:: reviews

:: phil collins - las vegas, nevada
7th october 2006 by rich baxter

Just got back home from our trip to Las Vegas and seeing the Andre Agassi charitable show at the MGM Grand Arena which Phil Collins headlined this past Saturday night. The night's entertainment was awesome and Phil went last which probably made him feel nervous. In fact he made mention that he was a bit 'shit scared' having been away from the concert scene for a year. There were 10,000 people in the upper seating area as well as many more celebrities in a lavish dining room set up for the event which raised money for a children's charity set up by Andre. The concert hall really roared upon hearing Phil's introduction by American actor, Ben Stiller. Phil explained that he had been asked to do the show for 11 years but always had an excuse, but not for this show, of course he was referencing his break up of his marriage just recently leaving him available to do the show.

Tears For Fears led off the show with a rocking set that featured there biggest hits. They really sounded great and loud. Sarah McLachlin and John Mayer turned in great performances, all under the musical direction of the producer David Foster. A few others perfomed as well leading up to the actor Ben Stiller introducing Phil, who opened with with a piano version of "In The Air Tonight" joking that he would be allowed to play at this event if he didn't play this song. He announced a little trip down 'memory lane' and launched into a few more songs and then did a duet with Nathan East with 'Easy Lover' that went over really well with the crowd.

All in all, I don't think we've seen the last of Phil performing or perhaps getting back to his solo career, he seemed to really enjoy perfoming and really exceeded my expectations as he didn't miss a beat for his set considering he has been off for a while. We will see. Daryl was not playing guitar for this show, but the Harry Lee and the horns were there to support Phil and played their hearts out for him, I really think Phil misses the road now, and won't be surprised if he was to do a lot more in the near future.

The show ended with 'Take Me Home' with Phil playing the hell out of the bongo's and sounding just wonderful, I am a Phil fan, but if he didn't trully sound great I wouldn't sugar coat it, he sounded like it was the 100th show of a tour it was that good. People in the audience wanted more, and as the lights rose in the back of the house it signalled yet another stage played by Phil and left all of us in the audience with a little bit more of what we came to see and we weren't disappointed and cried out for more!


:: phil collins - come with me to phoenix
1st september 2004 by frank mussilami

I had arrived in Phoenix, Arizona with my Phil Collins tickets i had bought 4 months prior. I was also going to be attending the Chicago show a week later, however since i have family in Phoenix i decided to make the trip. After walking through non - existant security we found out seats on the upper row. Stretching back into our seats we made ourselves at home. The stage was set-up with a huge Jumbotron screen, a round oval screen similiar to the one Pink Floyd used on their 1994 tour. At around 8:15 the intro music began and a loud horn sounded as a single white light moved from the center of the lighting rig center stage to announce the show would begin soon. The heavily indian influenced intro music harked back to something you may hear from the Beatles Revolver album. The stage grew black with the dimming of the house lights, and from stage right a tiny spotlight illuminated the very small figure of Phil Collins, drum sticks in hand, as he smirked walking toward his drum kit, center stage. Hitting the first note, sounding like a gun shot echoing throughout the arena, Phil's fluid drumming was joined by Chester Thompson, back touring with Phil for the first time since the "Serious" tour. The two rampaged through a drum a very strong drum duet, with hints of "Dukes Travel's" included. Soon, Luis Contie, the percussionist, made his way to his kit between the too, joining in the melee. The rest of the band emerged, the Vine Street Horns taking to the right hand side of the stage as the opening notes of "Something Happend on the Way to Heaven" filled the arena. And we were off! Phil took a swig of water, slowly made his way to the mic and we heard "Good Evening Phoenix!". The screen lights were very bright as well as the floor which also lit up. Against All Odds was next, followed by Don't Lose My Number and You'll Be in My Heart. The aforementioned sounding identical to the Serious tour version, and YBIMH sounding a bit punchier. The Jumbotron then filled with graphics of stars and night landscapes as One More Night was played, and Can't Stop Loving You had a city scape (new york perhaps?) reminiscent of the video. Hang in Long Enough followed up, with Phil pulling the various back up singers (six of them) along the stage and up the stairs. Next was what Phil called "one of my favorite songs" the Brother Bear song "No Way Out". Returning to the front of the stage with all of the back up singers, Phil introduced them "here's my posse" he said, as True Colors began, a capella' for the most part except for light keyboards and a trumpet solo. "This is a song i wrote for my kids" Phil said as he began "Come with Me". Two cartoon hands appeared on the screen, lifted from the Testify album liner notes. A chair appeared front stage, as Phil sat and sang "Groovy Kind of Love", his remake of the Mindbenders hit. I Missed Again was next, with looped images of the 1981 video, with Phil air guitaring, drumming and keyboarding. "PARADISE" appeared on the screens as Phil sang about the hardship of the homeless, however no buckets were present for any donations as on previous tours. Next came the suprise of the evening, "Misunderstanding". It seemed pretty much the 3 Side Lives Genesis version, except for the extra backing vocals which gave it the "Duke" feel, and the horns punching lines similiar to "It don't matter to me". Footage from the video was show , complete with Mike and Tony on the back of the flat bed truck. Seperate Live's followed with the same graphics as One More Night. "In the Air" followed, an additional drum set emerged from the very top of the stage, directly in front of the screen (think "Domino" on the WCD tour). As the drum solo came in huge thunderbolts emerged behind Phil as he turned the American West Arena into the air drumming capital of the world. Taking a slight pause the horns kicked for Dance into the Light as the screens showed checker lighted images. Next up, The You Can't Hurry Love/Two Hearts/Wear my Hat medley. After that, Easy Lover followed, with Nathan East absent this tour, the 3 verses were switched of between Phil, Arnold McCuller and Amy Keys. Sussudio closed the set, with that confetti we are all accustomed to. Phil popped down to the front row and let some of the audience sing into his mic. Returning after a few minutes for the encore, Phil thanked the crowd for the support throughout the years, ending by saying " I just want to say i love you guys". The backup singers and Phil took center stage again, performing a moving "Its Not Too Late", and then it was backed to the drum kit for another duet, before Phil emerged to the conga's to play along with Take Me Home. I liked this version alot better than previous tours with Ronnie Caryl playing the main rhythm of the song on the guitar. Images of animated city scapes on the screens appeared before the globe appeard with "PHOENIX" on it. It was final bows, and the
house lights were up......see you in Chicago!

:: peter gabriel - live in italy
11th & 12th may 2004 by roger salem

The announcement of a new PG tour a few months ago was met with an ‘Oh, great Peter is finally coming back to his album-tour-album-tour circuit that we were being fed 10 years ago.’ On the one hand this was good news because as fans we weren’t getting to see Peter live for very long intervals and our hero is certainly not getting any younger so it is always a pleasure when he’s back in the arenas. On the other hand, when I discovered from the grapevine that he was bringing back the same stage show as last year’s I was somewhat disappointed. True, Peter has in the past brought back the same tour set-up but always within the span of 6 months, not after a full year. So I was expecting no surprises: same show with more or less the same songs. But with Peter it has always been ‘More than this’ and the man had yet to surprise us yet again and he did!

Half of the excitement of going to Peter Gabriel concerts is to see the fans, people whom I cherish enormously and some of whom have travelled from far to see Peter play in Italy, the heart of Gabriel mania. Also many of these fans have been around for ages, going back a quarter of a century when we all had a full set of hair and slim bodies! Arriving at the Milan Filaforum at around 5 pm a long line leading to the main gate had already formed. And all of sudden I start hearing my name being shouted out from different parts of the line. For a moment I felt like a movie star or someone famous! It was somewhat embarrassing to say the least. It is where I realised that I wasn’t the only ‘nut’ out there going to see Peter for the hundredth time! Actually I wouldn’t even remember how many times I have seen Peter…it has never been the amount for me but always the quality, which in this instance always justified the amount of times I went to see him. And it is precisely this argument that drew me once again, almost exactly one year later to the same place to see the same rock star with the same fans and all. That golden voice, regardless of the stage show and whether he sang the same songs, was enough to justify coming to see him…it was ’that voice again’ and that was what counted for me.

Stefano, Thierry, Bernard and Annabelle, Tommaso and Marcella, Paolo, Mino, Sylvia, Marco, Alberto, Andrea, etc... as well as so many other fun loving touring pals without which a Peter Gabriel concert experience would not be the same. It was like a time warp, being taken back in a time machine to the exact same place and seeing the same people, some even wearing the same t-shirts as the preceding year. It was a strange feeling. Once inside the venue, the feeling did not subside with the sight of Robert Le Page’s majestic circular stage with its upper structure suspending lower to the stage than last year, but still with the Zorb ball wrapped up in its gigantic orifice. Ah, good old Milan I was thinking. If there is one place in the world where one must see Peter it is undoubtedly in this city. It is for good reason that the DVD was shot in Milan last year. The level of energy coming from the audience is more intense then anywhere else. During the gig I took a good look around me and could not help thinking how special the Italian audience is. Not just for Peter Gabriel concerts but for music in general. They have a real love affair with music and one can feel it. I have travelled in many places in the world to see concerts and Italy has always been magical. My love for Italy and the Italians has no limits. Rachel-Z confirmed this too me after the gig, sipping her beloved cappuccino, that Milan was indeed very special and that there was no other place as strong. ‘How about Paris?’ I asked. ‘Yeah, that is good too but Milan is the best, you guys are the best’ she told the small group of fans which had gathered in the Spizzico snack bar of the Filaforum to share some conversation. During the show, Rachel looked down at the audience and saw me. I was so close that I could here her saying: ‘Did you get your pass?’ Yes, Grazie Rachel ti voglio bene!

