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Depeche Mode Brilliant in Phoenix

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Depeche Mode Martin Gore

Simply put, Brit synth-pop-turned-electronic rock gods Depeche Mode were quite brilliant Tuesday night at Phoenix’s Ak-Chin Pavilion, the latest and second-to-last show of the U.S. leg of their Delta Machine World Tour.

Anticipation was high, as singer Dave Gahan dramatically twirled his way onto the dark-lit stage, greeting the audience in song with Delta Machine’s opening track, “Welcome to My World.”

“Welcome to my world, step right through the door … And if you stay a while I’ll penetrate your soul,” he sang.

During a nearly two-hour set, Gahan, guitarist-keyboardist Martin Gore, keyboardist Andy Fletcher and touring members Peter Gordeno (keyboards) and Christian Eigner (drums) did just that, riveting the crowd with their brooding songs and yet playful rockstar charisma.

After delivering another Delta Machine number in “Angel,” the band served up a handful of gems from their vast back catalog with “Walking in My Shoes” off 1993’s Songs of Faith and Devotion, “Precious” (2005’s Playing the Angel) and the title track of 1986’s Black Celebration.  Red laser beams flashed across the stage during the dark and mesmerizing take on “Black Celebration,” highlighted by Gahan’s distinctive baritone.

Depeche Mode Dave GahanDressed in tight black jeans and an unfastened glittery vest, Gahan sashayed, strutted, twirled and delivered endless provocative hip thrusts to rival John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. When he wasn’t grinding with his mic stand, he was whirling it in the air and spinning dizzying pirouettes, earning even more adulation during dance hit “Policy of Truth” off 1990’s Violator.

Meanwhile, Fletcher was cool incarnate behind the keys, sporting dark sunglasses and accenting the lyrics with demonstrative hand gestures.

Even the subdued Gore showcased his playful side, as he tap shuffled across the stage to the drum beat during “Enjoy the Silence” and often rocked out with an envious collection of guitars.

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