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PG 2002

That was quite the show. Peter Gabriel had told people to expect something different, and it certainly delivered.

I missed a little of the Blind Boys of Alabama, but they were incredible – gospel vocals with a soul backbeat. For their last number, they extended “If I Had a Hammer” and turned the Fleet Center into a revival tent. Very shortly after they left the stage (circular, in the middle of the arena), Peter Gabriel came on and introduced the “amazing” Hukwe Zawose, a Tanzanian duo that won the crowd over with not much more than a few traditional instruments, deeply elemental singing, and a lot of heart. Thumb pianos never sounded so cool.

At 9, Gabriel came on and played (somewhat to my surprise) a mix of old and new stuff which leaned pretty strongly to the new. He led off with “Here Comes the Flood,” which was playing in my head when those heavy rains came in March 2001. There's just something about the weary rasp in his voice that commands credibility.

It's getting late, so I won't attempt to describe all the permutations of the stage that unfolded during the show, but I will tell you that Peter performed various songs while:

  • Walking upside down.
  • Rolling/walking inside an enormous, inflatable ball, which he deftly controlled around the stage. Of it he said, “When my daughter was young, her hamster had something like that. Now I definitely believe in karma.”
  • Riding a bike around the stage
I think my favorite bit was an a capella intro to “45 Mercy Street,” it was really well done and showcased a part of a band that you wouldn't ordinarily expect to experience. Gabriel has kept the same musicians around for a while now (especially David Rhodes on guitar and Tony Levin on bass), and it really shows in the amazing cohesion and chops of his band. Levin in particular is not only musically first-rate but a definite crowd-pleasing perform who nicely subverts any oppressive “good for you” vibe that could overpower Gabriel's songs. The “fun couple” beside me kept calling for the old stuff (especially “Shock the Monkey,”) but Gabriel did only one song from the third album (“Family Snapshot,” in some ways, a odd choice for the show's very last song), and none from the fourth as far as I could tell. He's just not feeling the angst these days, thank you, and you should have been able to figure that out from the Temptations-style dance steps he and band pulled of surprisingly well.

This was also one of the most technically accomplished rock shows I've ever seen, too. Somehow they managed to pull off a show in the round with lots of “set changes” on a rotating stage, while the overhead part of the set kept changing as well. And the sound was loud and clear without giving me ringing in the ears.

All it all, it was a real good time, even Peter Gabriel is not exactly identified with good times himself.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
sunderance
Nov. 25th, 2002 11:05 pm (UTC)
damn.

(got your message)

I should have gone! I can't believe he opened with that!!!!!!!
rpkrajewski
Nov. 26th, 2002 08:53 am (UTC)
He actually mentioned they they closed with "Flood" the last time they played Boston. Gee, that must have been ten years ago !
(no subject) - all_askew - Nov. 26th, 2002 08:08 am (UTC) - Expand
rpkrajewski
Nov. 26th, 2002 08:52 am (UTC)
Yep, and it worked very well. For the Blind Boys, they were facing in all directions; Hukwe Zawose rambled around the whole stage, thanks to wireless mics.

During the second verse of "Here Comes the Flood," PG was caught slightly off guard as the stage started to rotate and hit a bum note on the piano.

You saw Yes ? Dude !

So has great songs, and some amazing production, including some the warmest synth treatments I've heard. PG3 still amazes.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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