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Peter Gabriel thrilled to be coming to Liverpool

Peter Gabriel is promising fans a feast at his upcoming ECHO arena show.

"This Back to Front tour we serve a bit like a meal," explains Peter, 64.

"We do three sections so, your starter is an acoustic section and the second section is more the savoury equivalent which is the experimentation and the electronics area.

"The third section, the dessert is the album So from start to finish in the order that it was originally intended.

"In some ways that is supposed to mirror the process, so you actually start with a number that hasn’t actually been finished.

"The acoustic bit is more like we might be working the ideas through; we do it with the house lights on. The second section is trying to arrange it, maybe when it’s a bit more mature and play around with it and the third section is something that’s finished and in the case of So, familiar."

Peter first rose to fame as the lead vocalist and flautist of Genesis.

After leaving the prog rock giants, he went on to a successful solo career, and his 1986 album, So, was a world-wide hit, selling millions of copies around the globe.

Its single Sledgehammer won a record nine MTV Awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards and remains the most played music video in the history of MTV.

But while the album is being played in its entirety, fans may be surprised that the track order has changed.

"The order was subverted at the time because it was so long ago that we were thinking about vinyl releases as a principal format," he says.

"The old vinyl had to have tracks with fat bass, with a big bottom [end], at the front because the grooves at the edge of a record are, can be, wider and in the middle they’re getting smaller and smaller as it winds in towards the centre.

"To get a big bottom note, the needle has to have room to move around so we had to put In Your Eyes which had this fat bottom, as the first track and not as the last track, which is where it was originally intended and where we are now playing it."

As well as the classic songs, he also has his original touring band from 1986.

Peter Gabriel on stage in Liverpool at the opening night of the Summer Pops

Peter Gabriel on stage in Liverpool at the opening night of the Summer Pops

"When we thought about bringing this music back in touring mode again I really felt I should do it with the original band particularly the drums, you know, although we had a few drummers, wonderful drummers, working on it, there was a lot of Manu in that record and he has a wonderful, very musical style that is unlike anyone else," he says.

"So, I didn’t think anyone else would quite recreate that in the same way. And I know when I went to see Brian Wilson do Pet Sounds, which was part of what gave me the encouragement to something retro, which I’d never done before, it was the sort of similarity to the original record which I enjoyed a lot as a fan.

"So I thought that would be a way to do it and similarly with David Sancious, you know, who in this case plays accordion, some guitar and Hammond which is, though we don’t have a proper Hammond, we have organ samples there and he does the sort of Gospel piano on Don’t Give Up it feels like it’s really working him.

"And David and Tony have been with me throughout pretty much, Tony right from the beginning. They are sort of standard elements of the band."

But as well as the old, he’s also bringing us the new.

"In terms of new colours you know. I had been working with this wonderful Scandinavian singer, Ane Brun. She’s Norwegian, but she came to Quebec where we first started rehearsing, got sick and we actually carried on with a couple of her band members, which is how I met Jennie and Linnea (Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson).

"They are actually really gifted writers and musicians in their own right, both multi-instrumentalists, but in our set Linnea is playing cello on the new song, Why Don’t You Show Yourself and then Jennie does some guitar in Solsbury Hill."

There are also new songs – but not many.

"I’m pretty slow at generating new stuff but I wanted to have a sprinkling of something fresh so people would feel that they’re still noticing some changes, progress," he says.

Choosing a set list must be tough with such an extensive back catalogue to go at?

"Well, there were quite a few candidates and then when we started the subdivisions, the three parts, some of the music was working better acoustically than others," says Peter.

"We have this transition in Family Snapshot that worked really well and we’ve tried juggling one or two things but it felt like this particular set was working very well.

"So I think I will throw in another one or two changes for 2014 but it’ll be suck it and see, we’ll check it out closer to the time."

© Liverpool Echo, by Jade Wright

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