.

Peter Gabriel Live - So Anniversary Tour


by Anthony Kuzminski

.
Chicago, IL- United Center - September 27, 2012

Six songs into Peter Gabriel's concert at the United Center in Chicago, the drum loop of "Secret World" built dramatic tension usually reserved for a cinematic thriller. In the two decades since "Secret World" appeared on Us in 1992, it's a song that hasn't lit up radio dials, but anyone who has witnessed Peter Gabriel in concert knows it's a defining moment of any show. As Gabriel whispered "shhh" into his microphone, the few remaining in their seats stood up because they were intrinsically aware something magical was about to happen. Gabriel's longtime guitarist David Rhodes tickled his guitar strings and took the song into a muscular musical terrain that matched the concentration of Gabriel's lyrics and themes. On his 1992 blistering first person narrative Us Gabriel took us beneath the surface of beauty into a confused and bleeding soul yearning for compassion and understanding. He has always matched these deeply personal declarations with some of the most bracing arrangements imaginable. Throughout his twenty-one song set on the Back To Front tour, Gabriel revisited these themes time and time again and the striking lyric imagery was only matched by the steely musical arrangements. No other living musician has a body of work that provides a more absorbing emotional pull. I always try to find something in an artist's work I can wrap not just my mind around, but more importantly, my heart. Every time Peter Gabriel stands behind a microphone, he goes deeper than anyone dares. He digs up memories from the past, makes us acknowledge the battle scars and encourages us to find a way to heal. Despite the fact that his current tour is behind a record more than a quarter of a century old, Peter Gabriel concerts are places we go in the hopes that when we leave, we walk away a better person with a tighter grasp on the mysteries that often keep us from attaining greatness.

When Peter Gabriel took to the United Center stage, it was inconspicuous as he simply walked up to the microphone to talk to the audience with the house lights still on. He explained the show would take place over three segments- an acoustic one, a full band electric performance and then his seminal 1986 album So in its entirety. He then welcomed longtime bass player Tony Levin and the two of them debuted a new and unfinished song "OBUT" which is most likely in its early stages of development. As Gabriel finished singing behind a big baby grand piano, he welcomed the other five musicians who would join them on the stage. What differentiates this backing band from previous tours is the core band consists of the same five individuals who toured behind So in 1986 and 1987 along with Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson on backing vocals. With the band onstage, they delivered a pair of acoustic songs reverberated throughout the arena – "Come Talk To Me" and "Shock the Monkey" the latter of which brought the entire arena to their feet and clapped along. His first US Top-40 hit enlivens regardless of the presentation. The sweeping "Family Snapshot" began with Gabriel behind the piano and as the band fully synthesized chemistry came to fruition and kicked in full force, the arena went dark to great effect and the electric portion of the set took off. The subconscious metallic "Digging in the Dirt" flourished under the direction of the tight band, the jaunty and joyous "Solsbury Hill" received a enormous endorsement from the crowd but it was the somber "Washing of the Water" which probably provided the crowd the evening's most startling look in the mirror. Listening to "Washing of the Water" makes you want to crawl back into the womb as his vocals exude such wisdom and warmth. The lyrics are poetic and paired with the solemn musical arrangements that make you mourn and celebrate all the same. As he crooned, "Bring me something, to take this pain away" at the songs conclusion, it took great strength to hold back to emotions within. Who has not felt alone and despondent? Yet because we know others feel alike, there is a sense of reassurance knowing we are not alone.

One of the reasons Peter Gabriel tours are events are not just because they are infrequent, but because of the vision he brings to the stage. Despite fewer theatrics this time out, five crane-operated lights provided a sprawling design of shadows and light throughout the entire show. "The Family and the Fishing Net" and "No Self Control" found the crew manning the lights in a circular fashion giving the screens on opposite ends of the stage a arresting visual most appreciated by the crowd in the upper rafters. If the performances were not enough, Gabriel gave the crowd the impression of being inside its own music video. The circular prop at the top of the lighting rig encapsulated Gabriel during the encore performance of the Ovo track "The Tower That Ate People" and as imposing as all these tricks were, it never once took away from the music. Peter Gabriel has always been a visually remarkable audience going back to his days with Genesis, but what makes his non-musical achievements so grand is they always matched the music and his current stage design is no different.

