The little witty warning “remember that you will die”, which, according to legend, the servant gave the Roman general without ruffling his hair, marked the way for Depeche Mode to the title of his latest album: in the original Latin, ‘Memento mori’. And that’s what this tour is about, keeping in mind that this won’t last forever and that it’s about rushing the foam of the days. A most realistic ‘leitmotif’ for the British group, who made the most of their repertoire, this Friday, as if there were no tomorrow in a Forum full of a more diverse audience than usual, something more adult too, on the second day of the Spring Sound.
The death, just over a year ago, of Andy Fletcher left Depeche Mode turned into a duo, reinforced live by a keyboardist and a drummer, and ultimately rebuilding, and seamlessly, the cathedral sound of a group that became he made his way in the 80s championing the first synth-pop to later evolve towards a corpulent electronic rock. There was an abundance of the latter at the Fòrum from the obscure opening piece, ‘My cosmos is mine’, prologue to ‘Memento mori’, to which Dave Gahan gave his deepest voice, on the way to another new song, ‘Wagging tongue’. ‘, with quotes to angels from a funeral pantheon like the ones that illustrate the album cover.
The British group offered an overwhelming concert on the back of their new album, ‘Memento mori’, and their hits from the 80s and 90s, on a second day of the festival in which concerts such as Sparks, The Delgados and The Wedding Present
Mysticism and carnality
Black and white gave way to color from the rescue of ‘Walking in my shoes’, with Martin Gore changing the keyboard for the guitar and applying himself to his mandatory solo with ‘slide’. Song from 1993, opening the ban on past quotes, with a text on a subject as current today as empathy. And from there to the musings about the nature (and the specters) of love in ‘It’s no good’. And a foray into eighties electronic pop from his first stage with ‘Everything counts’.
But ‘Memento mori’ is the best-received Depeche Mode album in many years, and there was that climactic ‘single’, ‘Ghosts again’ (composed with Richard Butler, singer of Psychedelic Furs), earning its place in the repertoire, just before Gahan bellowed into the sexual pulsations of ‘I feel you’. Carnality and mysticism, always merging into the group’s universe: at the other end, ‘World in my eyes’, with the image of the long-awaited Fletcher on the screens.
milestones and ceremony
There comes a time when Depeche Mode concerts end up drifting towards religious ceremony, with layers of transcendence packed into pop artifacts, and there were ‘Enjoy the silence’ and ‘Personal Jesus’, crossed with ‘Just can’t get enough’ and ‘Never let me down’, leaving a trail as lasting milestones, capable of making even the most restless audience dance and pay attention to the ‘flavours of the month’.
Depeche Mode was one of the groups that in its day showed that songs made with electronic devices could also move people. And there, Sparks they taught that, in addition, they could amaze, amuse and whistle. His were, surely, some of the songs that raised the most eyebrows at the Fòrum due to their abundance of melodic impudence and tunes with non-canonical twists. That of these septuagenarian gentlemen, Russell and Ron Mael, is an unusual case of indefatigable creativity and ingenuity, as they illustrated in a scintillating concert featuring a band (two guitarists, bass and drums).
sinister but adorable
Far from the ‘revival’ typical of the artist of age, Sparks, who have never stopped releasing records, boasted of the present: from the opening theme, ‘So may we start?’ (from the musical film ‘Annette’) to the songs from her amazing new album, ‘The girl is crying in her latte’, as the headline, ‘Nothing is as good as they say it is’ or ‘We go dancing’, synthesis This sinister and adorable false bottom. Its location on a big stage is appreciated, worthy of those ‘hits’ that never were, like ‘Shopping mall of love’, and, let’s also say it, real hits, like ‘When do I get to sing ‘My way” , ‘The number one song in heaven’ (with Ron Mael, hieratic keyboard player, marking a few dance steps without flinching) or ‘This town ain’t big enough for both of us’.
And then, the day could not miss notorious connections with that ‘indie’ that saw the festival born more than two decades ago. Mention for The Delgados, a beloved Glaswegian combo that made their mark in the ’90s and has come back to life in lean forms (though no new songs for now). It was a pleasure to rediscover that cozy pop notion, with the voice of Emma Pollock and the sensitive architecture of guitars (and transverse flute), deployed in a repertoire that recovered wits such as ‘Accused of stealing’, ‘I fought the angels’ or ‘ Thirteen gliding principles’, with its abrupt trajectory crowning the session.
Although, in terms of substance ‘indie rock’, honors for The Wedding Present, pride of Leeds, a group that in recent years has continued to rotate staff, always under the leadership of David Gedge. He offered two concerts, the first of them on the tiny stage The Vision by Pull & Bear, which was nothing more than an island with a capacity for one hundred people (and many more following the concert from the shore), on the back of some of his recent ’24 Songs’ and rescues of ‘A million miles’ or ‘My favorite dress’ with his unbeatable blend of muscle and melody. Some things never change, and for the better.