Peter Gabriel @ The Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood CA 10/06/12
I was so excited to see this show. Peter Gabriel is often thought of one of those stuffy, self- important artistes, but for me his music combined some of the most offbeat yet compelling ingredients and his stage shows were legendary, almost theatrical events. He is a true artist, and his collaborators are some of the best musicians in the business. He rarely releases new material. And he rarely tours, consequentially. His history is deeply rooted in progressive rock music (Genesis) as well as new wave, pop and world music. Leave it to Peter Gabriel to mix electronic beats, bagpipes, distorted guitars and African tribal singing.
This tour was not to be missed, it was a huge event for fans and the music community. Call it nostalgia, but Peter Gabriel was celebrating the release of the landmark ‘So’ album. In a fitting move, he had pieced together the original 1987 ‘So’ touring lineup, including the great Tony Levin on bass and Manu Katche on drums. The group would play two sets with an intermission. The second half would showcase the entire ‘So’ album, with the closer being “In Your Eyes,” Followed by the obligatory “Biko” as the final encore.
What would have been a stellar show turned into one frustrating pain in the ass. I arrived at the venue extremely late. I had planned my route fairly well, or so I thought, but as I approached The Bowl, I quickly became stuck in horrendous traffic that would not move. After a while of waiting, I veered off and ventured further down the 101 and exited wherever I could. Unfortunately, one way streets, blocked off areas, illegal U-turns, closed down park & rides and suspended shuttle services further delayed me, and I could not locate a decent area to park. By the time I had figured it all out and made my way into The Bowl, the closing bars of Red Rain had been completed. I was so disappointed. I’d never had such a problem accessing a venue before. My seat was in the upper sections of The Bowl, which seemed like a mile away. So I decided to hang out near the middle section and quietly watched the show while leaning against a barrier. Staff didn’t bother me, I didn’t obstruct anyone’s view, so it seemed like a good vantage point and consolation for missing the first half.
The ‘So’ set was great, the performances were excellent and the band was hot…much of which is owed to the rhythm section. Manu Katche on drums provides the entire group with elegant flair and groove. During the 2002 “Growing Up Tour,” a different drummer, Ged Lynch, was utilized. That man cannot play like Manu Katche, he can’t even touch him, and the songs suffered as a result – they weren’t the same without Katche’s signature style. His playing is hard to describe. Katche is a French national of African decent. He approaches the drumset like a percussionist if that makes any sense. He has excellent feel, elegance in playing, writes intricate drum parts, and channel the spirit of MoTown in his playing. I did a little stint working at Guitar Center some years ago. I was so envious of the store manager because he got to attend Yamaha Day in LA. Katche plays Yamaha drums (like myself!). The store manager said that Katche kicked everyone’s ass when it came technique, ability and showmanship. I so wish i could have seen that performance.
John Cusack came onstage, boombox in hand, during the intro to “In Your Eyes.” Cusack handed the boombox to Gabriel, he lifted it above his head just like in the Say Anything movie.
Come Talk to Me
Shock the Monkey
Part 2, Electric
Digging in the Dirt
The Family and the Fishing Net
No Self Control
Washing of the Water
Part 3, “So”
Don’t Give Up
That Voice Again
We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37)
This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds)
In Your Eyes
The Tower That Ate People