Ray's Gigs

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Saturday 17 June 2023.

Saturday 17 June 2023. DEPECHE MODE live at Twickenham Stadium. Depeche Mode play their only UK show on their European stadium tour. The venue website says it is sold out...55,000 tickets sold. Depeche Mode have announced a new album which they feel has been given an “extra level of meaning” following the death of their keyboardist Andy Fletcher. Fletcher, nicknamed “Fletch”, who founded the group in Basildon, Essex in 1980, died in May at the age of 60. The remaining band members of Martin Gore and Dave Gahan said they decided to complete the new album, titled 'Memento Mori' ,as they feel it is what Fletcher would have wanted. The group also announced they will be embarking on a world tour of the album in 2023, which will be their first in five years. I have seen Depeche Mode over fifteen times since 1981, when their debut records came out. My fave songs of theirs are those first three or four singles. Hard to believe when you watch their early videos, how that fresh-faced electro pop act from Basildon have become this Goliath that can play arenas and stadiums worldwide, some 40 years later. I have seen some big names play summer shows here at Twickenham Stadium over the years... 2003 - Rolling Stones + Primal Scream 2005 - U2 2006 - Eagles 2006 - Rolling Stones + Charlatans 2007 - Rod Stewart + Pretenders 2007 - Genesis 2007 - The Police 2008 - Bon Jovi + Biffy Clyro 2009 - Iron Maiden + Avenged Sevenfold 2010 - Robbie Williams with Gary Barlow 2017 - U2 + Noel Gallagher & The High Flying Birds 2018 - Metallica - Ghost -------- Every country in Europe and further seems to have fan representation here tonight. I have a perfect view in the gold circle , near the end of the stage extension. Support comes from YOUNG FATHERS who arrived on stage at 7.10pm and played for 30 mins. Some Depeche Mode fans were a bit bemused from the choice of support act. Young Fathers are a Scottish group formed in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2008. Their second EP, Tape Two (2013), won the Scottish Album of the Year Award. In 2014, they won the Mercury Prize for their debut album Dead. A second album, White Men Are Black Men Too, followed in 2015. TD circle heir third album, Cocoa Sugar (2018), peaked at number 28 on the UK Albums Chart earned the band their second Scottish Album of the Year Award. Their fourth album, Heavy Heavy, was released in 2023...it reached number seven in the UK chart. Seven musicians on stage and the three main guys are joined by two females , so for some songs there are five people rapping over each other...pretty good stuff. DEPECHE MODE arrive on stage at 8.15pm and play for 2 hours 10 mins. A nice stage presentation , including big screens, but nothing compared to the recent Beyonce production extraganza i saw a couple of weeks ago. The band arrive on stage one by one, with singer rock god Dave Gahan coming on to massive applause. Here, Gahan cast a Dracula-like figure with a mischievous streak; a debonair tall slim demeanour that could pause and have the whole crowd’s attention at will, before dancing and spinning and shimmering around the stage, revealing the blue opal back of his waistcoat. Lots of older classics mixed in with more recent tracks. ‘Everything Counts’ was one of the first real singalongs, the crowd revelling in repeating back to Gahan “everything counts in large amounts” – needless to say, he knows this better than most, and was leading by example. Both Dave Gahan and Martin Gore used the stage extension well. There is a video tribute of Fletch on the big screen, as fans lit up their phones around the stadium. A great show. Full DEPECHE MODE setlist played tonight... My Cosmos is Mine Wagging Tongue Walking in My Shoes It's No Good Sister of Night In Your Room (Zephyr Mix) Everything Counts Precious My Favourite Stranger A Question of Lust Soul With Me (Acoustic) Ghosts Again I Feel You A Pain That I'm Used To (Jacques Lu Cont Remix) World in My Eyes (Dedicated to Andrew Fletcher) Wrong Stripped John the Revelator Enjoy the Silence Encore: Waiting for the Night (Peter and Christian on keyboards) Just Can't Get Enough Never Let Me Down Again Personal Jesus --------------------------- --------------------------- Friday 16 June 2023. THE ARISTOCRATS live at Shepherds Bush Empire. The Aristocrats are a rock supergroup formed in 2011. The Instrumental power trio consists of Guthrie Govan, Bryan Beller, and Marco Minnemann. The band have released a few albums , and the three band members have released solo albums and played with many other artists. They are playing a world tour to support their new album 'You Know What?' --------- Levels 2 and 3 are closed tonight as unsold, so maybe 700 or 800 folks here. ARISTOCRATS arrived on stage at 8pm and played for two hours. This prog rock crowd were a mix of old and young nodding heads. The band only played around a dozen songs, as each was around 10 mins long. Some light-hearted stage banter between songs, but all the tunes were proggy instrumentals. Their UK born guitarist Guthrie Govan played some incredible guitar solos. One of the highlights was definitely the drum solo. It is impossible to explain to someone who has not seen him in person just what he is capable of doing. These guys have figured out how to make crazy prog-jazz-fusion fun and engaging, no small feat. The band celebrated playing this venue, by getting their roadie to give them three two pint full lager cups. Non-stop music instrumentals felt a bit much at times, but overall a good show.