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MUSIC REVIEW (Live)
Peter Gabriel
Growing Up Live Tour

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Date: Thursday November 28, 2002


Peter Gabriel has never been content to rest on his laurels and the "Growing Up" tour proves to be no exception. Gabriel collaborated with Quebec director and writer Robert Lepage to create an organic, ever-changing set which morphs through several dramatically different configurations, gradually evoking various images of a womb giving birth or a flower opening, and creating an astounding metaphor for the process of birth and the subsequent discovery of the world and its realities. The massive set, hung from the ceiling and centered above the round stage, dwarfed the players while giving Gabriel and his daughter Melanie a playground from which to suspend upside down, ride around on a bike, paddle a canoe and bounce around in an oversized transparent inflatable "zorg" ball.

These joyous explorations of his surroundings are contrasted with a more harsh view of a media-obsessed world when, during the performance of the current single "The Barry Williams Show", Gabriel turns the ever-watchful eye of the media on himself and his bandmates in the form of a camera which he pushes around on a raised circular walkway.

On top of the extraordinary set design, Gabriel's fans were treated to a set which spanned the breadth of his career, from the introspective rendition of Here Comes The Flood solo on piano, a rare full-band rendering of Solsbury Hill, new track "Animal Nation" (from the Wild Thornberrys soundtrack) and most of his hits including Shock The Monkey, Sledgehammer and Red Rain.

Gabriel is never shy about acknowledging the contribution of those around him, and in addition to introducing the band members, he had the crew don bright orange jumpsuits to make it very clear just how essential they were and their significance in the ongoing transformation of the stage. Robert Lepage also had his moment in the spotlight as Gabriel took time out from the musical program to bring Lepage on stage and introduce him to an appreciative crowd in Lepage's home province. Gabriel also acknowledged the predominance of French speakers in the crowd by speaking French himself throughout the set.

Despite tight performances from the band, Gabriel showed his "human" side, perhaps intentionally, by missing an occasional cue or line of lyrics, although he didn't have to stop any songs completely as he did in other cities on the tour. The set spanned well over an hour, many songs with an increased intensity over the recorded versions thanks to the pounding rhythm section of crowd favourite Tony Levin on stick and bass and relative newcomer Ged Lynch.

Finishing off the night the way he started, solo on piano, the crowd was left with "Father, Son", the journey from conception through birth to growing up and fatherhood complete. And suddently, the lights came on, the roadies came out, and the mystical world created by over 2 hours of amazing music and stage design disappeared in an instant, replaced by the jarring reality of being in a hockey rink.

Set List:
Here Comes the Flood
Darkness
Red Rain
Secret World
Sky Blue
Downside Up
The Barry Williams Show
More than This
Mercy Street
Digging in the Dirt
Growing Up
Animal Nation
(presentation)
Solsbury Hill
Sledgehammer
Signal to Noise

(Encores)
In your Eyes
Come Talk to Me
Father, Son

Steve Donnelly Email WWW

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