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Happy campers in London. Terje and Monica

Tickets! Yeeeaaah!

Dangerous! Beer alert!

The evil pub that got us drunk the night before the concert

Coverart Photo by Anton Corbijn

Photo by Anton Corbijn

A Night With Martin L. Gore - The Astoria, London, 2. May 2003
- by Catgirl -

It all started out back home.

Before we (my boyfriend and I) were leaving for London I was checking out to see if there would be any cool acts playing in London during our stay. Among those listed were Children of Bodom (or Children of Boredom as we subsequently called them at the Inferno Festival) and Vader (another Inferno band). None of these were too interesting concidering they had played at Inferno two weeks earlier. Others were: Craig David, t.A.T.u., Hot Hot Heat, Kid Koala, The Vines, Huey Lewis and the News etc. etc. Not really my cup of tea.

Further down the list I found something more interesting - Martin Gore were to play at the London Astoria on Friday 2. May. What a treat! Earlier the same week I'd received a mail from a friend telling me he wished he'd been to the MG concert in Sweden. Along with the mail came a link to a review from that very concert - praising Gore's perfomance skyhigh.

We arrived in London on Wednesday night and decided to try get hold of tickets first thing on Thursday. After a rather late breakfast at a small cafè right behind Harrods, we went down to the Astoria and simply bought two tickets. They only had a few left, so I guess we were lucky. The tickets cost us no more than £ 17 each. Not bad at all. So with our tickets secured we happily went on exploring London. We ended up getting "rather intoxicated" at a great alternative pub in Soho called "The Intrepid Fox", and later on at an alternative clubnight at "Borderline" - also in Soho. None of us remember anything from the taxi ride home. Shhh..Don't tell my Mum.

Friday morning - headache and no English Breakfast. We finally got up and about at 13.00. The Astoria opened at 19.30 and the concert started some time after that. Outside people were queueing up to be let in, and it didn't seem that long. Not until we realized we were in the wrong one. OUR queue actually went around the entire block and we had to go to the end of it. Eventually we got in - got seats - got beer.

After waiting for quite some time we could finally welcome Martin Gore on stage. And talk about welcome. What a crowd! The audience at the Astoria were head over heals from the moment the band entered the scene. People were clapping, cheering and screaming their heads off. I wonder if a Norwegian audience could ever show that much entusiasm. Now - back to the people ON stage. The band was Martin Gore on vocal and occasionally guitar, and two other guys I don't know who are (anyone?).

The two first songs ("In My Time Of Dying" and "Stardust") were weak and staggering in their appear-ance. Gore's vocal came out muffled and was lost in the rest of the arrangement. I suddenly feared this would not be the great concert I had anticipated after all. My bad! Someone managed to do something right and the vocal was lifted up where it belonged. Gore played one more song from the "Counterfeit 2" - album before hitting us with some Depeche Mode favorites. "Only When I Lose Myself" and "Sweetest Perfection" were the first DM tracks performed at the concert. The applause and cheering hit the roof.

From that point on the concert was only getting better and better for each song. Gore's various cover/remix versions from the new album kept some of their original sound, but they were very much Martin Gore's songs now. Between two more songs from the album he once again played a couple of Depeche Mode songs. And then it was all over...


After endless applause and shouts for both "Martin Gore!" and "we want more!" the band finally re-entered the stage. I remember thinking when he started singing the first song: "This reminds me very much of Nick Cave", and shortly after I was singing along with the lyrics realizing it was Nick Cave's "Loverman".
Three more Depeche Mode songs completedthe concert, and it was plain beautiful! Gore did a brilliant version of "Question of lust" that got everyone singing along, smiling with tears in their eyes. And it was a happy crowd that left the London Astoria that rainy night.

>> Check out complete setlist

>> Official Martin Gore website
>> Listen to mp3 from the show at Astoria (link to zipfile)

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