With singer Dave Gahan's near-fatal drugs overdose now a distant memory and the previous well-documented tensions with cohort Martin Gore seemingly erased, a rejuvenated Depeche Mode have returned with a polished batch of typically brooding new songs to show off and an extensive world tour into the bargain.

Bounding on to a set choc-full of Matrix-esque futuristic props, the Basildon electro-rockers launched into A Pain That I'm Used To and John The Revelator - the opening couplet from latest album Playing The Angel - as Gahan's hastilyexposed torso and booming voice signalled the band's usual statement of intent.

A semi-industrial aesthetic continues to bolster their sound, and although the first half of the night was heavy on new material, Gahan's frequent mid-song yelps and screams often punctured the mood during the more sombre numbers.

If there were any dissenters - unlikely amidst this Nuremberg-style blind worship - all was forgiven by the time the classics were rolled out.

The strongest responses came during Personal Jesus (despite Gahan's fluffed lyrics on the first attempt) and Everything Counts as the crowd took over on singing duties, and the meaty version of Enjoy The Silence - with jacked-up guitar and drums adding extra depth - was one of the evening's definitive moments.

Resembling a human toilet brush in huge boots, feathered angel wings and black Mohawk balaclava, Gore - ever the exhibitionist - also had his turn in the spotlight with hon-eyed vocal renditions of Leave In Silence and Home, but it was equally startling to see keyboard player and founder member Andy Fletcher looking more and more like a rotund accountant on day release.

Gahan and Gore even managed a touching Dave Gilmour/Roger Waters-style embrace following their sublimely executed duet on Goodnight Lovers, a gorgeous cut from the criminally under-rated Exciter album.

After two hours and a couple of encores, Depeche Mode were clearly thrilled to be commanding a stage again after such a lengthy absence.

That they can still sell out gigs of this magnitude says much about their continuing global appeal, and following an energetic performance full of passion and vigour, their return will be eagerly anticipated.

Velimir Pavle Ilic