Being a Depeche Mode fan, I bought this the day it was released and even before I watched it, I felt some effort had been made. It may sound anorak-like, but the DVD packaging is superb (even though the flip-open case sometimes causes Disc 2 to fall out): lots of grainy Anton Corbijn photos and a suitably arty libretto. Anyway, it's a suitable addition to your DVD shelf, which, if you're reading this, probably includes The Singles 86>98 DVD already.
As for the content, yes, I agree with the previous reviewer, it's not the same experience as when you're there, no matter how big your TV or how effective your sound system.
Admittedly, vocal shortcomings are always going to show up on a live recording, but when you're getting a rarely-performed It Doesn't Matter Two and a superb reworking of Condemnation, I can forgive any off-key moments, and it's all worth it for the obligatory crowd-waving during Never Let Me Down Again.
What's most interesting when you watch this show however, is how the Depeche Mode live show focuses so much around Dave and Martin, not just as individuals, but as a sort of double-act, hovering between moments of intensity, and moments of light-hearted exchanges. This is especially evident now that Martin has pretty much entirely abandoned keyboards for guitar onstage.
Dave remarks in the interview section how Martin's new onstage persona has served to move the Depeche Mode live experience away from what could previously have been seen as the "Dave Gahan show", but what this concert film serves to show is how it has most undoubtedly become the "Dave and Martin Show".
The extras are a welcome bonus, and the crew and band interviews are interesting. Being an Anton Corbijn project, nothing can be handled in a conventional manner, so all the band interviews are filmed with a handheld camera as they walk around the quiet backstage areas of the venue before the show.
We also get to see the short films that Corbijn made to project onto the stage backdrop (and if you freezeframe in time, you can read the captions during It's No Good: not even the band know what they say).
Given that the show was being filmed, it might have been an opportunity to showcase some of the highlights of the Exciter tour for posterity: I'm not saying they should've extended the set too much, but when you consider that Martin performed such an array of material during his solo spot throughout the tour (Judas, Dressed in Black, Surrender), maybe they could've thrown in a couple of extra songs on the night.
Nevertheless, as a souvenir of a tour where the band clearly enjoyed themselves as much as the thousands in the crowd, it's excellent.
Now what about a long overdue release for 101 on DVD?