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Depeche Mode casts its dark spell over Salt Lake

Its charismatic lead singer in top form for nearly sold-out crowd

Members of the synth-goth group Depeche Mode are Andy Fletcher, left, Dave Gahan and Martin Gore.
Members of the synth-goth group Depeche Mode are Andy Fletcher, left, Dave Gahan and Martin Gore.
Anton Corbijn, Reprise

DEPECHE MODE, E Center, Saturday.

WEST VALLEY CITY — Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan hasn't aged in 20 years. Maybe it's because of his band's brand of synth-goth music. Or maybe the rumors are true; maybe Gahan really is a vampire.

At any rate, the charismatic lead singer was in top form when Depeche Mode took a nearly sold-out audience on a journey through the past and present in the E Center Saturday night.

Reaching into the crypt, the band — featuring core members Gahan, multi-instrumentalist Martin Gore and keyboardist Andy "Fletch" Fletcher — resurrected some 1980s-era popsters such as "Enjoy the Silence," "Just Can't Get Enough" and "World in My Eyes."

Gahan's cult leaderlike magnetism had the audience singing verses and choruses of such other Depeche Mode gems as "Everything Counts" and "Never Let Me Down Again."

The band, rounded out by a drummer and second keyboardist, also pumped out the driving rhythm of "Behind the Wheel" and the religious zeal of "Personal Jesus." Religion also drove "John the Revelator," a song inspired by the traditional tune of the same name, culled from the new DM album "Playing the Angel."

In fact, there wasn't a shortage of new songs played Saturday night. The band opened the evening with the lost-soul lament "Pain that I'm Used To," then pumped out the new songs "Precious," "Suffer Well" and "Damaged People." During the latter, Gore took on the bass.

While Gahan was a seductive vampire, Gore was heartbroken black angel, and he eventually sang his trademark love song "Somebody" during the first encore, emerging onstage with black-feather wings, a black-leather kilt and a black-mohawk hat. His face was smattered with glitter, and even when he smiled his eyes drooped as if he was full of emotional turmoil.

Fletch, on the other hand, was vibrant and happy, standing in one of the three gray keyboard pods. He was all smiles as he watched and heard the crowd's reactions to such vintage works as "Policy of Truth" and "Walking in My Shoes." "A Question of Time," "I Feel You," "Home" and some other new songs, the anguished "Sinner in Me" and hedonistic "I Want It All," rounded out the evening.

In a surprising move, the group wrapped up the show with "Goodnight Lovers," the band's soothing cry for unity.

Absent from the two-hour set were the darker shades of "Black Celebration" and "Master and Servant." However, the fans didn't sound disappointed. Screams filled the air as Depeche Mode, once more, brought its dark spell to Salt Lake City.