Depeche Mode 9/9/17

(a) setlist

  1. Going Backwards
  2. So Much Love
  3. Barrel of a Gun
  4. A Pain That I’m Use To (Jacques Lu Cont remix)
  5. Corrupt
  6. In Your Room
  7. World in My Eyes
  8. Cover Me
  9. A Question of Lust (acoustic)
  10. Home
  11. Poison Heart
  12. Where’s the Revolution
  13. Wrong
  14. Everything Counts
  15. Stripped
  16. Enjoy the Silence
  17. Never Let Me Down Again

Encore:

  1. Somebody
  2. Walking in My Shoes
  3. Heroes (David Bowie cover)
  4. I Feel You
  5. Personal Jesus

(b) highlights

  • Depeche!!! Mode!!!! YESSSSS!
  • this was one of the best show I’ve seen in such a long time, probably the best performance of the year. I’m still buzzing about it, and I’m writing about this over a month and a half later.
  • this setlist was out of control, so tight, so measured, so so damn good.
  • I’ve heard roughly a dozen covers of “Heroes” over the last two years since Bowie’s death and this was the best without a doubt. hands down.
  • “In Your Room,” “Wrong,” and “Everything Counts” were phenomenal; don’t even get me started on “Enjoy the Silence” and “Personal Jesus.”
  • the high-class visuals of this show were probably the best I’ve ever seen since New Order and U2; the use of the screens and runways was made for massive arenas yet totally made Madison Square Garden feel small and intimate.
  • the perfect classics fit so perfectly along Depeche Mode’s new music and that is definitely something I can say about legacy acts.
  • this show was so good that it made me raise my personal bar for what determines a great show and performance; if you’ve been around for over a decade, have money, and claim to prioritize the necessity of showmanship, then you better see Depeche Mode and see how they’ve perfected it.

(c) lowlights

  • nothing. not a single thing.

(d) overall thoughts

I’ve been a fan of Depeche Mode since high school when I first discovered them. Like U2, The Smiths, The Cure, and other 80’s bands that I deeply treasure, Depeche Mode have always been artists that felt untouchable and unreal to me. And after seeing them at Madison Square Garden at this show, David Gahan, Andy Fletcher, and Martin Gore feel even more godly.

I think the reason this show felt so legendary to me was because I was expecting something else. It would’ve been so insanely easy for Depeche Mode to stroll out, play a couple of classics, maybe throw in a few new cuts, and most people probably still would’ve had a good time. But that’s not at all what they did. They didn’t settle whatsoever. Gahan came out with more star-power energy than guys half his age. But that’s exactly the point of what made this show next level: not a single moment was half-assed.

Even though I was sitting at the clear back of the venue in pretty good seats, and I’ve definitely had better seats at Madison Square Garden, I’ve never seen a crowd with more energy. And I have seenĀ massive groups perform there. Radiohead, U2, Blur, The Cure and Morrissey all had notable, high-energy crowds, but none of them could touch this. At one point, I couldn’t even hear Gahan singing “Everything Counts,” but thousands upon thousands voices all chanting together. I felt like the walls of MSG were going to fall off.

I feel like I could talk endlessly about Gahan’s energy as a frontman, Martin Gore’s strength as a both a singer and guitarist, Andy Fletcher’s consistent purity, hit after hit shocking the audience with their perfection, and the unbelievable visuals, but I would much rather tell you to see Depeche Mode and see them as soon as you can. You will only regret missing them.

Bottom line: Depeche Mode have no interest in resting on their laurels as musicians and performers, and that’s just one more reason they’re incredible artists. I won’t forget this show and have no problem saying it’s probably the best performance I saw this year. This is one of those shows I’ll be thinking about and remember for years and years to come.

DIIV 8/17/17

(a) setlist

  1. (Drunn)
  2. Past Lives
  3. Human
  4. When You Sleep (My Bloody Valentine cover)
  5. Healthy Moon
  6. Dopamine
  7. Judge (Alex G cover)
  8. Summertime (Girls cover) (with Tommy Gardner)
  9. Needle in the Hay (Elliott Smith cover)
  10. Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime (Beck cover)
  11. Sometime
  12. Hollow (Alex G cover)
  13. Earthboy
  14. How Long Have You Known?
  15. Loose Ends
  16. Under the Sun
  17. Home
  18. Wait (with Tommy Gardner)

(b) highlights

  • this is the first time I’ve seen DIIV and given their sound a chance, and it was so cool
  • the intimacy of this performance at Murmrr was mindblowing; it truly felt like I was invited to someone’s apartment for an intimate, private acoustic gig
  • the art and visual component of this show was so incredible that the moment the show ended, I immediately found the artist in the balcony who was manipulating the ink and paint that was being projected on the sheet behind the performance. it was amazing.
  • lead singer Zachary Cole Smith was such a compelling figure during the show, opening up about his sobriety, recovery, and self-awareness in performing. it was quite refreshing.

