Compared with his rock star contemporaries, Peter Gabriel seems a model of quiet industry and dignified restraint. Not for him making silly remarks about the Nazis or zonking out behind the wheel on drugs.
Instead, he has carved an intriguing niche as a promoter of world music, technological innovator and songwriter whose oeuvre this year earned him an Ivor Novello award.
The set list for this intermittently soggy Saturday night having been chosen by fans via his website, the show comprised songs spanning his 30-year career, lesser-known material sitting alongside the hits. Kicking off with the doom-laden synths and tribal drums of The Rhythm Of The Heat, Gabriel stood at his piano for the following On The Air, guitarist Richard Evans wringing the Robert Fripp-patented screams from his instrument. Steam, the 1992 “son of Sledgehammer” (Toffee Hammer?) was discreetly funky, but with its haunting melody and plangent harmonies Blood Of Eden was arguably the highlight of the evening.
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While falsettos were not always attempted, Gabriel's voice retains an achingly soulful huskiness, and whether punching the air or leading his band in a kind of puppet conga during Solsbury Hill, he proved that whatever the weather he can still work a crowd.
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