“From White Ashes to The Barry Williams Show” - The Peter Gabriel Story continued. Your narrator: Alan Hewitt. Photos courtesy of Roger Salem and Michelle Bond. Memorabilia: TWR Archive/Ted Sayers.

Peter finally came off the touring treadmill at the end of August 1994 after what had been his most extensive tour to date, and one which took not only his music but also the message of both WOMAD and Amnesty to the furthest corners of the world. The tour and resulting live album and video/DVD and the All About US video gave fans something to keep them going as Peter once again retreated from public view to concentrate on recharging his creative batteries and no doubt, to take a well- deserved holiday.

News on Peter’s activities became harder and harder to get hold of and during the succeeding years, the only public activity from Peter was occasional appearances at the now well established WOMAD festivals which were now an annual event. Peter kept his hand in with numerous contributions to film soundtracks during this period many of which, yours truly has still not heard but there you go! The greatest excitement during this period didn’t come from Peter’s solo activities at all but from the release after much delay, of the first Genesis Archive box set which finally saw the light of day on 22nd June 1998. Apart from a “reunion” photo shoot, interview and subsequent private dinner at which almost all of the protagonists were present, there was no promotional activity undertaken for this momentous release although a VH1 documentary for the Behind The Music series was broadcast and the Heathrow interview was released as a special 2CD promotional set.
Click to enlarge

Fans wanting news on Peter’s activities were heartened by a press release issued on 11th September 1998 which stated the following…

Peter Gabriel announced today that his (long anticipated) new album will be called Up. After working for more than four years on the Up album and related projects using the Up theme, Gabriel is set to unveil his campaign next year….

Peter’s involvement with the human rights organisation, Amnesty International, ensured that he was actively involved in the promotion of that organisation and the celebrations leading up to the fortieth anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights which took place on 10th December 1998. A concert, originally planned to take in Los Angeles, eventually took place on this date in Paris and Peter appeared alongside such other luminaries as Youssou N’Dour, Tracy Chapman and Radiohead. This performance was to give us the first glimpse of the new material which Peter had been working on and comprised performances of Red Rain, Signal To Noise and In Your Eyes. Peter also joined Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman and Youssou N’Dour for a performance of the Bob Marley anthem Get Up, Stand Up and also for performances of Shakin The Tree and Seven Seconds the latter of which saw him in the company of both Youssou and Tracy Chapman. French TV fortunately captured most of this performance and it is widely available to collectors.

Peter then retreated from view again although rumours of the imminent release of a new album continued to circulate during the following years. Peter had no shortage of material, if a telephone conversation I had with long time Genesis/Gabriel chronicler, Armando Gallo during this period are anything to go by. According to Gallo, Peter had completed almost a hundred - yes a HUNDRED tracks before scrapping them and going back to the start because the constant re-working of the material had driven the life out of it (Gallos’ words not mine, folks!). Peter seem to have become the victim of his own incessant search for perfection and this was to lead to further delays on the long awaited follow up to US.

The spectre of Genesis continued to haunt Peter though as the promotional campaign for the Turn It On Again - The Hits album created more than a frisson of excitement by the inclusion of the Carpet Crawlers re-working which had been initially intended for the Genesis Archive box set. Fans speculated that the band staged some grand reunion to record this new version but nothing could be further from the truth as an interview which Steve Hackett gave to TWR at the time reveals. In fact, Carpet Crawlers ‘99 is a singularly misleading title for a recording which had already been made prior to the release of the Genesis Archive box set in 1998!

A new century and indeed, a new millennium beckoned and with plans for celebrations around the world becoming the vogue, it wasn’t long before word began to circulate that Peter was involved with a project to be staged at the newly built Millennium Dome in London’s Greenwich district. Once again, Peter was thinking far beyond the norm about this project as this quote about it back in 1998 reveals…. “Not a musical telling the story of pop music. It’s a fable that involves nature and man through performance, art, sight , sound and smell and colour. Lots of people pop up in it. Scientists, behavioural scientists, artists, industrialists… we must tell the story of the post industrial landscape and the dilemmas that will face us. People will come into the Dome and experience this assault on their senses and get ideas to realise more of who or what they want to be. I’m the catalyst….”

