A quick recipe for arena-rock bliss: Take one beloved band of yesteryear, add flashing lights to taste, one shirtless frontman with age-defying abs, a pinch of eyeliner and thousands of fans ready to sing along with every word.
Depeche Mode followed this recipe to the letter Friday at a sold-out Patriot Center, serving up gem after gem from a tumultuous 25-year run that's survived drug addiction, suicide attempts and new-wave haircuts. Founding members David Gahan, Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher sauntered through their repertoire, offering few surprises. But the concert still served up big thrills in the hands of singer Gahan, who writhed and strutted in low-slung pants with a vigor that belied his 43 years. He's probably jumping out of birthday cakes in some parallel universe.
Along with Gahan's magnetism, Depeche Mode owes its longevity to Gore's songwriting talents. The career-spanning set list sounded remarkably consistent, with the '80s synth-candy jewel "Just Can't Get Enough" seamlessly rubbing elbows with darker fare like 1993's "Walking in My Shoes." Even new tunes ("Precious" from this year's "Playing the Angel") held their ground next to such signature hits as "Personal Jesus" and "Enjoy the Silence."
But does Gore's songwriting prowess give him a free pass in the fashion department? Apparently the only way to compete with Gahan's visual appeal is to dress like a Roman gladiator with little angel wings. Gahan removed his vest to deafening screams, while Gore removed his ridiculous plumed headpiece to sighs of relief.
-- Chris Richards