Depeche Mode is unquestionably one of England’s most iconic acts of the last half-century. But these synth-rock stars wouldn’t likely be where and what they are today—let alone have revolutionized modern music the way they did—without Los Angeles.

It was in the City of Angels, with its thriving LGBTQIA+ community, that Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher, and Vince Clarke broke out as bona fide global superstars. Their concert at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena back in June 1988, with 60,000 attendees, was a seminal moment in the band’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame career.

Given that unbreakable bond between band and city, it was only fitting that Depeche Mode closed out the North American legs of its Memento Mori Tour—and its 2023 calendar as a whole—in L.A. And not just with one show, but four: two at the Kia Forum and two more at Arena. This, after selling out the Forum back in March, near the start of their latest go-round.

Like that show, Depeche Mode’s latest trip to L.A. on Saturday at the Arena came, unfortunately, without Fletch. The founding member and long-time keyboardist passed away in May 2022, before the band recorded its latest album, Memento Mori. But not before Fletch had a chance to help write the songs that comprised Depeche Mode’s 2023 release. In that way, this tour and this particular performance were a tribute to Fletch.

The set began with a pair of singles off the new release, “My Cosmos is Mine” and “Wagging Tongue”, and went on to loop in more Memento Mori favorites, including “My Favourite Stranger” and “Ghosts Again” mid-set. That quartet of tracks came in second among featured Depeche Mode albums, just behind 1990’s seminal Violator with five. Among that latter group was “World Through My Eyes,” which was dedicated to Fletch and included images of him as a backdrop.

Not surprisingly, “Enjoy the Silence”, “Waiting for the Night”, and “Personal Jesus” all made the cut, either to close the main set or fill the encore. “Policy of Truth” clocked in during the first quarter of the 24-song show.

Depeche Mode – “Personal Jesus” – 12/17/23

[Video: Sean Gargan]

Depeche Mode brought to bear plenty of other staples of its repertoire, as well. From “Walking in My Shoes” and “Everything Counts” to “John the Revelator” and “Just Can’t Get Enough”, the band made sure to plumb every era for tunes to keep the packed house on its collective feet.

Along the way, Dave danced and twirled across the stage (and between costume changes), Christian Eigner kept the beat on drums and Peter Gordeno, who has toured with the band since 1998, held down the keyboard with aplomb. Martin did a little of everything, as is his wont. He filled in for some of Fletch’s parts on keys, sang his heart out on “But Not Tonight” and, of course, wailed the rest of the night away on guitar.

And together, they treated a fan named Martha to a rendition of “Happy Birthday”—their only cover of the evening. Not that Depeche Mode needs to pay real tribute to its forebears at this point. Their influence spreads far and wide, with Muse, The Killers, Nine Inch Nails, Shakira, No Doubt, Linkin Park, Coldplay, Chvrches, Rammstein, and La Roux among an exceedingly eclectic cast.

That sonic crusade doesn’t figure to end any time soon. Depeche Mode has dates lined up across Europe through the winter and spring of 2024, starting with a handful of U.K. concerts in January. Those first shows of the new year will serve as an official homecoming for one of Great Britain’s greatest bands.

But, in truth, this tour has already been a rousing success for arguably their most ardent base of support in L.A., with five spectacular shows in town to prove it.

Check out a gallery of images from Depeche Mode at the Arena on Sunday courtesy of photographer Josh Martin.

Depeche Mode – Arena – Los Angeles, CA – 12/17/23 – Full Show

[Video: Morgan King]