So what were the differences between this year and last? For me I’ll start off by saying that I enjoyed this year more and this for two reasons: On the one hand I had loved seeing the show’s many facets so much last year that seeing it again this year could hardly be disappointing even if the show was going to be exactly the same. On the second hand, I thought that the show was less ‘dark’ then last year, not just in terms of light but in terms of mood, of general atmosphere. There was a more positive vibration in the air. The band looked much more confident then last year, knew the ropes real well and seemed to be having even more fun on stage then ever before. Peter looked in shape and even has lost weight. The dominant color was ‘white’, gone were the intense red colors except used occasionally songs like Red Rain of course and ‘Games without Frontiers’, but ‘More than this’ had a different mood accentuated by the whitness of the light. ‘White Ashes’ was one of the evening’s main surprises: a hardly recognizable version compared to the original on the album OVO, a song which frankly at the time went un-noticed. Peter has considerably embellished the tune it is sounding wonderful. This was to me one of the strongest moments of the concert. It was one of those moments where Peter transcended time and space bringing me back 30 years, where I imagined what Peter would have been like had he remained in the realm of his past band, Genesis. It was very intense, very touching and will remain one of the most memorable moments of the many Gabriel concerts I have seen in the past 20 years. ’Games without Frontiers’ was mellower then usual, almost slower in pace and certainly very artistic from the choreographic point of view with the use of the Seagways by both Peter and Melanie. Then there was, of course, ‘San Jacinto’, which was the highlight for most people. An incredible version, with incredible light effects on Peter, especially on the finale where it seemed that Peter was engaged in a session of hatha yoga: ‘we will walk – on the land, we will breathe – of the air – we will drink – from the stream – we will live – hold the line.

I am very glad that he omitted ‘Animal Nation’ and ‘The Barry Williams Show’ and I only wish that he had omitted ‘In your eyes’, a song which I find not only intolerably boring but way too long. Why have such masterpieces as Mother of Violence, White Shadow, Wallflower and Humdrum been relegated to oblivion? He did ‘In your eyes’ last year, why not offer us something different, I wonder, and keep on wondering!

Growing Up with the Zorb was an explosion of fun and all that jumping around helped me distil the many beers I had drunk during the course of the evening. I jumped energetically landing emphatically on Thierry’s foot each time! The very pretty girl next to me will remember this as the roller coaster ride of her life. ‘Signal to Noise’ was introduced by Peter making a reference to the inhumane treatment of Iraq prisoners and that once again it was ‘time to signal to noise’. In the context of the situation of Iraq this song has taken over the last year a greater significance it is a plea to man’s remind us that man has gone too far. The dominant green colour projected on the curtain had changed to white: ‘the outside world is black and white with only one colour dead’. If this un-ending cycle of violence continues we will soon ‘only dream in red’.

Another sparkling moment for me was during ‘Secret World’ when Peter held hands with his daughter Melanie while they sang in unison. The next day in Pesaro I met Melanie after the warm-up and asked her about this precise moment. She told me that the first time Peter started holding her hand she was taken by surprise and was so shaken with emotion that she almost ‘chocked and could hardly sing’. As Mel was explaining this to me I had my back facing one of Italy’s greatest fans, not of Peter Gabriel, mind you, but of Melanie! I was told later that while I was busily chatting away with her, this ‘jealous Casanova’, whose name is not worthy of mentioning, was pretending to hit me over the head with a bottle of wine which he had in his hand, a beverage probably not originally destined for my cranium but more likely to be shared, back-stage, with the love of his life! I did notice at one twitch of a moment Melanie with a grin larger then life, looking over my shoulders.

The Pesaro show was nice too but somewhat of a disappointment after Milano. The audience was too soft and hardly reacted to ‘Biko’. The sound of the auditorium left a lot to be desired too. The place was also quite empty. With a venue capacity of 10’000 people around 2’500 turned up. In Milan around 5’000 if I am not mistaken. During the warm-up in Pesaro the band played the new song ‘Baby Man’ which sounded that it still needed some warming up before delivering it to the audience. This number should soon be featured on the European tour. At least one person seemed to enjoy this song, none other then the 3 year old Issac Gabriel who was on the stage with the band, wearing these over-sized ear-phones and, yes folks, dancing to the groove!

In Pesaro I had the chance to meet a few more friends, namely Mario Giametti from the Italian fanzine DUSK. A nice ham panino and chit chatting after the show before the long ride back to Milano. The next day I felt like a zombie at work whilst day-dreaming in anticipation for the next round. Next stop: Zurich, Halenstadion on the 24th May. Should be another great one…and the place has amazing acoustics. A presto tutti!

Roger Salem
Arosio, 18th May 2004

Peter Gabriel ‘Across The River’ from Philadelphia -Camden, New Jersey 21-Jun-03 - Richard Baxter

Peter Gabriel and band lit up the night sky in Camden, New Jersey on Saturday night, June 21, 2003. Camden’s Tweeter Center on the Waterfront which is a stone’s throw from Philadelphia directly across the Delaware hosted the two hour and fifteen minute run through a nicely selected cross section of material spanning Peter’s solo career. A nice treat of tickets for the show for my birthday from my girlfriend was just what I need to boost the spirits!

This show seemed to vastly improve upon the last tour for the ‘Up’ release. The songs were fan favorites and got everyone jumping out of their seats to dance. The opening act was politely applauded with a short set of a few songs that sounded right out of Bombay! However, it wasn’t Indian music at all, it was music from Uzbekistan. The artist was Sevara Nazarkhan, who is very beautiful herself! A member of her band played what appeared to be a long broomstick very nicely! It reminded me of playing air guitar! Only his had a couple of strings that sounded very much like a sitar.

Onward to the main event and at precisely 8.34 pm the lights dimmed and Peter Gabriel and band started up with ‘Red Rain.’ As was mentioned, Peter did put on a couple of pounds since he last stopped by on tour only a few months back. In fact, if his all black outfit was white, he could have easily have been confused as “Porterhouse Pete” your local butcher! Never missed a meal on that tour of the world did you, Peter?

A tasty version of ‘More Than This’ followed up by a nice stewing version of ‘Secret World’ made the crowd cheer loudly as Peter and band spun round and round with the multicolored bright light display. Only a couple of minor audio glitches happened tonight. Once one of the ‘men in the orange suits’ as Peter refers to them had to come out and fix his in ear monitor that he said needed some fixing. A couple of audio blips would surface out of the PA later in the show, but nothing major.

‘Games Without Frontiers’ was next and interestingly enough, it was more of a duet with daughter, Melanie. They were both doing their singing duties while riding the new ‘Segway’ “motorized human transporter” as they are called in the USA. It is a odd looking motorized mode of transportation that has two wheels and is ridden as a scooter. They retail for around $5000 each here in the USA, so I doubt they will be under too many Christmas trees this year.

The singing of ‘Games’ energized the large crowd and ‘Mercy Street’ was next followed up with a real nice version of ‘Darkness.’ This was a nice transition from older songs to the new one. There was a larger cross section of younger fans this time around, perhaps the warmer weather brought them out for the show if seemed to me to be an older crowd for the last tour of the arena in Philadelphia for ‘Up.’ A couple of comments about war before a song brought out some chants of USA, USA!! from the crowd perhaps not a good time for politics and music.. I don't know if the intended purpose of the comments were to bring upon that response but the music played on anyhow.

A string of songs followed; ‘Digging In The Dirt’ got everyone standing up and then the ballad, “Don’t Give Up” inspired by the Depression and unemployment was received nicely. ‘Growing Up’ featured a return of the large bouncing human hamster ball! Though not really enough room to get rolling around with, the effect was achieved! Heck for that matter, later in the encore, the old English red telephone booth was brought back in ‘Come Talk To Me.’ Props, props, and more props! What the show lacked from the arena tour with the round staging, it more than made up for itself with all the extras we got on stage tonight! The band even went out into the audience while playing and did some high fives with the crowd along the way! I heard an excited fan say after the show that he was lucky enough to have received a high five from Peter himself.

Peter shouldn’t stay away so long for the next tour. He is one of the best touring bands out there and with all the cinema and effects he adds to a show, one wonders what they did for the long pauses in between tours for these musical Broadway style shows! The encore of ‘In Your Eyes, ‘Come Talk To Me,’ and then Peter solo with ‘Father and Son’ brought the curtain down on this evening’s show in Camden. The band who jump started itself early in the ‘Up’ tour last year are now in top form, and this show is not to miss! Gabriel’s magic has left New Jersey and he’s headed for a town near you.

