Memento Mori Tour Leg 1 Highlights

(with GIFs)

April 16, 2023

By: Purple

Photo by me

Depeche Mode have just finished Leg 1 of their Memento Mori Tour, which saw them kick it off on March 23 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California and end on April 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. In between, they performed at a handful of venues in the US and Canada. In this article, I would like to share some (Dave-centric) highlights from this leg. All photos and GIFs are mine and were captured at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 30.

Dave (and Martin) sound better than ever

As I have alluded to in another article, Dave's (and Martin's) voices have gone through several highs and lows throughout their career. Dave's voice, in particular, has taken on many different tonal qualities over the past 40-odd years as skill, experience, age, and other factors have affected it over time. There is no doubt that he is aware more than anyone how it has changed over time, and it is obvious that he puts both the time and effort in order to maintain and improve it. Now, after hearing him on the Memento Mori album and especially live on the tour, it is safe to say that all of his time and effort have certainly paid off; his voice sounds better than ever! Of course, he has access to the best vocal coaching available which helps. One of those vocal coaches in particular has been very important to Dave's career and her name has shown up again in the liner notes of the current album- that of Evelyn Halus. If you are not familiar with her, she is the same vocal coach whom Dave first worked with in 1997 after coming out of drug rehab.1 At that time, he was physically weak and practically voiceless. It was she who was responsible for restoring his voice and also helping him develop a new dynamic quality which is probably best heard on "Only When I Lose Myself" and perfected on Exciter and onwards. Evelyn's influence on Dave's vocals is significant to say the least, so to see her name still associated with him to this day is wonderful and I am certain that she still has a big hand in making him sound so good now.

The set list continues to spark debate

Here is a combination of all the songs that DM played during this first leg:

  • My Cosmos Is Mine
  • Wagging Tongue
  • It's No Good
  • Walking In My Shoes
  • Sister Of Night
  • In Your Room
  • Everything Counts
  • Precious
  • Speak To Me
  • A Question Of Lust
  • Soul With Me
  • Ghosts Again
  • I Feel You
  • A Pain That I'm Used To
  • World In My Eyes
  • Wrong
  • Stripped
  • John The Revelator
  • Enjoy The Silence
  • Waiting For The Night
  • Condemnation
  • Just Can't Get Enough
  • Never Let Me Down Again
  • Personal Jesus

  • With the exception of "Waiting For The Night" and "Condemnation" which were alternated on certain nights, every song on the set list was pretty much static. Like many of their set lists for the past 20 years, DM's set list for this tour is a balanced mix of hits from most of their best-selling albums as well as a few lesser-played songs which are very well-appreciated by longtime fans. This time, it was songs like "Sister of Night" and "A Question of Lust" which pleased hardcore fans the most. For a band who has been around for as long as DM has, it is no question that coming up with a set list for a show is downright difficult. Some were disappointed that well-loved hits like "Policy of Truth", "Strangelove", and "A Question of Time" were left out this time around, and still, some others argue that they could've added a lot more deep cuts at the sacrifice of some hits that some feel are "overrated." It is just not humanly possible to satisfy everyone which is why this continues to be a hotly-debated subject on every tour.

    The band honored Fletch in a new way

    Andy Fletcher has declared, himself, in the video below from 2006 that "World in My Eyes" was his favorite DM song (at the 0:38 mark).

    What better way for the band to honor him then than to play that song during this tour? Of course, it is an absolute banger, too, so it belongs on the set list, regardless. On this tour, close-up black-and-white photos of Fletch were displayed on the screens throughout the entire song and some people held up their fingers in the shape of glasses (like on the single cover) in honor of him. At the Las Vegas show, Dave simply took a moment during one of the vocal rests in the song to gesture towards the screen and shout, "Mr. Andrew 'Fletch' Fletcher!" to shouts and tears from the audience (including mine). Rest in peace, Fletch; we will forever miss you!

    Dave expressed frustration with smartphone use

    Dave encourages the crowd to sing with him. Lots of smartphones are also up, too (including mine in order to take this photo).

    Dave is usually a man of few words on stage. This is something that I really appreciate about him as I wrote in an earlier article. Thus, things get really interesting when he says something other than the usual "thank you" or acknowledgments of other band members. At the Las Vegas show on March 30, just as Dave and Martin were approaching the end of the catwalk to launch into "Waiting For The Night", Dave gave the following reprimand to the audience: "Put your phones down, for fuck's sake. Watch the show!" There was somewhat of an amused grin on his face while he said this so it didn't come across as mean-spirited, but there's no mistake that this remark was made with purpose. And I get it. Phones have the potential to detract from the live concert experience if not used correctly and some would argue that they should not be used at all. But since they are continued to be allowed and brought into such settings, I believe that we all just need to learn and obey the fine line between our freedom to use them and common courtesy for others around us. I could write a whole editorial about this (and perhaps I will, someday), but it is apparent that like set lists, the use of smartphones at concerts is another hotly-debated subject.

    Dave sang "Happy Birthday" to individual fans

    DM seem to love and appreciate their fans very much. Dave is especially good at making fans happy during shows and actively engaging them whether it's to participate in sing-alongs, sing-offs, or body movements (e.g., the arm wave during "Never Let Me Down Again"). However, on the very rare occasion, he will engage with individual fans within the audience. I am aware of 2 notable times when he did this during this leg of the tour and both times, it was to sing "Happy Birthday" to a fan. On March 30 at the Las Vegas show, there was a young fan who held up a sign asking DM to sing to her and Dave obliged, resulting in the fan crying and shaking out of pure happiness. A similar event occured on April 7 at the Toronto show where a fan held up a sign asking the band to sing to her for her birthday and Dave did so again there. In my opinion, this is a very grand and sweet gesture because the band is very well within their rights to not do these sorts of things for individual fans, but the fact that they did definitely says something about them and it says something about Dave as a person and performer, in particular. These fans are nothing short of very lucky!

    Dave's daughter opened for the band at Madison Square Garden

    DM during the final bow in Las Vegas.

    Kelly Lee Owens was the opening act for all of DM's dates during this leg except for 1 night; on April 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York, the opening act was Stella Rose and The Dead Language (SR+TDL). Some people saw this as a big deal and unfortunately for the wrong reasons in some cases. Obviously, it was a big deal for the members of SR+TDL because they are a relatively new band and to get that kind of exposure at a massive venue like that with a massive band like DM is the opportunity of a lifetime. However, it was also a big deal for other reasons and actually sparked some controversy. Most of it is centered around the obvious fact that the lead singer of SR+TDL is Dave's daughter, Stella Rose. The argument made is that SR+TDL got that opportunity merely because of the familial connection. In short, my response to that is, "So what?" This is another subject that I could dedicate an entire editorial to, but I believe this particular situation is blown way out of proportion. First, SR+TDL didn't take over the entire tour; they opened for DM on only 1 night. Second, how do we know that it wasn't Dave or DM themselves who asked SR+TDL to open for them? If that indeed happened, who in their right mind would have actually said no to that? Anyway, I could go on about this subject but I just want to conclude my thoughts here with that I do see SR+TDL as a group of very talented musicians- Stella Rose, herself, included so I am glad that they got to have that experience and from the videos I've seen, think they did a killer job.


    1. "Tell Me About It: Dave Gahan — ''Why is your music so depressing?' is a really lame question'", Loud and Quiet (April 26, 2017)

    So, what do you think of the Memento Mori Tour so far- the set list, the band members' performances, the opening acts, or anything else that comes to mind? Which shows did you attend during the first leg? Will you be attending future legs of this tour and what are you hoping to see? Please comment below!