Open’er Festival 2018: Depeche Mode deliver tight, hit-drenched headline set

The Basildon synth-rockers headlined day two of Poland’s famous mega-fest

Depeche Mode headlined the second day of Open’er festival in Poland last night (July 5), wowing the 60,000-strong crowd with a 90-minute set crammed with classics.


Taking the stage after an intro tape of The Beatles ‘Revolution’ and ‘Cover Me (Alt Out)’, the B-side to 2017 single ‘Cover Me’, the band – famously huge in Europe – opened with ‘Going Backwards’, the second single from last year’s ‘Spirit’ album, before throwing back to 1997 with the sultry ‘It’s No Good’.




As singer Dave Gahan stripped to a waistcoat and prowled the stage, occasionally spinning on the spot and grabbing his crotch, the band delivered an atmospheric opening third focussed on more recent material such as ‘Precious’ from 2005’s ‘Playing The Angel’ and ‘Cover Me’.


Multi-instrumentalist Martin Gore taking centre stage for the moving romantic lament ‘Somebody’ acted as a fulcrum for the set, giving way to a second half of solid classics. ‘In Your Room’ was accompanied by a video of a pair of contemporary dancers cavorting around a fashion shoot-style lounge set, while ‘Everything Counts’ proved a major festival-pleaser, the crowd singing the chorus long after the song had finished.



‘Stripped’, ‘Personal Jesus’ and ‘Never Let Me Down Again’ provided a classic synth-noir close to the main set, and Depeche Mode returned for an elegant run through ‘Walking In My Shoes’ and ‘Enjoy The Silence’ complete with video footage of red-tinted rabbits and trans transformations. “We’ve got one more song for you,” Gahan told the crowd between impressions of an evil albatross, “we’re going way back in time, you weren’t even alive.” The band then closed the set with an effervescent ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, with Gahan screaming “1981!” mid-song.


Earlier in the day David Byrne had brought his acclaimed new theatrical stage show to the Tent stage, featuring a grey-suited band untethered from their traditional fixed setting and free to roam the curtained stage performing choreographed dance routines. The festival continues today with sets from Gorillaz, Vince Staples, Young Thug and Sigrid.


David Byrne at Open’er 2018 (Ben Bentley/NME)