Richard Baxter

The Real World's A Stage But Gabriel's No Mere Player ... That Struts Hhis
Stuff -19 May 2003 - Ian Moncton

The Real World's a Stage but Gabriel's NO Mere Player ... that struts his stuff

The soiree did not start well however, the dash from the farthest point on NEC parking lot had been graced with a teeth chattering hailstorm that migrated to torrential downpour. To say "the heavens opened" would be wrong, it was Much nearer to something from Hades !!

And did not progress any better in the offing. As I steamed gently in my seat The Three Stooges sat down behind me and proceeded to spout loudly in perfect "Q"isms on the latest must have grooves they had purchased/pirated - Stripes/Strokes/Vines ... B******ks !!! Whatever ...

But the proceedings got OVO SO much better ......

Not many headliners (if any ?) would be humble enough to come out and introduce the support act - And in such a genuinely heartfelt way too - "These voices have been lived in ... listen to their experience" Blind Boys of Alabama gave 45mins of soul baring, gospel harking, warm rich sounds ..... Acapella sp? in an aircraft hangar takes SOME voices .... These guys have those voices , and some to spare ...

The Main attraction - certainly No Torture But My kind of action - Välkommen till Gabrielland !!!!!!!!!

"Here Comes the Flood" ............. (How did he know ?) We took the first step on 2.5 hrs of life's journey - Where the last tour finished - only fitting - Solo performed, as the rotations began ... THAT voice... nape hair lifting as ever !!

"Darkness" - Pierced Contrasting Angular yet Harmonised all at once !! In Your Face, then cut to restrained ... animate movement in mood and position on the ever changing platform ... Ms Gabriel frenetic @ the Mic stand emphasising "don't mess with me my fuse is short" perhaps ?

"Red Rain", So old, he cocked up the chat intro, but laughed it off. So Old, yet still fresh ... great lighting projected onto the stage canopy Martian Landscape by Constable ?

All through the Eve - The quietly confident Mr G chats to the crowd humorous yet thought provoking ... Not afraid to open UP, whilst we all Grew UP together !

"Secret World" rediscovered really stretched out the band and didn't find them wanting We were now engrossed in the best possible way .

"Sky Blue" cometh the song returneth the "Boys".10 years in the writing apparently - But so worth the wait !!! Harmony arose on the central disc the NEC filled with a veritable tide of euphoria

To call it theatre or even theater would be to reduce it to a one dimensional level - It was an EXPERIENCE ! None of the stage rebuilds - Every track a different set up - detracted in the slightest from the whole - Yet more so enhanced it

The central column descended, It rose, it spun, it became an ovipositor, a bringer of planets lunar, A TARDIS - Time And Relative Dimensions In Space ... AND when the gestation was over - Gave Birth !!

Hatched from Ovo Gabriel and Daughter spun round upside down (or is it "Downside UP") from the flying bridge - Fit or what ?

"The Barry Williams Show" Circling the now descended walkway Peter filmed the crowd/crew/band and US - We were what we watched

"More Than This" It Was !

Mercy St, complete with small green boat with Ms Melanie seated therein - the troubadours sat on the very rim of the gently rotating outer disc. Haunting pipe playing (repeated on more than one occasion throughout the night)

"Diggin' in the Dirt" We Sang back Again the Gabriel contrasts in composition exhibited in style.

"Growing Up" folded in the plastic purse ' floating once again ... well actually careering in laps of the circumference as the musos huddled in the centre - Extreme Ball control especially on the bounce !

"Animal Nation" Bonobo inspired, had me eating out of his hand . I did my bit on the crowd refrain - Where were the rest of you ? The shame of being called "pitiful" by the great man did encourage an improved second chorus tho' ...

"Solsbury Hill" More exercise , on two wheels - Classic is a much over used word , but , well, IT WAS !! alright? live with it !

"Sledgehammer" I wanted to be AND was - unfortunately involved accidentally punching the guy in front - He took it very well.

"Signal to noise" so that's what its about !! ....... A wall of keyboard and guitar techno triumph as well as a thought provoking anti war piece - Audience Stunned !!


"In your eyes" extended in so many ways We saw it all ...helped again by The Alabaman Choir Extraordinaire.

"Father & Son" (tear in the corner of my eye - it always does that to me) brought the journey back to Planet Birmingham ........

I'm so Glad I went AND so Sad I can't make any of the other dates. DVD PLEASE SOOOOOON !!

A big thank you to the whole ensemble incl The Orange People of course !!


The Munich Report, 05-05-2003 by Gerhard Eibel


Entering the venue at approx. 6:45 p.m.(no clocking, no scribbling this time, only for my enjoyment and thus reporting from my memories the day after), made my way to the standing area UP FRONT, row 1 ½, almost “touch-distance” to the stage, to join up with Kerstin Rümke(another German “Lunatic”) and a friend of hers. Other people around us were, first and foremost, the South-American Gabriellian Bravehearts ALFREDO and AXEL, who came all the way from BUENOS AIRES/Argentina, some 12,000 miles one way, for this ONE NIGHT WITH PETER and had the time of their life(I was so happy for them), watching HIM as well as the beautiful Sevara Nazarkhan(they really loved her set – me too, more and more - and were constantly searching for eye-contact with this fine young Lady from Uzbekistan, which probably led her to spend most of her set next to us, singing and dancing – BREATHTAKINGLY MARVELLOUS. THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH, SEVARA!!!!!!!!)

Then there were two couples from Germany, one of which “contained” an expert in all things PG and PG/GENESIS – very interesting conversation – while the other couple(mid- or late- twenties) haven’t been too familiar with anything Peter Gabriel UP to this night(but found themselves completely awe-stricken afterwards and ready to buy UP, OVO, US and PASSION - you should have seen this glare in their faces, they hardly could believe what happened that night at the Olympiahalle and in front of their very eyes).

All of us were lucky enough to find our places in that “corner” of the stage where THE BOAT was stored(more on that later).

The venue:

The Olympiahalle in München(Munich) is a typical sports arena, designed for this in the first place and not for music, normally containing some 15,000 people and was reported “sold-out”, but there were some empty seats in the highest ranks. Yet, like in Oberhausen, some people were sitting or standing on the stairways, so I think, it really was sold out. The atmosphere, especially in the standing area, was fantastic – positive vibrations all over.

The sound:

Not as brilliant and crystal clear as in Oberhausen; I heard people, especially in the middle rank seat area, complaining about an somewhat indifferent and distorted sound, especially during ANIMAL NATION, but in “our corner”, and I guess that goes for the entire standing area, the sound was pretty good and with the more quiet songs even brilliant. Only time I felt the sound was distorted, was with IN YOUR EYES. Here the sound wasn’t well-balanced, the guitars were too loud and you could barely hear Sevara’s and Peter’s singing during the loud parts in the middle of the song with the scat vocals.

Ambient music before the show started with Sevara Nazarkhan at 7:40 p.m.:

Long Walk Home – EXCERPTS

7:40 p.m., house lights down

Peter, Sevara Nazarkhan and her quintet entered stage (keyboards, drums, percussion, bass guitar and doutar - a 15th century, two stringed, Central Asian lute, that is plucked, not strummed; quote from tour programme. Yet the doutar was definitely bowed in one song tonight. Btw., the doutar players name is Hector Zazou, he produced Sevara’s latest album YOL BOLSIN.

After - again - FRANTIC, seemingly never ending applause and the unavoidable Peter, Peter, Peter callings finally ceased, he introduced her in the German(receiving additional frantic applause) and left the stage over to Sevara, her still incredibly wonderful mezzo-soprano voice and her beautiful mixture of traditional Central Asian music and Rock/Pop music – more Rock than Pop, I’d like to add. Her somewhat louder and more up-tempo songs rock like hell, believe me.

And this time I think I recognized her album's title song Yol Bolsin, which is indeed an amazingly powerful and rocking song. It’s impossible to keep your legs ‘n feet from moving to it’s merciless rhythm and when you watch this Central Asian Beauty dancing around the stage, light as a feather and almost flying like a butterfly(flutterby!?), you simply are done for. At least the entire floor area was dancing like crazy and my friends from Argentina had their first natural high that night – me too, not to mention.

This highly talented young Lady is definitely one of Peter’s greatest discoveries in artists, right next to and as powerful as Youssou N’Dour or the Afro Celt Sound System.

At 8:10 p.m. and after 5 songs(3 up-tempo and rocking, one quiet and beautiful opening song this time and another quiet one as the closure to her set) her set ended with a BIG HAND. Alike the Oberhausen folks the Munich folks loved her appearance, her music and her voice.

Some more ambient music, this time from OVO(amongst it: Low Light, tonight with vocals)

Approx. 8:55 p.m. THE MOMENT
Peter entered the venue, this time NOT riding in on that bicycle he later used for Solsbury Hill. He simply entered the stage and ambled to the place where his keyboards and machines were placed then, accompanied by frantic … you know what(he usually receives a “boiling hot welcome” whenever he shows up in Germany for whatever reason – we LOVE this man) … from the audience.

