There was a collective sigh of relief as Peter Gabriel sang the opening notes of his first gig in Birmingham for 10 years.
The former Genesis frontman had clearly made an excellent recovery after losing his voice and cancelling a concert in France two nights earlier.
We listened intently to concert opener What Lies Beneath, not just to see how his throat was holding up but also because it was that most rare of beasts - a new Peter Gabriel song.
The piano ballad was unexpected because the 64-year-old hasn’t released an album of original material since Up in 2002.
It was doubly surprising because his Back To Front tour is a nostalgic affair - a celebration of his 1986 multi-platinum album So.
The two-hour, 15 minute show was served up in three courses, as Peter described it: an acoustic starter, an electric main course and So as the dessert.
He performed every song from So, backed by the band who toured with him in support of the album’s release, including Tony Levin and Manu Katche.
And what a joy it was to once again hear such beautifully crafted songs as Red Rain, Sledgehammer, Big Time and Don’t Give Up played live.
Ever the showman, he sang Mercy Street flat on his back while being menaced by stage lighting straight from War of the Worlds.
An uplifting In Your Eyes brought this Michelin-starred meal to an end.
Earlier feasts for the ears included an accordion-led Come Talk To Me, a rousing Secret World and a skip-to-the-beat Solsbury Hill.
There was even a second new song, a plea to God called Why Don’t You Show Yourself.
The cheese and biscuits, so to speak, was the rallying cry Biko, which was dedicated to those the world over who are fighting injustices.
Unlike previous Gabriel shows, the presentation was minimal but the music was so good it needed little garnish.
- What Lies Ahead
- Come Talk to Me
- Shock the Monkey
- Family Snapshot
- Digging in the Dirt
- Secret World
- The Family and the Fishing Net
- No Self Control
- Solsbury Hill
- Why Don’t You Show Yourself
- Red Rain
- Don’t Give Up
- That Voice Again
- Mercy Street
- Big Time
- We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37)
- This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds)
- In Your Eyes
- The Tower That Ate People
© Birminghammail, by Adrian Caffery
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