West Valley City • I was not a Goth kid back in my youth, preferring the hair-metal of Def Leppard to the moody alt-synth of Depeche Mode.
Fortunately, the latter band and my ever-expanding musical tastes have aged well enough that, for a few hours on Wednesday night at Usana Amphitheatre, it was perfectly permissible for me — and about 20,000 other people — to be a Goth adult.
The British band kicked off the North American leg of its “Spirit” tour here in Utah, and while it wasn’t perfect, it was close enough for most of those in attendance.
Anyone hoping for a different setlist than what Depeche Mode played on their recent European run will be disappointed, as it was identical. And to be fair, there are some issues, especially early on. Two of the first three tracks, “Going Backwards” and “Barrel of a Gun,” were a bit leaden and kept the crowd’s energy levels bubbling under the surface, waiting for a reason to be unleashed.
Fortunately, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher and their backing cohorts soon gave them one, gaining steam and momentum, and keeping everyone out of their seats for the duration of the 2-hour-plus show.
Opening song • “Going Backwards” is a perfectly fine song from the group’s latest album, but its trudging pace and lyrics of overt societal criticism make it a bit of an odd choice to kick off the festivities.
Highlights • After the up-and-down trio of opening tracks, the band finally got the energy and tone right with back-to-back performances of “A Pain That I’m Used To” and “Corrupt.” The former’s roiling bass line and the latter’s dark, sinister vibe proved effective complements and got things moving. In the bigger picture, Gahan’s voice has held up well, and his harmonies with Gore were spot-on.
Lowlights • Again, the slow start was a bit of a bummer. Beyond that, you could quibble with the exclusion of such hits as “Policy of Truth,” “Just Can’t Get Enough,” “Strangelove” and “People Are People,” any of which might have made for a slightly more intriguing encore session.
Crowd favorites • Well, the electric “Personal Jesus,” which finished off the night, is always sure to please. Meanwhile the six-song sequence that closed the main set and opened the encore (“Everything Counts,” “Stripped,” “Enjoy the Silence,” “Never Let Me Down Again,” “Somebody” and “Walking In My Shoes”) seemed about as good a stretch as any Depeche Mode fan could want.
Best banter • No one from the band said much all night beyond “Thank you very much” in response to audience applause. However, after Gore opened the encore with his soulful rendition of “Somebody,” accompanied only by a sparse piano, Gahan re-emerged and remarked, “Now wasn’t that lovely?” It was.
Up next at Usana Amphitheatre • Foreigner, Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience; Saturday, 7 p.m.
SETLIST (* — encore)
- Going Backwards
- So Much Love
- Barrel of a Gun
- A Pain That I’m Used To
- In Your Room
- World in My Eyes
- Cover Me
- A Question of Lust
- Poison Heart
- Where’s the Revolution
- Everything Counts
- Enjoy the Silence
- Never Let Me Down Again
- Walking in My Shoes*
- Heroes (David Bowie cover)*
- I Feel You*
- Personal Jesus*