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Friday, November 20, 1998
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 64

Enemy Is Action Packed

About the Cougar

Depeche Mode puts forth solid, unforgettable performance

Concert Review

By Amanda Mahmoudi
Daily Cougar Staff 

Local Depeche Mode and Stabbing Westward fans found themselves in paradise Wednesday evening at Compaq Center. A familiar, yet enigmatic atmosphere took shape as the now very stylish band Stabbing Westward began its opening-act performance.

Cool colors flooded the stage, draped in a deep scarlet red, as the band commanded the sparse audience's attention. The song "Haunting Me" from the band's new release Darkest Days elicited an energetic audience response, only to be matched by Stabbing Westward's own strong, consistent performance.

Compaq Center became relatively full by the middle of Stabbing Westward's performance. Before leading into "What Do I Have to Do?," a song quite popular on alternative rock radio, the lead singer commented enthusiastically, "It's been a great honor to be invited back on tour with Depeche Mode."

After Stabbing Westward left, the scarlet cloth hiding the set immediately came down, revealing two mammoth-sized letters: "D" and "M." The letters were bordered with large lightbulbs. In between the letters stood two rectangular screens framed by dark-blue curtains. The platforms underneath the two keyboards began to flash as a pulsating beat pounded from above.

The Depeche Mode '86-'98 Singles Tour had begun.

Legendary pop/rock group Depeche Mode made Wednesday night a night to remember, as the group performed the songs that have made it an undying icon of music.

Marina Chavez/Reprise Records

The fans, of course, cheered, and continued to do so, until Depeche Mode appeared on the stage only 15 minutes after the opening act -- a record among groups of its magnitude. Once Martin Gore, David Gahan and Andrew Fletcher ascended the stage, the entire audience went absolutely wild.

Once the audience was completely crazed to meet Gahan's standards, he easily led the way throughout the concert, taking time out every now and then to, for lack of a better expression, shake some serious bootie.

Hit singles from the group's current release Singles 86-98, such as "World in My Eyes," "Policy of Truth" and "Never Let Me Down Again" truly struck the audience with gusto. Gahan often held the microphone out to the audience, who sang the lyrics perfectly.

The two rectangular screens also came to life during the performance of "It's No Good" and "Walking in My Shoes," featuring all group members in drag, 70s get-up and nostalgic costumes much like the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's attire.

The group took leave after having performed for an hour and a half, leaving an ecstatic audience to deal with empty silence.

Gahan returned in a fresh shirt to carry on with "Strip" and "I Feel You," both from Songs of Faith and Devotion.

After watching the group leave the stage once more, Depeche Mode fans were determined to have another encore. Fans jumped around, waving their hands in the air and screaming at the top of their lungs.

Luckily, it was not done in vain. Depeche Mode did indeed return for yet another encore performance of its first hit ever, "Just Can't Get Enough." Lead singer Gahan added, laughing, "This one is for you!"

Depeche Mode performed for two solid, unforgettable hours, giving fans more than they bargained for. It was a genuine pleasure to witness a group connect so well with its audience. Depeche Mode showed off its expertise in music and showmanship without overexaggerating to the point of no return -- an uncommon phenomenon among today's bands.

Reach Mahmoudi at

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