(c) lowlights

  • there was nothing I really disliked about the performance, other than maybe Murmrr is basically in the middle of nowhere Brooklyn

 

(d) overall thoughts

I ended up going to this show because a friend of mine is a huge DIIV fan. I really like walking into shows blind, especially when I’m with a friend who loves the artist. It makes me excited to experience the show through my friend’s eyes.

Without a doubt, the best part of this performance was the overwhelming intimacy of the space and sound. The acoustic softness partnered with the beautiful live art projecting on the stage made the overall stage design so unique and momentous. Layers of carpets, dimly-lit lamps, and a messy coffee table with personal items and trinkets created the perfect stage – as if the show was a living play.

When Zachary softly sang his personal songs – and even threw in a couple of favorites from songwriters Alex G and Elliott Smith – I felt like I could feel every emotion pour out of him. Every couple of songs, he would whisper into the mic, “God I’m so nervous” and it instantly endeared him to everyone. Despite the heavy subject matter of many of the lyrics, the band kept it light by joking together and bringing up that reality show staple Big Brother. It was hard not to smile that night.

Whoever’s idea it was to include a few artists up in the balcony, dripping and manipulating color and paint on screens and canvases that would reflect on a screen behind the stage – please know that you’re a genius. Every song felt like it had even more meaning and weight when it was coupled with swirling colors telling their own story.

Bottom line: DIIV is such a unique group of people willing to open up and bare their souls in a way that felt refreshing and off-the-cuff without the hint of calculation. The artistry of combining colorful visuals with a personalized stage design and acoustic takes on songs created a beautiful space and unforgettable night.

Andrew Bird 7/28/17

(a) setlist

  1. Hole in the Ocean Floor
  2. Fiery Crash
  3. A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left
  4. Tenuousness
  5. Why?
  6. Capsized
  7. Truth Lies Low
  8. Roma Fade
  9. My Sister’s Tiny Hands
  10. Give It Away
  11. Orpheo
  12. Three White Horses
  13. Are You Serious
  14. Valleys of the Young
  15. Pulaski at Night
  16. Darkmatter

Encore:

  1. Caravan (Duke Ellington cover with Esperanza Spalding)
  2. Fake Palindromes
  3. Tables and Chairs

(b) highlights

  • Andrew Biiiiirrddddd, I love this man
  • I only stayed for the first couple of songs and was grateful to catch “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left” – one of my all-time favorite songs
  • the Prospect Park Bandshell is so beautiful and cool, I hope I can go back there for a show

(c) lowlights

  • I didn’t get to stay for the whole show, but I enjoyed the little bit I saw
  • this show was packkkkeddd. like too many people were filling the space, and it bummed me out that tickets were free, but that meant you had to sit behind dozens of rows of rich people who regularly give money to Prospect Park.

 

(d) overall thoughts

Andrew Bird is an artist I’ve loved for years and I was super psyched for this show. Even though several things went wrong and I couldn’t stay for the whole gig, I loved every moment I got to see.

The Prospect Park Bandshell is a huge and beautiful venue that I can’t believe I haven’t visited before. It was a warm Friday night and the grass was full of families, friends, and food, not to mention, sweet-sounding strings echoing in the night. Andrew Bird’s impeccable whistling, measured violin playing, and ethereal voice lifting through the crowd was enough to give me chills and remind me of all the reasons why I love him.

“A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left” and “Tenuousness” are some of my all-time favorite Andrew Bird songs and they sounded just as beautiful as I imagined they be. The stage was sparse, but thoughtful lighting, and a giant, rotating gramophone beside Andrew set the scene well. I’m disappointed to have missed “Darkmatter” and “Fake Palindromes” – other favorite tracks of mine – but I’m eager to check out Andrew again in a more traditional theatre setting.

 

Bottom line: Andrew Bird is nothing short of an artist. The subtlety of his art through strings, voice, and whistling deserves an appropriate stage and I look forward to one day seeing him on one.