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DEPECHE MODE INCORPORATES SPECIAL EFFECTS AND RELIGION INTO ITS CURRENT PRODUCTION

Depeche Mode's Andrew Fletcher remembers the band's last concert in Utah - without any prompting.

"Funny enough, on the last tour one of the best shows was in fact Salt Lake City," he said in an interview with the Deseret News. Depeche Mode had been scheduled to play at ParkWest but canceled because of rain and played at the Salt Palace the next night. "It was a really electric atmosphere. I think that after the ParkWest debacle . . . they were just so happy that we managed to reschedule for the next day, the crowd just went wild. It was a great concert."Three years later, Depeche Mode is back on tour in support of its latest album, "Songs of Faith and Devotion."

The synth-rock band will perform along with The The in the Delta Center Thursday. Tickets are available through Smith'sTix and the Delta Center.

From what Fletcher says, the concert will be simmering with special effects. "Very interesting films and videos and stuff - a bit more abstract than the last tour." The multilevel stage and multiple projection screens were designed by photographer/video director Anton Corbijn, a longtime collaborator with the band.

Depeche Mode's 18-month "Devotional" world tour began in Zurich, Switzerland, in May. It's nearing the end of its American leg, which wraps up next month in Los Angeles.

"We've done some good gigs on this American tour," Fletcher said, referring to enthusiastic crowds. "Miami was particularly good. . . . The audience really is a part - a big part - of a Depeche Mode show."

The four members have developed distinct roles within the band. Fletcher is the band's "coordinator," working with business dealings and merchandising, and says his role in recording is mainly advisory.

"Songs of Faith and Devotion" hit the charts running back in April, debuting at No. 1 on The Billboard 200. The album, which incorporates more traditional instruments than usual, is not as techno-smooth as Depeche Mode's nine previous works, and drips with religious overtones. "Walking In My Shoes" could almost double as a Sunday school lesson, albeit in a rather Gothic fashion.

The religious theme has echoed through past songs ("Blasphemous Rumors," "Personal Jesus," "Halo"), but D.M. seems more earnest, less mocking, this time. Still, nobody would be tempted to call them pious.

"I've always had a fascination with religion," songwriter Martin Gore said recently. "I don't really understand it, but I've always longed for some sort of belief. A few of the songs on the new album have a sort of gospel feel."

In another change, a 28-piece orchestra accompanies Gore's voice on "One Caress," and Alan Wilder "actually plays drums for seven or eight songs" on tour, according to Fletcher.

Fletcher rued a "bad run of luck" suffered lately by lead singer Dave Gahan. "He injured his hand two days ago opening a beer bottle. He badly cut one of his right fingers. We had to cancel a show in Cincinnati because of it. . . . He couldn't hold a mike." Then, "he got arrested in Quebec for scuffling with a hotel security guard. He had a bad bout of the flu in New Orleans. We had to cut short the show in New Orleans because he was completely exhausted," leaving the remaining three to do an encore without him.

Fletcher said the band is trying to do more sightseeing on this tour than others. In that sense, he prefers another continent. "I find European cities a bit more appealing - that's no disrespect to American cities, but they tend to be quite similar."

- THE THE released its latest album, "Dusk," in November 1992. Matt Johnson, the band's founder, songwriter and lead singer, says the album's theme is the struggle to find happiness.

"It came from just observing the cycles of my own life, really," he told the Boston Globe. "The destructive cycles, the long bouts of womanizing I'd go through without ever satisfying me, just chasing . . . whatever habits . . . and an inability to face up to things. I think it's human nature. We tend to think short-term and try to gratify our impulses rather than think about other people or what's good for the long term. I know what I should do. But it's difficult making your whims meet up with your ideology. I mean I'm up and down. We're all caught between being a sinner and a saint; it's a constant struggle."