This as yet untitled project was to preoccupy Peter for what remained of the twentieth century although he did continue to make further forays into the world of film music with numerous tracks decorating several films to varying degrees of success. Peter also found time to put in appearance at the Royal Festival Hall on 6th September 1999 as the guest of Chilean band Inti Illimani, performing Wallflower and Signal To Noise, the latter of which gave the strongest indication yet of the direction that Peter’s new album would eventually take. Despite the press release mentioned above, no word about any release schedule or track listing for the new album was forthcoming during what remained of 1999 although the Millennium project went ahead on schedule with a premier on New Year’s Eve in the presence of both the Queen and Tony Blair and ran into the early new year to mixed reviews.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Having invested so much time and effort in the project, it was not surprising therefore, that it was eventually to be released under the title Ovo - The Millennium Show appearing on CD on 26th April 2000. The album was obviously seen very much as a stop gap while Peter continued working on the now excessively delayed Up album which fans had been waiting for since 1996. The album certainly contained some interesting music and some tracks that were destined to become parts of Peter’s next live shows - still a further two years away. However, without the benefit of the accompanying visuals from the show for which it was created, the result was a somewhat disappointing effort to many fans, myself included.

Peter returned briefly to live work for one of the annual WOMAD shows which took place at Marymoor Park Redwood Seattle on 29th July 2001. Once again, the show gave Peter the opportunity to try out a couple of “new “ tracks including Signal To Noise, Father, Son (from Ovo) and When You’re Falling which he performed with Real World artists Afro Celt Sound System.

With still no sign of the new album, Virgin turned their attentions to the overdue remastering of Peter’s back catalogue which eventually appeared in the spring of 2002 with all of the albums from PG1 through to US receiving the remastering treatment. Peter also returned to film soundtrack for his first full scale soundtrack since 1989’s Passion. The subject matter this time was equally worthy, being the true story of the mistreatment of aboriginal children in ‘50’s Australia. The film, called Rabbit Proof Fence, was premiered in Australia on 21st February and subsequently gained release elsewhere to mixed reviews during the rest of the year before gaining a release to DVD shortly afterwards.

Entering 2002, speculation continued to run riot with regard to what was happening with Peter’s now long overdue new album. First fruits of the year though were the release of the soundtrack to Rabbit Proof Fence under the title ; Long Walk Home, which once again proved Peter’s complete command of work in this most demanding of fields. Not quite reaching the heights of the Passion soundtrack, nevertheless, this was an impressive offering by Peter.

Finally the waiting for the “big one” (pun intended) was over as the first proper indications of Peter’s labours were released in May 2002 to an expectant fan base in the shape of a brand new single which coupled the album version and remixed version of The Barry Williams Show, an unashamed indictment of “reality” TV along with another remixed cut from the new album; My Head Sounds Like That. The UP album itself was finally released 0n 23rd September 2002 to rave reviews.

Containing a mere ten tracks out of the potential 94 which had been mentioned by Armando Gallo all those years before, this was without doubt Peter’s most demanding album to date. Taking as its premise, the path from cradle to grave the end result is certainly no bundle of joy but instead a challenging and highly thought provoking effort which demanded a lot of the listener. Almost immediately a tour of the USA was also announced with major gigs to occupy Peter for most of the autumn and winter of 2002. A second single; More Than This was released later in the year as a two part CD offering more remixes than you could comfortably shake a stick at along with the promo video for The Barry William Show and a photo gallery.

Peter even played the promotion game with numerous TV appearances and a couple of radio broadcasts which show a surprisingly relaxed Peter bringing his own brand of performance to the TV masses.

Live duties in support of the album began with a series of warm-up shows in Europe and the USA during August and September before the tour proper got under way in the slightly more exotic surroundings of Mexico City on 3rd November. Continuing the ideas which had been so brilliantly brought to life during the extensive Secret World tour, Peter once again worked on stage and lighting design with Robert Lepage and the end result was equally as stunning. Who else but Peter would have bicycles suspended on a track around the stage (Upside Down), or a gigantic Zorb ball in which he rampaged around the stage or Segways on which he chased other musicians around the stage during Games Without Frontiers. The set itself was equally challenging with a movable feast of tracks during the first leg which ran until mid December 2002 including several tracks which have as yet to find a home on an official album by Peter but which give an indication of exactly how much material Peter had in his arsenal.

Palais Omnisports De Bercy Paris France 10.12.98

Marymoor Park Seattle BC Canada 29.7.01

Munchner Konigsplatz Munich Germany 31.8.02
Piazza Centrale Aezachena Italy 7.9.02
Alcataz Milan Italy 16.9.02
Alcataz Milan Italy 18.9.02
Theatre De La Mutualite Paris France 21.9.02

Supper Club New York NY USA 24.9.02


Azteca Stadium Mexico City Mexico 3-4.11.02
Philips Arena Atlanta GA USA 5.11.02 (Cancelled)
Quebec City Arena Quebec QC Canada 8.11.02 (Rehearsal)
United Center Chicago IL USA 12.11.02
United Center Chicago IL USA 14.11.02
Target Center Minneapolis MN USA 15.11.02
Continental Airlines Arena East Rutherford NJ USA 17.11.02
First Union Center Philadelphia PA USA 18.11.02
Gund Arena Cleveland OH USA 19.11.02
Madison Square Garden New York NY USA 21.11.02
MCI Center Washington DC USA 24.11.02
Fleet Center Boston MA USA 25.11.02
Mohegan Sun Casino Uncasville CT USA 26.11.02
Bell Center Montreal QC Canada 28-29.11.02
Quebec City Arena Quebec QC Canada 30.11.02
Air Canada Centre Toronto ON Canada 2.12.02
Palace of Auburn Hills Auburn Hills MI USA 3.12.02
Pepsi Center Denver CO USA 5.12.02
San Diego Sports Arena San Diego CA USA 8.12.02
Convention Center Anaheim CA USA 10.12.02
Staples Center Los Angeles CA USA 11.12.02
America West Arena Phoenix AZ USA 12.12.02
Oakland Arena Oakland CA USA 14.12.02
HP Pavilion at San Jose San Jose CA USA 15.12.02
Marymoor Park Seattle BC Canada 17.12.02

Set List (Paris ‘98): Red Rain/Signal To Noise/In Your Eyes.

Set List (Seattle ‘01): Here Comes The Flood/Red Rain/Digging In The Dirt/Family Snapshot/Come Talk To Me/Mercy Street/Solsbury Hill/Signal To Noise/In Your Eyes/Father, Son/When You’re Falling (with Afro Celt Sound System).

Set List (Munich ‘02): Darkness/Red Rain/Growing Up/No Way Out/Mercy Street/The Barry Williams Show/More Than This/Digging In The Dirt/Family Snapshot/Jetzt Kommt Die Flut.

Set List (Uncasville ‘02): Here Comes the Flood/Darkness/Red Rain/Secret World/Sky Blue/Downside Up/The Barry Williams Show/My Head Sounds Like That/Mercy Street/Digging In The Dirt/Growing Up/Animal Nation/Solsbury Hill/Sledgehammer/I Grieve/In Your Eyes/Father, Son.

Once again, the tour was a great success gathering a fresh round of plaudits from the press and music critics. Fans loved it too and deservedly so, innovative shows like this don’t happen too often these days. Intriguingly, one,as yet unreleased track; Animal Nation acknowledged one of Peter’s more surreal experiments. During the preceding year or so, he had been involved with a project working with Bonobo Apes, which are a species of chimpanzee and this included encouraging the apes to play musical instruments! Shades of the gang of chimpanzees on typewriters working on a Shakespeare screenplay referred to in Hitch Hiker’s Guide To the Galaxy but what else would you expect from Peter?! Apparently, serious thought was given to an album of music from this project but nothing has emerged so far. However, far from being an April Fool, this was a serious endeavour as this extract from an interview Gabriel gave for The Evening Standard on 19th September 2002 reveals…

“They are pretty socialised, they have a radio playing in the lab and they know what music is. Given enough time, who knows how far they could go? It’s a bit of an obsession for me. I suggested setting up an internet site for apes called ApeNet and we’re trying to make that happen: like a videophone with pictures of other apes and they could touch the faces and use the net to get an instant video link…”

Peter also found time during this hectic period of activity for another of his more altruistic projects the OD2 music distribution site which was one way of combating the increasing use of illegal downloads from sites such as Napster and the endeavour was even deemed important enough for a major feature on it in The Times on 16th June 2000.

