New Blood on Late Night
November 25, 2011 8:45 PM   Subscribe

As part of the "Live On Letterman" webcast series, Peter Gabriel arrived with a full orchestra backup to perform many of his best-known songs in their new settings as found on his recently released New Blood album. You can watch the entire 68 minute performance online.
posted by hippybear (37 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
"San Jacinto" from the album is a pretty bone-chilling redo.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:05 PM on November 25, 2011


Peter Gabriel and The World's Most Dangerous Band?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:24 PM on November 25, 2011


More like Peter Gabriel and World's Most Bored-Looking NYC Freelance Pickup Group, hehe...

Nah I kid.. saw some familiar faces in there, was probably a fun gig to play.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:34 PM on November 25, 2011


Presented by Citi Bank.
posted by Camofrog at 10:14 PM on November 25, 2011


>Presented by Citi Bank.

At least it's viewable in Canada.

Thanks for the link, hippybear.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 10:36 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


[Issues with what companies sponsor content is a conversation best had elsewhere, so let's not continue with it in this thread, please. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 11:05 PM on November 25, 2011


Lovely version of Solsbury Hill.

And Biko becomes more powerful every time I listen to it.

My only, small, disappointment was that every time I've seen him do anything in a live format, he always starts with "Red Rain". But still, that was an incredible version of it.
posted by mephron at 11:21 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon: ""San Jacinto" from the album is a pretty bone-chilling redo"

I'm a huge fan of the San Jacinto redo too - and as I said on Twitter when the album was released - Peter's Spanish has improved such that we finally get "San Hacinto" rather than "San Yacinto"...

It's also fabulous that he can still his (most) of the notes on in that tune without dropping the key like so many older artists have done with their songs as they roll them around again.

Thanks for the link to this. (Anyone know a sneaky way of download the stream to watch at leisure?)
posted by benzo8 at 1:14 AM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I listened to the San Jacinto from the links mentioned above. I didn't like it all that much. It wasn't *bad* but the band was just calling it in. No real dynamics it at all. Case in point is the ostinato line at the beginning from the piano and mallets. Just plain straight up reading from the chart that's pedestrian at best absolutely no rhythmic vibe to it at all which is to mind crucial in setting the mood for the song. Complete failure on the conductor's part there. PG soldiered on pretty well but that's about all that i can find favorable w/ this particular performance. I'm kind of puzzled at the favorable comments on this. I just can't see it.
posted by MikeHoegeman at 1:15 AM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I took a quick listen of version san jaconto on the new blood album as a comparison. Let just say i think some geritol is in order, so perhaps the live band is not entirely to blame as i intimated in my prev. post.
posted by MikeHoegeman at 1:26 AM on November 26, 2011


Mercy Street stands out to me here.

Regarding Red Rain, a personal theory: he uses this song to get into a mindset to perform. It is a song about a dream, and he enters a different state using this song. Just a theory.

Would love so see him live.

The orchestra is nice at times, as the albums tend to be high production value (and a lot of different instruments in them). But it often time is very apparent that the musicians don't have deep emotional attachment to the music they are playing (ie: passion).

Can't remember the last time a single link in the blue had me listen to this much music though.
posted by el io at 1:27 AM on November 26, 2011


Would love so see him live.

If you get a chance, go. It's well worth it. I've seen him a few times, most notably on the Secret World Live tour (with Paula Cole singing backup - she's a perfect match for him) and at the second Woodstock (94?) where he closed the show and absolutely schooled everyone who had played for 3 days.

I enjoyed this, but in my mind Peter Gabriel music needs way more percussion.

Thanks for the link.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:12 AM on November 26, 2011


I didn't know he always opened with "Red Rain". I saw him on the Amnesty International tour in '86, and, sure enough, that's what he played first. I assumed it was because the song was thematic for the occasion (AI, anti-death penalty).

