Again, not so much a review as an observation. I enjoyed this show much more than the last Depeche Mode show I attended. The band sounded better and tighter than they did the last time I saw them (although that may have been because of the change of venue - Barclays Center had well-documented acoustics problems back then). Dave Gahan and Martin Gore sounded great, Peter Gordeno did a good job playing the "Alan Wilder" role on keyboards and background vocals and Christian Eigner was solid on drums. Fletch showed off some new dance moves, adding an awkward double Durst to his extensive repertoire (which includes the “Funky Cello” and the “Snack Break”). The band only did four songs off the new album, "Spirit" - the same number of songs they did from 1997’s “Ultra.” That's too bad, because I actually like some of the songs off the new album, especially show-opener "Going Backwards."
We're going backwards
Turning back our history
Piling on the misery
We're going backwards
Armed with new technology
To a caveman mentality
In fact, "Spirit" is quite political - especially when compared to the band's last few albums. Maybe Trump, Brexit and everything else going on in the world inspired them. Or maybe it was being co-opted by the alt-right. Either way, it made for a great show!
Not so much a review as an observation. I enjoyed Tuesday’s show a lot more than I thought I would. I actually preferred it to the "Joshua Tree" show I saw last year. The new album definitely grows on you and some of the songs sound much better live than on the record (especially "The Blackout" and "American Soul"). And it was cool hearing "Until the End of the World" (one of my favorite U2 songs), "Acrobat," and the "Hollywood remix" version of "Desire" live.
While Bono and company mostly stuck to the prevalent themes on “Songs of Experience,” namely positivity and inclusiveness, it was nice to see the band mix it up with a healthy dose of cynicism by bringing back MacPhisto, Bono’s “Zooropa”-era alter ego. "I was in Charlottesville when the KKK sieg heiled together,” MacPhisto bragged during the intro to “Acrobat.” “Made damn sure the president’s hands were full with stormy weather. Ha! You get it? You can’t make this shit up."
Nope. You certainly can’t.
On the bright side, Manchester United finished with its highest point total and table placement since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. On the other hand, United finished behind champions Manchester City by 19 points, won zero trophies, was eliminated by an unheralded Sevilla in the Champions League and lost in a brutal FA Cup final to a going-through-the-motions Chelsea squad that, basically, rolled over and begged United to put them out of their misery (a/k/a Antonio Conte's tenure). Plus, there are troubling signs that Jose Mourinho's three-year itch has already started, and that several promising players, including Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Eric Bailly and even Paul Pogba could be sold.
But hey, that blue-and-gold third kit for 2018-2019 looks pretty sweet.
I thought Michael Carrick was finished as a United player after the 2009 Champions League Final.
Instead, he bounced back to become an indispensable part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s last few Manchester United teams, and was one of the best players on the 2012-2013 title-winning team. On Sunday, United’s last link to those great teams retired as Carrick played his final match. Fittingly, he provided the key pass that led to the lone-goal - a fact that says a lot about how ponderous and poor United have been on offense, at times, this year.
Nothing says more about how far Manchester United and Arsenal have fallen in recent years than this match. After the mutual love society between former mortal enemies Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho ended, United defeated Arsenal 2-1 in Fergie Time after a 91st minute header from Marouane Fellaini (a guy who wants an unprecedented two-year deal from a club that refuses to give anything other than one-year deals to players aged 30 and up - and could get it) to clinch the Top Four Trophy. The loss eliminated Arsenal from said trophy - which was fine with them since they fielded a team full of reserves, bit players and United castoffs (Danny Welbeck and goal scorer Henrikh Mkhitaryan).
Wenger even lampshaded this, saying in his postmatch press conference: "That shows that, once you're not a danger any more, people love you." It also helps that, in a fixture that once determined the league title, the last time these two teams played each other in a match with trophy implications was the 2008-2009 Champions League Semifinal.
I won a Gold and Silver award at the recent ASBPE Upper Midwest Regional AZBEES Awards. Thanks to my colleagues at ABA Journal for making me look so good!
Gold, Group Profile: Civil Rights Lawyers From the 1960s Have Lessons for Today's Social Activists (ABA Journal, August 2017).
Silver, Feature Article, General Interest, Less than $3 Million in Revenue: Legal Advertising Blows Past $1 Billion and Goes Viral.