LIVE REVIEW: Dave Gahan and Soulsavers 'Imposter' at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London

LIVE REVIEW: Dave Gahan and Soulsavers 'Imposter' at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London 1
Credit: Marija Buljeta

After two successful collaborations, Rich Machin's Soulsavers and Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode produced their third album, Imposter. Imposter is a cover album that focuses on the artists and songs that have influenced them both over the years.

On 7th December, we had the opportunity to hear this intriguing album live. Dave and Soulsavers had no support act. At 9 pm sharp, the band took the stage, prompting fans to stand up and scream with excitement. It was a warm welcome for Dave and the band, which tonight consisted of 3 guitarists, a bassist, a keyboardist, a drummer and three backing vocals.

Dave Gahan and Soulsavers 'Imposter' at O2 Sheperd’s Bush Empire, London
Credit: Marija Buljeta

We knew that the album would be played in its entirety and running order, which meant they opened with "The Dark End of The Street". The James Carr cover version introduced the audience to the gospel sound, while Americana and blues influences were heard throughout the set. Dave performed Mark Lanegan's "Strange Religion" with such subtleness and emotion so gracefully that it was an absolute pleasure to witness such a powerful display of his vocal abilities.

The performance of "I Held My Baby Last Night" was an impressive interpretation of this blues classic by Elmore James that allowed Dave to unleash his solid and unique baritone. Dave gained absolute control over the audience with his imposing magnetism and charisma. The stage was set very minimalistic, in line with the album's visual identity; the drapes were either red or blue, and the spotlight was reserved for Gahan. Dave proved how incredibly talented and versatile a singer he is with each song.

Dave Gahan and Soulsavers 'Imposter' at O2 Sheperd’s Bush Empire, London
Credit: Marija Buljeta

Sometimes I like cover versions more than the originals, which was the case with Cat Power's "Metal Heart"; Dave and Soulsavers turned into a pop-rock slow-dancer, and Dave's vocal interpretation took it to the next level.

"Smile" and "Always On My Mind" are probably the most familiar songs on the album. The originals are so embedded in our memory that it was an absolute pleasure to hear them in their toned down and simplistic arrangements, which allowed Dave to express his own emotions during the performance.

Dave Gahan and Soulsavers 'Imposter' at O2 Sheperd’s Bush Empire, London
Credit: Marija Buljeta

Although the night was dedicated to Imposter, the show would not be complete without the Depeche Mode selection. The atmosphere thus reached a boiling point during the performance of "Personal Jesus"; Dave heated the atmosphere with his recognizable Depeche Mode dance moves. "John The Revelator" was another favourite of the night for the die-hard DM fans.

After hearing Imposter live, we are even more convinced that their cover versions are just as inspiring and memorable as the originals. With that in mind, we left the venue with a sense of great respect for the original artists and the band who performed for us tonight.

Dave Gahan and Soulsavers 'Imposter' at O2 Sheperd’s Bush Empire, London
Credit: Marija Buljeta

Setlist: The Dark End Of The Street, Strange Religion, Lilac Wine, I Held My Baby Last Night, A Man Needs A Maid, Metal Heart, Shut Me Down, Where My Love Lies Asleep, Smile, The Desperate Kingdom Of Love, Not Dark Yet, Always On My Mind, Revival, Personal Jesus, Shine, John The Revelator, Take Me Back Home

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