Depeche Mode goes big at TD Garden

Martin Gore and David Gahan of “Depeche Mode” brought their “Memento Mori” tour to Boston on Tuesday. Above, the band’s tour stops in Paris this summer. (Photo by ANNA KURTH/AFP via Getty Images)

Depeche Mode stood in front of a 40-foot, ultra-high-def video screen with a 35-foot neon “M” in the center. Strobed light, beaded lasers, images lamped on the screen with impossible brightness. None of this distracted David Gahan.

DM frontman Gahan captured everyone’s attention at the packed TD Garden on Tuesday. The singer, in perfect impassioned and overwhelmed voice, moved around the stage as a flamenco dancer, a dancer, a stripper, a diabolical devil, and a gentle guide through the void and into a throbbing disco.

The group’s first concert in Boston in more than half a decade had the art of a gothic dance – Depeche Mode in Halloween, c’mon, sublime! But Depeche Mode’s art is too monolithic and personal, too absolutely connected to the broken parts of the world, the broken parts within us, to have even a whiff of kitsch.

Gahan and Martin Gore began the show by singing to the crowd, to the world, in that void: “No rain, no clouds, no pain, no sweat, no final breaths, no senseless deaths.” A new song, “My Cosmos Is Mine” is a glitchy, haunting anthem, a song that – as much as any in the band’s catalog – is about being crushed (it also contains the lyric: “Don’t look at my soul , I swear it’s good.”

The band’s boldness and genius is its constant attention to damage, an investigation into the existential set of electric, melodic and industrial clicks and beeps (something brought into harsh light by the sudden death of founding member Andy Fletcher last year). Gore wrote “My Cosmos Is Mine” right after Russia invaded Ukraine, and while the song rages at war, it also speaks to the intimate and unrelenting relationship we have with death.

But in this darkness, despite the confrontational lyrics and moody sounds, Depeche Mode remained a flickering candle in the dark, playing song after song broken and sharp.

The band spent a fair amount of time with the new LP “Memento Mori”, and it got intense (“Wagging Tongue”, “My Favorite Stranger”). And so poppy – the new tune “Ghost Again,” a clear meditation on life and death, had such a bright, floating hook.

But today the duo (brilliantly rounded out by the amazing drummer Christian Eigner and multi-instrumentalist Peter Gordeno) has also revived a tone of old existential jams – and sexual, those hits of goth kids and goth adults made rock standards in the ’80s and ‘. 90 years.

Gahan, intensity and emotion positively oozing from him, took control of the audience time and time again. That big voice, those big moves and his indomitable charisma, stomped and crawled through the crowd for “Walking in My Shoes” and “I Feel You” and “Never Let Me Down Again” and “Personal Jesus” and …

Next to him, Gore was an ideal foil with his soaring harmonies, jagged guitar, vintage and modern synth pulses. And when he was alone — Gahan left the stage so Gore could front the band for “A Question of Lust” and a piano ballad version of “Strangelove” — he provided all the wounded tenderness and intimacy that Gahan did not.

After the death of Andy Fletcher, the band could not have performed. It would have been another loss. Without Gahan and Gore around, who will lead us into the heart of darkness and the heat of the disco? Who will ask great questions that you can dance to do and shout with him?

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