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4.1 out of 5 stars
41
4.1 out of 5 stars
Tour Of The Universe: Barcelona 20/21:11:09 [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free]
Format: Blu-ray|Change
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on 16 June 2011
After reading some of the reviews I was expecting to be disappointed by the filming/direction, but personally I really like the way it has been filmed. Very clear and colourful with a good mixture of crowd , close ups, full stage, and out of focus/arty shots. This tour had one of the best implementations of video screens i've seen in a DM concert (with the exception of the SOFAD tour which had amazing use of video screens). As we all know Dave is an incredibly good front man, considering he is pushing 50 now he moves around like a fit guy in his 20's.

this dvd/cd set includes lots of bonus material that includes a fairly lengthy and very interesting documentary, with interviews in a studio and also on tour, with backstage footage, rehearsals and sound checks etc. This is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen on DM. Helped in part by the fact that they are now very experienced weathered artists. An amazing insight into the effort they put into their performances. I was amazed by some of the difficulties they had to face on this tour.. family members dying , cancer, burst blood vessels....but the show goes on...apart from a month off for malignant cancer! but that is understandable.
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on 1 May 2011
Saw them Live in Dublin on the tour of the universe..

AMAZING.

So the Blu-Ray had something to live up to - and it didnt let me down.

I have a LOAD of DM live dvds - this is if not THE best then certainly second or third along with "Playing the Angel" from a few years back.

It is really the case that DM have changed gear - not that they were ever getting "old", but they've just gone from being great to being out of this world!

If you missed them live, get this - and turn it up!
If you caught them live, get this - and relive the experience at full volume!
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on 14 November 2010
A hardcore fan's impression of the 2xDVD, first the positives:

+ Audio is fantastic, probably best live audio ever. This based on the PCM stereo track.
+ Martin Gore's voice - I'd say this is also probably better than ever, so rich and warm. All of his songs are highlights to me (we get no less than 7 including the Little soul rehearsal!), both because of his voice, his stage presence (just look at his moves during Jezebel) and the choice of songs, of course. What about another Martin solo tour?
+ Loads of great extras:
> The documentary by Roland Brown is a gem as always.
> Insight is probably my very highlight of the set, so wish I'd got to experience that live.
> The rehearsals - Wrong sounds absolutely amazing, to hear it in such a crisp version without the audience, with Dave Gahan's voice almost as good as on the studio version, wow!
> Sister of night - never thought I'd get to hear this live in a full band version, again so wish I'd been there myself.
> Screens and Sounds of the universe videos - good to have them there, although they're not very exciting (also, there should have been the option to "play all")
+ We've been spoiled with digipaks for the DMDVDs and this is no exception, the slipcase is even embossed this time (the Blu-ray case sure looks dull in comparison).
+ Although they may feel a bit redundant with the PCM stereo track also on the DVD, the CDs are a nice bonus as the audio is what's really good about the main feature - actually, many songs seem to get better if you just listen to them without getting distracted by the video, see below.

Then to the negatives:

- The filming/direction of the concert - to me, there's no doubt this is their visually worst live DVD yet. My main memories is out of focus shots, long distance shots, arms in the way of the camera and close ups of Dave's tattoos, Martin's guitar etc, while we almost NEVER get any facial close-ups of neither Dave nor Martin when they sing! Also, the video screen creates some very disturbing effects from certain angles, guess it's something to do with the frequency of that compared to the cameras, it's like a circular "ghost" pattern moving on the screen which makes the video quality feel very low. (Or may this be an DVD issue only, not present on the Blu-ray?)
- The setlist/versions - no matter how great the audio is nothing can change the fact that this was their most uninspired tour ever, relying almost solely on played to death 86>93 material. On top of that the DVD was shot when 3 of the few highlights (Peace, Master and servant, Strangelove) had been dropped - the fact that the only songs from the main set not to have featured on any of the previous 3 live DVDs are the 5 from Sound of the universe + Dressed in black (acoustic, of course) really tells it all. May be good if you've never experienced a DM live DVD before and prefer the old material, but for the rest of us, it's just a repetition of past merits.
- Dave's voice is a disappointment, being very flat, just listen to Fly on the windscreen or Wrong. As I remember from the shows I was at, he sounded much better, maybe he had some problems with his throat when this was recorded?
- DVD is NTSC only, meaning 18% of the vertical resolution is lost, add to that the 2.25:1 format and the image gets even smaller.
- Hole to feed and 2 of the montages are presented in letter-boxed 4:3.
- The booklet consists of low quality screenshots only - if Anton Corbijn wasn't available then why not get another proper photographer?

