Warpaint, the L.A. quartet who seemed to be the perfect opener for an undisputed headliner like Depeche Mode. Their music had a dreamy alt-rock vibe much like older pink Floyd when they were in their experimental stage. Walking around I noticed the crowds were wearing (mostly black) t-shirts advertising decades of Depeche Mode tours and sentiments along with Nine Inch Nails and Patti Smith Group shirts.
Depeche Mode’s set kicked off with the roaring guitars of The Beatles “Revolution“, Dave Gahan (Lead Singer) appeared on a level above the band in front of the big screen at the back of the stage. Depeche Mode was greeted with a deafening cheer. People from all walks of life had come, rising from nearly every seat in the Amphitheatre and howling as the band launched into “Going Backwards.” Lead singer Dave Gahan swaggered across the stage demanding complete attention as the band blazed through the track, leaving a scorched stage in his wake. Hit after hit tore through the venue, the band was foaming with unruly emotion and fury that many of their peers could only dream of. Gazing out across the Amphitheatre you could see nearly every person fixated on the fiery onslaught of the band, screaming the words, pumping their fists and dancing to the pounding tracks. Not one second of the show was calm, as the band played like a well-oiled machine with devastating precision. Gahan rarely addressed the crowd at length, and when he did, he was more focused on moving bodies in the huge crowd.
Of course, of the thousands of bodies in Chula Vista’s Amphitheatre, none moved quite like Gahan’s own. Gahan seems to have studied some of Mick Jagger’s exaggerated moves, his tattooed arms and fiendish pencil-thin mustache giving him a diabolic edge. For a veteran of over three decades of touring, you wouldn’t expect him to be as limber as he is; however, Gahan was all over the stage his years only showing in the extreme big-screen close-ups. He performed Stage spins like he was in a ballroom dancing with a partner and caressed/humped his mic-stand while the music got Bigger and Louder. The band never really stopped for a break. The energy coming from the stage was Intense!
There were some beautiful moments and even a nice piano ballad. The pinnacle of the night; however, was neither Depeche Mode’s biggest hit nor flashiest visuals, it was an ode to the late David Bowie. As soon as the iconic guitar line of David Bowies song “Heroes” rang out and people made the connection, there was an instantaneous moment of reflection that seemed to shroud the entire audience. In a blaze of skill and stamina, Depeche Mode was playing to the honor of their legacy and decimating everything in their path. It was nothing short of amazing. “Heroes” was part of a five-song encore that peaked with signature song “Personal Jesus.” The crowd wanted more but Depeche Modes time in Chula Vista was through but will forever be etched in our hearts and minds.
MORE IMAGES OF DEPECHE MODE
Venue: Chula Vista Mattress Firm Amphitheatre