The tour continued after a lengthy break recommencing on 24th April in Stockholm before continuing throughout Europe, the UK and back to the USA again in July. Once again, the emphasis was on the newer material and there were numerous set changes throughout the tour. One idea which Peter embraced wholeheartedly was the concept of “official bootlegs” and in collaboration with The Music. The entire 2003 and 2004 tours were issued as commercially available soundboard quality recordings much to the delight of collectors. There was even a smattering of TV footage from the tour as well including a televised extract from the gig at Merthyr Tydfil in November which was screened as part of the annual UK charitable “Children In Need” fundraising telethon. Peter’s final gig of the year was another charitable effort for AIDS charities in South Africa.


The Globe Stockholm Sweden 24.4.03
Colorline Arena Hamburg Germany 26.4.03
Velodrom Berlin Germany 27.4.03
Leipzig Arena Leipzig Germany 29.4.03
Konig Pilsner Arena Oberhausen Germany 30.4.03
Ahoy Sportpaleis Rotterdam Holland 2.5.03
Vorst Nationale Brussels Belgium 3.5.03
Olympiahalle Munich Germany 5.5.03
Palamalaguti Bologna Italy 6.5.03
Filaforum Milan Italy 8-9.5.03
Palarossini Ancona Italy 11.5.03
Palasport Florence Italy 12.5.03
Palais Omnisports De Bercy Paris France 14.5.03
Hallenstadion Zurich Switzerland 15.5.03
MEN Arena Manchester England 18.5.03
National Exhibition Centre Birmingham England 19.5.03
Wembley Arena London England 21-22.5.03
Schleyerhalle Stuttgart Germany 24.5.03
Koln Arena Cologne Germany 25.5.03
Halle Tony Garnier Lyon France 27.5.03
Palais Nikaia Nice France 28.5.03
Stadion Lecha Poznan Poland 30.5.03
Palau St Jordi Barcelona Spain 1.6.03
Shoreline Amphitheatre San Francisco CA USA 7.6.03
Verizon Amphitheatre Irvine CA USA 8.6.03
Smirnoff Music Centre Dallas TX USA 11.6.03
Woodlands Arena Houston TX USA 12.6.03
Coral Sky Amphitheatre West Palm Beach FL USA 14.6.03
Chastain Park Atlanta GA USA 16.6.03
Tweeter Center Mansfield MA USA 18.6.03
PNC Bank Arts Pavilion Holmdel NJ USA 20.6.03
Tweeter Center Camden NJ USA 21.6.03
Nissan Pavilion Bristow VA USA 22.6.03
Jones Beach Wantagh NY USA 24.6.03
Marcus Amphitheatre Milwaukee WI USA 26.6.03
Tweeter Center Tinley Park IL USA 28.6.03
DTE Energy Music Pavilion Clarkston MI USA 29.6.03
Germain Amphitheatre Columbus OH USA 1.7.03
Verizon Wireless Music Centre Noblesville IN USA 2.7.03
Molson Amphitheatre Toronto ON Canada 4.7.03
Labatt Centre London ON Canada 5.7.03
Bell Centre Montreal QC Canada 6.7.03

? Merthyr Tydfil Wales 21.11.03
Conference Centre Brighton England 25.11.03
Greenpoint Stadium Cape Town South Africa 29.11.03

Set list (Poznan): 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/Solsbury Hill/Sledgehammer./Signal To Noise/In Your Eyes/Biko.

Set List (Brighton): Burn You Up, Burn You Down/Red Rain/Darkness/Secret World/Games Without Frontiers/Downside Up/Mercy Street/My Head Sounds Like That/Digging In the Dirt/Signal To Noise/Growing Up/San Jacinto/Shock The Monkey/Solsbury Hill/Sledgehammer/I Grieve/In Your Eyes/Biko.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

During the summer of 2003, Real World/EMI Records seized their chance to offer up another compilation of Peter’s material under the title of Hit. A slightly misleading title because although many of the successful singles were indeed, contained on the first disc, not all of them found a home there. As usual, Peter had done things differently. Spread over the two discs titled ironically enough “Hit” and “Miss” there were a genuinely representative selection of Peter’s material making this if not the “definitive” collection as advertised, then certainly more so than previous efforts. The album also spawned a single, the marvellous Burn You Up, Burn You Down which in my opinion should have made it to the UP album.