He closed his short set with "Biko", which was very powerful and moving, with the audience chanting the refrain in the dark for a long coda. Then, Bryan Adams came out: "ATLANTA! ARE YOU READY TO RRRROCK??", which kind of broke the mood.
posted by thelonius at 5:39 AM on November 26, 2011


Was hoping for an album of original material. Come on Peter!
posted by incandissonance at 7:27 AM on November 26, 2011


incandissonance: "Was hoping for an album of original material. Come on Peter"

Peter Gabriel is not your bitch.
posted by benzo8 at 8:05 AM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


> [Issues with what companies sponsor content is a conversation best had elsewhere, so let's not continue with it in this thread, please. Thanks.]

For me, at least, that was the single most important post here, as it freed me from the need of actually clicking on the link...

Taking it to metatalk.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:10 AM on November 26, 2011


Ahhh, Woodstock '94. 8 dollar bottles of water, 6 inches of mud everywhere, 2 hour commutes to and from the porta-potties, broken tent poles, broken fences, chaos, that final night the Red Hot Chili Peppers did their towel waving thing or whatever, and then 50% of the crowd just *left* -- we were able to get really, really close to the main stage for Peter Gabriel's set and....

my god.

So. Fucking. Worth it. I still remember him sitting down at the drums to keep the rhythm as the stage slowly emptied, artist by artist.
posted by ZakDaddy at 9:34 AM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


San Jacinto - live in 1986

Final date of the 1986 Amnesty International Conspiracy of Hope Tour
posted by philip-random at 11:07 AM on November 26, 2011


I enjoyed this, but in my mind Peter Gabriel music needs way more percussion.

Well, I think the whole point of the New Blood project NOT having way more percussion is that Gabriel wanted to work within the bounds of a more or less traditional symphony orchestra and not have it turn into a Michael Kamen / Trans Siberian Orchestra sound which is so common when rock music is adapted for symphonic performance.

Overall, I think he and his arranger did pretty well with most of what they were trying out in these new settings. Signal To Noise isn't even on the new album, so that's an "exclusive" to this particular web broadcast.

And yeah, seconding the comment above that it's impressive that Gabriel didn't transpose any of this material down for his aging voice. He obviously had some other singers helping him out at times, but over all he's got the same gravelly tenor that he's always had, and I love that.
posted by hippybear at 11:17 AM on November 26, 2011


And Biko becomes more powerful every time I listen to it.

I enjoyed this, but in my mind Peter Gabriel music needs way more percussion.

I thought I'd talked about this show here before, but I'm not finding it. I saw Gabriel in Austin on the Security tour in 1982, and it had a couple of the most unique & powerful moments I've ever been witness to. Mostly standing-room-only small sports arena with a few bleachers to each side - 90% of the crowd was on its feet.

They brought the lights down at the beginning of the show, and the recorded pulse bit from the very beginning of Rhythm of the Heat began playing while the stage was still empty. The stage stayed empty though, and after a minute or so, there was a *BOOM, BOOM* ... *BOOM, BOOM* from the wrong end of the hall. Everyone turned around to see Tony Levin wearing a bass drum, followed by the rest of the band, wearing marching toms, filing single-file in from the main entrance to the hall, at the back of the room. An usher with a flashlight parted the crowd for them, and hey all marched in a line *BOOM, BOOM* to the stage, right through the crowd. The Security tour did not lack for percussion.

They played Biko as the second (third?) encore. Towards the end of the song, he got the crowd chanting along "Oh, oh, oooooh-oh." The whole audience responded really well, and was really into it - it was loud. The stage lights dimmed a bit, and slowly, over a minute or two, the musicians kind of crept off the stage slowly one by one until there was no one left, yet the crowd continued the chant. He had effectively transferred the song entirely from the band to the audience, and we kept it up for a little while, past when the house lights came up. Incredibly empowering stuff. It was a strong message, as if to say "Take this thought, this song, and make it your own. Go out and change things yourself."

It was really a transcendent experience. I still get a bit weepy thinking about it now. I've never seen anyone do that before or since, nor have I talked to anyone besides the people I was with, who has ever seen that done. I'm left wondering if it was unique to that show, or if Gabriel has done that at other shows?
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:25 PM on November 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


He closed his short set with "Biko", which was very powerful and moving, with the audience chanting the refrain in the dark for a long coda.

