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progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

concert review

Peter Gabriel - Palau Sant Jordi de Barcelona
- 1st June - 2003

We have to wait ten years to see our musical guru again on stage. In Barcelona he finishes the "Growing Up Tour" before around 12.000 persons of different generations. I went to the show with my best friend, his wife and their ten years old son Miquel who began to walk with the sound of "Steam". Although he was tired (it was too late) he enjoyed a lot with the show and I´m sure this show will be marked in his mind forever. He wasn´t an exception because I could see more children and teenagers sons of die-hard Gabriel´s fans. Before the show Gabriel joked with the press saying that perhaps he´d have to look for his fans in the graveyard in order to fill the Palau. Of course he didn´t do it because the venue was sold out and I was very happy about it.

Ten years ago "Secret World Tour" marked us with a show with good music and great visual metaphors. So we were waiting for what he was going to offer this tour. Anyway, and after all this time, I didn´t mind.

The lights went down and that was the sign. The show began and the crowd went wild. Peter is alone at the stage and the first thing you think is: “Please, pass me the binoculars”. To be honest, we recognized him more by the way he moved. Time goes by for everyone: even for vegetarians. He said hello to the crowd and told that they were going to play new and old songs (the setlist was great and everybody got satisfied… musicians and people). He prefers to play new material and people prefer to listen to old material. So he chose a part of the set list and the rest of it was chosen by fans via internet. As Peter said: “a show agreed by the parts”. So in a calm way he began with "Here Comes the Flood" taken from his first album. After this nostalgic track, all the musicians came out and played the chaotic "Darkness". From this song on we enjoyed with a varied set list. Soft songs like "Mercy Street" or "Sky blue", enigmatic and tight songs like "Digging in the Dirt", "Red Rain" or "Come talk to me", dynamic songs like "Growing Up", "The Barry Williams Show" or "Sledgehammer", the nostalgic "Solsbury Hill", the unreleased "Animal Nation" and the amazing "Signal To Noise" ending the show with the hymn "In Your Eyes" with guest vocalist Sevara Nazarkhan. These are the songs I remember but I´m sure I forgot some. Peter tried to intimate with the audience (very difficult with 12.000 people) speaking in spanish and catalan languages.

The musicians were: Tony Levin: Bass and David Rhodes: Guitars (these two I´m sure have a bigger salary), Rachel Z: Keyboards, Ged Lynch: Drums, Richard Evans: String and wind instruments, and Peter´s daughter: Melanie Gabriel who collaborates as singer.

A Peter Gabriel´s show is more than a simple show. He likes to give his song a visual aspect. When he led Genesis he surprised the audiences with his disguises. Of course time passes by and the stage of the last tour is extremely sophisticated. A round rotating stage and over it a big satellite with amazing speakers and lights. There are simple tricks as a boat that sails along the stage (it seems like a quiet sea thanks to the lights effects) when he sings "Mercy Street". A funny bicycle in "Solsbury Hill". There is also the lighting suit (as in the video clip) of "Sledgehammer". In "The Barry Williams Show" Peter records the audience with a camera. In "Growing Up" he enters in a transparent sphere that bounces with the rhythm. These were the most shocking moments of the show. They´re visual metaphors of the song he sings.

But there´s something I don´t like. Barcelona´s media criticizes the latestGabriel´s albums saying that the show is more important than the music, that the “So” material is the main material of the show; and that “Up” or “Ovo” are far from his best albums.

Peter Gabriel doesn´t need to build a postmodern circus in order to remark his latest albums because they have strength themselves. “Up” is less commercial than “So” because it´s more intimate.

I hope that the press enjoy with the forthcoming album (the working title is I/O) because Peter will include all the commercial material that he couldn´t record in “Up”.

The only negative point was the awful sound. Nobody could listen to the different instruments separately. Sometimes I didn´t hear Tony Levin.

As I felt in the last tour, I´ve seen something really magic that will be marked in my brain for long time.

Julio Fernández - June 2003


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