“So - It’s Peter Gabriel” - Live In Verona on 18th September 1987. Review by Luca Benporath.
I didn’t have to travel far for this gig. Verona is only 150km from where I live and I left for the gig with two school friends. We arrived in Verona early in the afternoon and made our way to the Roman amphitheatre which was the setting for the gig by bus.
The waiting lasted for ages but by 6.30pm we were inside. I have seen Peter several times before, especially during this tour but tonight was special for me because it was the last Italian date of the autumn tour. From outside we could hear the sound check; Red rain, Sledgehammer, Games Without Frontiers and this served to heighten our expectancy.
At 9.30pm (30 minutes late) Peter came onstage with the intro Floating Dogs - the concert was about to begin. San Jacinto was the first song proper which saw Peter covered by a multitude of lights, heightening his slow movements almost like a time-lapse film. His voice conveying the emotion of the song very well.
Red Rain, wonderful as usual, and it seemed that Peter had a new power inside him which he wanted to share with the audienc. “I speak a little Italian so I have to read” says Peter. “This song is all about jealousy and it’s called Shock The Monkey!” The Gabriel animal is moving all around the stage and getting the audience involved by clapping and singing - it’s great!
Tracks from Peter Gabriel Three follow: Family Snapshot, telling of one man’s need to be a famous figure at the expense of another. There follows the ritual of The Family & The Fishing Net. Then Manu Katche’s tribal rhythms get going for Intruder (it’s the tenth time I have seen it performed live!). “This song is about when one country treads on another and it is dedicated to the 40,000 victims of Nicaragua and it’s called Giochi Senza Frontiere - Games without Frontiers!”. Games Without Frontiers is one of my favourite Gabriel tracks but this version is the best I have heard with Peter shouting “No more war!” It’s a message we have to learn for the future. No Self Control has the same familiar game with the lights attacking Peter like things from another planet. This Is The Picture brings a bit of light relief as Peter introduces the band and himself as “il truffatone” the man who paid all the judges.
This is the moment for the new songs and Big Time is another one. Peter wants to grow up and so do I because there’s a six foot bloke in front of me who I can’t see over! Don’t Give Up (curiously apt ) follows with its social comment but without Kate Bush tonight but just as enjoyable. Then a step back into the past for Solsbury Hill but where was Supper’s Ready?
And the magic moment of the show came at last when Peter asked the audience to Lay Your Hands On Me. Peter walks slowly fixing everybody with a stare and then he smiles at me - he remembers me! He must have seen me at many concerts in Italy, France and England. The contact is made and he swims amid the audience no one helps him back on stage afterwards!
“Uno, duo, tre!” and its Sledgehammer with all its power and energy. I no longer have any voice left to sing because I have been shouting all night and enjoying myself. Here Comes The Flood follows to calm everything down a little bit. Unfortunately it is a shortened version which is a pity.
After a short break, the band returned for their encores. Peter introduces the band and launches into In Your Eyes a really emotional song - it even got my tired vocal chords going again. This concert is rapidly turning into the best one I have ever seen! Then came the obligatory performance of Biko which has everybody singing and cheering. A boy goes up to the stage with his arm raised in a sign of victory. It’s the Italian way of saying thank you to a performer who is simply the best. The concert is over and we leave to catch the train but as we walk down one of the narrow streets to the station, we see a guy on a bicycle - it’s Tony Levin. We stop him and thank him for tonight’s gig which was better even than Genesis and they’re a hard act to follow!