Depeche Mode At The Top Of Their Game
C. Watkins | Sherman Oaks, CA | 08/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is Depeche Mode the way they should be seen.
Filmed by Anton Corbijn over several nights of their 1993-94 DEVOTIONAL TOUR (listed by Q Magazine as "the most debauched rock tour ever"), the final product is an almost dreamlike chronicle of Depeche Mode at the absolute peak of their influential creative talents.
Musically, the song selection is on-target, the arrangements are tight & rockin', and frontman Dave Gahan is at his over-the-top best and surrounded by Anton Corbijn's opulent stage set and surreal visuals. Accordingly, after this film's VHS release, it was nominated for "Best Longform Music Video" at the 1994 Grammy Awards.
The extras on the DVD set include two previously unseen excerpts from the performance ("Policy Of Truth" and "Halo"), the tracks that were only released on the European versions of the film ("Behind The Wheel," "Mercy In You," "Fly On The Windscreen" and "Everything Counts"), the music videos from SONGS OF FAITH AND DEVOTION, the original concert projections used on the tour, and two relevant documentaries.
At any rate, without bias, this video is truly one of the best live performance documentaries that are out there. It captures a band in top form, an audience in almost trance-like devotion, and, thanks to Anton Corbijn, the film is dripping with color and, at times, in hazy focus...much the way you'd remember the show if you had been there.
Recommended to all."
The absolute best
Robert Koehl | Plano, Tx United States | 09/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yeah, the video footage is wierd even for them, and Dave was approaching walking pharmacy status at this point, but close your eyes and listen: you'll find that this is the best 90 minutes of music Depeche Mode has ever performed. I'll just touch on a few highlights:
1. Everything Counts - While I never considered it among their best songs BEFORE hearing this show, the version on here ranks as 4 of the best minutes of music I've ever heard. They seem to have added a darker synth harmony to it which, combined with "In Your Room" style drum and bass lines, make the song extremely haunting. It BURIES the 101 version.
2. In Your Room - They actually perform the album version here. Typically, they perform the single version, with Martin playing that noisy grunge guitar part. Not here!!! They do the album version, complete with the Enigma style synth solo in the middle. Love it.
3. Walking in My Shoes - The backbeat starts, there's a guy walking around wearing a giant duck's beak on his face being projected onto the screens behind the band, and this intense little synth line plays and actually makes a skipping sound just before the main piano riff launches you into the song. That decending line returns just before the song ends, and carries the intensity of the tune into the outro. Going back and listening to the album version will be painful after this treat.
4. Both Judas and I Feel You feature Floyd-esque video footage which somehow fit the songs better than anything MTV could have handled. The former showing candles melting in reverse, and the latter showing Dave in various poses, occasionally going haywire and fuzzing out during the noisy parts of the songs intro.
5. The intro. WOW. Imagine the most original rock concert intro you've ever seen. This'll top it.
Forget Paris 01. Forget Pasadena 88. THIS is the Depeche Mode concert to own. Like I said: it's the best 90 minutes of their entire career."
Awesome performance, and enthralling film.
Kasper Michelsen | Copenhagen, Denmark. | 02/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw Depeche Mode live in Copenhagen in 2001, and I was quite dissapointed in their performance back then. The Paris 2001 DVD wasn't much better - Dave's voice simply wasn't as good as it had been (not to mention that the Exciter material wasn't the best the band had done). This concert, however, is superb - Dave's vocal performance is really amazing, and the full band is at their best.
The set-list is great, featuring a nice ballance of newer songs from the Faith and Devotion album, mixed with old classics. Of course we'll all have some favorites which we would have liked to see included (I, personally, sorely miss One Caress and Strangelove, and would have preferred A Question Of Lust rather than Stripped or Behind The Wheel, but that's a detail). The song arrangement is great, and the song order works very well, even though I was quite supprised to find the song Fly On The Windscreen in the encore - I'm only a casual DM fan, and have never heard this song before - and found it very dull - so I think it would have been much better to either leave out this track or place it earlier in the setlist, and take in a greater hit in the encore.
The sound is great, and makes the music a real pleassure to listen to. Also, the sound editing is fine.
As to the visuals - the filming is a bit dark, but this is done intentionally to emphasize the visuals on the 9 smaller screens along the seperation of the upper and lower level of the stage, and this works great. Even though the lighting from the lights over the stage is limited, the overall visual result is great, and fully captures the live atmosphere. The somewhat unusual stage layout also works very well in my oppinion, and I think it's a pity that they discarded this one the second leg of the tour.
As to the extras, I think they are great. The two extra songs from the set ARE on disc 1 in my region 2 version of this release - I'd like to have them re-edited back into the set, but they haven't done that. The documentary and the interview with Antoni Corbijn are very interesting. The promotional videos are nice extras, even if they have been released elsewhere.
All in all, this is a release everybody with some interest in DM should own - it features the band at their very best, and is among the strongest live recordings I own.
Depeche Mode - Devotional dvd
marcella stroman | Philadelphia, PA USA | 08/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First let me say I loved this dvd! This tour was the first that I'd ever seen the band live so - with repeated playings - this was a thrill for me to relive that.
Second this tour was when the band's original four members were still together. Making watching them play together more special for me.
Featuring many of my favorite songs and the crowd experience on "Never Let Me Down" I highly recommend this dvd."