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introLanxess Arena, Cologne, Germany
2nd May 2014
Peter Gabriel & Support: Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson

With his legendary ‘Back to front’ tour, celebrating the 25th anniversary of his ground-breaking ‘So’ album that was sold out in a minimum of time, PETER GABRIEL is coming back to Germany for five extra shows because of the great demand. With 15,000 visitors the concert in the Lanxess Arena, Cologne, was sold out as well. And to my great pleasure I had the chance to see this show.


The British musician was founder and front man of the Progressive Rock band GENESIS in the early 1970’s. In autumn 1975 he left the band in order to start his very successful solo career. His focus lies on producing and promoting World music with his own music as well as for other musicians. His music is a mixture of Rock, Pop, New Age and World music. He also creates and produces extraordinary and flamboyant videos for his songs. The video for ‘Sledgehammer’ is not only an artistic masterpiece but it is also full of sexual innuendos. For Alan Parker’s film ‘Birdy’(after the novel of William Wharton) he contributed the soundtrack in 1985 and recycled partly songs of his third and fourth album, creating atmospherically instrumental songs. Up to now PETER GABRIEL has released 14 studio albums, including two soundtrack albums, the above mentioned ‘Birdy’ and ‘Passion: Music for the last temptation of Christ’. He received numerous awards, amongst others several Grammys, MTV Video Award, for his music, his videos and for his engagement for Human Rights. For his live shows he is accompanied now by David Rhodes (guitar), Tony Levin (bass, electric contrabass), David Sancious (keyboard, accordion), Manu Katché (drums), Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson (vocals). /


Music & Performance
The event was opened with a short supporting act by the Swedish musicians Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson introduced by PETER GABRIEL. They performed with a cello and xylophone singing alternately with beautiful powerful vocals. With four songs, they made their little acoustic introduction into the evening. During the stage rebuilding you could hear some songs of the ‘Birdy’ soundtrack. And while waiting for the show I noticed that most part of the audience was 45+, thus I enjoyed the rare occasion at a concert not to be the oldest person in the whole venue. When PETER GABRIEL entered the stage he got a hurricane of applause. He took his seat at the grand piano and held a little, partly humorous, speech, which he had written down, in German. I found this very charming that he bothered to do so. We learnt that the concert will contain three parts like a menu with an appetizer containing an acoustic set, a main course with an electric set and then the dessert including all songs of the ‘So’ album. Right from the start the audience needed not much invitation to interact with PETER GABRIEL as everyone knew the lyrics by heart and so they sang along and clapped their hands. That he is not only an excellent musician but also a visual artist was proved with the video animations on the screens as well with the fantastic light show.


Special eye-catchers were the five objects that looked like oil-well pumps or alien machines which were provided with floodlights and cameras as well and could be moved around on rails. People with a kind of fencing masks were moving these huge objects. I’m not sure if this was another visual effect or just a protection of too much light. Anyway when they moved these “monsters” slowly across the stage at ‘We do what we’re told’ it had a quite intimidating effect. Not only these people moved them but at one song PETER GABRIEL pulled the head of one of them close to him and thus you could see a close up of him on the screens. At ‘Mercy street’, which started as an a cappella before the instruments set in, PETER GABRIEL was lying on the floor and these light cranes bend forward as if they were animals looking what he is doing there and you could see him filmed from different kind of angles on the screen. While the lights of the main course were predominately white it changed into colourful with the dessert, starting with lots of red and a kind of red shower on the screens fitting perfectly to ‘Red rain’. Of course we haven’t had to miss the beautiful song ‘Don’t give up’, the duet originally sung with KATE BUSH, now performed together with Jennie Abrahamson. She did a great job but nevertheless I had the stunning voice of KATE BUSH in my head.


PETER did not only sing and played the grand piano or keyboard but did a little dancing performance every here and now on stage, alone or with Jennie and Linnea or Tony and David. Though he is not a young man anymore, time did not leave any traces on his vocals, he still has his amazing distinctive voice. And even though he is not doing extended tours anymore, he obviously still enjoys performing. His band as well showed up with a great joy of playing which was honoured by the audience with big applause after each song. Every concert must come to an end even if you want it to go on for much longer and so PETER GABRIEL and his band left the stage. But of course the people shouted and whistled for an encore until he and Tony returned on stage to start an acoustic version of ‘Here comes the flood’ sung in German. PETER played the grand piano and was accompanied by Tony at the electric contrabass which gave the song a very intimate feeling. Then the rest of the band showed up in order to perform two more songs. At ‘The tower that ate people’ the big ring, hanging on the ceiling, came down and PETER was in the middle of it.


Then the upper frame went upside again and with white fabric between the frames it looked like a tower with PETER caught in it before the fabric fell down and he was free again. The encore was finished with the hit single ‘Biko’, another song where the audience joined in the refrain and thus the song ended with PETER and the band leaving the stage, except Manu who played the last tunes on his drums while the fans still were singing.

- Appetizer, acoustic -
01. OBUT
02. Come talk to me
03. Shock the monkey
- Main course, electric, white lights -
04. Family snapshot
05. Digging in the dirt
06. Secret world
07. The family and the fishing net
08. No self-control
09. Solsbury Hill
10. Why don’t you show yourself
- Dessert, the complete ‚SO‘ album, colour lights -
11. Red rain
12. Sledgehammer
13. Don’ give up
14. That voice again
15. Mercy street
16. Big time
17. We do what we’re told (Milgram’s 37)
18. This is the picture (Excellent birds)
19. In your eyes
20. Jetzt kommt die Flut (German version of ‘Here comes the flood’)
21. The tower that ate people
22. Biko

Music: 10
Performance: 10
Sound: 10
Light: 10
Total: 10 / 10


All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( /

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