After he found his place he simply started the set with (and this time obviously not yet in the mood to fuck up. Tonight he decided to spice UP some other songs with his famous Gabrielese – a healthy variation here and there has to be in order to keep a show lively)

No. 1 - JETZT KOMMT DIE FLUT – Here Comes The Flood

Peter, just alike Oberhausen, was again in the best possible mood. IN TIP-TOP SHAPE, voice and physically and (was it because I was this close to the stage???) I felt tonight’s show rocked even more than Oberhausen. With SECRET WORLD and DIGGING IN THE DIRT all I can say is: Peter never rocked that way since the old days with GENESIS. Notably DIGGING sounded as powerful as THE RETURN OF THE GIANT HOGWEED 30 years back in time and space.

And what a beautiful Great Rock n’ Roll Axe-men’s guitar solo Richard Evans played on the steel guitar(a Dobro, I guess - not even Steve Hackett could have played it better). With this moment I felt I was witnessing the reincarnation of GENESIS.

Imagine Richard wearing neck-long blonde hair . . . wouldn’t he make a perfect 1970s Anthony Phillips look-a-like???

The tent center stage with Ged Lynch’s drum-kit once again lit up and the outer stage began to rotate, bringing Peters equipment into a 25-minutes-past-12-position while the band entered the stage for


What can be said, that hasn’t been said about this hell of an opening song! Haven’t seen Peter that close-up since 1987 – MAN!!! HE STILL GOT IT!!! – forget about his age and stuff – THIS MAN REALLY IS BORN TO SHOWTIME!!! The Gabriel-Gaze, the gesture, the energy plus the enjoyment he feels when an audience is for him the way the Munich folks were – no-one can beat Peter in both enchanting and rocking a crowd. MAGICAL!!!

No. 3 - RED RAIN

No. 4 - SECRET WORLD(Gabrielese No. 1 happened here in this song, I guess. But I can’t exactly recall where it was)

Both songs came across even harder and heavier than in Oberhausen. Peter shaking the tambourine, just like in the good old days when it was The Knife. Who really needs a GENESIS reunion when we have this incredible band with the same front-man.

Tony – >fill in the blank<

David - >fill in the blank<

Richard – hot shot as hot shot can be, with him Peter sounds more like GENESIS than GENESIS, even in their best years! His guitar, mandolin and other string-work(especially his Steel-Guitar solo) – priceless, plus he brings the flute(whistle) back to Peter! Plus he’s a skilful sound-engineer. Can Peter possibly ask for more?

Ged – No Manu, no Phil, BUT A GED!!!

Straightforward as can be in his style of playing, yet most powerful and simple playing and the driving force when Peter wants a song to sound really hard and rocking, almost Heavy Metal, but also capable of all the elegancy and the fine works when it’s needed.
A perfect match as a drummer for Peter!

Rachel Z – again hot, hot, hot shot! Priceless as a musician and eye-candy for the boys.

Melanie – doing really great with backing vocals. At this close distance I was able to digest all of it, and she’s doing a lot of backing vocals, much more than I previously thought it were.


No. 5 - SKY BLUE (with Gabrielese No.2)

The entire band(except Ged) REALLY IS singing in the beginning of this song – no lip-sync. Remarkably wonderful! Tony is not only an outstanding bass-player but also a decent bass-singer too, I said in my Oberhausen Report. I have to make a correction here: Tony’s a bass-baritone! But, what the heck! He truly has a wonderful singing voice, and from my very close distance I recognized for the first time how much of a second or third vocal line singing Tony is doing in a lot of Peters songs.)

Once again, very strong vocal performance by Peter while walking forwards on the backwards rotating stage.

At the end of the song it’s THE BLIND BOYS OF THE MACHINES – unfortunately!


The Father/Daughter duet again was fantastic. I still like their performance better than any other and I stick to my Oberhausen comment saying Melanie has a very good singing voice. She truly has and she’s improving more and more, getting more confident with each new show.

The band once again was rocking hard when Father/Daughter did their upside-down walk. Tonight the rigging was at it’s normal altitude above stage level.

No. 7 - THE BARRY WILLIAMS SHOW (with Gabrielese No.3)

Peter was waltzing the camera around the second stage, trying to film all and everything, but a little fuck-up took place here when he forgot to push a button or something in order to be able to shoot pictures of the audience or himself. An orange guy jumped up on stage to lend a hand, while Peter tipped a finger at his forehead(like saying: “I knew there was something …”) smiling about this little mistake.

In the meantime another orange guy with a camera took the pictures of the audience.

And a big hand for the orange people from Peter, his band and the entire audience when he mentioned their importance for shows like this and their hard work in his little thank-you-speech.


This song too rocked more than in Oberhausen.


Before the a capella choir started Peter wanted the audience to imagine the stage’s surface was water, at first with his German introduction and then to add to it, he made swimming moves with his arms. While that was happening, unnoticed by Peter, but not by the crowd in “my” corner(remember we were in the “boat-corner”), Tony all of a sudden brandished a water bottle in order to support Peters' funny looking attempts in creating the aforementioned illusion, showed it briefly to the audience and put it back at almost the speed of light.

The crowd went nuts from laughter to Peters greater astonishment, yet he mustered a somewhat bewildered grin and started his work as THE FINE CONDUCTOR of this MARVELLOUS CHOIR with it’s formidable prelude to this still breathtaking and most precious song, dedicated to this FINE AMERICAN POET Anne Sexton.



Once again – who can seriously ask for a GENESIS reunion. Watch and listen to these two songs live or better to THE ENTIRE SET and watch and listen closely.

Btw., I think in No.10 – Downing Street … no, sorry . . . DIGGING IN THE DIRT it was, where Richard played this amazing steel-guitar solo.


Raaaa-chel Ze-eh, Riiii-chard Evans, Meee-lanie-hee, Ge-ed Ly-ynch, Daa-vid Rho-odes, Tooo-ny Levin – one more time again in Munich.

But the sound unfortunately wasn’t well-balanced with the loud parts of this song, yet it still is the overall audience participation song of this GROWING UP LIVE TOUR

The bicycle again.

The light bulb(starry night sky)jacket again.

These two songs too sounded harder and more rocking than in Oberhausen.


What a monster of a final song for the main set. Nusrats vocal parts still produces shivers and goosebumps.

End of main set: approx. 11:05 p.m.

5 minutes of standing ovations(in the seat areas, of course) and frantic shouts and whistling and feet stomping, the entire venue was trembling like there was an earthquake – same procedure as in Oberhausen – and elsewhere Europe, I think.


Approx. 11:10 to 11:18 p.m.

Again with the amazing Sevara Nazarkhan. Pity was that the sound especially in the mid-section wasn’t well-balanced. Peter’s and Sevara’s vocal performances there were hardly audible, at least at close distance to the stage.

11:22 to 11:26

At the songs end Peters equipment was rotating back to it’s place from the beginning of the show.

Closing of the circle! A now complete round thing once again met it’s inevitable END!

Ambient music after the show:

Excerpts of Gioacchino Puccini’s - The Thieving Magpie

Still unbelievable . . . absolutely wonderful . . . AMAZING . . . I love it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The same set list as in Oberhausen and no COME TALK TO ME, but hey: What a night!


CHAPEAU(hats off) FOR PETER and his INCREDIBLE BAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are my 18 EURO-cents to Peter’s GULT concept!

Peter started with the apocalyptical vision - HERE COMES THE FLOOD - wherein he basically says, every end is a new beginning and then presenting the audience with a FLOOD of songs, ideas and imagery to illustrate vital moments and stages in a human beings lifetime:

Fears and overcoming them by finding their cause - DARKNESS

Learning to let go the fear of pain and open up for passion - RED RAIN

Facing hidden desires, drives and motivations of our most inner selves - SECRET WORLD

The long walk home to find the balance of our inner and outer selves - SKY BLUE

Finding new approaches to things being/happening all around us - DOWNSIDE UP

A vital part in a human beings lifetime meets it’s end - THE BARRY WILLIAMS SHOW

What happens to us and within us once we find that there is much - MORE THAN THIS

Great talent can be accompanied by a severe/lethal disease - MERCY STREET

Knowing the enemy within yourself when confronted with your "dark side" - DIGGING IN THE DIRT

On our travel from womb to tomb there’s so much to learn while we are - GROWING UP

About, for example, the intelligent life all around us, especially in the - ANIMAL NATION

At each level of new and greater knowledge changes are imminent - SOLSBURY HILL

Sometimes we get wiser or bolder or only more pretentious, like the – SLEDGEHAMMER

What we need are more reasonable ways of communication and interaction - SIGNAL TO NOISE

Never forget to have a loving and a good time with each other - IN YOUR EYES

Knowing there once will be an end makes you think twice and can make you appreciate “old” things in completely new ways before your circle will be complete. - FATHER, SON

And finally THE THIEVING MAGPIE takes away your silver spoons!!!


Gerhard Eibel, Duesseldorf, Germany - May 7th, 2003

The Oberhausen Report, 04-30-2003, 6:30 to 11:15 p.m. by Gerhard Eibel

Entering the venue at 6:30 p.m.