Peter Gabriel has always been a peculiar artist, never following trends or concerning himself with what other people think. Virtually no one would have their greatest commercial success and wait six years to follow it up as he did. Further, no one would wait another ten for the next one. Everything he dedicates himself to will not see the light of day until he feels it is ready. There is no science to his artistry and while this can be maddening for fans like me, I understand it. He carries not just his career in the balance, but the breadth of his work as well. There is a reason his work is an emotional tour de force traveling straight into your heart and psyche like no one else would dare. After writing, producing, recording and touring his records he most likely is physically and emotionally depleted. Yet every release is the embodiment of several years work from his studio work, side projects, soundtrack work to his upcoming six-disc mammoth box set celebrating the 25th anniversary of So. For a man who rarely looks to the past, this is a unusual choice and touring behind it is even more curious, especially when the tour consists of sixteen total dates with no further ones planned. It does not really matter why he is touring now, all I can tell you are that it is highly likely it will not return, so see it while you can.

So is one of the most vital records not just of the 1980s but also from the last thirty years. It's every bit of a cultural touchstone as Paul Simon's Graceland and more than a quarter of a century later, every last note sounds timeless. So how did it hold up in concert? Spectacularly well. Gabriel assembled the same five-piece core band who toured with him from the start of the So tour in 1986-87. Guitarist David Rhodes and bassist/ stickman Tony Levin predated the So tour and have been next to Gabriel ever since. Drummer Manu Katchι adds slight touches to the rhythm matching the undercurrent of Tony Levin's imposing bass. Keyboardist David Sancious brought many of the songs to life with broad-brush strokes of his keys while Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson flawlessly accentuated each song with their lilting vocals helping Gabriel's own soar without ever overpowering them. You can only take a new batch of songs on the road once and see them flourish under the dark of night with transporting the audience. So is the album and tour that defined Gabriel and seeing him back onstage with the same musicians is something to not take lightly. The seven musicians on the stage are a force to be reckoned with. The performance of So was an unearthly experience. While Gabriel is not the first artist to perform an album top-to-bottom, few have done it better. So remains beautiful and timeless and the performance was spellbinding as Gabriel went into the inner child of each audience member and the band replicated the exotic music to pinpoint perfection. Manu Katchι's drums busted to life on "Big Time" and delivered knock-outs on "Sledgehammer" and "That Voice Again" while Sancious found the perfect hue for "Red Rain", "Mercy Street", "This is the Picture" and of course "In Your Eyes" for which there are no words. It is more than a song, but a cultural touchstone for most of the audience and will most likely be the song Peter Gabriel is remembered for decades from now. The band stridently did this material justice in ways they have never done before which is a feat all unto itself.

Beneath the extraordinary musicianship, the hits, the cinιma vιritι lighting and videos there was a crowd who for at least one night was reawaken to the intricate matters of our minds. I speak of this ad nauseum in my reviews not because I believe art is essentially a mirror to our fears and desires. By going over it with a fine toothcomb there is something philosophical and weighty not just to be found but experienced. During the evening's final song, "Biko", Gabriel and his band did not just overpower the audience, but were the soundtrack to a world that is ever changing. Manu Katchι's drums kept the beat, as the band and audience became one with their "oh-oh-ohhh" chants, which continued as each musician left the stage one-by-one until only Katchι was left with the big beat. When that final note was struck, he left the stage and in the darkness, the "oh-oh-ohhh" chants continued. This was not a mere call-and-response, but a call to arms in hopes the chant will last long after the house lights go on. The power of art has always had the potential to make us greater than who we think we can be. Listening to Peter Gabriel is as if we have been blessed with a guide from above who will help us make sense of the chaos and injustice in this world, but within as well. He has shown us the way, given us the tools and now it is up to us to make the change. The 2012 Back To Front tour is a celebration not just of the So record but a deep invigorating evening full of soul searching tales brought to life by a buoyant band who is every bit as good as they were twenty-five years ago. Peter Gabriel will be on tour through October 14. It is unlikely there will be further dates added before 2014, so this is a must-see ticket. The six-disc anniversary edition of So will arrive in stores on October 23.

Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMusic Network. His daily writings can be read at The Screen Door. He can be contacted at tonyk AT antiMUSIC DOT com and can be followed on Twitter

So (25th Anniversary Immersion Box)

So (25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Peter Gabriel Live - So Anniversary Tour
Rating:


Share this article


More articles for this artist .



advertisement

advertisement



News Reports



Latest Rock News Stories

• Guns N' Roses Announce New Reunion Concert (top story)

• Steven Tyler Super Bowl Commercial Preview Goes Online (top story)

• Former Judas Priest Star Victim Of Beer Heist (top story)

• Five Finger Death Punch Receive Army Award, Announce Tour Dates (top story)

• Disturbed Plan Explosive Shows On Upcoming Tour (top story)

• KISS Jam With 12-Year-Old (top story)

• Redemption Stream New Song Featuring Former Megadeth Stars (top story)

• Halestorm Release 'Mayhem' Video (top story)

• Motley Crue The Subject Of New Comic Book (top story)

• Rick Wakeman Releases Musical Tribute To David Bowie (top story)

• X Japan Guitarist Recovering From Life Threatening Condition (top story)

• David Gilmour Announce European Summer Tour (top story)

• Panic! At The Disco Reveal Story Behind 'Death of a Bachelor' Art (top story)

• Supersonic Blues Machine Stream New Song Featuring Walter Trout (top story)

• The Ghost Inside's Tkaczyk Opens Up About Losing Leg In Bus Crash (top story)

• Cult Of Luna Announce New Album 'Mariner' (top story)

• Ginger Wildheart Release 'Don't Lose Your Tail, Girl' Video (top story)

• Jeff Healey Lost Song 'Daze Of The Night' Streaming Online (top story)

• King 810 Tease Fans From The Studio (top story)

• Lonely The Brave Release 'Black Mire' Video (top story)

• Further Seems Forever, Sense Field Singer Jon Bunch Dead At 45 (top story)

• Alice Cooper's Hollywood Vampires Doing Lemmy Tribute (top story)

• Future Of Down Is In Doubt Following Anselmo Controversy (top story)

• Tom Delonge Plans Major Project 'Sekret Machines' (top story)

• David Bowie Classic Featured In Super Bowl Ad (top story)

• Rare Navarro Era Red Hot Chili Peppers Song Leaks Online (top story)

• Reunited Santana Stream New Song 'Anywhere You Want To Go' (top story)

• Deftones Stream New Song 'Prayers/Triangles' (top story)

• Video Of Rolling Stones South American Tour Kick Off Goes Online (top story)

• Jeff Lynne's ELO Announces U.S. Shows With Orchestra (top story)

• Daevid Allen's Final Album Release Announced (top story)

• Slipknot's Appearance On Artsnight TV Show Previewed (top story)

• American Head Charge Stream New Song 'Let All The World Believe' (top story)

• Paradise Lost Release Live 'Terminal' Video (top story)

• Tesseract Streaming 'Phoenix' Lyric Video (top story)

• Spiritual Beggars Stream 'Sunrise To Sundown' Title Song (top story)

• Sex Pistols' Steve Jones Finds Unity In David Bowie's Passing (top story)

• The Defiled Reveal Rescheduled UK Tour Dates (top story)

• Guns N' Roses Reunion Is Really Lame Says Def Leppard Guitarist (top story)

• Metallica Announce Free HD Stream Of Super Bowl Eve Concert (top story)

