After a hiatus from the performance stage, Peter Gabriel appeared at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, November 24, 2002. Always an engaging artist, Peter Gabriel staged his theatrical concert in the round.

     Gabriel's 2002 Growing Up Tour band featured guitarist David Rhodes, bassist Tony Levin, drummer Ged Lynch, keyboardist Rachel, and Melanie Gabriel on harmony vocals all dressed in black. Stagehand Robert LePage wore a bright orange jumpsuit.

     Gabriel emerged on stage from a exit portal on the venue floor. After circling the stage to applause, his simple comment, "Thank you very much", was sincere. Gabriel stood alone on stage behind keyboards and sang his first solo glimmer, "Here Comes The Flood", with the circular stage spinning clockwise.

     "Downside Up" showcased daughter Melanie Gabriel handling lead vocals before father Peter participated in a harmony duet. The circular ceiling above the stage descended, allowing father and daughter to attach themselves to it upside down. Both of them sang as they walked the circumference of the round ceiling upside down.

     Gabriel exhibited his unique brand of humor in his cynical parody of televised American dysfunctionalism, "The Barry Williams Show". Gabriel sang into a mobile video camera as he broadcast images of the Capitol audience onto the video screens.

     A sextet sang an introductory chorus a cappella for the moving "Mercy Street". Evans played a flute solo as a beaming Moon image was projected upon the revolving orb. Melanie Gabriel sat in a small rowboat that appeared to be slowly sailing as the stage rotated.

     The venue was up on their feet in appreciation as Gabriel sprinted around the stage to sing a rocked-up version of "Digging In The Dirt". The globe hovering above the stage had now become a clear bauble. While jamming on stage, Rhodes broke one of his guitar strings.

     In a spectacular display of artistic originality, Gabriel crawled into the clear bauble for "Growing Up" and proceeded to roll the sphere around the circular stage standing up inside the object as he sang. Gabriel also bounced the clear sphere up and down on the stage to incite audience reaction.

     Levin encouraged the audience to clap along on "Solsbury Hill", which received a jaunty arrangement. Gabriel climbed upon a small bicycle and sang, circling the stage. The four mobile band members strutted the circular stage.

     A funk-undercurrent bolstered the sensual "Sledgehammer" with Melanie adding harmony vocals. Gabriel sported an illuminated lightbulb leather jacket, which had an electrical cord running out the side. Gabriel retorted, "Well, now I know what it is to be a Christmas Tree".

     "In Your Eyes" was rearranged and performed with an ethnic rhythm beat as the first encore. The band leapt in unison together on stage. The beaming smile on Melanie's face revealed her immense pleasure performing on stage with her father.

     Returning for a second encore, Peter Gabriel offered a comment on the impending Iraq conflict that his song "Come Talk To Me" was his personal invitation to encourage peaceful discussion before engaging in battle. The final performance of the evening, "Father And Son", featured Gabriel on keyboards with support from Levin on bass stick.

D.C. setlist: Here Comes The Flood * Darkness * Red Rain * Secret World * Sky Blue * Downside Up * The Barry Williams Show * More Than This * Mercy Street * Digging In The Dirt * Growing Up * Animal Nation * Solsbury Hill * Sledgehammer * Signal To Noise * First Encore: In Your Eyes * Second Encore: Come Talk To Me * Father And Son

RockonTour   Issue #17
Concert Fan - the Single Source for the Concertphile © 2003 RoT
                  the Single Source for the Concertphile

Rightside Up in the Round
Peter Gabriel in precision performance

by Timothy Tilghman