The Avalanches and Fleet Foxes also play final day of Lisbon festival
Depeche Mode brought NOS Alive 2017 to a shuddering climax last night, finishing off with sexual hymn ‘Personal Jesus’.
The group had walked on stage one hour and 45 minutes earlier with the strains of The Beatles’ ‘Revolution’ still echoing in the audience’s ears. The choice, a Depeche Mode concert staple and a reference to their recent single ‘Where’s The Revolution?’, set the subversive, insurrectionist tone for their set. Right from opener ‘Going Backwards’, also taken from this year’s album ‘Spirit’, frontman Dave Gahan was taking swipes at contemporary culture’s “cavemen mentality”. When the band arrived at ‘Where’s The Revolution?’, nine tracks in, it was accompanied by an cartoon of marching boots reminiscent of Gerald Scarfe’s famous animations for Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’.
For all the politics, there was plenty of partying too. Literally, in the case of keyboard player Andy Fletcher who was celebrating his 56th birthday. “Yes, it’s a birthday, 26!” joked Gahan as the crowd sang ‘Happy Birthday’. Tracks like ‘A Pain That I’m Used To’ and ‘World In My Eyes’ allowed Gahan to show off his enviably wiggling hips to one of the biggest crowds of the weekend.
Towards the end of the set, the audience were rewarded for their passion with a string of hits. ‘Everything Counts’ was topped by ‘Enjoy The Silence’, during which Gahan pirouetted across the stage. He let the crowd sing the chorus, and the band paused at the end of the tune to let the audience, ahem, enjoy the silence.
The highlight of the set – and for many fans, the festival – was saved for the very end. ‘Personal Jesus’ was a lascivious, lustful triumph, a fittingly bombastic moment to finish with.
Earlier in the day, Imagine Dragons drew a phenomenal crowd to the Nos Stage, with a set heavy on tracks from their recently released ‘Night Moves’ album. Frontman Dan Reynolds had some moves too, especially during the euphoric, Disney-like ‘Believer’, during which he bounced around and got down among the crowd. The rest of the band each had their moment in the sun, too, the aforementioned track kicking off with a thunderous solo from drummer Daniel Platzman. You don’t get many drum solos these days, and this was a reminder why that’s not such a bad thing.
Fleet Foxes were also celebrating a new album on the Heineken Stage, but it was tracks from their early years – particularly ‘Your Protector’, ‘Mykonos’ and ‘White Winter Hymnal’ – that took the crowd to transcendence. Their rapturous reception was appreciated by singer Robin Pecknold, who told the Nos audience: “You guys are amazing, best crowd of the tour by far.”
On the same stage, in a late slot after, The Avalanches brought a party vibe from start to finish. On record a samples-based act, the Australian group’s live show recreates their tracks with MC Spank Rock an ample replacement for Biz Markie in the knockabout ‘The Noisy Eater’ and Danny Brown in ‘Frankie Sinatra’. Singer Eliza Wolfgramm belted out the melody lines, and was the star of the euphoric closer ‘Since I Left You’, but it’s drummer Paris Jeffree, whose beats are the anchor of the whole spectacle, who got the biggest round of applause: not least because she stood triumphantly on her drum stool to drink it in.