECHE MODE gig at Le Stade de France, that my main interest in going to Nimes was more holiday purposes and discovering this beautiful antic site of Nimes Arena that the gig in itself…

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It’s under a heavy sun and high temperatures that I arrived in this beautiful town in the middle of the afternoon… and first thing you can see in town is the DM army of fans almost everywhere, to the point you can think all residents ran away from town to leave all space to devotees. The atmosphere is pleasant and fun, fans from all over Europe meet together on cafe’s terraces. I can also see some flyers distribution for the 2nd event of the night, the after show organized by the band WAITING FOR WORDS in a club named la Comédie where they will perform a unique set. But back to DM….

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I enter the Arena, unfortunately, after CHVRCHES support slot that seemed to be critically acclaimed, which is quite an achievement knowing how DM are difficult with support acts. The first thing that strikes you is the beauty of the place. There’s a real atmosphere in those arena where you can feel the weight of centuries of history. The size of the arena is also very pleasant. Not even 10,000 seats and from anywhere you are located, you can see the stage on a human scale. I’m positioned on the right side, almost above Martin’s keyboards. The screen takes the all back of the stage, far away from the tiny little televisions of the stadium! As the intro starts, the sound is very clear, not too loud and when the band walks on stage, the crowd, as usual, go wild.

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After a couple of songs, the statement strikes your head : Depeche is proving tonight they are NOT a stadium act. All that I disliked at le Stade de France disappears here. Emotion is back, energy is there although some critics I’ve made on the last show are still relevant: ‘Black Celebration’ and ‘Never Let Me Down Again’ really suffers from the weak drums, guitars is still not the best gift of Martin (although it’s mixed a bit lower, the sound cleaner, makes it less annoying) and ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ is a really pain. And of course, Anton’s poor visuals haven’t changed. It just have a more powerful impact as the size of the arena’s gives it a more importance place.

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The setlist hasn’t changed apart from ‘Shake The Disease’ instead of ‘Higher Love’, which to be honest would have been much better. I guess that for their 2nd show in France they could have given a bit more changes, especially since they played songs like ‘Soft Touch / Raw Nerve’, ‘John The Revelator’, ‘Only When I Lose Myself’ or ‘Behind The Wheel’ in other places. On the very good moments… all the ‘Delta Machine’ tracks were mind blowing, especially ‘Soothe My Soul’ and ‘Should Be Higher’ which are really almost classic with great audience participation.

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On the oldies, ‘Policy Of Truth’ and ‘Precious’ were perfectly performed on all aspects (mixing, voice, energy), the dancy break of ‘Enjoy The Silence’, helped by a very clean mix allowing to hear every little synth sounds, was a masterpiece. ‘Halo’, emphasized by the beauty of the arena, the natural night lights, was also a very emotional moments. And despite my remark on ‘Never Let Me Down Again’, the «waving hands» part was emotionally very intense in those arenas. And of course, as many stated on other gigs… vocal performance of Dave was brilliant. Using the ear monitors was certainly the smartest move to do. 

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To sum it up… a very, very, very good DM show that left everyone on a high not before the summer break and this autumn arena tour.

Setlist
01. Intro
02. Welcome to My World 
03. Angel 
04. Walking in My Shoes 
05. Precious 
06. Black Celebration 
07. Policy of Truth 
08. Should Be Higher 
09. Barrel of a Gun 
10. Shake The Disease (sung by Martin)
11. Judas (acoustic, sung by Martin)
12. Heaven 

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13. Soothe My Soul 
14. A Pain That I’m Used To (‘Jacques Lu Cont’s Remix’ version)
15. A Question of Time 
16. Secret to the End 
17. Enjoy the Silence 
18. Personal Jesus 
19. Goodbye 

20. Home (acoustic, sung by Martin)
21. Halo (‘Goldfrapp Remix’ version)
22. Just Can’t Get Enough 
23. I Feel You 
24. Never Let Me Down Again

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