So, a few words about the Peter Gabriel show now that I’ve had a couple days to reflect.
I’ve seen him four times and each one has been completely different and really good. This one was the most unique of the four. The orchestral approach was really cool and when it worked it could literally move me to tears…(Mercy Street, Don’t Give Up, Power of Love). Yet, there were times when it was a bit “art for arts sake”. He exchanged one set of conventions (rock music, drums, guitars) for another (classical, strings, piano).
In other words, it was different…but all the same sort of different….(if that makes any sense?)
There was a sameness that carried across all the songs with very little variety of tone or pace. When he reached the end of “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”, I was actually a bit ready for an intermission.
I loved his songs rearranged…the nod to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy in Solsbury Hill was brilliant. But, I overall just felt like he traded one jacket (rock) for another (classical). I guess that even sounds a little silly as I type it. He had a specific aim for this project and he seems to have fulfilled it. I really can’t quibble with a show that was 95% wonderful, when so many acts couldn’t come close to that level of quality.
One thing I can say, I seemed to enjoy the songs that I knew less well more in this format. I guess that’s because “Heroes” and “Boy in the Bubble” are so familiar that I paid more attention to the new arrangements instead of focusing on the lyrics of the song itself…something that I could do with a song like “The Book of Love” which I didn’t know before this album, but live did wonders to lighten the mood (along with it’s clever video accompaniment.).
Or, “The Power of Love” which allowed me to hear one of the sweetest and honest love songs that I’ve heard in years.
Or even, “My Body is a Cage” which was pretty much perfectly done live with just the right dose of foreboding and doom.
Almost…(I wish it were perfect…but hey, “almost perfect” isn’t too bad a night. And honestly, nothing he does may ever top the sheer spectacle of the Growing Up tour, which was like a Broadway show performed in an arena.)