Oh, hello. Maybe he did keep doing that thing for a while.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:29 PM on November 26, 2011


It was really a transcendent experience. I still get a bit weepy thinking about it now. I've never seen anyone do that before or since, nor have I talked to anyone besides the people I was with, who has ever seen that done. I'm left wondering if it was unique to that show, or if Gabriel has done that at other shows?

I can't speak for Gabriel, as I have yet to get to see him perform live.

But when I saw U2 at Tarrant County Convention Center in 1987 on their Joshua Tree Tour, they closed the show with "40" off the War album. For that song, Adam and Edge exchange instruments, so the bass player is doing guitar and the guitarist is doing bass.

After Bono got the crowd all singing along with "How I long to sing this song" in the way that only Bono can, he put his mike on the stand and left the stage. Similarly, Edge soon put the bass on its stand and walked off. Then Adam left the stage, leaving only Larry on the drums and the audience singing the refrain.

Finally Larry stopped drumming and left the stage, and the lights went out and the arena was in darkness with the audience singing.

Then the house lights came up, and everyone was still singing. And we all started filing out of the building, still singing. And through the lobby space, still singing. And into the multi-story parking garage, still singing. The voices coming from all over, echoing against the many levels of concrete, blending into an odd overlapping melange of the same melody all phase shifted and echoey.

I've never experienced anything like it before or since. But it sounds like more than once band in the 1980s was doing similar things with the end of their show.
posted by hippybear at 12:33 PM on November 26, 2011


This is..very nice, thanks for sharing this. I didn't even know I liked Peter Gabriel that much until I watched this and realized I know and love a lot of these songs.
posted by Danila at 1:23 PM on November 26, 2011


Oh my god, Solsbury Hill is just luminous. It bought tears to my eyes.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 2:02 PM on November 26, 2011


Maybe he did keep doing that thing for a while.

Yeah, ending with the Biko chant was a thing for years. Always spine-tingling.
I've seen every tour since the early 80s and Gabriel is a master of stagecraft. Playing with mirrors, falling backwards into the audience, jumping around like a monkey, walking around upside-down.....he never disappoints. I was at the show where they filmed the New Blood concert film earlier this year, and even though he isn't running around a lot now, he's still amazingly visually inventive. I highly recommend tracking down PoV, a concert film from the late 1980s that seems to be available now only in used VHS, torrents or youtube clips like this. Not the same as being there, but a taste. Here's the biko chant from that film.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:12 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gabriel must have come across a simply amazing vocal coach. At 60 years old or thereabouts he is in the best voice of his life, at least that night. Range, timber and maybe even intonation clearly better than that heard on the documents for his tours dating back almost 30 years. (Plays Live is from 1982). Harder to tell compared to Genesis live recordings from ten years before that, because the engineering and mikes weren't at the same caliber, but it wouldn't surprise me.

And, yes, POV is awesome as a visual document of the 1980s performances ... one of a very small number of reasons why I keep my VHS player around, albeit unplugged most of the time.
posted by MattD at 3:22 PM on November 26, 2011


I saw Peter Gabriel in 1993 (pretty sure) and his stage director was Robert LePage, so as you can imagine, it was brilliant and moving and astounding. And I too wish that he was doing less rehashing of his old material, lovely as it is, and writing new work.

Oh, a favourite moment: In Your Eyes, live, with Youssou N'Dour, just fantastic.
posted by jokeefe at 3:23 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's the biko chant from that film.

Chills.

In '82 though, the crowd just kept singing. The transfer was more complete.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:41 PM on November 26, 2011


I'm left wondering if it was unique to that show, or if Gabriel has done that at other shows?

I saw him a bunch of times in '82 as a good friend was particularly fanatic about following him around (I just hitched along). I don't recall if he did the rhythm of the heat entrance and the biko exit every gig, but I definitely caught both. Powerful stuff.

