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Peter Gabriel, Brighton Centre, 24/11/2003

Jet lag and concerts don't usually go well together, let alone concerts in another city. But after flying back from Salt Lake City, and just a few hours kip, I found myself on a train for Brighton, and Peter Gabriel's smallest gig for some time....

Billed as a warm-up gig for today's Nelson Mandela-organised AIDS benefit in South Africa, Gabriel used the concrete shed of the Brighton Centre as a place to try out a stripped back set that mixed old and new. Tracks from early albums sat alongside pieces from Ovo and UP. Simple lighting effects and an almost empty stage were surpassed by virtuoso guitar from long-time musical collaborator David Rhodes, while Tony Levin's bass led with a driving rhythm that never stopped.

Highlights included "Games Without Frontiers" sung on synchronised Segways, and a climax that included a powerful, triumphant "Solsbury Hill" that underlined Gabriel's commitment to his post-Genesis career, and that led to the entire line-up dancing through the audience. Perhaps unsurprisingly, tracks from So and Us dominated the set. An acapella "Mercy Street" brought tears to the eyes, while "Digging in the Dirt" was as honest as ever... The encores were well worth the long journey that resulted from catching the last train back to London: a passionate "Biko", sung anticipating its first live performance in South Africa, and the perennial crowd-pleaser "Sledgehammer".

One of the best gigs so far this year.

(Now, if only he'd sung "Here Comes The Flood"...)


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2003 07:09 am (UTC)
Is Levin still playing that wonderful stick bass of his?
Nov. 29th, 2003 07:13 am (UTC)
The Chapman Stick?

Yes! And using a bow on it, these days, too...
Nov. 29th, 2003 10:11 am (UTC)
I didn't know you could use a bow on a Stick.
Dec. 1st, 2003 11:30 am (UTC)
As a former bass player I always found the Stick a fascinating instrument, and admired Tony Levin's all-round virtuosity, both with it and with ordinary instruments. I'm glad to hear he's still around.
Nov. 29th, 2003 09:52 am (UTC)
Highlights included "Games Without Frontiers" sung on synchronised Segways
Good grief. I channel-hopped into him doing that on "children in need" last week, and thought it was a joke for charity purposes. It just looked so silly.
Dec. 1st, 2003 01:41 pm (UTC)
It'd be good to see Gabriel again in a smaller (non-stadium) setting. I hope you managed to have enough fun for the rest of us, too.

I've heard "Solsbury Hill" and "Shock the monkey" live often enough, thanks. There are so many other good songs from the early albums that deserve an occasional airing -- "Biko" and "Here comes the flood" included.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )