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Devotional Era

What Can You Do With A Raging Hanover?

Interview / Promotion par Paul Moody | NME | 1993 | 3679 caractères. Temps de lecture : 2 min 46 sec

In a marquee in the middle of a German field, Martin Gore is being cross-examined about the quasi-religious imagery of his lyrics by a fuzzy-haired journalist from Lisbon.

He in turn is surrounded by a gaggle of Euro-hacks who nudge each other excitedly and thrust forward their microphones in search of the perfect earth-shattering response. Martin smiles helpfully and deftly sidesteps everything in his spray-painted silver DM boots. After all, he’s got work to do.

In ten minutes he’ll be on stage in front of 20,000 people, making them dance like they’re lost in the maddest Teutonic disco orgy in the universe. His only aid will be three black synthesisers, two assistants and a singer with eyes the colour of sex and the pout of a lascivious gigolo cavalier.

Fact: Depeche Mode are enormous in Germany. They’re massive everywhere, really, apart from sleepy old Blighty where we’re too busy having wet dreams over the joke shop sex of the Pet Shop Boys to realise that in Depeche Mode we’ve got the real thing: Basildon bondage, all trussed up in dreamy tunes and suburban good looks.

The show is the stuff of Gary Numan’s dreams. An enormous stage looms over a vast green open space on the outskirts of Hanover. It is flanked by two huge mauve Depeche symbols between which three solitary keyboards tower on a platform where the guitar amps should be.

It’s a masterpiece of subtlety; a stark Bauhaus reminder that stadium pomp, when stripped of the hoary trappings of MTV, can still hold you in awe at its sheer mind-blowing magnitude.

Likewise, the dreaded synths. Being regularly in the company of people for whom electric guitars are barely less essential to existence than life itself, it’s amazing to discover that having them surge towards you from titanic speakers is a purely pleasurable experience.

Admittedly, this is just two days after having borne witness to the appalling guitar wank indulgences of Guns N’ Roses, but consider this: no crackling, leads, no grisly distortion, just long, smooth blocks of sound that urge you not to clap your hands above your head like a seal, but to swing from the knees and DANCE. You should try it some time.

And then there’s Dave Gahan. Silhouetted for the most part, he is a wriggling figurine in white who manages to turn all those arty film noir videos you’ve seen of Depeche into saucy Caesar’s Palace stompers. ‘Personal Jesus’ (once the twin peak of pseudo faith alongside the entire Sisters Of Mercy back catalogue) becomes a Glitter Band stomp whenever Dave waggles his derriere and screams ‘Reach out and touch me!’; ‘Enjoy The Silence’, ushered in by a prancing Gore, is ersatz disco camp to rank with Blondie’s ‘Heart Of Glass’; and even ‘I Feel You’, freed from visions of four blokes wandering through deserts and Dave smouldering his way out of a waistcoat, becomes a loose, danceable old friend.

It’s all in front of a home crowd, naturally (Depeche were always meant to have come from a Berlin satellite town - things just got muddled up), but it’s no less impressive for that.

Afterwards, backstage and distinctly off duty, Martin and Alan Wilder are playing table football when Dave makes his obligatory rock star entrance. With his ceaseless teasing and angelic white blouse, isn’t he a bit Mick Jagger ‘69?

‘Nah, I think it’s fat Elvis in Las Vegas meself, hur hur!’

Hollywood Soul, through and through.

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