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Depeche Mode reaches out to old, new fans

As an angst-ridden junior high student, I loved Depeche Mode. I felt like the band understood me perfectly. But in the past few years, though I still have fairly high levels of angst, I haven't really listened to the band much.

Still, I wanted to go to the Depeche Mode concert at the Arena at Gwinnett Center last Saturday. But mostly I wanted to see opening band The Bravery. A few months ago, I fell for their first single, "An Honest Mistake," and have been listening to their self-titled album ever since.

Though seeing The Bravery perform "An Honest Mistake" was a definite highlight of the concert, it was rediscovering Depeche Mode that I really enjoyed.

Before the show, I wasn't sure how the band's synthesizer songs would sound live. Honestly, I had pretty low expectations.

But I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I loved the show from the moment Depeche Mode opened with "A Pain That I'm Used To" from its latest album, "Playing the Angel." I found that lyrics like "Just give me the pain that I'm used to" definitely still speak to me.

Plus, I was fascinated by the futuristic stage setting, which included synthesizer stands that looked like giant silver hot dogs and a robot's head that hung from the ceiling. In addition to red eyes and a rectangular mouth, this silver sphere also had words like "angel," "pain" and "love" that lit up in neon letters during different songs.

A row of lights lined the edge of the stage. For each song, a different light color was used. Video screens behind the stage showed scenes from the concert so distorted by special effects that they looked like something else altogether.

But it was the sound of the band that really drew me in. I liked everything they played, old and new, but my favorite parts of the concert were the songs from the past. My inner teen got particularly excited at end of the show, when the group played "Behind the Wheel" from "Music for the Masses," which was the first Depeche Mode album I ever bought. Then they played "Enjoy The Silence" and "Personal Jesus."

But it was the first encore that made me happiest - an odd emotion for a Depeche Mode fan. I couldn't help but dance around when the band started to play "Just Can't Get Enough," my very favorite Depeche Mode song. They also played "Everything Counts," another song I remember playing again and again in junior high.

After the encore, the band came back onstage and played "Never Let Me Down Again" from "Music for the Masses."

Since the show, I haven't been able to stop singing Depeche Mode. In fact, I may even have to get out my old cassettes - or possibly even update my collection to include at least a few Depeche Mode CDs.