I have posted before about one of my reasons for loving Portugal — access to music of all kinds and genres, classical, traditional fado, international superstars, innovative festivals, bands large and small, old and new, intimate venues, outdoor venues — the range is incredible from Rock in Rio every two years in Lisbon to the classy Music of the World every summer in Sines.

In the summer months, the large beer and mobile phone companies ply for our trade, and the kudos of hosting international pop and rock acts over the long weekends in June, July and August.

We chose to go and see Depeche Mode as it was the day before we were flying out on holiday to Venice and Vienna. Our friends joined us from the UK. Depeche Mode headed the bill on Saturday night, Green Day headlined on Friday night with Kings of Leon closing the bill in the late hours on Sunday. You can buy a ticket to cover three days — three days with camping or a daily ticket. Our day passes cost us 55 Euros each.

Venue  —  Wide open concrete space on the bank of the River Tejo.  Large amounts of camping facilities including tent spaces, rented cabins, restaurants and pools etc.

On appearances, this is an unassuming venue, however in reality it works very well. It has exceptionally good and varied transport links.  Road, train, bus, car and taxis are comparatively cheap to the rest of Europe as well.  As there is on site camping there is a huge array of facilities available — food, drink and toilet facilities.

Some of the more popular eateries had 15/20 people in their queues, most drink outlets had five at the most and I did not have to queue for the well-maintained working porta-loos (mobile toilets), which were clean, fully functional and fully equipped with water, toilet paper, sanitary disposal bags and paper towels.  They were kept clean throughout by an army of staff who dealt with any issues promptly.

The main arena has a central stage with two large screens either side and there are four large screens elsewhere in the complex — yes you can be sipping your cocktail in the complex pool and watching the bands perform on a big screen.

THE SET LIST

Welcome To My World
Angel
Walking In My Shoes
Precious
Black Celebration
Policy Of Truth
Should Be Higher
Barrel Of A Gun
Shake The Disease
Heaven
Soothe My Soul
A Pain That I’m Used To
A Question Of Time
Enjoy The Silence
Personal Jesus

ENCORE

Home
Halo
Just Can’t Get Enough
I Feel You
Never Let Me Down Again

A great mix of old and new — from a band who does not like to play festivals — although I think this might change after their experience here.  Energetic, vocally good performance, engaging the audience as they dipped into their archive and then freshened the pace with new material.  The “voice” is still there — the honesty and integrity of performance is still there.  Their stage presence drew us all in — they play the audience as well, if not better than — they play their instruments.

All in all, a better than expected performance — greatly enjoyed by us and the rest of the 60,000 plus audience.   It was good to hear old favorites, but the highlight of the evening for me was the stripped down acoustic version of “Shake The Disease” sung by Martin Gore which was monumental.

15 Comments

  1. Wonderful article, Nicola! I appreciate your keen sense of music, and hearing Depeche Mode again in concert brings back a lot of fine memories for me growing up in the Midwest.

    Were you tempted to set up camp for the full three days, or was the one day enough?

    1. I am loving that I can go and see these bands second time around so to speak – I am soaking up all the music I can .

      Never tempted to camp – we have use of the apartment in Lisbon – I might be tempted by the cabins if we did not have that luxury – I need a bed to lay my head on now I am getting old ! If we had not been flying off to Venice the next day we would probably have done all three nights.

  2. What an awesome review! You have brought back some great memories for me. I used to be a pretty big Depeche Mode fan. You brought back nice memories for me with this post. They are touring the US too, but skipping Seattle. What a great festival overall! Do you think you might do the camping experience next time?

    1. I am delighted to have shared and bought back happy memories …….. as I replied to David we have the use of an apartment in Lisbon so no need for us to camp – if we did not I would be tempted by the cabins – my back needs a bed!