Overall - visually a big let down, but thanks to Martin Gore and the extras worth getting.
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on 11 November 2010
Hi peeps.

Last year myself and my sister went to Birmingham LG to watch my fave all time band perform songs from their new album. We enjoyed it so much that I spent silly money for us to go and see them at the O2, only to be annoyed when I found out that if I had spent REALLY silly money I could have watched Martin and Alan perform "Somebody" at the Royal Albert Hall!

Grr

Anyhoo - the new DVD is pretty good, trouble is I don't think it really conveys the bands talent. Poor visuals do let it down, "Playing The Angel" in Milan gave us a music video style to each song, using more unusual angles and stage mounted camera shots to make you feel like you were standing with the band. In TOTU you get long shots of the stage which conveys little atmosphere, making you feel like you are watching the gig from the gods! Before their tour DVDs have been joyous, colourful and visually stunning, while the visuals here are ok, there are too many white light "halo's" which make the band indistinguishable from the stage set.

There were so many songs from "Black Celebration" and "Violator" that I wondered if perhaps they were just trying to please the Audience instead of promoting the new album's songs.

Missing are songs like Fragile Tension and Miles Away[The Truth Is] although the latter does appear in the extras. I saw a wallpaper image once where the number of songs from each studio album performed on the tour was put on a graph. TOTU was not as prolific as it should have been.

Peter and Christian are amazing - those drums just pound through you and in the Documentary they both prove to be thoroughly ordinary chaps with a love of the music and immense talent. Much respect due, and Peter is my new Keyboard Hero, learning new songs in the Jet on the way to a gig then playing them acoustic, genius.

The TOTU DVD left me feeling a little depressed [and no its not because Martin's lyrics are dark] but the fact that the band went through so much before and during the tour, that it tends to leave a stain on the performance. Andy's dad died before they went on stage in Israel, and to credit Fletch he went out and performed, the guys do love their fans, lets face it we are a faithful bunch.

Poor David, I never realised, to my shame, how much he must have gone through just to push himself on stage every night. Naïve me thinks that he can go on forever, and wishes he could. His performance in Birmingham was AMAZING - but in Barcelona he struggles, the once strong voice squeaks and fades out quickly. He depends a great deal on the Audience to fill in the gaps [not that we mind] although in Birmingham his voice did take a while to warm up, and by the third song he was back to singing without that American Accent which proves to be a little annoying on the DVD.

Martin L Genius - has kicked the booze and it shows - sing more please. That voice raises above the others and is as sharp and melodious as in the bands youth. Perhaps David would ease up and feel more comfortable if the rest of the band took up more of the pressure of singing alone. And if you listen to the Demo's on the SOTU extra discs, you hear how Martin writes, he sings them with a passion that David had before the ravages of chemicals and cancer.

Martin is perfectly capable of fronting more songs!

All in all a rather disappointing DVD, I am sure that on repeated viewing it will grow on me, but I yearn for the Halcyon days of Songs Of Faith, or Playing The Angel.

Take time out guys to recover from the tour and life, get Alan back, pesuade him cajole him, sell him my soul... with Peter, Christian and Martin on the case [with a possibility of Vince too!!]- I can't wait for the future.

Be Seeing You

Dr M
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on 6 November 2010
Ok, first I would start saying that I was at both Barcelona's concerts. So with that in mind, if the CD and DVD transmit the atmosphere that I lived in the concert, its a nice first step. Musically speaking, DM is right now one of the best bands that make great music despite the disappointing current music scene.

Perhaps for DM purist fans, the tracklist is the same of old tours but for new fans -those just discovering music - its a perfect occasion to begin with de right foot. If there's one thing I really noticed is DM bases its entire show in their interpretation (specially vocal) not so much visually, like stunning scenarios, pirotecnia, etc. but trust me they do not need more, cause the way they connect with the audience is amazing.

So I recommend this product and I'm confident that extras are in the same level than the concert.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 20 November 2010
For Depeche Mode, whatever you want to call them, it is, mostly business as usual : the usual world megatour is released on DVD in time for Christmas, and what a set it is. 2DVD's jampacked with material, and two audio CD's make this the first widely available, full length live audio in 22 years.

As a performance, Depeche are still a vibrant proposition, and live at least, have restored their performance over the past few years to the unstoppable highwater mark of 1988-1993 - where even the lesser songs are performed with a superior passion and determinded, passionate execution. As with almost all of the recent DM tours, the set is 4 songs from the latest record (three in a row for the opening, then one peppered half way through),alongside a set comprising almost exclusively of singles. It's long been a setlist gripe for the ardent that many of Depeche's finer songs have not been the hit singles but album tracks and even b-sides ; songs overlooked in favour of a Rolling Stones style revue where you are guaranteed to know almost every song. Even with this, the set rises and falls with pacing and familiarity.

