Smoke poured from the edges of the stage, and Depeche Mode lead singer Dave Gahan clapped his hands. Behind the band, a video screen showed an old man's and young boy's faces set side by side, and everything old was new again.
The U.K. electronic pop-rock band performed at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa's Event Center Saturday, playing a stream of hits and new songs from April's "Sounds of the Universe" album.
The group formed in 1980. Twenty-nine years later, here was Depeche Mode, performing for a Borgata crowd sporting vintage T-shirts, nonregional accents and male-pattern baldness.
"Sounds of the Universe" is Depeche Mode's 12th studio album, and the group's first release since 2005. Prior to "Universe," the group split with longtime label Warner International, so this is the band's first effort with EMI Music.
Gahan was flanked onstage by guitarist Martin Gore and keyboardist Andrew Fletcher. Gahan and "Fletch" are the only remaining original members.
Gore wore a silver, spacey suit. Gahan wore a black vest onstage, with nothing underneath, Right Said Fred style. Makes you remember how cool it was to dress like a fetishist in the 1980s, or on a Saturday night in Atlantic City.
Gahan has faced some health issues lately - a bout with gastroenteritis and a leg injury resulted in recent concert cancellations. He seems to have recovered nicely, spinning across the stage Saturday, holding the microphone stand like a tango partner.
The group opened with "In Chains," the first song on their latest album, before moving into "Wrong," the CD's first single.
You sell 75 million albums, and you can pretty much do anything, but "In Chains" was a clunky, uninspired way to start things, especially given the group's deep catalog of hits.
An early fan favorite was 1993's "Walking in My Shoes," which the band performed in front of a video of a bird in the desert. Gahan dipped the microphone toward the crowd, allowing the audience to sing the chorus.
The song drips with synths, riffs and brashness, addressing self-worth and ego with the lyrics "You'll stumble in my footsteps / Keep the same appointments I kept / If you try walking in my shoes."
Reads like a Kanye West hook, but maybe Depeche Mode has something here. Who else really could walk in their shoes? Besides Duran Duran, there's not much remaining from the British electronic movement of the early 1980s.
But here is Depeche Mode, performing 30-year-old songs in black vests and silver suits, touring to support a new album, and everything old is new again.
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