Depeche Mode Delta Machine Tour (European Leg) at The O2 Arena London | London, England | 5/29/2013 (Concert Review)

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Last night’s Depeche Mode concert was the last for me, representing the fifth show in the past two weeks.  The second of two concerts back-to-back at the O2 Arena in London, as with the night before, I elected to take a spot in the front row center at the end of the catwalk extending into the vast general admission standing floor.  Waiting for the band to come out, it was a bit of déjà vu, but it turned out to be anything but…  with the prior four shows, the set list was exactly the same at Bratislava, Slovakia’s Štadión Pasienky, Zagreb, Croatia’s Zagreb Arena, Budapest, Hungary’s Puskás Ferenc Stadion, and the prior night’s show at London, England’s O2 Arena.  The signal that last night’s gig had something different in store was the familiar sound of distorted guitar feedback that marked the opening of Depeche Mode’s “In Your Room”, which opened into the awesome Zepyhr Mix version of the song.  A friend of mine from California also turned out for the two O2 shows, and we turned to each other at the same time with a “holy shit!” expression on our faces.  We knew at that point we were going to be treated to an amazing – and unpredictable – show put on by my favorite band on Earth, and they did not disappoint.  An epic conclusion to an amazing personal (and literal) journey with the band and their music over the past two weeks, spanning a number of countries all over Europe and coming to a close in their home of England.

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Depeche Mode Delta Machine Tour (European Leg) at The O2 Arena London | London, England | 5/28/2013 (Concert Review)

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“Welcome To My World” – the song Depeche Mode has been using to kick off each gig for the European leg of their Delta Machine World Tour – took on a whole different meaning for me tonight as I had an opportunity to see Depeche Mode play in their native home country of England.  Playing two shows back-to-back at The O2 Arena in London, this marks my fourth consecutive Depeche Mode show in the past two weeks (having seen them previously at Bratislava, Slovakia’s Štadión Pasienky, Zagreb, Croatia’s Zagreb Arena and Budapest, Hungary’s Puskás Ferenc Stadion.  Surprisingly, though the set list has not changed show to show, the concerts themselves have all been pretty different from one another, and completely different experiences on a personal level to be sure.  One thing I didn’t expect with the London shows was that what seemed like a majority of the concert goers (close to stage on the floor at least) were not from England, but other countries, so it was quite a multicultural affair.  I’ve also made a concerted effort to change my own point of view – literally – with each show, and with this first O2 gig planted myself at the foot of the catwalk that extends out into the audience (and is much shorter in the indoor arenas compared with the outdoor stadiums), and it was really a fantastic experience.  Seeing the expression on Dave Gahan’s face as he came out to the end for “Never Let Me Down Again” – close up and in real life – made this relentless two week country-hopping adventure worth it just for that amazing moment (which I managed to catch on video as well).  As I’ve mentioned over and over in the reviews leading up to this, Depeche Mode has long been my favorite band, and these concerts have been nothing short of epic.

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Depeche Mode Delta Machine Tour (European Leg) at Štadión Pasienky | Bratislava, Slovakia | 5/25/2013 (Concert Review)

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Bratislava, Slovakia’s Štadión Pasienky played host to the third consecutive Depeche Mode concert that I am reviewing as part of the European Leg of their worldwide Delta Machine Tour (having covered Budapest, Hungary four days ago, and Zagreb, Croatia two days ago, with the two London shows at the O2 still to come).  Funny enough, each show has been a completely different experience for me, and while all awesome in their own ways, as far as the pure show itself goes, I would have to say the one in Bratislava last night was the best.  The crowd was awesome, there was a certain energy in the air, and everything seemed to be flawless with the show itself.  I’ve been telling people that the best spot in the “front of stage” area is in the front to the left of the ramp (looking at the stage); I went against my own advice going for the front row on the opposite side of the ramp, and it ended up being awesome.  Halfway down the ramp, you have an unobstructed view of Dave and Martin, and Dave seemed to go down the ramp many more times last night, which was awesome, as he shifted tremendous energy into the massive crowd, who just ate it up.

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Depeche Mode Delta Machine Tour (European Leg) at Zagreb Arena | Zagreb, Croatia | 5/23/2013 (Concert Review)

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So this is the second of five consecutive Depeche Mode concerts that I will be covering as part of the European Leg of their worldwide Delta Machine Tour (having covered Budapest two days ago, with Bratislava and two London shows still to come).  With the last review I gave some background on my own views on Depeche Mode, and a general overview of this tour.  Last night was a totally different experience from the first, so I will compare and contrast and share some thoughts for those who might be looking for some insights to prepare for upcoming shows.  As was the case with Budapest, their appearance in Zagreb was nothing short of amazing, and while I was up front for the first show on my itinerary, for this one (after shooting the first three songs directly below the stage) I headed to the back of the huge indoor arena to get the “distant” experience, the highlight of which was taking in Anton Corbijn’s amazing (as expected) video collateral that filled the displays during some of the songs.

