Peter Gabriel has been challenging and rewarding listeners for forty-five years now. In his earliest days, as Genesis’ co-founder and front-person (1967-1975), he combined elements of theater, performance art, story-telling and the bizarre into his live shows. He has been just as wide-ranging, cutting-edge and surprising since then in his over three decades-long solo career. Through studio releases, world music projects, film soundtracks, music videos, causes and benefit concerts, he has been one of the most respected and influential artists of our time.
In the dizzying and ever-churning realm of disposable pop culture though, much of what the public-at-large knows of Peter Gabriel begins and ends with his 1986 cd “So”, which produced the songs In Your Eyes, Don’t Give Up and, of course, the “Sledgehammer” single and music video. But 1986 was also the year that he began his long-standing public association with Amnesty International.
To those that would dig deeper, Gabriel offers a wealth of varied music projects and public works to explore. He has contributed to the existence of W.O.M.A.D., the Witness project, the ‘gated’ drum sound and the early fusion of electronic synthesis with tribal rhythms on his benchmark third solo album, the revolutionizing of the music video, several notable soundtracks (“Birdy” and “The Last Temptation of Christ”), the fashionable ‘reverse mohawk’ of the 1973 tour and more; while also being the recipient of several international humanitarian awards over the years. And to think that the man behind all that started his music career as a frustrated drummer, handling the vocal chores for an unknown British art rock quintet while wearing a fox head mask and a dress.
After spending much of 2010-2012 touring with an orchestra-and-voices ensemble, which saw him re-inventing his classics in an acoustic format alongside several cover songs from the New Blood cd, he still found time to regroup and launch an entirely different tour before the year’s end.