Peter Gabriel, Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, CA [10.08.12]

Peter Gabriel is a class act and he proved it time and again last night at the Valley View Casino Center where is he out celebrating the 25th anniversary of his 1986 masterpiece So. Gabriel reassembled the same group of musicians that made that LP such a commercial and artistic success and with a stage dominated with artistic props, inventive lighting and surrealistic uses of digital projection the entire production is the very definition of what an arena rock experience ought to be. A vision such as Gabriel’s is too large and too spectacular to be staged in a club or a bar setting and Gabriel’s songs and his art school upbringing have matured into a vision that is pretty much unmatched in the world of “rock music,” if you want to call what he does “rock.”

Gabriel’s amazing band played through three sets of incredibly tight, passionate music with the first section played acoustically with the house lights up. In the middle of “Family Snapshot” the lights suddenly went down, the sound went up many dBs and that immediate surge of adrenaline and electricity stayed in the air until the last notes of “Biko” rang out as each member of the band left the stage one-by-one. After a generous display of energy for two and a half hours Gabriel’s parting words to the audience: “Now you seen what can be done. The rest is up to you.” With that he turned the microphone away from himself and towards the crowd and left without fanfare. Like I said, Peter Gabriel is a class act.

Also, the beautiful and talented Jennie Abrahamson opened the evening with four of her own songs at the piano with fellow vocalist Linnea Olson accompanying her on cello. Ethereal pop from Sweden, she is worth further investigation. Kudos to Gabriel for sharing the stage with her.

Rehearsal/Acoustic:
1) O But
2) Come Talk To Me
3) Shock The Monkey
4) Family Snapshot

Electronic [with the full band]:
5) Digging In The Dirt
6) Secret World
7) The Family And The Fishing Net
8) No Self Control
9) Solsbury Hill
10) Humdrum

So:
11) Red Rain
12) Sledgehammer
13) Don’t 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

Encore:
20) The Tower That Ate People
21) Biko

The band:
Peter Gabriel [lead vocals, piano, keyboards, percussion], Tony Levin [bass, vocals], Manu Katché [drums, percussion], David Sancious [keyboard, piano, guitar], David Rhodes [guitars], Jennie Abrahamson [vocals], Linnea Olsson [vocals]. Jennie and Lennea also opened the program with four compositions with Jennie on piano and vocals, Lennea on cello and vocals.