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Encore Series 2014

Peter Gabriel live - Back To Front Encore Series 2014

Live in Europe - spring and fall/winter 2014
33 shows on 2CD and as 24bit/96khz downloads



After the Encore Series of 2012 and 2013 there will be more 2CD sets and downloads from the 2014 concerts. The recordings of the spring shows are already available and can be ordered. It has now been confirmed that the tradition will continue for the upcoming fourth leg of the Back To Front tour which is scheduled for later 2014.

 

The outside and availability

Frankfurt EncoreThe 2CDs sets come in gatefold covers made of sturdy cardboard. The rear shows the set list, while the front shows a standard cover with the place and date of the concert in question. The CDs lie in the cardboard cover, so there is no Digipak tray. As with the previous Encore Series, each 2CD set also contains a code for a download from Bowers & Wilkins. The downloads come in 24bit / 96kHz in lossless FLAC.

Besides the individual double CDs you can also order boxsets with all shows as well as the Deluxe Roadcase. Both, boxset and roadcase, come with a bonus miniature programme and photos. The Deluxe roadcase is limited to 100.

Though the Encore Series is produced by TheMusic.com, it is available from Peter Gabriel's own website from this link.


Digression: Music Streamer II and III

The high quality download is actually only worth the while if you play it on proper equipment. Very few people will have the soundcard that is approximately close to the technical demands. There are, however, a couple of special devices on the market that can stream high quality recordings to a hi-fi set using special technology. Two of these are the Music Streamers II and III, with which some of these Encores have been tested and reviewed. The Music Streamers are interesting for audiophiles; they can obviously also be used for the Gabriel studio album downloads in the same standard. You can purchase the Streamers from TheMusic.com if you follow this link.


The band

... is exactly the same as in 2012 and 2013: Manu Katché on drums, David Sancious on keyboards and the acoustic guitar, Tony Levin obviously on bass and David Rhodes on guitars. Since 2012 there have been "two new friends", Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson add backing vocals.


Setlist

Encores 2014 Deluxe BoxsetThe setlist is the same at (almost) all shows (see here). The only change from last year is the addition of Here Comes The Flood, which premiered in German in Cologne. The version is slightly different from 2002-2004, particularly because of the involvement of Tony Levin. O But has been renamed Daddy Long Legs but still does not have any real lyrics. Why Don't You Show Yourself is another new song that, unlike O But, is finished and will be used in the end credits of the film Words With Gods (probably out in 2014).

The evening is divided into a three course "menu", as Gabril explains before they begin: Acoustic "rehearsal", the an electric part, then the full So album. The Tower That Ate People and Biko were regular encores, while Here Comes The Flood was added before Tower most nights. Interestingly, Peter Gabriel would rehearse Not One Of Us before almost every show, apparently with German lyrics. Rumours that he was rehearsing the song for the final show in Berlin, unfortunately turned out to be wrong. Again, there is no music from Up...


Each show on its own

Unlike the previous time it is a larger team who closely examine all Encores. The criteria remain the same, though: What is special about the recording, what is special about the show, fuck-ups, comparisons, overall impression. It is our idea to provide you with a shopping aid in case you are not sure which shows to get. The team consists of Niklas Ferch, Matthias Rieken, Eric Engler, Markus Scharpey and Christian Gerhardts.


