Following the death of Andy Fletcher, Depeche Mode makes an emotional return to LA, the city that “was there for us from day one”.

Late band member Andy “Fletch” Fletcher is honored during the sold out Depeche Mode concert at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles on March 28, 2023. (Photo: Lyndsey Parker)

When Depeche Mode last played Los Angeles, they did something no band had ever done before (or since): a sold-out, four-Night Race at the Hollywood Bowl. Six years, a pandemic, a long overdue induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a devastating loss later, the British synthpop pioneers bittersweetly returned to LA this week – a very different band – a duo by default, minus co-founder Andy. Fletch” Fletcher, who died suddenly last May after suffering an aortic dissection at the age of 60.

LA has always been Depeche Mode’s biggest US market, thanks to early and unwavering support from alternative rock station KROQ. It’s the city that made the band’s Wherehouse Records autograph session famous caused a riot and done National News when unexpectedly 20,000 fans showed up. It’s the city where they made history at another bowl, the 90,000-seat Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, when DA Pennebaker captured their final 1989 tour date for Music for the Masses for the landmark concert film 101. It’s the city where even a new one screening of 101 in the actual Rose Bowl can draw crowds. And on Tuesday, as the fashion-loving crowds welcomed back surviving core members Dave Gahan and Martin Gore to another celebrated LA venue, the Forum, it was an emotional evening that felt like both a triumphant return and a loving one farewell felt.

    Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode performs live during the 'Memento Mori' Tour at the Kia Forum on March 28, 2023 in Inglewood, California (Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan performs during the ‘Memento Mori’ tour at the Kia Forum on March 28, 2023 in Inglewood, California (Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Gahan and Gore, along with longtime multi-instrumentalist Peter Gordeno and drummer Christian Eigner, promoted their 15th studio album, which focuses on mortality. remember death – the title is Latin for “remember, you will die” – which they began writing and recording before Fletcher died just six weeks after his death. (Gahan explained in a recent interview with Live Nation that he and Gore “decided to move on because we’re sure this is the right thing to do [Fletch] would have wanted, and that really gave the project extra meaning.” Depeche Mode set the tone for their sold-out Forum gig, fittingly, if risquély, opening with remember death“My Cosmos Is Mine,” the elegiac and wailing first track, is immediately followed by the album’s equally atmospheric and somber “Wagging Tongue.”

The band’s only overt acknowledgment of “our friend, Mr. Andrew Fletcher” was during the 1990s “World in My Eyes” — which they played to a vintage slow-release video of Fletch putting a hand over his eye — Fletch’s presence, or absence, was deeply felt throughout the night. (Fletcher’s last public appearance as a member of Depeche Mode was in November 2020, when the band were inducted into the Rock Hall by longtime superfan Charlize Theron — although unfortunately that ceremony was virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Depeche Mode hadn’t the chance to perform or celebrate together.)

Frontman Gahan, aged 60, was in his usual good post-punk Elvis form on Tuesday, still a dancefloor dynamo from his sleek pompadour to his white wingtips. But Depeche’s 23-song setlist didn’t include many upbeat, danceable hits. Instead, the band understandably leaned towards their more moody mid-tempo catalog – including a nice deep cut specifically for the LA diehards, an acoustic version of Songs of Faith and Devotion‘s “Condemnation,” which the band hadn’t played since 2013 and Gahan hadn’t sung live since 2001.

While Depeche Mode haven’t made any official announcement that this will be their last album or tour — at a press conference in October 2022, Gahan said he and Gore had decided “let’s at least make this record” — on Uncut review has described remember death than the sound of a “band entering a final act”. And there was indeed a sense of finality at Tuesday’s Forum show. As Depeche wrapped up their four-song encore with “Personal Jesus,” the audience lingered after the band left the stage — perhaps hoping for “People Are People,” “Master and Servant,” “Blasphemous Rumors,” ” Somebody”, “Shake”. the Disease,” “Strangelove,” or literally at least a dozen other KROQ hits—before the house lights finally came on.

Martin Gore of Depeche Mode performs live during the 'Memento Mori' Tour at the Kia Forum on March 28, 2023 in Inglewood, California (Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore performs during the ‘Memento Mori’ tour at the Kia Forum on March 28, 2023 in Inglewood, California (Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

“LA has really been there for us from day one,” Gahan said gratefully LA weekly at the time of Depeche Mode’s record-breaking Hollywood Bowl run in 2017. And LA will be there for them again in December 2023 — when Gahan and Gore return by popular demand to put on a whopping show four more shows in Los Angeles. What happens after that is uncertain, but LA will clearly be there for Depeche Mode until the band’s last day.

Depeche Mode’s March 28 Forum setlist read:

My cosmos is mine

wiggling tongue

walk in my shoes

It is not good

sister of the night

In your room

Everything counts


Talk to me

A question of desire

soul with me

Ghosts again

I feel you

A pain I’m used to

world in my eyes



John the Revealer

Enjoy the silence


Just can’t get enough

Don’t ever disappoint me again

Personal Jesus

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