The venue:

The König Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen is a horse shoe shaped hall - like at super-sized Opera Hall - normally containing some 10,500 people, but tonight it must have been more than 11,000, because there were a lot of people sitting or standing on the stairways. I couldn’t pinpoint one single empty seat, when Peter started his set. Obviously over-capacity ticket-sells?! The venue was PACKED to the max!!!

The sound:

Superbly brilliant and crystal clear, and with the more silent songs(Die Flut, Mercy Street and Father, Son) almost high-end quality. I haven’t heard anyone complaining about the sound quality, in fact, most people I spoke with were pleased to the max by it.

Ambient music before the show started with Sevara Nazarkhin at 7:40 p.m.:

Long Walk Home – the entire album

7:40 p.m., house lights down(approx. 90% of the audience were in, the rest entered throughout Sevara’s set, due to numerous traffic jams in the region, caused by heavy rainfall and numerous traffic accidents.)

Peter, Sevara Nazarkhan and her quintet(keyboards, drums, percussion, bass guitar and doutar, a 15th century, two stringed, Central Asian lute, that is plucked, not strummed – quot from tour program) entering stage. After the FRANTIC, seemingly never ending applause and the Peter, Peter, Peter callings finally ceased, he introduced her in the German(receiving additional frantic applause) and then left the stage over to Sevara, her incredibly wonderful mezzo-soprano voice and her beautiful mix of traditional Central Asian music and Rock/Pop music.

All were, as she said: “Songs of passion – when ‘something’ happens between a woman and a man.” The Usbek singer was singing and dancing around the outer parts of the round stage, constantly interacting with the audience. All in all, it was a strong and very powerful performance to a superbly brilliant and crystal clear sound. To me, the best support act since Youssou N’Dour in 1987.

At 8:15 p.m. and after 6 songs(5 fairly up-tempo) her set ended with a BIG HAND. The Oberhausen folks seemingly loved her music(there was a lot of dancing) and, not at least, her appearance(she’s a real beauty!).

Some more ambient music, this time from OVO("Low Light" without vocals and "The Story of OVO" without the rap)

8:30 p.m. BIG APPLAUSE! No . . . not Peter. The light operators were climbing up to the stage ceilings rigging to find their positions.

8:40 p.m. THE MOMENT

Peter entered the venue, riding on a bicycle(the one later used for Solsbury Hill) across the venue and around the stage to the place where his keyboards were seated then, accompanied by frantic … you know what … from the audience and lots of laughter as well.
After he found his place he said: ”Danke schön! Ich werde jetzt dort weiter machen, wo ich bei der letzten Tour aufgehört habe“ – I will now start where I ended on my last tour.

No. 1 - JETZT KOMMT DIE FLUT – Here Comes The Flood

The ONLY fuck-up of the entire show took place here in the very beginning of the song. ”Verzeihung! Ich bin ein wenig durcheinander mit lesen, singen und spielen. Ich fange besser noch mal an!“ - Sorry! I got a little confused with my reading, singing and playing. I better start again.

For the rest, it was an amazing opener for the audience with him talking and singing in the German FREE-HANDED at that time. Later in the show he read from paper sheets. But on these paper sheets were ONLY keywords (I could pinpoint it with my crafty pair of binoculars), not those funny phonetic scribbling he used to have way back in time and space.

Peter was in the best possible mood that night; IN TIP-TOP SHAPE, voice and physically, and in a very talkative mood. In fact, I never heard him talk that much throughout a show and in between songs since the old days with GENESIS.

And all in the German!!! I loved it. And he was pretty fast speaking as well, so I couldn’t write all of it down on my sheets of paper.

The tent center stage with Ged Lynch’s drum-kit lit up and the outer stage began to rotate while the band entered the stage for


What a blast! The album version can’t compete with this night’s live version. The perfect opener for the main set. Even with the loud parts the sound was still brilliant and crystal clear and Melanie was rocking her mic-stand as the song rocked like hell.

„Was wir euch heute Abend entgegenwerfen werden, ist eine Mischung aus alt und neu, und dieses ist aus einer Zeit als der Regen rot war.“ – What we are going to throw against you tonight is a mixture of old and new, this one’s from a time when the rain was red.

No. 3 - RED RAIN

Melanie continues waltzing the mic-stand and here, as well as the entire night, there was a lot of filming(with a professional camera) by one of those orange guys and from out of one of those pits in the stage.

On the fabrics in the stage’s ceiling center-stage, as well as on these two big screens on both of the venues long ends was a turmoil of red and orange clouds visualized, reminding me of those pictures of the Saturn moon Titan I once saw at the Astrophysical Journals homepage about a year ago.


Peter shaking the tambourine, just like in the good old days when it was The Knife. Rachel and Melanie doing backing vocals, while the entire band is now placed on the rotating part of the stage. A much more powerful version than back in 1993/94 and the band, the way they played the Arena in Oberhausen was absolutely competitive to the 1993/94 PG band. This song also rocked like hell tonight and I liked it better than the Secret World Live version.

No. 5 - SKY BLUE

The entire band(except Ged) is doing the Blind Boys part in the beginning - remarkably wonderful!!! Tony is not only an outstanding bass-player but a decent bass-singer as well. Yet for the final chorus, it was "The Blind Boys of the Machines". Perfect vocal performance by Peter while walking forwards on the backwards rotating stage.


The Father/Daughter duet was fantastic this night and way better than Elizabeth Fraser/Paul Buchanan in this clip from “Later . . . with Jools”(at least to my taste). Melanie has a very good singing voice and has improved a lot since the KÖNIXXTREFFEN in Munich last year.

The band was jamming away a little bit when Father, Daughter did their upside-down walk.

Btw. the rigging was lifted up higher than at the North-America shows, to an altitude of an approx. 5 meters above stage level.

„Du bist, was du dir ansiehst“ – You are, what you are watching(on tv)!


Peter was waltzing the camera around the second stage, filming all and everything.

Ged Lynch’s drumming was fabulous - all along the entire show. He is a very good drummer indeed. Much harder and heavier than Manu Katché in his style of drumming, but also capable of the elegancy necessary for songs like Animal Nation or In Your Eyes. Yet he brings Rock back to Peters music, which I think is great.

After this song, a big hand for the orange people from Peter, his band and the entire audience when he mentioned their importance for shows like this and their hard work in his little thank-you-speech.


The cocoon above center-stage opens, revealing a fiery ball, the light effects of which were projected to those big screens, providing the illusion that Peter and every band-member shown on the big screens is surrounded by flames of fire - a tribute to RAMMSTEIN here in Germany? ;-)


Wordless! Extraordinary percussion playing by Ged!!!

Again, the vocal abilities of Peter’s band as a choir are quite REMARKABLE, here superbly demonstrated in the a capella opening. With the two female voices in two different ranges(mezzo-soprano/alto) and four male voices(tenor – Richard, David; baritone – Peter; bass – Tony) they make an amazing vocal sextet. Would love to hear them sing some songs of the Swingle Singers or the Singers Unlimited repertoire or something of that ilk or maybe cover-versions of CLANNAD songs.

They surely would have a successful career as


“Dir gefällt nicht immer was du denkst oder was du denkst das du bist oder was du tief in dir findest!” – You don’t always like your way of thinking or what you think you are or what you find deep inside of you!


Breathtakingly rocking. Once again Ged was demonstrating his formidable qualities as a drummer. The band going heavy metal again, perfectly serving the songs theme. It has to be performed hard n’ heavy.


Again - Wordless! You already know all about it. Who doesn’t thus far, go to the concerts and have a look for yourself – indescribable! I would like to say, it was the highlight of tonight, but this wouldn’t do.


All perfection!!! Just like 1993 on the 25th of May in the Dortmunder Westfalenhalle, when it was “US on Tour”.

Everything happened smooth and fast and this time with all this constantly being on the move of instruments, musicians, changing atmospheres, changing light-effects, the ups and downs of the center stage rigging, the cocoon, the Zorb ball, the Orange People whizzin' 'n weasellin' up and down and in and out the stage, all just like to some secret hidden cues and always on time and without a single mistake(fuck-up)made the whole thing appear like one huge breathing, pumping organism packed with energy – an extra-human living being created by humans coming to life for some 2 hours and 14 minutes(until Signal to Noise ended). What a beautiful choreography, if it was meant to be!

If this was part of what Peter and Robert Lepage were UP to with this stage concept, all I can say is:

IT’S HUMANLY IMPOSSIBLE TO COME ANY CLOSER TO PERFECTION with a live show concept, whatsoever!!!


Finally I was able to witness this spectacle and monster of an audience participation song for myself, live and in omni-colour. For example, while the verse “Intelligent life is all around us” was sung and played, parts of the lightshow consisted of targeting crosses which were moved back and forth and to and fro the audience, while Peter did the monkey walk once again. At the end of the song, when the audience sang along with Peter:
”Hey-ihh-ye-he … Hey-ihh-ye-he … Hey-ihh-ye-he …“
Peter started introducing the band to the same melody and the audience were repeating the musicians name three times to the “Hey-ihh-ye-he” melody:

Raa-chel Ze-eh, Riiii-chard E-vans, Meee-lanie-hee, Ge-ed Ly-ynch, Daa-vid Rho-odes, Tooo-ny Le-vin.