29/04/14 FRANKFURT, Germany - Festhalle

Sound: Though you can hear a slight echo during the acoustic part in Frankfurt’s Festhalle it is not an irritating one. The mix is very sensitive to minor imbalances in the beginning of various songs, e.g. too loud backing vocals in Come Talk To Me, and evens them out. There is no undesirable dominance of any instrument. Manu Katché’s cymbals stand out a bit and add warmth to the sound. It is the acoustic part that benefits most from it though you will notice it throughout the show. The audience is euphoric and can be heard well, which also means that you will hear the audience make remarks and coughs, particularly if you listen to the show on headphones. There are, on the other hand, moments when you could hear the proverbial pin drop (Daddy Long Legs). Throughout the show there are, albeit mainly in the background, euphoric whistles and applause, but that simply covers the live experience..
Fuck-Ups: Compared with the first European show in Herning, Denmark, in late 2013, the first 2014 concert of the Back To Front tour was remarkable smooth. Peter seems a bit unsure about the order of the verses in Come Talk To Me – again, and despite the teleprompter. The first real mess-up occurs in Secret World when Peter immediately realizes that he is going into the “shaking it up” part too soon. During The Tower That Ate People Peter forgets to take his microphone into the ‘tower’ and races to get it at the last moment. Though this was funny to see, it obviously cannot be heard on the Encore.
Special Moments: "Willkommen zu einer weiteren Runde…”, welcome to another round, is Peter Gabriel’s introduction before the first song. The Frankfurt show was the first Back To Front concert of 2014 after the tour came to Europe in late 2013 and wrapped up for winter break in Manchester on October 25. Frankfurt did not bring about any set list changes, but there were some small changes in the arrangements. Shock The Monkey now has a break before the third verse where only bass and guitar are playing and the audience are invited to clap along before the rest of the band joins in again after a few bars. Peter now uses voice distortion when he sings “no self control, no self control, no self control” during the climax of that song.
Most remarkable is the progress of the songwriting process in O But, which is now officially called Daddy Long Legs. There are now several passages with real lyrics that use many terms nature expressions like water, wave, tide, sun, hill and so on.
Further information / comparison with other Encores: The sound of the first encore is warm and the audience can be heard unusually well, particularly between songs. This may be because there are comparatively few seats in Frankfurt Festhalle so that the main body of the audience were standing in the arena. The band play remarkably well, and Peter Gabriel is in great shape. His introductions are remarkably long. Before he explains the concept of the show (three course menu and so on) he shows himself happy to be in Germany again. He also says that he decided to play short tours only and more of those instead (applause), jokes about the unfinished lyrics of Daddy Long Legs and takes the mickey out of the receding hairlines of the musicians.
Peter’s voice is also in great shape this night. There are a number of parts in the show where he likes to sing in a lower key than in the studio versions (e.g. Come Talk To Me, Shock The Monkey, Big Time or Biko). In Frankfurt he delightfully battles through the songs in the original keys. The only songs that he does not manage to pull off are Solsbury Hill and Big Time – apparently the combination of high notes, speed of the lyrics and physical movement is too much of a challenge. Highlights are the acoustic part, Red Rain (especially Manu Katché’s drumming), the intensity of Mercy Street and the mood during Don’t Give Up and In Your Eyes.

All in all: This is a recommended recording. The mix is accomplished and transparent, with well-balanced warm sound. The atmosphere in the small-ish Festhalle with its mainly standing audience is good, and the mix evidences much participation from the audience, which makes this Encore a fine souvenir of a rather good concert for those who attended it.
Everybody on the stages does a good job. Manu Katché is even more fascinating than the year before, but then he can be heard very well in the Frankfurt mix. Peter’s German announcements are very clear, comprehensive and charming. Musically this is a very good first concert and fun to listen to. There are no major problems, and Peter Gabriel’s vocals are noteworthy also because he sticks to the originaly keys of the songs for almost the whole concert – and he would not do that very often during the tour.
* order this Encore: 2CD


30/04/14 MUNICH, Germany - Olympiahalle

Sound: Overall, a well balanced mix. There are occasional light peaks in the pitches, and sometimes the basses are well dominant. Additionally, Gabriel’s voice turns out to be thin-mixed once in a while. The audience is well audible, sometimes actually too well – you can even hear the sounds of photography.
Fuck-Ups: During the start of The Family And The Fishing Net, Peter has issues with his microphone, repeating themselves during the intro of Mercy Street. Also, there is a short “insecure” moment during No Self Control. Besides this, a well-rounded event.
Special Moments: Manu Katché plays a short cymbal intro for Red Rain, Peter speaks fluent German, and Secret World receives a rarely heard spoken introduction.
Further information / comparison with other Encores: Peter appears to be singing a little careful on some songs, and also recites the beginning of Biko “deeply”. The introduction to Biko appears to be a little strange – sounding like Peter forgot a part or one of his notes. Apparently, this occurred during a couple of more shows as well.

