After having staged the Growing Up Tour
throughout North America (Fall 2002) and Europe (Spring 2003), Peter Gabriel
decided to return to the USA and Canada with the “Summer 2003” Tour, a
series of concerts given in smaller venues than those selected for the first
legs of the Tour, and consequently with a smaller scale stage setting, which
however turned out to be still original and brilliant. Dusk’s readers have
already seen the various reviews covering previous concerts of this Tour, so
we’ll just concentrate here on highlighting the major differences between
this new leg of the Tour and the previous ones, based on the concert we saw
at the Sound Advice Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Florida, on June 14,
The night has been opened by the interesting Uzbek singer Sevara Nazarkhan and her group. Contrary to the previous Tour legs, here the stage was placed on one side of the venue and had the conventional rectangular shape. Six silver vertical panels (clustered in groups of two) were placed behind the band (made by the same musicians that performed in the rest of the Tour) while the back of the stage became a screen where on the top right corner images and colors were projected during the concert.
The opener of the concert is not anymore Here Comes The Flood, but Red Rain, followed by More Than This and Secret World. During these first three tracks different lights colored the stage and the band creating a very strong visual statement. The first surprise arrives with Games Without Frontiers, not only for it’s being the first of the “new” songs of this “Summer 2003” Tour, but mostly because during the performance Peter and Melanie run up and down the stage driving two “Segways” - the new trendy invention defined as the first self-balancing human transporter, which works with electrical batteries and an innovative electronic control system – while singing the refrain of the song, leaving the audience amazed!
The next track is Mercy Street, with the whole band singing the short “a cappella” introduction while a big moon is projected above them on the back of the stage. The moon presence, which was tri-dimensional in the previous parts of the Tour, becomes here just an image, although a very powerful one. After the vocal introduction, Peter reaches his position standing behind the keyboards, Ged Lynch is back behind the drums, Richard Evans sits in the middle of the stage where he is lightened up when he plays the flute, and the rest of the band sits on the front edge of the stage playing or singing.
It’s time for Darkness: the moon becomes red during the first part of the song, after which the whole stage turns green and images of leaves and tree barks are projected in the moon creating a very powerful visual effect. The next song is Digging In The Dirt, during which Peter goes back to using the light on his forehead already seen during the Secret World Tour, which projected on the moon moving details of his face while he is singing. At various moments Peter takes a big spot light in his hands and directs it toward the audience white the lights on stage go from white to red to green.
At the first notes of Don’t Give Up (another surprise if compared to the previous concerts) the audience responds with great enthusiasm, followed by even more applauses during the touching duet between Peter and Melanie. Two cones of purple light lit up just father and daughter, leaving the rest of the stage in the darkness. Peter walks to the center of the stage and seats on a bench, changing his position several times during the song – sitting in front of the audience, sideways, backwards – while Melanie sings standing on the right next to him. Toward the end of the song Peter stands up to lead the traditional final chorus with the audience.
A new surprise: The TowerThat Ate The People, from the OVO album. White and blue lights frantically alternate following the fast rhythm of the music, while a series of squared shapes are projected on the moon to finally become windows on a building. Next it’s the moment of Growing Up and the Zorb Ball, which surprisingly comes out of the circular top part of the stage. Peter dances and jumps in it as usual and gets to knock down Tony Levin, which finishes the song playing first laying down on the ground and then sitting down on the stage, surrounded by blue lights.
Another “new” song: Shock The Monkey. The track is welcomed loudly by the audience, and it is introduced by blue lights on stage. When the time of the famous refrain comes, Peter does not jump anymore as he used to, just lifting up his arms while the stage becomes green and white smoke starts surrounding him. The audience is all up on its feet singing and dancing, and the party goes on with Sledgehammer, performed by Peter wearing the famous video clip lighting jacket.
The first part of the concert is closed as usual with Signal To Noise. The alternating lights that create the effect of the stars and the strong green and blue ones that in Italy were projected vertically on the column that constituted the central part of the stage, are here replicated on the moon creating a similar effect, while Peter sings under a cone of light on the left side of the stage. As in the previous concerts, the band members leave the stage one by one with Ged Lynch left alone to close the track with his drums.
After a short passage of time everybody is back on stage for In Your Eyes, with Sevara Nazarkhan to perform the vocalisms of Youssou N’ Dour. As always, a great energy is created during the song, with everybody on stage dancing along with the enthusiastic audience.
Then Peter announces that the next song is Biko. The song is performed between columns of red and white lights which create a dramatic visual effect, reinforcing even further the emotion created by the music in the audience. Toward the end of the track Peter leaves the stage followed by all the other musicians with the words “the rest is up to you”… everything becomes dark and after a few seconds the band reappears on stage to bow to the audience in the old Genesis style, something we had not seen in the previous legs of this Tour.