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Hop Farm Festival 2012: Peter Gabriel meandered to a well-received climax

Peter Gabriel performs during the first day of the Hop Farm music festival Peter Gabriel performs during the first day of the Hop Farm music festival AFP/Getty
Peter Gabriel and The New Blood Orchestra might not have been a universally popular choice for the Friday night headline slot at this edge-of-the-capital retro fest, but he - eventually - encouraged the crowd to warm to his popular hits.

While Gabriel's high-brow orchestrations of occasionally obscure album tracks might pack out a festival hall show full of chin strokers, it's a brave promoter who stakes the first day of a proper festival on an artist with credibility in spades - but with a penchant for not exactly playing to the galleries.

Hopes were high however when the show opened with a stirring cover of David Bowie's Heroes, and later the sparsely arranged and chilling version of Arcade Fire's My Body is a Cage had the less-than-capacity crowd on the edge of their waterproof beanbags.

The beautifully-crafted video backdrops were also worth the entrance fee, and nobody could deny this was a visually spectacular feast.

'This has been a great three-year project,' said Gabriel, to a buzz of interest.

'And we're really pleased to be doing these last few shows in this country.'

But he was quick to correct any misconception that this might be a special, bowing-out moment as he rapidly made it clear that wasn't true.

A couple of covers aside, the first half of the set was littered with older and less well-known songs like San Jacinto and Rhythm of the Heat.

Despite their power and soul, these lacked the common touch of closing numbers such as Red Rain, Biko, Salisbury Hill and Don't Give Up (sans Kate Bush) that saw the night finally draw to a politely well-received climax.

© Metro


Peter Gabriel Live at The Hop Farm Festival 29/06/2012 Jon Caira

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