Set list: Depeche Mode at the London Stadium, June 3rd 2017

This is the set list from the Depeche Mode gig played at West Ham’s London Stadium in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on June 3rd 2017.

The most surprising track of the night (unless you’d seen the set list before like I had) was the cover of Bowie’s “Heroes”. Obvs there isn’t a DM version of the song on Spotify, so I just used the original. And once you’d done that, there didn’t seem much point missing out the opening Beatles track.

There is a full review of the concert going up shortly, like, when I write it, but in the meantime please do enjoy this playlist of the set list.

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Christina Aguilera – The Stripped Tour 2003 Setlist

The year is 2003. In an attempt to shake off her bubblegum pop image, Christina Aguilera dumps both her management team and most of her clothes and takes control of her own career. With her new album, “Stripped”, she grows up both personally and musically, embracing a wide range of styles and genres and tackling difficult lyrical content.

When tickets for the The Stripped Tour – essentially, a continuation of her part of the Justified and Stripped tour that she’d undertaken as a joint venture with Justin Timberlake -my girlfriend and I snapped up tickets. At that time, I was 33 and she was 26. We drove over to Manchester for the gig and were looking forward to it immensely.

As we walked up the steps to Manchester Arena, we passed a trio of young teenage girls, all chattering excitedly in anticipation of seeing one of their idols live. Taking a break from their conversation, one of them looked up at us, her eyes wide with excitement. She turned to her friends.

“Look!” she said. “Old people are coming too!”

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Prince – The Nude Tour 1990 Spotify playlist

July 1st 1990 was a momentous date. For the first and only time, I got to see one of my idols live. Except, I didn’t. Well, not much. Because I missed it to watch the England vs Cameroon game in the World Cup.

From around the time of 1999/Purple Rain, Prince had been one of my idols. When the chance came round to go to see him at the Birmingham NEC with a friend, I jumped at the chance.

What I didn’t realise when we booked the gig months in advance was that the match would clash with one of the World Cup quarter finals. As luck would have it, it was the colossal clash between England vs Cameroon.

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Perfecto Records – Spotify playlist

A Spotify playlist of classic cuts and remixes from Paul Oakenfold, Steve Osborne and the rest of the Perfecto roster.

I thought, as a treat, a bit of a break from the old routine, that we would have a playlist that covered not just the greatest hits but also the greatest remixes. As usual I have tried to choose some slightly more off the wall choices – for example, the obvious choice for a Grace single would be “Not Over Yet”, but literally everyone knows that record, so I picked “Skin on Skin” instead. I chose the incredible, soaring BT mix of “Loving You More”, one of a few mixes BT did around that time that lasted around 25 minutes each. There’s one for “Running Around Town” by Billie Ray Martin that is truly incredible. Have a listen – it’s a beast:

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The R&B Anthology

A massive and constantly-updated Spotify playlist full of R&B, soul, hip-hop, rap, blues, funk, go-go, Motown, and quiet storm. And only a very tiny little bit of jazz because I don’t really like it.

But what I do like, I love passionately, to paraphrase Christopher “Chris” Lowe of Pet Shop Boys. Actually, when I was starting out as a DJ and before I fully embraced the house movement, there was a short period whilst I was playing a lot more R&B. I was really into the D.A.I.S.Y. Age stuff – a lot of which isn’t on Spotify because De La Soul can’t even remember all the records they sampled.

This nigh-on-300-songs-at-the-time-of-writing playlist runs the whole gamut of styles, and hopefully a lot of the history too. For every Archie Bell and the Drells, there’s a Lizzo and for every Staple Singers, there’s a Sindecut.

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ffrr Records (Full Frequency Range Recordings)

There is something undeniably special about the retro, silver-on-black sleeves of ffrr records that this Spotify playlist completely fails to capture.

Nevertheless, the tunes are still banging and they all come from the label’s heyday when it was the specialist dance music wing of London Records (who had some nice retro sleeves themselves). The tune has been resurrected by Pete Tong, and I think that Calvin Harris is on the label now if that’s your sort of thing.

But this playlist concentrates on the classics. The names roll over the tongue like a particularly upmarket alcopop: Armand Van Helden… The Brand New Heavies… Jamie Principle… Bananarama.

Listen, you can mock all you like, but if what you desire most from life is three girls singing over a slightly speeded-up version of “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones, then Bananarama go somewhere that Destiny’s Child, TLC, Sugababes and, err, Stooshe never dared to go. And you’ve got to give them credit for that.

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The Live Anthology

An immense, frequently-updated playlist of the greatest live songs on Spotify, from any and every genre and all types of artist – from alt rock to world music, from Abba to ZZ Top.

I love live music. From the simple thrill of overpaying to listen to music you already own to the giddy heights of being stuck behind someone more than 1.7m tall (that’s 5 feet 7 inches in post-Brexit terms), this playlist aims to capture it all.

When we talk about live music we tend to think about rock acts, and the braver pop acts. Whilst this playlist, which I update at least weekly, does cover that end of the market, I also deliberately try to seek out acts from different genres who put live music on Spotify. I think one of my favourites is the Lyrics Born album “Overnite Encore” – you just don’t get that many rap albums with a full band.

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