The tour was also documented by Peter’s first live video since the Secret World video some years before. This was a much more satisfying effort all round, once again recorded in Italy but managing to capture the show faithfully and with plenty of extras to keep the anoraks happy to boot! Sadly during this period, Gabriel fans lost one of their main sources of information on the man as long time fan and editor of Kontakt Magazine, Mic Smith decided to cease publication. Of that excellent magazine. This was a great loss to many (myself included). The last edition was published in April 2003.

Peter had gone into overdrive and the tour was once again extended to satisfy demand. The final leg was an exclusively European affair beginning in Austria on 1st May 2004 and running until the end of July. Once again the shows presented varied considerably and several were festivals which meant that some of the more extravagant visual parts of the show had to be omitted. Not that that had any effect on the musical content as I was to find out when Peter finally returned to my home town in June.

An unusual TV broadcast took place at the gig in Lisbon on 29th May. Titled “Rock In Rio” yes, you did read that right. Over the last few years, this annual event has been staged in Portugal rather than in Brazil. Peter’s gig was broadcast in its entirety making it a first for Peter, I think.


? Ischgl Austria 1.5.04
Westfalenhalle Dortmund Germany 5.5.04
Ahoy Sportpaleis Rotterdam Holland 6.5.04
Velodrom Berlin Germany 8.5.04
Festhalle Frankfurt Germany 9.5.04
Filaforum Milan Italy 11.5.04
Arena Pesaro Italy 12.5.04
Stadthalle Vienna Austria 14.5.04
Arena Budapest Hungary 15.5.04
Sportovinhala Prague Czech Republic 17.5.04
Arena Nurnburg Germany 18.5.04
Preussag Arena Hannover Germany 20.5.04
Colorline Arena Hamburg Germany 21.5.04
Galaxie Amneville France 23.5.04
Hallenstadion Zurich Switzerland 24.5.04
Vorst Nationale Brussels Belgium 26.5.04
Palais Omnisports De Bercy Paris France 27.5.04
Zenith Lille France 28.5.04
Bela Vista Park Lisbon Portugal 29.5.04
National Indoor Arena Birmingham England 1.6.04
Hallam FM Arena Sheffield England 2.6.04
Telewest Arena Newcastle England 4.6.04
Scottish Exhibition And
Conference Centre Glasgow Scotland 5.6.04
Wembley Arena London England 7-8.6.04
Seebuhne Bregenz Austria 12.6.04
Anfiteatro Cagliari Italy 14.6.04
Piazza Del Mare Fiera Genoa Italy 16.6.04
Rockwave Festival Athens Greece 18.6.04
One Love Festival Istanbul Turkey 20.6.04
Palace of Culture Sofia Bulgaria 21.6.04
Sala Palatului Bucharest Romania 22.6.04
Kings Dock Arena Liverpool England 30.6.04
Festival Nuisilac Aix Les Bains France 2.7.04
Teatro Antico Taormina Italy 4.7.04
Area Magna Graecia Catanzaro Italy 5.7.04
Neapolis Festival Arena
Flegrea Naples Italy 7.7.04
Ippodromo Le Campannelle Rome Italy 8.7.04
Moon & Stars Festival Piazza
Grande Locarno Switzerland 9.7.04
Villar De Mouros Carminha Portugal 16.7.04
Piazza Napoleone Summer
Festival Lucca Italy 19.7.04
Paleo Festival Nyon Switzerland 21.7.04
Festival De Nimes Nimes France 23.6.04
Stifplatz Kaiserslautern Germany 25.7.04

Set List (Dortmund): Jetzt Kommt Die Flut/Darkness/Secret World/White Ashes/Games Without Frontiers/Burn You Up, Burn You Down/Downside Up/The Tower That Ate People/More Than This/San Jacinto/Digging In The Dirt/Growing Up/Solsbury Hill/ Sledgehamer/Signal To Noise/In Your Eyes/Red Rain/Father, Son.

