A quarter century of 'So'
Peter Gabriel reunites old lineup to perform classic album
Posted: October 2, 2013
Peter Gabriel, seen in a recent publicity photo, now looks quite a bit different than he did for the 'So' album cover.
Roger Waters isn't the only one touring to promote a classic album from decades ago. Peter Gabriel is performing the entire So album from 1986. The tour began in May 2012 and is in its last stages, set to end Oct. 25 in Manchester, England.
To date, So is Gabriel's best selling album, having gone platinum five time over in the US and three times in the UK. It is also his most conventional. "I'd had my fill of instrumental experimenting for a while, and I wanted to write proper pop songs, albeit on my own terms," he told Uncut magazine in October 2011. His most successful single, "Sledgehammer," is also on the album. That song is also credited with raising the bar for rock videos by adding in stop-motion animation by Aardman Animations, the makers of Wallace and Gromit cartoons.
Some of the band touring with Gabriel also played on the original album. Bassist Tony Levin has been active in the band King Crimson and recently appeared on five tracks of David Bowie's most recent album, The Next Day. In all, he has played on 500 albums. Drummer Manu Katché has also had an extensive career, working with Sting, Jeff Beck, the Dire Straits, Tracy Chapman and many others. Guitarist David Rhodes over his career has worked with Paul McCartney, Joan Armatrading and Roy Orbison.
Keyboard player David Sancious played on five albums with Gabriel, but not So. He began his collaboration on 1989's Passion. Sancious is best-known as a former member of Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band.
Back to Front tour
When: Oct. 10 at 8 p.m.
Where: O2 Arena
Tickets: 1,090 Kč and up
The album is relatively short - around 46 minutes - just nine songs including a bonus track, so some other hits will open and close the show while So takes up the middle.
If the Prague concert on the Back to Front tour, as it is called, is like the others it will start with a acoustic set of four songs, including "Shock the Monkey" and "Family Snapshot." The full band comes out for six more songs, with "No Self Control" and "Solsbury Hill" as highlights.
The full album is then played, starting with "Red Rain" and running through the songs in the order they appear on the remastered CD, with "In Your Eyes" moved to the final position. The Encore usually has "The Tower that Ate People" from the OVO album and "Biko," one of Gabriel's signature tunes about Apartheid.
Reviews for the show have been quite positive. "Gabriel brings something much more honest and intimate than anyone I have ever witnessed in a large arena, not to mention a docile crowd that sits through most of the show - even in the main floor sections," Tyler Curtis said in Chicago Music Magazine. "The most striking thing about hearing So 25 years later is how current it still feels. There is an electronic solidarity and timelessness in his music that today's trends can't even dent."
The Hollywood Reporter praised the theatrical aspects as well as the music. "With a series of individually operated lighting booms, the staging was spectacular with the lighting rigs adjusting to various configurations to match the mood of the music," Craig Rosen said.
Raymond Johnston can be reached at