Some hits are bigger than others.

It's a fact pointed out in the documentary on the second DVD which features 15 or so extra tracks ; 2 rehearsals, 1 extra live track, several projections and alternate cuts, and the 4 underwhelming videos accompanying the album. These videos are bizarre, and pointless, short films with no correlation to the music, the band, or the world - the great art of the Depeche Mode video seems utterly dead after this famine for your eyes. The documentary is a somewhat maudlin look back at the troubled tour and contains frank admissions that the Depeche touring mechanism is a punishing beast and that the band are collectively beginning to see the end in sight. This may be the final lap. I do hope not.

But here, and now, Depeche Mode conquer a friendly, willing crowd. The staging is, as ever, unique - Anton Corbjin made the band cool after a few years in a visual wilderness and gifted them a visual currency they have spoken ever since ; colourful and quirky with an emphasis on bright oranges and deep blues, on crows and space suits.
And Martin L Gore, once the `Nearly Man' of Depeche Mode, has become a powerful voice - as he did with speed and ease - and managed to attain a unique voice in his work. When you see a masterpiece, you can recognise the master who created it, even if you don't quite know how.

Visually, and performance wise, this is a leap far beyond 2006's practically epileptic "Touring The Angel". The shots and their composition reflect the staging, the room, and the band, to give an accurate feel of what the night was like. No sign here of stuttering 8-frame, third-of-a-second jump cuts of vomiting film stock.

At the end, then it's "Personal Jesus" that roars and licks like a happy puppy to a room that is ecstatic. As a representation of Depehce Mode live, its more than a fair The songs equally staddle the vestige of rock with deep, smooth electronics, and mine a deep vein of immense, mature, and powerful songwriting. From a band that once had a staging that existed solely of banks of synths, the fully fleshed Depeche Mode of now are as powerful - though maybe not as supple - as they have ever been. Yes, they look old. But everyone looks old eventually. And music makes the years invisible.
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on 9 November 2010
As i stood in the shop, i used quite a while to decide whether i should buy The Dvd, Cd+Dvd or the Blu Ray Version. I ended up buying the Blu Ray because it's the first one released by DM.

First of all. I like the way that the concert is filmed. They have placed cameras different places of the stage. So you get some interesting angles. For instance sometimes you see the band from behind the big screen, which i think gives a good visual effect. Compared to the previous tour dvd, this dvd is filmed more easy on the eye. (No fast clips.)

The setlist is almost identic to the previous tours. Interesting songs are Dressed In Black which is a classic from Black Celebration. Also Insight from Ultra, which is a bonus track on disc 2. One of the great things is that although you have heard these songs live many times before, is that the versions are different. One of my favourites are Home, sung beautifully by Martin Gore in an acoustic piano version, performed by Peter Gordeno. Another highlight is I Feel You. I Especially like Dave and Martin doing some headbanging in front of the drums.

Apart from the concert. On disc 2 there are some documentary. Ca 35 minutes. The band are talking about the problems at the start of the tour. I was quite impressed to learn that the stage took 4-5 hours to set up, and 3 hours to pull down again. You get a good picture of the life on the road. And it's always great to see documentaries of your heroes:-)
As usual there are screens from some of the songs performed... It does nothing for me. Some promo videos. I like the video Fragile tension. Otherwise i thing that their videos have become very boring and unpersonal because the don't perform in them.

This blu-ray is a great souvenir for those who went to see DM on this tour. It gives a good picture of the atmosphere of it. I think that the 2 shows i saw in Horsens, Denmark was the best i ever went 2. And i have seen Depeche 9 times. The first in 1988.
I can warmly recommend this release for everyone that likes Depeche Modes music.
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on 19 April 2012
I was a little worried about buying this DM concert since it has received a wide variety of mixed reviews but I am very glad I bought it.
The concert itself is amazing and the Blu-ray quality of sound and image are great. Many people said the concert's direction was weird but I really think the effects and the overall style is pretty much a DM style and for sure a classic Anton Corbjin visual direction. Others have said there are some classic songs missing (this is true, if you want all the classic songs buy "Touring the Angel: Live in Milan") and Dave Gahan's voice is not pristine (a little different from the studio but yet raw, unique and very rock n' roll!) but once again this is all explained by band on the brilliant and very touching documentary.
Marting Gore is fantastic and this version of "Enjoy the Silence" was simply gorgeous. I feel this is an intimate and yet epic concert and every DM fan must buy this Blu-ray.
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on 12 June 2012
As depressing as it's been to see Depeche Mode drift into the album/tour/DVD cycle that typifies rock aristocracy these days, one has to concede they made a pretty good fist of it last time around: both 'Playing The Angel' and the live set that followed were as imaginative and accomplished as anyone could expect from a band approaching its silver anniversary. Although the less immediate 'Sounds of the Universe' might not have been everyone's cup of tea, those who persevered would ultimately have found it to be a solid if understated album which, like 'Ultra', gradually revealed itself to be a logical step forward. Cue a suitably stylish DVD of the tour, right?

