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The Returns on Peter Gabriel and the New Blood Orchestra

Peter Gabriel w/ New Blood Orchestra Peter Gabriel w/ New Blood Orchestra Randomographer

Grand Prairie, Texas - Still can't envision how Peter Gabriel was once a part of Genesis, especially when the band became "Phil Collins".

Gabriel is better than Collins, Mike Rutherford or Tony Banks. We know this. I still like the Collins' crap, but his music is not nearly as varied, diverse or as deep as Gabriel. Again, we know this.

So when Gabriel announced his 12-city North American tour would be with an orchestra serving as a background, I signed up. I saw him once in 2007 in the rain in Amsterdam and enjoyed the evening. He played his hits as they sounded when I listened to them as a kid. Yes, he's just about bald and pretty round, but he sounds good.

The performance he gave on Wednesday night is not the show, or sounds, we're used to from him. Not as many visual aids. No synthesizing sounds.
But this was not a case of The Police playing their greatest hits for $225 a ticket, which is a show I gleefully saw twice. Gabriel at least wanted to really play around with his music.

The orchestra sounds behind his hits such as "Mercy Street", "In Your Eyes", "Red Rain" was sometimes fantastic, and sometimes a bit of a miss.

Arguably his most successful song, "In Your Eyes", just didn't translate as well to orchestra as well as "Rhythm of the Heat". Or "Solisbury Hill".

This is Rhythm of the Heat from YouTube when he played Berlin last year.

Gabriel could have performed his greatest hits catalogue and I would have been happy, too. But I enjoyed Gabriel playing around with his own hits, and those of others. His cover of David Bowie's "Heroes" sounded pretty good.

But Paul Simon would be well within his rights to smack Gabriel for his cover of "Boy in a Bubble". Gabriel warned the audience he would suck the life from this upbeat, wonderfully written tune. He did. It was painful to hear Gabriel's "sad" voice translating this song.

For the most part, the orchestra sounds worked behind Gabriel's tunes. It was hit or miss when he covered the others.

Does the evening pass the concert test? Yes. He sounds good. It was different. He worked hard to entertain his audience.

I had fun.

© The Big Mac Blog, by Mac Engel

Last modified onMonday, 20 November 2017 09:21


Peter Gabriel & New Blood Orchestra - The Rhythm of the Heat therealintruder


  • Bob Nunn
    Bob Nunn Tuesday, 21 June 2011 15:32 Comment Link Report

    I was with a group of ten people, some unfamiliar with PG, some familiar with his commercial hits, and some like me who just appreciate him for his tremendous creative and artistic talents. All of us walked away from the show completely and totally impressed with the performance from start to finish. I think sometimes people just expect too much, instead of simply enjoying the moment. If I want to hear his standards as they were first recorded, I can pull out one of his CD's.
    This performance was a remarkable demonstration of his talent, and willingness to go beyond the norm. Yes, he took a risk it would alientate some of his fans. But, in my view, true fans know PG does not follow any set of rules. He plays it by ear, steps outside the safety of the commercial box. And in this case, I felt every note, every cadence, every emotion in his music.

  • Renee Collins
    Renee Collins Friday, 17 June 2011 04:48 Comment Link Report

    I feel so honored to have been able to see Peter in such an intimate venue as the Verizon Theatre. Peter is one of the worlds best artist and what he has done by incorporating the orchestra with his music is phenomenal. I'm still overcome with emotion the day after the show. I hope he continues to keep us all entertained with his creativity! ...a Peter Gabriel fan since "In the beginning".

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