A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the audio portion of Depeche Mode’s Live in Berlin box set, which you can read here. Now, I’m taking time to review the Live in Berlin DVD part of the box set. After this, I will still have to review the extra DVD, included in the box set. Before I dive into specifics and begin my review, I want to be clear about what I’m looking for in a DVD about a concert that took place during a tour that I attended. I want the DVD to take me back to that night, to remind me of what it was like. If there are added features, do they enhance my memory or take away from my remembrances? Does the DVD make me want to see the band again?
This live DVD of Depeche Mode’s most recent world tour was exactly what you would expect. It focuses on the show, the performance, the music well. What do I mean by that? Simple. If Dave Gahan was the focus of a moment on the song, Dave was the focus on the video. If the moment of a particular song had tremendous visuals, then the visuals would be shown. I like that. It is clear that all involved with the project knew the music, knew the band, knew the performance. I didn’t feel like I had to direct traffic or ask the camera man to move or change the focus. At times, the shots were close-ups of particular band members but, at times, it showed the entire stage. Again, this was a positive. First of all, I liked seeing the visual again as Depeche had large screens behind them during this tour. I wanted to be reminded of those visuals as many added to the song. Plus, I always struggle during a concert to figure out what to focus on. Do I watch the band? The screens? Both, at the same time? This DVD allowed me to do both. Another element of the show that the DVD showed well was the few interactions between band members. These interactions were often subtle and were often looks or touches that I missed when I went to my show. It reminded me that Depeche really is a band that works together, that feeds off of each other.
I noticed a couple of other things in watching this DVD that I wanted to make note of. First, there were very few extras included. What do I mean by extras? Some other live DVDs want to add additional visuals, for example. There was none of that here. It was a pure live show. That said, I did appreciate the beginning when the band was shown back stage before the show started. The viewer gained an insight by seeing them pump each other up, give hugs and high fives, offering support to one another. I wish that I would have seen more of that, at the end of the show. Did they feel like it was a good show? Did they think they sounded well? Performed well? What did they think of the audience? I wish I had answers to that. The second observation that I made about the DVD has to do with the audience. There were NO individual fans shown. At times, the crowd was shown, but the purpose seemed to be to show how Depeche had the entire crowd into it. I have seen too many live DVDs that show WAY too many fan shots. Why do I need to see individual fans? Would that make me like the show or the band more? I don’t think so. While I definitely understand individual fans who were there wanting to see themselves, I always worry that it feeds into competition between fans that is always present in fandom, as in the fan in the front, on the screen more, is or seems like a “bigger or better fan”. I appreciated that there was none of that.
I would recommend this DVD for Depeche Mode fans. People who saw them live during this tour would appreciate how it brings back memories and people, who wanted to go but couldn’t, could still get an idea of how it was. On that note, I’ll leave you with a couple of clips:.
Enjoy the Silence:
Should be Higher: