Depeche Mode - M.E.N Arena - 20.10.01

I'll make it clear from the outset - i'm a sucker for this 80's nostalgia trip. Whether its Culture Club and ABC or the  Smiths and New Order there just seemed to be sense of occasion about the whole event. Nowadays its just normal guys playing to normal people with their normal lives and their opinions borrowed from that mornings tabloid paper. The 80's were a decade about decadence and style and realizing that its not just what you play, its how you play it. Tonight, the Mode or if your French Le Mode take us back to their glorious past and show us that dark stadium electro rock can still cut the mustard in the year 2001.

Dave Gahan just has that style that cannot be bought. Cool enough for the guys to admire and sexy enough for the ladies to scream for. A cross between Michael Flately and Elvis may seem a strange comparison but sure enough there's a part in Riverdance awaiting him if the rumours are to believed of an imminent Depeche Mode split. It seems strange though that they choose to split now when, for their live shows at least, they are on a creative peak. Far from being simply a trip down memory lane they set out to prove that they are relevant in the year 2001 or as Bono frequently refers to "re-applying for the job of Best Band In The World".

And you know what? They didn't play "Just Can't Get Enough" and got away with it. It just goes to prove that Depeche Mode are a band living in the present day and aren't just content to live of the back catalogue. I'm sure the most hardened fan will admit the recent album was a far cry from the days of "Personal Jesus" and "Barrel Of A Gun" for that matter, but at least they're trying to challenge themselves as well as the audience. If you really believe that synths can't be sexy or that electronic music isn't human then you only have to look at these guys to realize your wrong.

Alex McCann