Linking again to the 1986 Amnesty concert, here's a typically BIG Biko ending
posted by philip-random at 3:43 PM on November 26, 2011


I saw him on the So tour, with Youssou N'Dour opening, at the (then) Brendan Byrne Arena in New Jersey.

Basically, an unknown-to-most-of-us (strike 1) foreign (strike 2) act performing in part not in English (strike 3) was the opening act (strike 4). You'd think it was going to be a failure, based on the way things like that worked.

No. Not at all. By the end of N'Dour's set, people were dancing in the aisles and around the top walkway. It was GLORIOUS. I adored it all.

Then Peter Gabriel came out and began performing: as noted, Red Rain. And he did 'Shock the Monkey', and 'In Your Eyes' and 'Mercy Street' and 'I Don't Remember' and 'D.I.Y' and 'Solsbury Hill' and 'Games without Frontiers', and I know there were more.

But yes, the last song was 'Biko'. And he slowly gave the song to us. And that was when it went from glorious to miraculous. I had never seen anything like that before, ever, and that is why I think he's going to be the kind of artist we remember when many of his contemporaries are forgotten.
posted by mephron at 4:33 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


@Mephron: I was at that concert, too!
posted by KingEdRa at 4:57 PM on November 26, 2011


KingEdRa: then you know exactly what I speak of, that 'eh' feeling when Youssou N'Dour came on stage, the sudden thrill of the familiar-but-strange in his music, and how once you actually listened, it was enthralling.

Like a lot of Peter Gabriel's best work, come to think of it. It's just enough off the path that we think we know it, and then it changes.
posted by mephron at 5:09 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine dragged me to the 1982 Security tour here in Houston, not to see Peter Gabriel, particularly, but because my friend had just bought himself an Emmett Chapman Stick, and Tony Levin was his personal god.

That show was life changing for me. I was 14 and I had never been to a real grownup concert, and I just remember being dazzled and thrilled through the whole show in ways I had never before experienced. (I was also getting my first taste of weed from the guys sitting behind us!)

The show did close with Biko, but I had no knowledge of the song or what it meant until after the show, when I began fervently findind every bit of music and information I could on Peter Gabriel, and my love for him continues to this day. I just recently found out that Gabriel is credited with being the first to go crowd surfing. All I know is that I was amazed when he walked out onto the audience during "Lay Your Hands on Me".

I'm sorry, but I just lack the skill with language to adequately express the magic I felt that night. If you'd been there, you'd understand.

(I also had a nice bruise on my shoulder from my friend's reaction when they first took the stage - WHACK! "Tony! Tony Levin! Look. It's Tony!"
posted by John Smallberries at 5:13 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've never seen him live, but now I think I need to make that a goal.

Passion was a big part of my college life, and god knows I still love that album so much. And the movie. Even though I'm an atheist.
posted by Mavri at 8:08 PM on November 26, 2011


Thanks for this--I've been listening on and off all afternoon. Saw Gabriel in concert in 1986 on the So tour, and a cassette tape of Plays Live spent about a decade on my heavy rotation--until I gave up on cassette tapes, probably. A few decades on, it's definitely worth revisiting.
posted by drlith at 8:22 PM on November 26, 2011


@Devils Rancher: This sort of end-of-performance behaviour may have been influenced by Sun Ra and his Arkestra, who would end shows by entering the audience and leading them through a variety of abstract sung mantras. I was introduced to Sun Ra by the members of Olivia Tremor Control, who continue to end shows (when playing with the e6's Holiday Surprise tours, anyway) by leading an un-amplified ramshackle marching band into the crowd and leading everyone in a seemingly endless performance of Sun Ra's "Enlightenment" that is carried on by the crowd even after the performance ends.

It's magical when they do it, too. I recommend catching them if they ever do the Holiday Surprise thing again.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:30 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I actually realized that I'm not too familiar with the songs he performed with New Blood. Many of them are new to me but I fell in love with the performance. I've been watching old live performances of his. I've waited ALL WEEK for my check so I could get the album and YAY I got it and it is really lovely.
posted by Danila at 9:38 PM on December 2, 2011


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