But after this the audience continued to chant the “Hey-ihh-ye-he” melody, until


The bicycle.


The light bulb - starry night sky - jacket.

„Mit Bush und Blair leben wir in einer verrückten Zeit. Was wir brauchen sind mehr Leute mit Verstand“ – With Bush and Blair we are living in crazy times. What would be needed are more reasonable people.


Goosebumps and shivers up and down when onto the center stage fabrics cymatics were projected, that could be looked at as if they were representing Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s vocal chords, showing how they probably would have thrilled when Nusrat sang his part in STN. It was like he was singing to us from another world - thrilling to the max!!!

STN is a song/hymn as powerful and right on to the topics of our time, like BIKO was up until the end of apartheid in South Africa and it’s a perfect ending before the encores.

Peter sang his heart out with the “receive and transmit” verse at the song’s end, just like in the old days when it was The Knife or Jerusalem(Suppers Ready) or BIKO, while Ged was drumming out . . .


End of main set: 10:54 p.m.



10:56 to 11:05 p.m.


Peter’s personal favourite; one can easily notice whenever he’s performing this song.

And whoever accompanies him, it’s always a great performance which I love a lot to see and listen to and, not at least, dance to (there was a lot of dancing in the audience, not only with this song. It already started with Sevara’s set).

Rachel Z. was showing her remarkable skills when playing the piano solo and dancing to it at the same time. And Sevara’s vocal contributions to the song were the best since Youssou! I would love to see and listen to Sevara, Peter and Youssou performing this song altogether, add Melanie to it and every "boy meets his girl” or vice versa for a dance.

5 minutes of standing ovations and frantic shouts and whistling and feet stomping, the entire venue was trembling like there was an earthquake.

11:10 to 11:14

Tony and Peter entered the stage to even more frantic ovations, taking position opposite to each other at far ends of the stage, facing each other to a musical conversation(this time electric double bass and piano) similar to Peter and Shankar at the beginning of ACROSS THE RIVER back in 1993/94, but this time it was - with only Peter singing:


And the audience calmed down to complete silence throughout the song.

After his round of honour around the stage, waving good-bye, he was saying:

”Vielen Dank! Auf Wiedersehen, bis zum nächsten Mal! Auf Wiedersehen bald!“ – Thank You very much! Goodbye, until next time! See you again soon! (I can’t await the I/O or I/OVO Tour in 2004/2005. I will buy tickets to at least ten shows then!!!)

Standing ovations and frantic shouts and whistling and feet stomping again, yet the show had met it’s inevitable END!
Ambient music after the show:

Excerpts of Gioacchino Puccini's - The Thieving Magpie

Absolutely wonderful . . . AMAZING . . . I loved it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Up Stockholm Way -24 April 2003 - Mic Smith

Peter Gabriel live at The Globe, Stockholm 24 April 2003
By Mic Smith

For Peter Gabriel, life has had its fair share of ups and downs. And it’s as if his latest touring spectacle, his second world tour production designed in partnership with Canadian theatre producer/director Robert Le Page, has been devised with this in mind. Appropriately enough the tour has been given the title Growing Up.

The set list features a fair balance of old and new songs and in terms of subject matter, spans a lifetime of experiences. This desire to not rely on past glories and place enormous faith in the newer material is something Gabriel followers have had to get used to. This writer can recall two particular occasions in his touring past when the bulk of Gabriel’s live set was unreleased material and completely unfamiliar to his audience. Of course abandoning great chunks of your past career can often mean the best songs aren’t necessarily part of the show. Fortunately he has such a wealth of great tracks to choose from that the omission of the likes of San Jacinto, Biko and Games Without Frontiers largely goes unnoticed.

His first appearance on stage during the three and a half hour long show involves him in the customary honour of personally introducing his support act, on this occasion, Sevara from Uzbeckistan. Sevara, the star informs us, is a successful female pop star at home but not so well known in Europe. Optimistically Gabriel adds “but not for much longer”.

The Stockholm audience, who were witnessing the first of twenty five shows to be played in Europe over the next six weeks, sat listening patiently through Sevara’s set as she pirouetted around the stage surrounded by her five musicians playing songs from her debut Real World release Yol Bolsin. The material and delivery were always pleasant without ever being astounding. She reminded me a little of Yungchen Lhamo but with less spiritual substance ionising the air than is so effortlessly effused by the Tibetan singer. Mixing traditional song with 21st Century technology doesn’t always work but Sevara produced a set that attracted, rather than transfixed, the audience’s attention. It’s clearly early days for her but with a little luck and the right level of exposure its not hard to imagine Sevara placing her anonymity in the past and taking her music to a wider audience and, without doubt, supporting Peter Gabriel will do her no harm at all.

With the preliminaries over, the stage was readied for the appearance of Gabriel who casually took the stage unaccompanied, to a fiery reception from a Globe audience that was some way from being full to the rafters.

Gabriel’s current show takes place in the round and is so complex it can only be accommodated, at least in Europe, in a select few arenas. All the action takes place on or above a single circular stage.

Greeting the crowd with a friendly “Hej!” Peter took his position at his keyboard and begun the familiar opening notes to ‘Here Comes the Flood’. It’s a song that he has performed hundreds of times over the years, sometimes with a full band, on other occasions purely solo, very occasionally in German, as well as being a favourite of his on those all too rare TV and radio appearances. On this tour he’s playing it solo, although an out of sight Tony Levin may have been playing along under the stage. Mid-way through the song, the outer ring of the stage begins to rotate bringing the singer across to the other side of the arena so the people there can get a good look at him. It was a simple but effective way of saying to his fans “I’m back”. He’s also singing it better than at any stage in his career. Note perfect, crystal clear, deliciously delicate and yet assured, Gabriel is a living example of how to do more with less and the short piano interlude prior to the final verse bears this out nicely.

Of course he only does more with less when it suits him and a few songs into the set he’s pulling out all the stops in a visual onslaught that keeps the audience open mouthed and wondering what might happen next.

As the band joins their famous boss on stage, drummer Ged Lynch is hidden away centre stage inside a translucent house – perhaps intended to be the “house in the woods” referred to in the track in question ‘Darkness’. As backing vocalist Melanie Gabriel thrusts the microphone stand in time with the heavy music it’s an early indication that she has come on in leaps and bounds in terms of confidence since those distant warm ups last September. This is a good sign for those who may have thought that good old-fashioned nepotism had taken the place of objective decision making in the Gabriel mind. Peter himself looks confident as he walks about the stage, no longer so reliant on his book of lyrics aside his keyboard to get him through this particular set of words.

A couple of old songs follow this in the shape of sprightly versions of ‘Red Rain’ and ‘Secret World’, the latter in particular sounding as good as it did on previous tours – which is no mean feat considering its effectiveness as a main set closer last time around. ‘Secret World’ also signalled the appearance of two diametrically opposed video screens to help those whose view of the show is for sometime obscured by the stage props. Richard Evans adds some tender touches on doudouk, one of my favourite sounding instruments that Mr. Gabriel has been responsible for bringing to prominence since he opened our ears to the infinite variety provided by world music.

Richard has been a back room player at Real World for many years ahead of this tour, having worked largely on studio projects – and his inclusion in the new touring line up ranks as one of Gabriel’s most inspired of recent years. At various times in the set Evans goes from doudouk to flute to acoustic guitar to electric guitar and makes his presence felt with ease. His sober playing style perfectly fits the Gabriel way of doing things, there to lend support without wishing to use flamboyance to shore up any weaknesses in the songs.

For the next new song, ‘Sky Blue’, Peter had to apologise for the absence of The Blind Boys of Alabama who are joining the tour in the second week of May, although through the wonders of modern technology, as he once put it, the Blind Boys’ vocal serenity finds its way into tonight’s performance. My fears previously documented about the high register this song requires were borne out by Peter’s decision to alter the key in which he sang, and although this still sometimes got the better of him, overall it was a giant performance and the first of three songs that really sent the hairs on the back of my neck in search of sunlight. As the song began to play out, the two Gabriel family members left the stage returning a couple of minutes later wearing harnesses.

Father and daughter then shared the vocals on one of several tracks that not all Gabriel followers in the audience will necessarily know. ‘Downside Up’ is the one of two tracks performed this evening from the underrated OVO album issued nearly three years ago but denied world wide release because it was written for a distinctly British project, the Millennium Dome. Gabriel plans to re-release the album with his vocals replacing those of the male guest artists involved and if tonight’s performance is anything to go by he would do well to ask Melanie to replace the female parts too.

Standing facing her dad, Melanie took us through the opening verse with a confidence usually associated with a woman ten years her senior. With minimal backing and the closed circuit cameras projecting her side portrait on the two video screens, this was her moment to impress. With not the slightest hint of nerves in neither her clear voice nor across her face, she came through this test with a perfect ten.

