Review: Jack Foley
AFTER two years of intensive touring, Peter Gabriel brought his
Growing Up tour to a suitably rousing finale at Wembley Arena
on Tuesday, June 8 (2004), bowing out of the limelight in some
Having caught the spectacular show the last time it was in town
(in May last year), I wasted no time in getting a ticket again
- such was the jaw-dropping quality of what I had witnessed first
Directed by Robert Lepage, the Growing Up tour features one of
the finest stages in recent memory - a huge, rotational circle
of tricks, which sits comfortably in the middle of the Arenas
vast space, affording excellent views from wherever you sit.
And while the element of surprise had been removed, and the set
remained largely the same, the new tracks continued to draw gasps
of admiration, while a tingle of excitement greeted the prospect
of seeing the performer walking upside down above the stage (Downside
Up), or cycling around its perimeter, during Solisbury
Gabriel began proceedings by pondering, whimsically, that a
wise man would know when to quit, but as far as his fans
were concerned, he could have continued well into the early hours.
Prior to the Growing Up spectacle, it had been ten years since
they were able to indulge in his theatrics, and now that it was
coming to an end, one wonders how long it will be before the artist
next performs in the capital. Hopefully, not long.
New song, White Ash, a haunting, slow-building epic that
eschewed all the song-writing brilliance we have come to expect
from Gabriel, offered hope for the future, while the numerous
tracks from most recent album, Up, provided a perfect reminder
of how good an album that was.
His voice, as ever, was in majestic form, and only occasionally
showed the wear and tear of the tours demands.
Of course, it was the classics that brought back the fondest
memories, and one in particular, Games Without Frontiers,
that yielded the nights biggest highlights (having been
missed off the set-list the last time I caught him).
The song, almost inevitably, began with images of bombers being
projected on the mini-screens above the stage, before Gabriel
and his daughter emerged from the centre on a pair of two-wheeled,
electronic scooters, zipping about the stage like clockwork soldiers,
and pausing only to spin and salute each other during the spine-tingling
Elsewhere, the crowd-pleasing Sledgehammer brought Wembley
to its feet, while the all-singing, all-dancing, In Your Eyes,
brought proceedings to a typically feel-good finale, as Gabriel
was, once again, joined on-stage by his support acts, and orange
men - the technicians who help to make the show possible.
It is a testament to Gabriels continuing love affair with
his music and creativity, that someone referred to as one of the
music industrys veterans can still seem so lively. The tour
may be called Growing Up, but, as the artist himself noted, he
is still showing no sign of it. Long may that continue