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Peter Gabriel hits San Diego with a Sledgehammer

Peter Gabriel @ Valley View Casino Center Peter Gabriel @ Valley View Casino Center the_cyber_bear
Hi, my name is Dan and I’m a Concert Junkie. I have been ever since I saw the excitement on my brother Richard’s face in 1966 as our mom dropped him off for a concert by The Animals at San Diego’s Community Concourse. I was 8 years old and begging my mom to let me go too, but of course, she was right in that I was too young for that crowd.
As the 60s turned into the 70s I found my way into almost every major concert that came to San Diego, filling an entire shoe box with ticket stubs. There are very few concerts that I had the chance to go to, that I did not go to that I regretted for the rest of my life. The biggest omission was the 1974 (or maybe 1975?) show by a band I had (at that time) never heard of, Genesis featuring a very odd looking Peter Gabriel on their infamous The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour. Yeah, I passed on that one :-(

In the years that followed I sort of made up for it by seeing the Gabriel-less Genesis 5 times, but sadly I was never able to see Peter Gabriel perform. Until last night. When I heard Gabriel was performing dates on his New Blood tour in 2011, I immediately contacted his management to find out if the tour would be stopping in Southern California, but was told no stops were planned here. When the "So – 25th Anniversary Back To Front Tour" announced a show at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego I nearly jumped out of my seat and fired off a press request and began counting days off the calendar. Another one off the Bucket List!

Needless to say, the reward paid off in spades. Dividing the show into thirds, Gabriel opened the show with an acoustic set which we photographers were forced to miss as we were gathered outside waiting to be led in to the photo pit to photograph only songs 6, 7, and 8. My review begins on song 6, the unbelievable "Secret World," which takes on a whole new level of awesome performed live. Next up was "The Family and the Fishing Net" from his fourth album. As the song progressed, things got weird (as things do at prog-rock shows) when the lighting came to life. Giant cranes started moving to and fro around the stage, rising and falling around in a kind of slow dance with Gabriel directing, at times as they got within arms length he would actually reach out and grab the device and move it around to where he wanted it, or push it away as the tempo of the song dictated. In the end, a giant metal spaceship type fixture was lowered from the ceiling over Gabriel with one of the lighting cranes rising up through the middle to light it.

One thing you can count on with a Peter Gabriel show is a healthy dose of deep cuts, such as song 8: "No Self Control". During these three songs Gabriel moved back and forth from the keyboard to center stage, and later in the set to a piano on the other side of the stage. As the song ended we were ushered back out and to my dismay I could hear the opening notes of one of my favorite live Gabriel songs "Solsbury Hill". Shit.

This is where my review would have ended, were it not for the generosity of my friend and fellow photographer Alan Hess who shared an extra ticket with me (Thanks Alan!). I rushed out to my car to stow my cameras (per policy) and booked it back inside just in time to catch the beginning of the third segment which consisted of the entire "So" album played in order. Well, not in the original order but the order of the 2003 remastered CD release which moved "In Your Eyes" to the #9 position from it’s original #5.

As is usually the case with rock shows, the lighting got significantly better after the photographers were ushered out of the photo pit. Replacing the wash of intense white lights was a rainbow if brilliantly balanced colored lights and incredible screen projections, most notably during "Sledgehammer" and "Big Time."

One of my personal favorites was the incredibly touching version of "Don’t Give Up" with Jennie Abrahamson flawlessly singing Kate Bush’s part in the duet. Tears come to my eyes as I think of my father who is in the final stages of Parkinson’s disease, lying in his bed fighting a battle he can’t win and I think "don’t give up pops". And that’s pretty much what I’m thinking as I write this… don’t give up, pops.


Peter Gabriel, vocals/keyboards/piano
Tony Levin, bass/keyboards/vocals
David Rhodes, guitars/vocals
Manu Katche, percussion
David Sancious, keyboards
Jennie Abrahamson, backing vocals
Linnea Olsson, backing vocals

Set list

Acoustic set
1. OBUT (With Tony Levin2, Come Talk to Me
3. Shock the Monkey
4. Family Snapshot
Second set
5. Digging in the Dirt
6. Secret World
7. The Family and the Fishing Net
8. No Self Control
9. Solsbury Hill
10. Washing of the Water
Third set "So" in Remastered Version order
11. Red Rain
12. Sledgehammer
13. Don't Give Up (With Jennie Abrahamson)
14. That Voice Again
15. Mercy Street
16. Big Time
17. We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37)
18. This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds)
19. In Your Eyes
20. The Tower That Ate People
21. Biko

© Examiner, by Daniel Knighton


PG: No Self Control, October 8, 2012, San Diego jsfanatic

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