The Delta Machine Tour made its way back into the US from the Canadian shows last week, starting with two stops in New York.
With New York City’s musical and cultural center shifting across the East River from Manhattan to Brooklyn, Depeche Mode were the kings of Kings County (Brooklyn) for a night. They were among the first musical acts to have played at the year-old Barclays Center. The experience at Barclays was unique in that there was a large outdoor area under a city-block wide oval LED sign looping above it. Unlike the under-renovation MSG that has hosted the boys in the past, the Barclays Center arena is the dominant presence in the neighborhood, towering over the busy intersection, and providing a spaceship-like plaza for the masses that gathered.
The band relished the opportunity to play the new venue, and the crowd in Brooklyn reciprocated, giving them a hero’s welcome and raising the volume level to near-deafening at times. The sound was crisp, and the arena was the first on this leg of the tour to feature a catwalk extending from the stage where Dave and Martin extended the performance space out into the orchestra seats. Crowd stompers like “Enjoy the Silence” and “Never Let Me Down Again” saw Dave teasing the crowd out on it.
Given the show’s location, it was perhaps no surprise that recent Brooklyn transplant Vince Clarke was in attendance for what was reportedly his first Depeche Mode gig since leaving the band.
After parties aren’t a given at all cities on the tour, but the band’s triumphant return to New York gave them a chance to reconnect with old friends and industry folks, and they did so in style in a private section of Barclays, hosting a couple hundred folks who came to celebrate and wish them well.
Nikon at Jones Beach Theater is one of the more unusual amphitheaters in the States, in that the stage is built atop the water of a bay, creating a dramatic view for the audience. It’s been a repeated stop for the band since 1986′s Black Celebration Tour and is a ritual for New York fans when the band tours. The venue was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy last year, with much of the stage, backstage and the orchestra having been submerged and covered in seaweed. No signs of the damage remained as the band rocked the beach.
Unlike many other outdoor sheds, there’s no roof covering any part of the venue, which gave fans on Sunday an opportunity to enjoy the late summer sunset as Bat For Lashes provided another night of support beautifully for the band, taking the stage at about 6:30pm.
Back during the Music for the Masses Tour, Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark famously supported DM, including a stop at Jones Beach in 1988. Twenty-five years later, OMD’s Paul Humphries was among those who attended Sunday’s Delta Machine Tour show here.
While the boys have crafted a killer setlist spanning their career for the Delta Machine Tour, they shook it up further on Sunday for the faithful who may have attended both shows in the New York area. The Jones Beach audience was treated to a number of surprises, including “Behind the Wheel,” “World in My Eyes” and “John the Revelator.” As if those didn’t send the crowd into enough of a frenzy, Martin debuted an arrangement of “When the Body Speaks” with Peter, Fletch and Christian supporting him on keys and Mart himself on guitar. “Shake the Disease” and “Somebody” had 15,000 backup singers helping Mart out. Stunning.
The buses continue winding south before heading out west for the remaining shows on this leg. For those who have yet to see them, you’re in for a treat.