"A meal in three courses" - Peter Gabriel live at the Glasgow Hydro, 24th October 2013. Review by Ian D. Hall. Photos by M. Ainscoe and E. Sayers.
Rating * * * * *
Peter Gabriel is closer now to that certain age in which others aspire to start taking it easy and concentrating on other aspects of life. However when you are having as much fun as Peter Gabriel, feeling as much warmth from a crowd and giving a scintillating performance in which the audience could only marvel at, why worry, there is so much left for this man to achieve and do.
The Hydro in Glasgow has all the appearance of a futuristic mechanism, a beating heart or engine in the reclaimed dockland of Scotland’s second city and on the penultimate night of the So/Back To Front Tour of 2013, the human machine that is Peter Gabriel took the crowd through time, through the range of emotions that govern each and every one of us and showed once more just why he is one of the highest rated musicians and lyric writers to have ever come out of the U.K.
The evening was split into three parts, three distinct morsels which Peter Gabriel suggested was like having a three course meal cooked for each audience member by the best chef. The entree saw tracks such as Come Talk To Me and Shock The Money being given an acoustic edge which teased the musical taste buds of all present. The salivating soul, the promise for the palate to take on more was soon sated as the dramatic Family Snapshot, the brilliant Digging In The Dirt, the beauty of Secret World and the classic Solsbury Hill were played with the best beat of humanity thrown in as a delicate sauce.
No matter how incredible the first two servings were, the starkness wrapped up in a shell, it was the sharp focus of colour in which So, one of the finest albums of Mr. Gabriel’s career and arguably one of the best records of 1986, was played completely from start to finish for the first time in Scotland. It was a moment of genius to go from the stark reality and bitterness of tracks such as Solsbury Hill and The Family and the Fishing Net to the urgency and colourful resonance of Red Rain, Sledgehammer and the relevant Don’t Give Up.
Don’t Give Up is one of those songs that has resonated across time since it was first recorded and played on the record decks and tape players by fans of the master craftsman. It is a plea, a statement from one generation to the next to not let the so called hierarchy of the land, the insidious darkness, ever win and the day after the story broke that Grangemouth, Scotland’s only oil refinery and core heart of the Scottish economy was to close causing the loss of 800 jobs at the plant. The message was clear, Don’t Give Up, don’t let them win.
Never one to give less than his best on stage, Peter Gabriel and his band, which included the superb Tony Levin, David Rhodes, David Sancious, Manu Katche and the outrageously good Jennie Abrahamson and Linnie Olsson, made sure that the sold out crowd left the Hydro in a buoyant and incredible mood. A showman almost without equal, Peter gave a veritable feast for the Glasgow audience which was digested whole.