Peter Gabriel Concert in Phoenix

I found time to take a break on 12/12 to see PETER GABRIEL in concert. After 9 years of not having seen him it is hard to describe the type of excitement that I felt, specially considering that I was some 50 feet away from the stage due to an unsual setup for the America West Arena: a round stage in the middle of the floor, which happened to also rotate so that everyone could get a good glimpse of one of the best (if not THE best) shows I’ve ever seen. To complement what I would like to share with you, here’s a link to the Arizona Republic’s review of the concert. Following, my comments about each of the songs he did:

  • Hearing Peter sing “Here Comes The Flood” made me enter a state of trance… a song so sublime, at a time in our lives when the US is about to engage in war with Irak and things back home (Venezuela) are only getting worst and the sensation of a Civil War doesn’t seem to go away.
  • “Darkness” from his new album was a sensational opener with the whole band (the first song, he did by himself on the piano). It is packed with force and sounds/looks somber, as the name implies.
  • “Red Rain” – I almost had a heart attack when this one played… I sang my lungs out “and I can’t wait any more…” The version of the song -one of my favorites- left me completely satisfied.
  • “Secret World” – a very nice follow-up to “Red Rain,” with Tony Levin wearing those devices on his fingers to obtain a special slap sound from his bass that no one else seems to be able to achieve (can you tell that I admire Levin’s work?) 😉
  • “Sky Blue” – the really good thing about this song was the participation of the Blind Boys of Alabama as backing singers towards the end. Otherwise, it’s not really a song that turned me on in particular.
  • “Downside Up” – as yo umight have heard, YES, Peter sang UPSIDE DOWN this song alongside daughter Melanie… in one of the first demonstrations of what the rest of the show was going to be like. I learned to love this song (and so did my wife) a lot after I heard this performance: Beautiful!!!
  • “Barry Williams Show” -otherwise, the song that I liked the least from the album, it was a true crowd entertainer. Within a circular stage within the stage, he had a rolling digital camera he was pushing around while shooting images of the public and the band, which were played on the screens above our heads… a bit reminiscent of “Digging in the dirt” from the previous tour.
  • “More than this” – a nice version of the song from the new album. By this point it was evident that the focus of the night was on the new album. Very few songs from old albums, and certainly none (to my dissapointment) from “Security” which I was expecting, after seeing the results of the survey that was carried in petergabriel.com.
  • “Mercy Street” – abeautiful song that is simply timeless. With a small boat and the band sitting around the circular stage and the outside of the circle moving, the song acquired a very special feel that took over everyone. Very, very special were the final words of the song, with Peter staring at his daughter Melanie, while singing “Anne, with her father is out in the boat, riding the water, riding the waves on the sea.”
  • “Digging in the dirt” -enjoyable. Without the effects from the previous show.
  • “Growing Up” -another high moment. Peter getting inside a ball, and singing from there al through the song! He just swivelled it around the stage, with the collaboration of the band to make sure he didn’t run over them! 😀
  • “Animal Nation” -not to be confused with “Animal Magic” (from ‘Scratch’ or Peter Gabriel’s second album). This seems to be a song that got left out of “UP.” I have read about two new productions coming out next year, so we will hear more about this song then. My wife loved it!
  • “Solsbury Hill” -made everyone jump out of their seats!!! Another timeless Gabriel classic… upbeat, and to top things, with him riding a bike around the stage!!
  • “Sledgehammer” -you can always take a little more “sledge”.
  • “Signal to noise” -one of the strongest tracks from the new album (the one where the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sings). The performance was breathtaking: so much strengh (leaves “Darkness” literally in the dark). The work of the drummer was outstanding: can’t complain… plus it provided a perfectly synchronized farewell of the band from the stage. As the live drums and the extra sequenced percussion by Dohl Foundation faded out, the internal circular stage collapsed below the stage…. incredible! I wanted to take the chance to recommend the music to “Gangs Of New York” where Peter contributes an instrumental version of this song, that perfectly fits the moment it is meant to score. Also, there is a beautiful song that plays with the closing credits, by U2: “The Hands That Build America.” The movie is pretty violent, though (we saw it last night).
  • “In your eyes” -he could not leave without it. He came back for this encore and “Father Son” (with Tony Levin accompanying him). Honestly, it’s not the best rendition of IYE that I’ve heard, but I can’t complain…

Overall, it was a very special night that I will always treasure in my heart. He gave himself to us, in spite of clearly being affected by some sort of throat problem (he kept coughin and drinking some hot drink, which he had on a Thermo by his side…) yet all was impeccable. Great production and visuals, incredibly professional musicians, amazing sound. I will look forward to seeing him again. At times when you’re saving money, attending concerts is not a #1 priority, but like Peter said himeself, before the first supporting act hit the stage, “It’s difficult to decide when to show up for a concert. You made the right decision.” Indeed… 🙂

Now, I have done a few more things, beside attending Peter’s concert:
1) I am training for the Valley of the Sun half-marathon with Team Diabetes, although this past week was not precisely the best example of training I can give, because of midterms.

2) I started organizing an Anti-Chavez protest here in Phoenix, inspired by the Venezuelans in sub-zero (Fahrenheit AND Celsius) Quebec, who protested there last 12/13. Most likely it will take place next 12/26, but I will get in touch with those of you who might be able to make it, to make sure you come: NI UN PASO ATRAS!! (“NO stepping back!”)

3) We’re travelling to San Francisco next Saturday for the weekend, and also to register ourselves to vote there next year.

So, in short, a lot going on…

LET’S ALL PRAY FOR A GREAT 2003, SINCE 2002 has not been the best year so far… with some good things here and there, but in general, it’s been a pretty bad year.

FELIZ NAVIDAD TO YOU ALL!!!

Sergio Died

Yesterday was a very sad day… I found out that my friend Sergio passed away. He died last Monday, after months struggling with Leukemia: the bone marrow transplant they did to him didn’t work, and a last resource experimental medicine didn’t either, so he’s no longer among us. Te queremos, hermano, amigo… un fuerte abrazo: te llevas el cariño que nos dejaste, Sergio!

Beside this, which is sad enough, last night in Venezuela, the events took a turn for the worse: three people died while protesting pacifically in Plaza Francia (the Tiennanmen of Latin America…) I was very sad last night. May God help our country!