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Depeche Mode in Bergen


A workmate got tickets to see Depeche Mode for Christmas from his wife.  She couldn’t go, so I stepped in as a last minute sub.  He’s been a life-long fan, being introduced to them as a teen back in South Africa.  They’re his top band.  They’re not in my top ten, or even 50, but I love live music and big concerts.The venue was the Vestlandshallen in Bergen; a big sport/multi-use shed, a bit like the Newcastle Arena.The timings were all a little later then the ticket said and well over a hundred people had to wait nearly half an hour outside in -5°C. The support started late and, of course, DM started late.  If this was a ruse to make us drink more beer, it wasn’t needed for  us. We topped our “bong” card up to 1000 Kroner and started a serious effort to bankrupt it before the main act.  By the way, the facilities for dispensing and serving the beer was excellent, better than anything I’ve experienced in the UK.Depeche Mode were exactly what I expected: they were OK. I remembered why I wasn’t surprised when, after a brief period at the top in the UK,  their popularity quickly faded.  I didn’t, until last night, understand why they remained so big in Europe.  Their songs are good, the lyrics excellent, but the dull, almost monotonous (i.e. like a monotone) vocals don’t seem to fit.  It’s understandable that they didn’t really figure in the pop dominated UK music world.  It does, however, make sense that western Europe would take to them, not having English as a first language. I also think their popularity outside their own country is due to the effort they made in cultivating and “servicing” that following.  This concert had been postponed from a year before due to illness, and the anticipation from the local fans was tangible.  We met a fan who’d flown from Oslo that day, just to see them and was really jealous of my mate who’d seen them in South Africa when in their pomp.The band was just OK; the staging and presentation was pretty dated and not up to current standards for a hefty 700 Kroner (£70).  Well it was in a shed!

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