All in all: In Munich, band and sound mix appear to be in equal early-shape. There are no obvious mistakes; the live feeling comes across well. Munich should be considered one of this tour’s Encore-recommendations.
* order this Encore: 2CD


02/05/14 COLOGNE, Germany - Lanxess Arena

Sound: The sound is very inconsistent, often very reverberant. When the audience claps along, the Lanxess Arena's size is positively palpable. The guitar of birthday boy David Rhodes is too quiet throughout the show. The sound is very fitting during the quieter songs like, for example, Don't Give Up. The volume of PG's mike seems to be going up and down during announcements but sometimes also during singing.
Fuck-Ups: None that force them to start over, but PG has a big slip-up during Monkey. He mixes two verses together: "Too much at stake, something´s burning" and "Cover me, when I breathe, cover me through the fire". In We Do What We´re Told someone (David R. or Tony L.) is a little overeager and starts singing too early.
Special Moments: David Rhodes is introduced last for a change, because it's his birthday. What follows is a very beautiful Happy Birthday from 15,000 throats! In the end, PG sings in harmony with the audience. Manu Katché is received very enthusiastically during the band introduction. For the first time during the tour, Jetzt Kommt Die Flut (Here Comes The Flood) is performed in German.
Further information / comparison with other Encores: The acoustic part has its highs and lows, sometimes PG's voice is too quiet and Tony's bass very loud. During Come Talk To Me the guitar and drums are too quiet and the backing-vocalists are almost inaudible as well. The mixer reacts and makes some improvements towards the end of the song.
Family Snapshot, sound is improving, drums sound good for the first time during this Encore. There are some hints of the audience's reaction when the hall lights are switched off. There is a loud "Lights out"-scream long after the lights have already been turned off?! Some buffoon probably wanted to immortalise himself on the Encore.
Digging: Sound gets richer, though the song itself is partly responsible for that. Keyboards are almost too loud. Everything sounds very muffled during Secret World, though Tony's bass is booming quite a bit. The "Shhh, listen" is almost inaudible, but PG announces the solo with "Mr. David Rhodes, birthday boy!". The drums and especially the cymbals are too quiet. During The Family And The Fishing Net it's possible to "hear" the arena's size when the audience claps along. The guitar is too quiet again, but this gives the song a nice menacing feeling. The Encore shows its strength again with the quieter song Why Don´t You Show Yourself. PG is very strong and Linnea Olson's cello sounds very beautiful.
Red Rain, as always, with good drums, which can be heard quite well here. The bass is rich, but as is so often the case with this recording, the guitar is almost inaudible. PG sings very well, however. Sledgehammer sounds very muffled again, with rich bass and almost no guitar and PG alternating between loud and quiet. Don't Give Up is the high point of this Encore-CD. Jennifer Abrahamson's performance is heart-rendingly beautiful and elicits storms of enthusiasm and applause from the audience. During the party part at the end of the song, the audience sings along very well. Tony's bass sounds rich. The rest of the So album is played well, as the band performs very well together. With This Is The Picture the CD then finally sounds good again.
Encores: Jetzt Kommt Die Flut is great in German, especially if you haven't heard it in a while. Even the echo isn't much of a bother! After a brief wave of applause in the middle, PG has to start the next verse a second time.
Once again, The Tower That Ate People is very powerful! The sound is fairly adequate here. Strong performance!
Biko: No weaknesses. The audience sings along relatively clearly for quite a while.

All in all: An Encore with highs and lows. Soundwise, very uneven, but nevertheless, good during the quieter songs for the most part. "Happy Birthday" for David Rhodes and a great Don´t Give Up improve it considerably! For a concert-goer it is very memorable as a great performance!
* order this Encore: 2CD