Set List (Liverpool): Here Comes The Flood/Red Rain/Secret World/White Ashes/Games Without Frontiers/Downside Up/Burn You Up, Burn You Down/The Tower That Ate People/San Jacinto/Digging In The Dirt/Solsbury Hill/Signal To Noise/Sledgehammer/In Your Eyes/Biko.

Set List (Kaiserslautern): Jetzt Kommt Die Flut/Red Rain/Secret World/White Ashes/Games Without Frontiers/Downside Up/The Tower That Ate People/San Jacinto/ Digging In the Dirt/Solsbury Hill/Sledgehammer/In Your Eyes/Biko.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge


This wrapped up yet another extensive period of promotional activity from Peter but the final act was played out on 24th October 2004 when he finally released a compilation of his promotional videos spanning his entire career to date. Under the unoriginal title “Play” this compilation finally satisfied those fans who had been looking for many of these elusive items over the years and once again there were plenty of extras to keep everyone happy. A further live video, “Still Growing Up - Live & Unwrapped” was eventually released in 2005 continuing the trend set by its predecessor, this was another excellent release which effectively brings this part of Peter’s story to a close.


Father, Son/Downside Up/The Tower That Ate People (Promotional CD single for the Ovo album) PGDJ2000 (PS) 1999.

The Barry Williams Show (unadulterated radio edit)/The Barry Williams Show (album version)/My Head Sounds Like That (Royskopp remix)/Cloudless (radio edit)
PGSCD13 (PS) ?.5.02
More Than This (radio edit)/More Than This (The Polyphonic Spree Mix)/More Than This (Elbow Mix) PGSCD14 (PS) ?.?.02
More than This (full album version)/Sky Blue (Martin Bennett Remix)/The Barry Williams Show (Video)/Photo gallery PGSDVD14 (PS) ?.?.03
Burn You Up, Burn You Down(Radio edit)/Darkness (Engelspost Remix)
GABRIEL 003 (PS) ?.9.03

Ovo The Millennium Show RWPGCD8 ?.6.00
Ovo The Millennium Show RWPG01/02 ?.6.00
(Limited edition in slipcase with bonus CD ROM disc and booklet)
The Long Walk Home (Soundtrack) RWPGCD10 2002
UP PGCD11 23.9.02
Hit PG03 15.11.03


Palais Omnisports De Bercy Paris (French TV) 10.12.98 30 Mins.
Ovo Electronic Press Kit 2000 18 Mins.
“100 Days To Go” Music Video 2000 4 Mins.
Late With Jools Holland (BBC TV) 28.5.00 10 Mins.
Quelli Che Il Calcio (Italian TV) 1.10.00 5 Mins.
Late Night With Conan O’Brien (US TV) 27.9.02 8 Mins.
Alcataz Milan (Private Film) 16.9.02 112 Mins.
Later With Jools Holland (BBC TV) 1.11.02 15 Mins.
United Center Chicago IL(Private Film) 14.11.02 135 Mins.
Madison Square Garden NY (Private Film) 21.11.02 135 Mins.
Air Canada Centre Toronto ON (Private Film) 2.12.02 135 Mins.
Tonight Show with Jay Leno (US TV) 6.12.02 8 Mins.
Arrowhead Point Anaheim CA (Private Film) 10.12.02 135 Mins.
Growing Up Tour Diaries 2002-03 20 Mins.
Poznan (Private Film) 30.5.03 90 Mins.
Jones Beach NY (Private Film) 24.6.03 135 Mins.
“Children In Need” (BBC TV) 21.11.03 5 Mins.
“46664 Concert” Cape Town 29.11.03 15 Mins.
Growing Up Live (Official DVD) 2003 131 Mins.
Play - The Videos (Official DVD) 2003 141 Mins.
“50 Jahre Rock” (German TV) 17.4.04 10 Mins.
“Rock In Rio Festival” Bela Vista Park Lisbon
(Portuguese TV) 29.5.04 100 Mins
Paleo Festival Nyon (TV) 21.7.04 12 Mins.
Still Growing Up - Live & Unwrapped (Official DVD) 2005 206 Mins.

My grateful thanks to the following people for their assistance with this feature: Mary Lane at Real World, George German III for help with the gig guide, Roger Salem and Michelle Bond for the photographs and Mic Smith.