With the song half sung, Peter and Melanie then climbed a couple of step ladders (this is a big budget show folks!) and were hooked to a circular gantry set about 20 feet above the stage, suspended from the roof, and proceeded to deliver the remainder of the song “downside up”. After the show, when I confessed to Peter that watching this stunt had made me feel a little “queezy” he calmly informed me that he wanted to perform this song at even greater height, but that insurance issues prevented them from doing so!

Back in his upright position Gabriel climbed aboard the landing, this time remaining downside down, and, for the next ten minutes, became a cameraman on the set of ‘The Barry Williams Show’.

If I have to find fault with the show, it would have to be with this song. While I don’t particularly mind the track, it doesn’t sit too well alongside its Up neighbours and of all the new material it is, musically speaking, the most backward looking. Away from his lyric folder Gabriel omitted most of the first verse and never really seemed to recover from that uneasy start by bluffing his way through the choruses. Yes, this is nothing new. One of his endearing qualities in the live setting is his loss of memory with words he must have sung hundreds of times. It’s a clear sign that he is merely human and I for one always prefer to laugh at such moments rather than berate the man for falling short of perfection.

His performance was perhaps affected by the distraction of wandering around his circular gantry filming the band and audience at crucial moments as collectively we play the audience on ‘The Barry Williams Show’. It’s clearly not meant to be taken too seriously and offers a rare moment of audience participation but on the basis of tonight’s ropey performance it did represent the shows weakest link.

From here on though The Peter Gabriel Show recovered in grand style, beginning with a storming performance (after a false start) of ‘More Than This’. This was the song where the use of the video screens came into their own as Gabriel’s head was surrounded by flames, which were also superimposed onto a large globe suspended from above the stage. The effect, though simple in execution, was remarkable and brought home to me the fact that the lack of promo film for this song had seriously undermined its chart potential back in January.

With a short break to allow for a shift of scenery we then were treated to the finest of the old songs on show tonight. With all musicians bar Ged Lynch gathered in choral alignment, Gabriel led his band through the a cappella arrangement that graces this new version of ‘Mercy Street’. And ‘graces’ is the word.

This song has regularly been a highpoint of all Gabriel shows since it first appeared in his set in late 1986. For reasons that are hard to understand the song was rarely played during his last world tour ten years ago, but now its back – another hairs on the back of the neck track and tonight’s version was a classic. The vocal harmonies were top notch and the visuals were kept in check to help maintain the moody atmosphere through which this song so delicately floats.

The mood changed entirely for another golden oldie in the form of ‘Digging in the Dirt’. With Gabriel now using the full inscribed surface area of the stage the band played their socks off, breaking off into a wild manic section on a couple of occasions. Oddly the audience remained fairly placid throughout all this high octane display leaving Gabriel to consider his next move.

That next move would prove to be the show’s most impressive moment as the singer climbed inside a large glittering zorb, for the song ‘Growing Up’. It’s quite fitting that the tour should be named after this track as Gabriel has clearly grown up a lot in the years between tours and the man with a new bride and child appears to be as happy as ever.

Gabriel jumped on the spot inside the zorb at appropriate points in the song in time with the music, bouncing and rolling around the stage, always in control despite coming close at times to rolling off the stage’s perimeter. This was the best use of the props all night, it displayed the right combination of entertainment, innovation and tension, familiar elements that make up the bulk of the devices that Gabriel has pulled from his artistic toolbox down the years.

From here Gabriel took his audience into unfamiliar territory once again with the newest song on show, ‘Animal Nation’. This song came out of experimental sessions that Gabriel took part in a couple of years ago with a couple of bonobo apes at an American University (where else?) and which appeared on the soundtrack to The Wild Thornberries at the end of last year. In a show full of surprises, it would have been fitting for him to have herded the apes onto the stage to take part in the performance but Gabriel made do with a backing tape of Hukwe Zawose, who was present on the American tour to guest on this track, but who appears to have not been retained for the European leg.

For the next step, Gabriel took us from the unfamiliar fragrance to flavours not so strange by performing the evergreen ‘Solsbury Hill’ – on a bike no less! – and then donned a jacket laced with illuminated light bulbs for his final foray into past hit singles with ‘Sledgehammer’. Finally large portions of the audience put away their knitting, stood up and danced. Stockholm certainly knows how to party.

The final song of the set was ‘Signal to Noise’, which despite relying on the use of a backing tape to provide the supporting vocal from the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, still sounded suitably majestic and thus warranted its position in proceedings, no question. ‘Signal to Noise’ was always viewed as an essential part of Up and this version rates as possibly the best I have heard to date. I look forward to having a recording of this arrangement in a matter of months when Gabriel has delivered his anticipated DVD of this tour.

The reception Gabriel and band received on leaving the stage was warm enough for him to quickly return and the familiar rhythm of ‘In Your Eyes’ rolled one more time. Without Youssou N’Dour to lend a hand this song is, by Gabriel’s own admission, never quite the same, but to their credit guest vocalist Sevara and her doutar player helped to produce a nice variation which easily surpassed the version that I witnessed in Paris last September with Abdelli on guest vocals.

The band left the stage once again, with Peter returning with his faithful bassist Tony Levin to close the show with a poignant performance of Father, Son leaving barely a dry eye in the house.

It’s been a long time coming but, yet again, Peter Gabriel pulled off another winning performance. Considering the technical complexity of this show, the extensive range of instrumentation required and the need to remember those all important lyrics, there were very few creases in need of a hot iron. Remember this was the first night of the tour and if the band can maintain this level of performance those catching the tour further on up the road are in for a treat. See you in Paris.

Special thanks to Annie Parsons at Real World.

© Mic Smith. Written for exclusive use on www.genesis-movement.co.uk. This review may not be reproduced in whole or in part elsewhere without the written consent of the writer.

Gabriel Art Rocks Philly -18 November 2002 - Rich Baxter

The long anticipated return to Philadelphia by Peter Gabriel was quenched on the evening of Monday, November 18. Nine years ago was the last time his tour touched down here for the promotion of the album, Us. It was almost like a time capsule was opened this time around as Gabriel took to the stage at 8 pm sharp to introduce one of two opening acts. He talked to "Philly", as he called it, like an old friend - much to the delight of a large but not sold out crowd. A lot of the audience were only teens the last time his tour passed through here and with his gray goatee Gabriel resembled more of a rock's Yoda this time around. The years have passed by all to quickly and almost decade has passed since the last tour.

The first opener, Blind Boys of Alabama, a seven piece band, were just what the crowd needed to get into the spirit of a Gabriel show. They performed 5 songs and the audience were very receptive with what they had to offer. Their set was over at 8.30 pm and the second act took the stage immediately and with Peter's introduction he told us how almost not getting visas to come to the US and then getting mugged shortly after in the States hampered the duo once here. Hukwe Zawose, directly from Tanzania, took the stage to as Gabriel would say to, "Evoke the spirits." Well, the good spirit of the opening act was broken in the process, but the two piece Zawose band entertained for about 15 minutes. The sound of their music did little to pump the crowd up for the main extravaganza that was about to take the stage. It was interesting to see this type of music though and was in direct contrast to all the high tech aspect of the rest of the show to follow.

The circular stage was uncluttered and struck me as being very clinical, and gray. There were hardly any wires or amps on stage to clutter up any of the large areas of the main stage, an elaborate lighting rig and what turned out to be a second stage area were suspended in air with the lighting rigging, as were the banks of angled speakers.

The Growing Up Tour took to the stage at 9.15 pm with Peter Gabriel taking to the stage by himself announcing, "I'll pick up from where I left off the last time" and launched into "Here Comes The Flood." The rest of the band joined him after a standing ovation that also saw the centerstage setup rotate around about halfway through the song to give all a good view of the returning star. The next song was "Darkness" -this was very strong with full lights and effects now as the complete band was on the stage sounding really tight. The drums in particular were very good, played by Jed Lynch. The chaotic vocals on this were really nice too as Gabriel calmly walked the stage singing the song. Gabriel added a couple of new musicians in his band for this tour, Jed playing drums, Rachel Z. on keyboards, Richard Evans on various instruments, and Melanie Gabriel handling Dad's backing vocals. The lighting for the show was very adequate and this was shown well on the next song. "Red Rain" was next in the set and featured some nice vocal work by Peter Gabriel and very strong drumming along with the pumping bass of Tony Levin. "Secret World" was next and set the evening off very nicely enforcing more of the last "Secret World Tour" from 1993.

From here the show turned more towards the "Up" release. The Blind Boys of Alabama joined the group for a rendition of "Sky Blue." Peter Gabriel had commented before starting the song that in rehearsals the song sounded ok, but it needed a little more and the Boys of Alabama were just what the song needed to make it sound extra special. At this point the center stage area had a cylindrical screen that projected images of clouds and different shapes. It wasn't at all a video screen in the true sense but it looked really neat that such an odd shaped cone could produce such cool graphics. Away went paper set lists on the stage by the way. All the musicians on stage had their own flat panel computer displays to guide them through the show. This Up tour is a technical marvel though on this stop there were moments of sound and computer software difficulty- but given the scope and what went on stage, it would be hard to imagine a production of this magnitude would not have a glitch or two. Gabriel appeared to be quite upset on a couple occasions saying, "This is what we call in the business, a Fu*k Up!"