"Wrong."

First of all, I should confess that I regard 'Devotional' to be this band's definitive live video but given the 17-year gap, I also accept that to use it as a benchmark for this one would be unrealistic - rather like comparing U2's `360° at the Rose Bowl' to 'ZooTV', or 'REM Live' to `Tourfilm'. However, it's harder to forgive a sharp decline from only four years previously, when `Touring The Angel' managed to be just as engaging in its own way: slick and glossy rather than arty and edgy, it is nonetheless a well-crafted film of a band in excellent form. Sadly, the same cannot be said of its successor.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of 'Tour Of The Universe' is Dave Gahan's bizarre sudden descent into self-parody. Admittedly, he's not the first (this is a fate that has inexplicably befallen several great frontmen from Mick Jagger to Liam Gallagher) and - however incongruent - the occasional exuberant bark of "OH YEAH!" is probably to be expected from someone performing to 21,000 people. But when exactly (and why) did Gahan decide to start imitating Vic Reeves' club singer? I can only assume that this is what happens when you get bored of your own voice, after 20-odd years of having it hurled back at you through a stadium's PA system. Either that or it's some perverse strategy designed to prevent the songs from sounding too familiar (in which case, job done).

Presumably, this desire to keep the material `fresh' explains the sub-Duran Duran funk welded onto `Enjoy The Silence' and the atonal, gaffe-riddled version of `Waiting For The Night'. The latter alone provides irrefutable evidence that Alan Wilder should never have been allowed to leave Depeche Mode (and that Andy Fletcher should be). Not even sympathetic, innovative presentation could do much for this debacle but, just to compound the disappointment, director Russell Thomas has neither Anton Corbijn's minimalist flair nor the cutting-edge imagination of Blue Leach, and often seems more interested in the audience's camera phones than in the performance itself. No doubt this is all very post-modern but frankly, such wilful amateurism does nothing to relieve the overall sense of frustration.

There are a few redeeming features, such as Martin Gore's delicate, piano-accompanied renditions of `Home' and `Dressed In Black', plus welcome outings for `In Your Room' and `Stripped'. In truth though, there's not much on offer here that isn't better represented on `Devotional' or `Touring The Angel'. Whether those DVDs are already in your possession or not, you really don't need this one.
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on 28 January 2011
The concert itself is good (though the beginning does sound as if they need to warm up, it starts to get in gear from Hole to Feed and onwards). The setlist is a bit too predictable with songs which have been played too often on their different concerts, whereas Depeche Mode has such a great catalogue of good songs.

After seeing the outstanding visual quality of the Touring the Angel DVD, I really thought I would get a new reference disc with the Tour of the Universe Blu Ray.
Sadly it didn't quite live up to those expectations. Firstly, there are quite some instances of colour banding. This essentially looks like as if colour doesn't gently transitions but instead you can see clear rings, each with their own hue. It is also presented with black bars, which I find to be a disappointment for a concert Blu Ray (it takes you of the experience of being there). Lastly, the picture looks average. Even during close ups you don't see that much detail. This is disappointing when you compare it to the close up shot of Dave Gahan in the song Walking in My Shoes during the Touring the Angel DVD, the picture on this Blu Ray never tops this moment.

In terms of directing.. the director though it was a great idea too constantly soft focus then focus again, let the camera come from behind the stage or stand in the middle of the crowd, showing hands clapping.
In other words, utterly boring. Even when Dave Gahan and Martin Gore are headbanging at the drums for example, he barely shows it! When there a song gets ramped up and you expect a bit more energetic directing.. you get another completely out of place focusshot.. Though the Touring the Angel DVD, with Blue Leach as director, got a bit too much at times in terms of what kind of effects he used, it was far more interesting to watch.

Sound appeared to be good, though I don't have a DTS HD capable system so I can't really give a good judgment on that.

Bottomline: Good concert, with a bit too predictable set list. Average picture quality. Energetic Depeche Mode performance captured in a boring (and often out of place) way.
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