Tag Archives: Peter Gabriel

Wrapping up 2010

Wow, where do I start….

As evidenced by the previous posts I had a pretty amazing year of concert-going.  A near lifelong quest completed, an epic show I’d missed 30 years ago revisited.  A music oriented couple weeks in London.  Countless HOF members of the Rock Hall of Fame….heck a ton of them in just a single week.  Shows with good friends old and new.  Hard to even wrap my head around the whole thing.

Here’s the list:

Keb’ Mo’ – Coach House – Jan 14

The Blasters, John Doe, Rumble King – Coach House – Feb 20

Peter Gabriel – Hollywood Bowl – May 7

Styx, Kansas, Foreigner – Citizens Bank Arena – May 19

Richard Thompson – Royal Festival Hall – June 19

Green Day, Joan Jett – Wembley Stadium – June 19

Elvis Costello – Royal Festival Hall – June 20

Glastonbury – June 23-27

Jackson Browne – Albert Hall – June 29

Jack Johnson – O2 Arena – June 30

Laura Marling, Fanfarlo, Peggy Sue, Smoke Fairies – Hyde Park – July 1

Hop Farm – July 2-3

Jools Holland – Kew Gardens – July 6

Barenaked Ladies, Kris Allen, Angel Taylor – Greek Theatre – July 22

Blondie, Gorevette – Pacific Amphitheatre – August 8

Rush – Irvine Meadows – August 13

Al Yankovic – Pacific Amphitheatre – August 14

Scissor Sisters – DAR Consitiution Hall – August 23

Neil Finn – Largo – September 11

Muse, Passion Pit – Staples Center – September 25

Gorillaz, N.E.R.D. – Gibson – October 27

Bonobo – Music Box – November 26

Roger Waters – Staples Center – November 29

Roger Waters – Honda Center – December 13

Roger Waters – Honda Center – December 14

Twenty three shows and two festivals in all.  I don’t think I could even pick a “best”.  However a few things to note do occur to me.

Worst sound, Scissor Sisters.  Horrible mix that completely left the vocals out, and it’s not like I had a crappy seat, I was in the 5th row.  Really guys?  Totally detracted from an interesting performance.

Only show I left early, Jack Johnson.  It was okay, but very one-note.  I like his studio stuff, but in a huge arena it was lost.  Put the same show in an intimate venue and I might have loved it.  Add to the experience that I was a bit sick that night and it was just not a compelling show.

Most disappointing, Muse/Passion Pit.  Passion Pit left me cold and Muse after all the hype just didn’t live up to expectations.  Lot’s of copped riffs and wasted technology that didn’t go anywhere.  If you want to use technology look to Gabriel, Waters or even the Pet Shop Boys.  This was “sound and fury that signified nothing”…

Most intimate, Neil Finn.  The Largo is magic when Neil plays there and the September show was no exception.  An obscure setlist that actually added to the special feeling of the evening.  You knew even while watching this was the sort of thing that would never be duplicated.  Jackson Browne in the acoustic tent at Glastonbury was a close second.  While the masses grooved to Stevie Wonder….Jackson held court for a few hundred lucky folks and spun magic with his sidekick David Lindley.  Moving and unique almost sell short just how very special a way it was to end my Glastonbury experience.

Surprises…How awesome Gorillaz were in LA after disappointing in Glastonbury.

Bonobo, Midlake, Hot Chip, Fanfarlo, Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, Two Door Cinema Club, Magic Numbers, The Bees….none of whom I knew before 2010 and who all get extensive spins regularly on my ipod now.

How great Rush could be at doing “Moving Pictures” after being somewhat average the other time I’d seen them previously….this show made up for that one in spades.

Disappointment….U2 having to cancel in Anaheim and Glastonbury…(of course it does give me a couple shows to look forward to in 2011 already…)

Well, that’s it…another year in the books, and an amazing one at that.  Curious to see what 2011 (and beyond) will bring?  But, it’ll be hard for any year to reach the heights of 2010 for me.

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PG Review

So, a few words about the Peter Gabriel show now that I’ve had a couple days to reflect.

Almost perfect….

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.

So…

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.)

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Peter Gabriel

Tomorrow night is a very special local show (well, semi-local at the Hollywood Bowl anyway).

I’m sort of curious what’s in store.  I love PG and have seen him three times going back to 1978 when I saw him on tour for his second album at Crawford Hall in Irvine.  (An amazing show, which I will write about another time.)

But the new CD is challenging to say the least.  No drums, no guitars…just a 54 piece orchestra.

I’ve listened to it (Scratch My Back) a number of times and some of the cuts have great potential to work live.  Others, I’m just not sure of?  But, I guess that’s the cool thing about someone like him.  He would never just head out on the road and crank out the hits.  Every show contains a huge amount of thinking behind it.  The Growing Up live tour was masterful in it’s technical complexity and it’s artistic execution.  The only guy I can think of who reinvents himself over and over the same way is Joe Jackson (a different type of music mostly), but the same commitment to trying new things and expanding the boundaries of their music, past and present.

I’m very curious about the show…will it work?  Or, will it fall flat before an LA audience full of “hipsters” who only came to hear “Sledgehammer” and “Red Rain”?

He;s never let me down before, so I have high hopes of a terrific night.

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