Review by Mark B.
With a gloomy excitement in the air and a plethora of strange and dark, but fitting electro tunes blaring over the PA system, the night that Depeche Mode and Recoil fans alike had been waiting months to re-experience had finally arrived. And this arrival came with an added surprise to all the DM fans, being attended by none other than Alan’s former band-mate, Dave Gahan. Why was he there? Would he be joining Alan on stage? Why were so many people obsessed with taking pictures of him drinking a beer? Needless to say, it added further electricity to a night that was already itching to begin. The only question was whether or not the show and set would be a repeat of May’s gig.
The evening started off on a distinctly different vibe, with a set from Conjure One, better known as one of the many musical monikers of Rhys Fulber (ex-Front Line Assembly/Delerium, and long-time programmer for Fear Factory, to name a few). Led by a live bassist/singer (whose name sadly escapes me), Fulber helped start the night off right with a perfectly paced set full of air synths, breathy vocals, globe spanning rhythms and a solid dance beat that never failed to move the crowd (or get a head nod at the very least). You don’t get many openers as polished and on point as CO.
Rating for Conjure One: Amazing, Imaginative, Danceable.
Next was a manic set from Architect. Words could not accurately describe the chaotic but danceable beats that this technological warlock cracked out over the audience, via his trusty laptop and numerous pieces of electronic wizardry gear. So all that I will say is that for such psychotically complex and erratic arrangements, his mix was incredibly easy to move to. And he gets points for throwing in a subtle yet noticeable Depeche Mode sample, with extra credit going to his completely original handling of it, avoiding any stagnating musical clichés and making the tune his own, while winning ever-crucial DM cred with the audience.
Rating for Architect: Glorious Chaos.
Finally, the moment that the ever-growing crowd had been waiting for arrived, as Alan Wilder and co-conspirator Paul Kendall took the stage amidst growing screams and ruckus from the crowd. With a Miami-Vice type cool they were off, leading the audience down the rabbit-hole and back into the audio spectrum of Recoil. But did they give the audience more of the same? Thankfully, no. Armed with a striking set of updated visuals, Wilder and Kendall built a much dancier set, with pulse pounding beats permeating through the crowd and vibrating whatever rafters Dave Gahan’s presence didn’t occupy. All kidding aside, the evening was further highlighted by the reappearance of the always amazing, but slightly moody Nicole Blackman, seductively vocalizing her way though another of her Recoil collaborations.
With the felt presence of Dave Gahan, I have to admit (along with the other audience members) to constant feelings of false hope every time Wilder introduced a Depeche Mode song or sample into the mix. We all held out some hope that Dave Gahan would magically appear on the stage and start singing along, being that this was Recoil’s last date of the tour, but alas, this was not to be, as Gahan magically vanished from the venue before the last beat was hit. Luckily for the audience, the instant dissolving of our Depeche reunion pipe dream failed to derail the evening. In fact, I’m willing to bet that it helped stir up a stronger interest in further Recoil releases, just in case the old DM crew decided to sit in on a session. All in all, a fantastic way to end a long-awaited and successful tour.
Rating for Recoil: Fucking Brilliant. Wilder and Kendall rock it again.