03/05/14 HANNOVER, Germany - TUI-Arena


Sound: The sound is relatively well mixed. The bass is very dominant and an enrichment to the recording. Sometimes it does lack a bit of pressure though, particularly notable regarding the drumming of Secret World and Red Rain. Also, during Digging In The Dirt, the guitar is far too much in the background. Peter’s piano is mixed low occasionally too, as well as his voice being affected during the introduction of the band members and crew over the course of the evening.
The keyboard and accordion by David Sancious are well distinguishable though. There is a bit of reverb, adding a well nice concert feeling to the overall recording
Fuck-Ups: The first half of the concert passes almost without any errors at all. The only exception is marked by Solsbury Hill, where the guitar only becomes audible starting with the second verse. Also, Peter’s voice is rather forceful, changing with So, appearing to be rather shaky. The So part has a few drop-outs! At the end of Red Rain, Peter swallows “red” and appears to be missing the song’s closing. Before the second verse of Sledgehammer, David Sancious misses a few notes. At Don’t Give Up, Peter’s voice slips during “Got to walk out of here”, forcing him to start over. Additionally, during That Voice Again, Peter appears to be a little disoriented, only throwing in a few single keyboard tones before the second chorus, causing it to sound a little strange.
At the end of Mercy Street, there is no pleading “mercy”, but only a whispered “looking for mercy”, with Peter apparently trying to rest his voice. Nearing the end of We Do What We’re Told, Peter has vocal issues again, being unable to stretch pitch and length of “One Dream”.
The sample of In Your Eyes starts way too low, becomes corrected shortly after thoughxx
Special Moments /Further information / comparison with other Encores:
The first part is played with pressure, with Peter being in especially good shape and singing a lot of passages in high pitch, which changes with the beginning of the So set. Also, the introductions are going well – being the fourth concert in Germany, Peter only has to start over for a very few parts and times. The intro of Sledgehammer appears to be a little longer already, you can hear the audience singing along to the horn section intro well. The audience is very atmospheric and listens quietly during the slower songs, there are hardly any shouts at all.
At the end of the regular set, Peter wants to thank the crew, and while he is not fully done yet the audience starts cheering loudly, rendering his closing-words incomprehensible.
The encores are played well, especially the well convincing performance of Jetzt Kommt Die Flut.
Biko receives a shorter introduction, probably caused by Peter missing out a page.

All in all: The concert offers a few small mistakes; there are no big errors though. The bass sounds particularly well, and both opening and encores are being played out well. Thanks to the reverb and the well audible audience, you get to indulge yourself into the concert.
* order this Encore: 2CD


05/05/14 BRATISLAVA, Slovenia - Slovnaft Arena


Sound: The sound has a bit of reverb and therefor is a bit slushy at times, not to the point of being disturbing though. It even adds a nice element to the acoustic set. Voice and instruments are still rather transparent in the mix. Partially, the bass appears to be way too dominant at times. The audience is mixed in rather quietly (although they may as well just be listening silently in awe), and only becomes audible between the songs or selected audience-participation parts (e.g. clapping during Shock The Monkey). During low passages, you can occasionally hear the clicking of cameras. Peter’s voice is thoroughly present and pressing throughout the entire performance, occasionally sounding a bit dull and metallic though. Later during the performance there’s some slight improvement to this (or rather, your ears get used to it). Like with most encores, there are a few issues with strong jumps in dynamic, which appear rather weak compared to the direct concert impressions (e.g. the instrumental passage of Secret World proves to be difficult, but also the entry of the “electric band” in Family Snapshot).
Fuck-Ups: In the beginning of Mercy Street, Peter’s voice is rather low, and you can hear some strange beeping noises, apparently originating from a defect microphone. Further through the song the bass turns out too dominant, it’s hardly possible to listen to it in regular volume without having the walls vibrate. At We Do What We’re Told, the drums set in a bit jumpy, and during This Is The Picture, there seems to be an overall tiny loss of focus with the band. Besides this, it’s hard to spot any errors in this at all. Picky ears may sure find the one or another insecurity, small timing issues and the likes, but that’s moaning at a high level
Special Moments: As to be expected, there are only a few spoken introductions in local language this time (which however are being well appreciated by the audience). Peter speaks English most of the time; overall there are only a few spoken introductions though. The audience is very quiet during the first part. They do seem to wake up at Solsbury Hill though. At the intro of Sledgehammer, the audience does not sing along with the horn section intro, but only claps along to the rhythm – maybe a premiere.
The vocal distortion in the mid-section of No Self Control is very distinct. In combination with the dominantly mixed-in backing-vocals, this creates an almost hypnotic effect while listening, although it will probably not be to everybody’s taste.
Further information / comparison with other Encores: The band plays straight to the point, tight and powerful. You can particularly hear the fun everyone is having, and the energy emerging from it. Peter’s singing is well engaged as well, and he’s not going easy on his voice for the opening and central part of the show. At Red Rain (the song doesn’t particularly work here once more) it’s obvious in a lot of passages that he’s singing them deeper in almost an octave. The apprehension of a further show on low flame is unreasoned though, in fact, rather the opposite occurring. Although there are a very few increasing insecurities – even with Manu – the band gets stuck in and delivers a top performance all the way. Especially David Sancious puts in a rare top class performance.

