Peter Gabriel Newcastle Arena 4th Dec 2014

Peter Gabriel Newcastle Arena 4th Dec 2014
gabrielsotoixPeter Gabriel is currently on tour to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his album “So”. The show sees Gabriel reuniting with members of his old band line-up, and last night it called at Newcastle Arena. The show started with Peter walking on stage unannounced to introduce the opening act Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson who played a few songs to an attentive audience. Jennie plays keyboard and Linnea cello, and they each sang one or two of their own songs, which were all pretty good. They both also featured as vocalists in Gabriel’s band. After a very short break, Peter Gabriel and band took to the stage, Peter seated at a piano. He explained that the concert would be in three parts: an acoustic “starter”, followed by a more electronic and adventurous “main course” and followed by the desert, which would be “So” in its entirety.
For the short acoustic set the house lights were left on, and the set included a great version of “Shock the Monkey”. The “main course” was much darker in presentation and content. The house lights dropped and tall robotic lighting rigs were wheeled around the stage, on what looked like a small train line which encircled the band, sending white beams across the crowd. The songs were much rockier, with sharp riffs and electronic funk, and Gabriel parading around the stage, side-stepping in a jerky dance. garielsoprogI’d almost forgotten what a showman this guy is. Peter and the band must have had cameras fixed to their instruments, and in Peter’s case to his mike, as scary, huge, close-up black and white images of the band’s faces were displayed on the screens around the stage. It was great to hear Gabriel’s 1977 hit “Solsbury Hill” again, reminding me of when he first went solo, and his magnificent shows at the City Hall during that period.
The desert of “So” was delivered next, starting with bright scarlet lights enveloping the stage for “Red Rain”. Highlights of this set  for me were the well known songs: “Sledgehammer” and “Don’t Give Up”, which featured Jennie Abrahamson taking Kate Bush’s vocal part, and doing an excellent job. It seems to be the “thing” for bands to perform one of their albums in their entirety. At first I thought this was a goo idea, but now I’m beginning to wonder. Even the best albums have a few tracks that either aren’t so good or have been forgotten. I am beginning to think I would prefer to see a band play a set which draws from the best songs across a spread of albums. Having said that; it was really good to see Peter Gabriel again, it has been a good few years since he last played in Newcastle; an enjoyable concert.
Starter: What Lies Ahead; Come Talk to Me; Shock the Monkey; Family Snapshot
Main course; Digging in the Dirt; Secret World; Darkness; No Self Control; Solsbury Hill; Why Don’t You Show Yourself
Dessert (So): Red Rain; Sledgehammer; 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
Encore: The Tower That Ate People; Biko
Band line-up: Peter Gabriel: vocals, keyboards; Tony Levin: bass; David Rhodes: guitars; David Sancious: keyboards; Manu Katché: drums; Jennie Abrahamson: vocals; Linnea Olsson: vocals.

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