Last December I finished off my year of gigs with a trip to see the band that have been the soundtrack to my life since I was 12 years old: Depeche Mode. I had seen some great bands, both new and old, including The Killers 4 times, during 2009 and I was particularly looking forward to seeing Depeche Mode as I had missed their last few tours for various reasons.

Now Depeche Mode generally put on a great show, for a skinny guy, Dave Gahan has bags of personality and energy, Martin Gore can pick up a huge variety of instruments with ease and Fletch happily bounces around behind his stack of keyboards egging the crowd along with him.

Although I was disappointed with the crowd reaction around me (many remained seated while I jumped up and down, cheered and applauded like a maniac), the crowd down in the stalls were going wild and the band themselves put on a great show, while it may not have come top of my list of awesome gigs of 2009, it came a close second. At the merchandise desk I was pleased to see that the ‘Mode were once again making all their gigs available as a CD or mp3 so that you could relive the moment over and over and I gladly purchased the voucher for one.

That download became available today and I eagerly plugged in my headphones so I could turn it up loud and relive an awesome gig. Sadly, not so much. The recording, while true to the music, has completely failed to capture the atmosphere and sweaty joy of the gig as I had hoped it would.

Earlier in the year I had been able to grab tickets to a special show by The Killers at the Royal Albert Hall which was recorded for their first live DVD and CD. The resulting package has managed to capture the very essence of that gig and I can relive some of the best moments of 2009 over and over. Oftentimes I will choose to listen to the live version of the song, rather than the recorded version, just because it brings back that atmosphere and those memories.

Granted, The Killers put on two special shows, specifically to be recorded and their team took several months editing and making with the pretty to put together just one CD and DVD, and Depeche Mode are recording every gig they play and making it available, so you would expect the quality of The Killers’ output to be better. Yet, it is not the sound quality that I am missing here, the quality is great for a live recording, it’s the atmosphere and the feeling of ‘being there’ that I am missing. I don’t go to gigs to hear an exact replica of the CD I’ve been listening to over and over, I go for the experience of sharing watching a great band play with a bunch of sweaty over-excited fans, and I am just not getting that with Live Here Now.

It’s a shame, because it will likely be another long while before I can see Depeche Mode again, and I was hoping that this recording would keep me going until next time.

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