All in all: All in all, a successful show without any major drop-outs or weaknesses. Partially, the performance is of course well routine and appears a little played-down, but several songs (e.g. Shock the Monkey, Family Snapshot, No Self Control, Solsbury Hill, Sledgehammer, Don’t Give Up, Biko) are played in particularly high quality. Especially Tony Levin fans will appreciate this. In my opinion, one of the better and therefor recommendable Encores!.
* order this Encore: 2CD

We have a special report about the Bratislava show online here. Jan Richter shares his experience, being the ONLY fan who bought a VIP ticket and attended the soundcheck.

06/05/14 BUDAPEST, Hungary - Arena


Sound: The sound of this Encore is good to very good throughout, but unfortunately has some reverb, especially during PG's announcements. Despite that, the hall doesn't seem very large. The sound gets very rich starting with Digging. The audience in Budapest is very enthusiastic but also very disciplined during the quieter passages, though sometimes mixed in too loudly.
 
Fuck-Ups: There are two funny fuck-ups in this performance: the first directly at the beginning of Daddy Long Legs, when PG is fumbling around with the volume control of his headphones/monitor, gets sidetracked and has to abort. Afterwards he politely explains the fuck-up and starts over. The second is at the end of Here Comes The Flood, there are also troubles with the monitor sound. PG, himself a little amused, says something along the lines of, "Seems start and end the same way: with a fuck-up!"
Special Moments: PG tries to say the first few sentences in Hungarian, which leads to lots of applause and laughter from the audience. No clue what he's saying, though. The announcement then continues in English with the usual explanations. This is a David Rhodes and Tony Levin show and both of them are phenomenal here!
Further information / comparison with other Encores: The singing in the acoustic part is very good; PG's voice is a little strained during Shock The Monkey. The accordion is very prominent during Come Talk To Me, while the bluesy acoustic guitar is very distinctive during Monkey. Part 2 starts off with a brutal Diggin' In The Dirt, which somehow seems especially heavy here after the tranquil acoustic part. For me, this is the best live version of DITD I've ever heard. PG sounds more menacing than ever and David Rhodes really lays into the strings of his electric guitar, literally making it scream. After the chorus, the guitar goes wild as Manu Katché tries to build up even more pressure. Very Epic! After the second chorus it feels like all hell is breaking loose; David Rhodes also dominates this passage. Secret World starts off almost too loudly considering the song's climax. Tony Levin's funk-fingers make it boom nicely throughout the first break. PG's voice sometimes has a little too much reverb. The audience is too enthusiastic during the song, especially when the clapping-along during the quieter part almost drowns out the famous "Sshh, listen!" DR goes full throttle with his next solo sounding considerably more distorted and screamy than usual. The Family And The Fishing Net starts off very powerfully with synth bass and bass drum; the keyboard effects suffer a little, because they are to quiet, unfortunately. In No Self Control PG's vocoder is too strong making the text almost unintelligible. Solsbury Hill: Adeptly played; the audience goes berserk, people just love this song! Why Don't You Show Yourself somehow seems to create some uncertainty in the audience. The mix of Red Rain is unremarkable, though the drums should be louder here. The audience's "Badabada Bab Baa Bab Badab" for the opening of Sledgehammer is slightly chaotic, which makes it unintentionally funny, however, the band handles it very professionally. Don't Give Up is very beautiful, especially during the reggae part at the end. PG needs a little run-up to sing a very high voice part. That Voice Again opens quite hesitantly, but grows more confident towards the end. Mercy Street is just great. MK is very strong in Big Time. Soundwise, We Do What We're Told is great and played fantastically. This Encore sounds best during This Is The Picture.In Your Eyes, once again, has a great keyboard solo by David Sancious. During Here Comes The Flood there is the above mentioned fuck-up, then PG's voice has a little too much reverb! The Tower That Ate People is very powerful; DR is unbelievably strong again. At the end of Biko, the audience is quite reluctant to participate, unfortunately.