"Downside Up" was next and saw Melanie and Dad handling the vocal duties and then suspending themselves upside down as Gabriel would say at the end of the song "that's the first time we've tried that one." About two thirds into the song the two climbed ladders and attached themselves upside down to the top of the second stage that by this time had descended from the lighting rigging. They were singing as they were being slowly spun around this large second stage upside down hanging from their harness safety straps. Their images were projected onto the floor of the stage and it looked very cool from the second level. Talk about rock theatre! This is it right here. I can't say enough good things about the production of the show. "The Barry Williams Show" was next and really took the song into a different level with all the visual effects that the show adds to it. The song utilized the second stage that had already been lowered as Peter Gabriel's future of television as he announced. It had Gabriel running around with a camera mounted on a rolling tripod taking pictures of himself, the band, and the audience. All the images were projected onto the cylindrical screen which added to the excitement of the song. "Up" was next represented by "More Than This" on the next number.

The show journeyed nicely back to "Secret World Tour" material for the next two songs, with "Mercy Street" that had Melanie Gabriel moving around the stage with a small rowboat that was propelled around the moving stage at a very slow pace. "Digging In The Dirt" was next and brought the crowd out of their seats as Gabriel dressed all in black ran around to different areas of the stage. The next song, "Growing Up" was perhaps the most entertaining of the evening. It reminded me of all the Genesis tours wrapped into one when Gabriel was with them and when the others in the band had claimed that Gabriel's theatrics were detracting from the music! Just into the song, Gabriel gets into a big round cushioned "see through globe like ball" that had been inside the second stage - he is singing the lyrics of "Growing Up" while rolling around inside the globe around the outside perimeter of the stage, much to the delight of the crowd. Round and round the ball goes, where it will end up nobody knows! At times Gabriel was jumping in the globe up and down, which the audience on the floor seats were mimicking and it was simply one of the moments of this show that you would never forget. I wondered if Gabriel would actually roll off the stage in the ball and be passed around by the crowd for a couple of spins around the First Union Center but he stayed on course circling the stage.

Onto the next song, "Animal Nation," it had the earlier opening act, Hukwe Zawose, join the group on the main stage for this. Very nice song, but I think perhaps this song could be substituted for something else more mainstream at this point in the show. Almost one hour and forty five minutes into the show now and "Solsbury Hill" was next. "Solsbury" got the crowd back up as Gabriel circled the large stage on bicycle while singing. The First Union Center continued rocking for the next song, "Sledgehammer" which was going along very nicely but suffered a 3-4 second power loss on the main PA towards the end of the song. The band was rocking along and then it was complete silence as we watched the musicians still playing their instruments through what seemed like a silent movie for a few seconds -then blasting back with full power was if someone flipped a wrong switch to turn all the sound off then flipped it back on. Gabriel then announced the mess up with his "Fu*k Up" comment - Very appropriately the next song was "Signal to Noise" which prompted me to think of what signal could've caused the "noise" on the previous number to cut off! But this song was performed with out any problems and sounded very good. "Signal" was announced by Gabriel beforehand as the last song in the set, prompting a few people that wanted to get a jump on the crowd out to the parking lot to leave during the song. There was so much more to the show though. The band left the stage at about 11.12 pm and then returned for some encores.

The encore started with a nice performance of "In Your Eyes". Another encore and the band came back for what was to be "Family Snapshot" which was preceded by a couple minute delay with a computer software problem. A sound technician was on stage attending to the problem as Gabriel announced what program the computer screen was loading a couple of times, then he launched into a brief song that he made up as he and the band went along for a few bars, then the all clear was given for "Family Snapshot" which started after this software glitch. Perhaps a great bit of sequencing was involved in the computer program - because the show was paused for it, and they couldn't begin without the computer being set to go. I noticed how times had changed while waiting for the encore and computer program to get up and running. Through out the area where I was watching the show in the arena, fan's cell phones were ringing with all sorts of different rings and tones and here we were in a odd bit of a silence waiting a sound tech dressed in an orange overall suit fixing the computer on stage.

The final encore, "Father Son" capped off the night, that by this time neared midnight, and despite the standing ovation for more, we heard Peter saying "thanks for coming Philly and we'll see you again soon" as the lights went on in the First Union Center and the curtain went down on what was an amazing display of theatre in the Growing Up Tour 2002 by Peter Gabriel and band. Not too miss if at all possible!

- Review by Rich Baxter on 11-19-2002 -

Bard - Big Big Train

I hadn't heard of Big Big Train until late last year when I was contacted by Gregory Spawton (whom some may know from the Genesis Talking shop). He asked if I would review their forthcoming album, of which 'Bard' is the product. Consequently I had no pre-conceived ideas about what I would be hearing.

Since I got the CD, I've listened to it a good few times. It is certainly not suited to the awful trek to Birmingham up the M6, it's far too relaxing. In fact I found it most suited to a nice, civilised game of backgammon. The music is mellow, while still retaining a good 'prog' feel to it.

Tony Müller and Martin Read carry good clear vocals that fit the music extremely well, however, it's when one gets to track two, 'Broken English' that the real vocal treat is delivered. Jo Michaels' vocals really made me sit up and take notice. In duet with Read, it is clear why she was chosen for the part.

The band site there influences as "mainly Genesis, but we have very wide tastes (eg. Sparklehorse,
Prefab Sprout)". I've never heard any Sparklehorse, and I really don't remember that much Prefab Sprout, but the resulting sound is pleasing to listen to.

The album can be ordered directly from their web site at www.bigbigtrain.com

"The Mating Call Of Two Drummers" - A We Can't Dance DVD Review - 22nd October 2001 - Simon Funnell

Click Here

Peter Gabriel at WOMAD USA - 29th August 2001 - Rex

A beautiful sunny evening in Washington, no threat of rain, temperature in the upper 70's, just perfect. Thousands of people stand, crushed together, for the entire show. Great crowd, cheering madly at appropriate times and quiet as can be during
dramatic moments like "Come back Mom & Dad..."

Peter looked great, dressed in black, performed standing behind keyboard stage left. Next to him Tony, then David (completely bald, pants rolled up to just below knees, possibly barefoot, and with a big smile, having a great time!), then Melanie, then the
keyboard guy from Afro Celt Sound System (James McNalty?), who also played woodwinds. In the back, drummer Jed Lynch. Peter only came out from behind the keyboard during In Your Eyes, when he stepped across the stage a few times. No skiping about during Solsbury Hill.

Opened with Here Comes the Flood (the last song, usually?), just Peter and Tony, Peter keeping in his lower register for the first verses, then hitting the higher notes towards the end, finishes by sliding into perfect falsetto "Wake up Dreamers, you're running

There was nothing acoustic about Peter's set. Full band.

I'm in love: Peter's youngest daughter, I think he said her name was Melanie, took the stage to sing harmony vocals. She's a beautiful girl.

Here comes the Flood (just Peter and Tony)
Red Rain
Digging in the Dirt
Family Snapshot
Come Talk To Me

Mercy Street
Solsbury Hill
Signal To Noise

In Your Eyes
Father/Son (encore, just Peter and Tony)

Many thanks to Rex for this review

Steve Hackett in Chile - 4th July 2001 - Jorge López Galvez

Hi all!

I can't write a full review right now (I have a test tomorrow), but I'll try to write my comments of Steve Hackett Live in Chile:

Yesterday must have been one of the hapier days of my life :-) Steve and his band did an excellent performance, full of power and emotion. I can't remember the complete setlist, but the show had A LOT of genesis songs. It started with a song I've never heard before, but it was quite similar in structure to Vampire with a Healthy Appetite, though more jazzier. Then he played an amazing medley including sections of Ace of Wands, LOS ENDOS, Imagining and Hackett to Bits (ie Please Don't Touch with the GTR arrangement). Then Riding the Colossus (again, great!) and after that a very soft song, I've never heard it before but it was nice, though maybe not for a live performance.
Then came the first surprise: WATCHER OF THE SKIES! Roger King surprised me with a perfect performance of the intro (with Mellotron sound). Obviously it was an instrumental arrangement (pretty much like the TSL version). It was only the beginning of a memorable section, with Hairless Heart and the guitar solo of FIRTH OF FIFTH. After those songs he started a section with his solo music, including Vampyre.., Sierra Quemada, The Steppes, Camino Royale, A TOWER STRUCK DOWN (including the coughing!), Darktown and In Memoriam. He also performed Walking Away from Rainbows and one track from his Satie album.
The encores consisted in a acoustic mini medley with Blood on the Rooftops and Horizons. Then, for the final ending, powerful performances of LOS ENDOS (including the Moonlit Knight solo) and IN THAT QUIET EARTH (only the first section, as usual).

I only missed more songs from his 3 first albums, tracks like Shadow of the Hieropath (sp?), Clocks, Spectral Mornings or a complete Ace of Wands.

A while after the show I could meet Steve. He was very tired, but he kindly signed our albums (including my vynils! thanks to those who asked my question about this!!).

It was really a night which will be difficult to forget


Jorge Lopez

Many thanks to Jorge Lopez for this review

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