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PETER GABRIEL IN AUSTRALIA.
WOMAD 1993- SECRET WORLD TOUR 1994.
Adelaide Entertainment Centre. 2-23-94.
But despite the enjoyable surge of energy in Gabriel's funky hits, it was his haunting ballads which provided the cornerstones of the performances. With extraordinary vocal support from Paula Cole , the gentle ambiance of the Blood Of Eden swelled into a riveting anthem of love. The same tender treatment also inflated the emotional power of Secret World and Across the River . The concert is best summed up in GabrielÕs own words,
"In between the synthetic and the organic , the male and the female , the familiar and unfamiliar , lies the secret world. "
And Gabriel's secret world Š the deep wellspring of his music, is a magical captivating place.
Apart from the fact that this show was held in the so called Entertainment Centre- which in reality is a big basketball stadium , with the attendant lack of acoustic integrity and possessing all the intimacy of a jumbo jet hanger, I was totally overwhelmed by this concert . As I was unaware that the more complex staging had not accompanied the band to Australia ( no doubt for financial reasons ) I did not regret its absence. Instead I wallowed in the majesty of the music , the brilliance of the band, but above all ,the vitality , charisma and magnetic stage presence of Gabriel himself.
An unlikely stage god , Gabriel is no Mr Apollo, but he is endowed with the ability to project his personality to the audience within even an unsavory cavernous pit such as the Ent Centre. He achieves this through his use of theatricality,which he has always used to good effect. On this tour however,he has drawn together all of the strands of his previous personas and fused them into a devastatingly well choreographed whole . The Womad sets of 1993 were great, the second in particular was a spiritually uplifting affair with its rendition of Biko and the finale with a host of guest artists. However, those gigs were one off's and the first public appearances by the new band . This show impressed because of its superb integrated use of staging and movement to enhance the music , by this time , the production process was honed to perfection and the band had reached an intimate level of understanding which allowed its member s to seamlessly hit a musical high from the very first number and to sustain this throughout the entire show.
Not having seen Paula Cole previously , it was a revelation to hear her wonderful vocals. Her treatment of Don't Give Up, which moved me to tears, was a highlight. A great asset to the group, she has a delightful stage presence. I can see why she has managed to forge her own career since, as she has considerable talent .The instrumentalists in this band are without peer and I was impressed by the way that they were used as part of the choreography of certain songs,Tony Levin is so strange in his appearance that he commands your attention, whereas David Rhodes has a certain elfin cheekiness that also springs off the stage and says " look at me ". Manu Katche is just a colossus on drums and the tasteful keyboards of Jean-Claude Naimro are an integral part of the overall sound whose contribution cannot be underestimated.
I cannot remember if Shankar was present on this tour , he was at Womad, but there is no mention of him in any reviews of the 94 tour.
The lighting and the use of the hinged screen particularly interested me as I have a background in performing arts.The images projected were fascinating , although often there was so much going on on-stage that one tended to miss out the projections , However , those used during Steam were particularly evocative, especially during the slow dreamy introduction . When the jets of dry ice erupted it was a huge contrast , which really got the adrenaline going .The camera mounted on Gabriel's head during Digging In the Dirt was a total hoot and the lighting director/stage designer have to be congratulated on a magnificent concept that was brilliantly realized.
Unfortunately this show had fixed seating , which was a giant mistake. Gabriel's audience is an aging one and the mid 40's tend to stick to their seats . The concert could have been a far more ecstatic affair if we had been allowed to dance. At one point , a fair portion of the crowd actually did try to do this, as many left their seats and filled the front of stage and the aisles in an attempt to get some booty shaking . Unfortunately we were all ushered back to our seats by the Gestapo like security force that blights the Entertainment Centre. I do believe that rock shows should always be general admission , with seats for those who want to sit in raised areas , so everyone can have their fun in their own way. This music is made for dancing and without that element to raise the collective consciousness of the audience to greater heights, the concert never really achieved its potential to be a truly magical event (which WAS achieved during the singing of Biko at Womad ) - and which only ever really happens when the audience and performers get shaking and moving together in one giant amoeba like conglomeration which creates a sheer contact high .
Apart from this lack of audience participation - not many sang along , even when exhorted to by Mr. G , this was a superb concert, since I was only about 10 rows back, direct centre , I had a great view , a great time and fabulous memories that I can relive to some extent by playing the Secret World Live video - very loud .
Now when are you going to do another tour Mr. G ? Its well overdue ......
SET LIST (order uncertain )
Across the River
Digging In The Dirt
Shock The Monkey
DonÕt Give Up
WOMAD 1993- SECRET WORLD TOUR 1994.