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Depeche Mode Delta Machine Tour (European Leg) at Puskás Ferenc Stadion | Budapest, Hungary | 5/21/2013 (Concert Review)

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Well, it’s a challenge for me to be objective on this one, as Depeche Mode is my all-time favorite band.  I will be covering a total of five concerts on this European Leg of their Delta Machine Tour, which officially kicked off in recent weeks.  First on my itinerary last night was their date in Budapest, Hungary at Puskás Ferenc Stadion, which is a massive outdoor stadium.  Depeche Mode is touring to promote their new album, Delta Machine, which I have really enjoyed, and the set list for this tour includes a sampling of tracks from that new album as well as favorites from their huge body of work going back decades (a few reworked quite well).  The band certainly has a loyal fan base in Hungary, as there was a sizable turn out of very dedicated fans (I lost count of the number of tattoos I saw with Depeche Mode-related art).  They sounded incredible, and put on a great show with Dave’s typical high energy and beaming stage presence.  Highlights for me included “Halo” (in my opinion one of their very best songs, and not recognized as such to the extent in which it should be) and the show closer, my favorite song of all time (from any band), “Never Let Me Down Again”.  A fantastic evening and I’m more than thrilled to follow them around over the next two weeks, going to the shows in Zagreb, Croatia, and Bratislava, Slovakia, and then back to back shows at the O2 in London, England.  In my opinion, this is the tour of the year, but again, I am pretty predisposed to that opinion.

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Caprices Festival 2013 in Crans-Montana, Switzerland: 9-Day Music Artist Live Concert Event Review & Recap

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Since this was a pretty special experience and International music event, I thought I would share some thoughts and photos in summary here, mostly in an effort to genuinely promote and recommend this event to those who might not have heard of it or ever considering attending themselves.  The 9-day event took place in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, a coming together of twin ski/resort towns to put on Caprices Festival, hosting dozens of musical artists spanning many different genres and styles.  I actually only ran into a couple of Americans during the nine days of concerts (both had come out from New York for Tori Amos), so I think spreading some more information about the event on a U.S.-based site might bring out more people from the United States for future incarnations of this annual event, which celebrated it’s 10th anniversary this year, which also happened to mark some big changes and growth in size and line-up. [Read more…]

Travel Destination Journal & Pictorial: Crans-Montana, Switzerland (Caprices Festival 2013)

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Having recently returned from my trip to Crans-Montana, Switzerland for Caprices Festival, I thought I would share some thoughts and feelings about the ski resort town that hosted the event for those who might have an interested in going there as a travel destination.  Since I am not into skiing and snow-related sports, it was not a vacation spot at the top of my list, as it obviously offers a lot of recreation opportunities that do not appeal to me on a personal level.  Even so, I really loved exploring the town and completely enjoyed myself, and plan to return for the same festival next year and look forward to making another visit to the two ski resort towns. [Read more…]

Caprices Festival Photojournal | Après-ski & Modernity | Crans-Montana, Switzerland

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I did not make it to Après-ski and Modernity until the final day of Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, which actually worked out great as far as Modernity went, as it was the sunniest day and very clear out, so I had a nice opportunity to take in the beautiful mountains from an amazing vantage point.  However, at the time I stopped in at Après-ski, there was no scheduled live music (hence the photos of the empty space).  I did shoot some video of the amazing views of the Swiss Alps from Modernity, which sits atop the ski slopes during the 9-day long music fesitval, just a short 20 minute walk and fun ride up the mountain from the main arenas and areas for the main part of the annual music festival. [Read more…]

Concert Travel Journal Summary | Las Vegas, NV | April 2012

This is a summary essay and concluding thoughts on my trip to Las Vegas this past week for a variety of shows – Garbage at the The Pearl at The Palms Casino Resort on Saturday, Elton John at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace on Sunday, and Mike Tyson’s “Live On Stage” event at The Hollywood Theatre at The MGM Grand on Monday.  I also had a chance to check out the Hard Rock Cafe, Gold & Silver Pawn (the “Pawn Stars” shop), and had a chance run in with Penn Jillette of Pen and Teller.  All in all, a busy three days or so. [Read more…]

Inside Gold & Silver Pawn (The “Pawn Stars” Shop)

I met up with some friends of mine who live in Las Vegas, who, like me, collect original artifacts from film, television, and music.  I became acquainted with them years ago through my Original Prop Blog, and they have been huge supporters of my efforts.  The History Channel series Pawn Stars has been a topic of discussion on the Original Prop Blog for years (see original article), so who could pass up the opportunity to check out the store where it all happens?  So we visited Gold and Silver Pawn.

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Hotel/Resort Review: ARIA Resort & Casino – Las Vegas, NV

Because I do travel for some concert events, I thought it might be helpful to share my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts, and doing so will build on the “travel for concerts” theme of this website. This review is for the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, during my recent Las Vegas Trip (April 2012). [Read more…]

Hotel/Resort Review: Trump International Hotel Las Vegas – Las Vegas, NV

Because I do travel for some concert events, I thought it might be helpful to share my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts, and doing so will build on the “travel for concerts” theme of this website.  This review is for the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, during my recent Las Vegas Trip (April 2012). [Read more…]