As an influential icon in rock music, a music pioneer that combines technology and visualization, and a champion in the integration of world music to the society, Peter Gabriel has surely nailed its name in the list of a living legend musician in the music industry. His latest (and still ongoing) tour entitled ‘Back to Front’ celebrates his 25th anniversary of the worldwide success album ‘So’ in which it will be played entirely with the original line-up musicians during its release back in 1986.
Gabriel stopped by in Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, as part of the tour on May 20th. The good weather outside during that day didn’t stop the fans to gather inside the ice hall arena and enjoy the trip back memory lane of all the great songs in the album ‘So’ in a superb performance with great concept and constructive stage act.
As what has Gabriel always addressed during the beginning of the show in this tour: “We serve it up in three parts; like a meal. The starter will be an acoustic bit, almost like we would be in rehearsal mode. From that acoustic starter we move on to the savoury dish, which is electric or more electronic stuff. If you survive that, then you get your dessert, which is the complete and uninterrupted album of So, in the order in which it was originally intended.”
The line-up musicians that join this tour includes David Rhodes on guitar, Tony Levin on bass, David Sancious on keyboard, Manu Katché on drums, and Jennie Abrahamson & Linnea Olsson on backing vocals.
The show starts with the arena all lighted up, giving the atmosphere of raw, open and unrefined for the musicians to all the audiences. The first tune played was even an unfinished number ‘Oh but’. During the acoustic set, songs like ‘Shock The Monkey’ and ‘Come Talk To Me’ are played in a style never heard before by audiences.
The second part was a very well-prepared stage performance with great electronic sound throughout the show. Tunes like ‘Secret World’, ‘Digging In The Dirt’ and ‘Solsbury Hill’ surely brought the audiences to an enjoyment. Levin’s funk fingers surely gave a distinctive sound in the bass. With a non-stop groove coming from Katché’s drumming and rocking distortion from Rhodes, the second act of the show really gave out a rock solid music elements that lifted up the show from the acoustic first act.
Third part was the part which have been waited for, all the hits songs from the album ‘So’ was played in a full-scale band performance. Starting out with ‘Red Rain’, ‘Sledgehammer’ and followed by the uplifting duo performance of ‘Don’t Give Up’ with Abrahamson. ‘Mercy Street’ was the number that captivated the audiences with Gabriel’s singing whilst laying down, centered and surrounded by cameras that are shooting downward towards him. ‘In Your Eyes’ was the closing of the set, accompanied again by a duo with Abrahamson and the jazzy-sound of keyboard solo by Sancious, the music surely brought a sense of world music to be listened to.
The overall performance was very well prepared, with superb stage performance and visualization throughout the songs, and the musicianship between the group were very strong resulting in great musical performance in the songs that were played that night. Audiences responded with great appreciation and long applause in many occasions on that show. During the show, what was meant to be a sitting audience ended up being a standing audiences full of dances and celebration.
Peter Gabriel, as an inducted artist in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last April, along with the touring musicians during this tour has surely made an impressive comeback to the spotlight with the excellent musical performance with his still-very-prime vocal condition, great stage set and most importantly, the reminiscence of a great songs from the album ‘So’.
Writen by: Bimo Murti | Singer-songwriter of Lazy Saturday Project | EP debut is available for free download at the music page