• Black Sabbath Postponed Another Farewell Tour Date (top story)

• Led Zeppelin Members Deposed In Stairway To Heaven Legal Battle (top story)

• Slipknot's Corey Taylor Slams The Grammy Awards (top story)

• Rush In The Studio For Moving Pictures 35th Anniversary (top story)

• Last In Line To Continue In Honor Of Jimmy Bain (top story)

• Eagles of Death Metal Returning To The Road (top story)

• Mark Hoppus Shares Blink-182 Behind-The-Scenes Studio Video (top story)

• Van Halen's David Lee Roth Making Online Return This Week (top story)

• Obscura Streaming New Album 'Akroasis' Online (top story)

• Dream Theater Release 'The Gift Of Music' Video (top story)

• Brian Wilson Adds Date To Pet Sounds Anniversary Tour (top story)

• The Search For Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze Telecaster In New Book (top story)

• Black Stone Cherry Release 'In Our Dreams' Video (top story)

• Lita Ford Plays Teacher In New Commercial (top story)

• Scorpions Stream Classic 'Still Loving You' TV Performance (top story)

• Mondo Drag Stream New Song 'Rising Omen' (top story)

• Former Touchstone Singer Kim Seviour Inks Solo Deal (top story)

• The Vintage Caravan Release 'Babylon' Video (top story)

• Oli Sykes Shares Craig David Cover From His Wedding (top story)

• Mike Portnoy and Ian Anderson Guest On New Tiles Album (top story)

• Tygers Of Pan Tang Ink Deal For New Studio Album (top story)

Subscribe to Day in Rock Report by Email




Latest Day In Pop News Stories

• Earth, Wind & Fire Icon Maurice White Dead At 74 (top story)

• Asher Roth/Nottz/Travis Barker Collaboration EP Streaming Online (top story)

• Adele Releases New Single 'When We Were Young' (top story)

• Nicki Minaj Takes Aim At Miley Cyrus and Beyonce New Remix (top story)

• Rihanna Addresses Drake Dating Rumors (top story)

• Merle Haggard Cancels More Tour Dates Over Illness (top story)

• Kanye West Has Not Yet Settled On New Album Title (top story)

• Taylor Swift Launching Mobile Game (top story)

• The Game Goes Online Rant About Sexual Assault Lawsuit (top story)

• Loretta Lynn Streams First Single From New Album (top story)

• Charles Kelley Answers Question: 'Who the F is Charles Kelley?' (top story)

• ASAP Ferg Shares Previously Unreleased Track 'Spice Girls' (top story)

• Elton John Does Surprise Performance At Train Station (top story)

• Ellie Goulding And Martin Shkreli In Online Tweet War (top story)

• Celine Dion's Moving Tribute to Late Husband Goes Online (top story)

• Janelle Monae Featured In Pepsi Super Bowl Ad (top story)

• Lil Wayne and Jeff Goldblum Star In Super Bowl Ad (top story)

• Coldplay's Chris Martin In Latest Carpool Karaoke (top story)

• Selena Gomez Plans To Eventually Quit Social Media (top story)

• Tidal And Universal Differ On Rihanna's ANTI Leak (top story)

• Kanye West Clarifies 'Waves' Greatest Album Claims (top story)

• Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley Goes Solo With 'The Driver' (top story)

• Zayn Malik Confirms Gigi Hadid Romance Rumors? (top story)

• Skrillex and ASAP Rocky Make Cameo In New 'Zoolander 2' Trailer (top story)

• DJ Big Kap Dead At 45 (top story)

• Nina Dobrev Entices Tim Tebow with Sexy 'Lip Sync Battle' Performance (top story)

• Bruce Springsteen Dances In The Dark With 89-Year-Old Grandma (top story)

• Kesha's Mother Claims Legal Win Over Dr. Luke (top story)

• Zendaya Streams 'Something New' Featuring Chris Brown (top story)


More News


Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2016 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved.

Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.