All in all: This Encore is a must-have for all David Rhodes and Tony Levin fans! The sound has a few ups and downs, but can only be described as good for this kind of production. I'm making a clear recommendation to buy!
* order this Encore: 2CD


08/05/13 BUCHAREST, Romania - Romexpo


Sound: Like the other double albums in the 2014 Encore Series, the Bucharest recording is more than nice to listen to. The mix is very balanced - for the most part - and doesn't suffer from any major fluctuations in the dynamics. The audience is relatively loud and seems to have enjoyed the concert, though there are some passages with audible camera clicks. The reverb in the hall is noticeable during announcements and the quieter parts, but - on another note - no instrument dominates the sound of the performance. Only David Sancious' keyboards are a little too prominent (in Secret World, No Self Control or That Voice Again, for example). It is noticeable, however, that Peter's voice is pushed a little into the background towards the end of the concert (starting at about the middle of the So part), probably because he evidently has some voice problems. Though it is mixed in nicely during the performance's first part and sounds strong.
Fuck-Ups: The band plays well together and there are no real mistakes. However, Peter sometimes seems to lack concentration and/or misses his cues. Already in Come Talk To Me - which he pretty much botches anyway (more on that later) - he comes in too early during the interlude, just after the band really gets started. Fortunately, this doesn't confuse the other band members. He also comes in too late or has a technical problem in Digging In The Dirt. The start of the second verse of Red Rain is also a little shaky.
Special Moments: Peter Gabriel speaks Romanian - a little at least. His announcements aren't as detailed as in Germany and are in English for the most part anyway. The audience seems very enthusiastic (after Solsbury Hill there is an audible "We love you, Peter!" for example), the band has a strong performance and Peter is dedicated as well, but also seems exhausted (more on that later). That's probably the reason why Here Comes The Flood was not played as an encore in Bucharest.
Further information / comparison with other Encores: The quality of the performance has both bright and dark patches, mostly because of Peter's singing. The concert opens with a well-sung Daddy Long Legs which has undergone some noticeable improvements on the text since the tour started in 2014. However, Come Talk To Me is just strange. He changes register several times, always starting the verses low-pitched and than changing into the original register as they progress. This performance isn't very nice to listen to. Shock The Monkey is very good again by contrast - here, Peter sings the second verse in a lower register from the start. The 'main course' also stays strong with a jam-intro to Digging In The Dirt. David Rhodes' guitar riffs sound a little like It and David Sancious also manages to put in some nice highlights. Secret World and Fishing Net are good as well, while No Self Control seems pretty weak compared to other shows. The voice changer certainly masks that Peter wanted to save his voice. Why Don't You Show Yourself remains weak as well; one reason could be Peter leaving out the falsetto parts. The So part after that is a lot of fun - during the first half at least! Red Rain is strong with dominant guitars and the Romanian Sledgehammer is also probably one of the best versions of the current tour. While Mercy Street and Don't Give Up are performed very well, That Voice Again seems to lack power. Starting with Big Time, the performance gets noticeably weaker. Once again Peter's timing doesn't work at all here and his voice seems quite strained, which probably makes the Bucharest performance one of the weakest of the weak. In Your Eyes also isn't very remarkable from the music side, but benefits from the good atmosphere. Peter - clearly happy- thanks his Romanian fans. David Sancious' solo, however, is very lousy once again. In the end, Biko is announced only briefly; Peter sings carefully and low-pitched, but the audience joins in enthusiastically during the final part and makes it a worthy end to the performance in Romania.

All in all: The mix is decent, the band is in a good mood and plays without mistakes, but Peter seems exhausted and saves is voice from the start. Despite that, the audience in Bucharest is enthusiastic and thankful for the Master's presence and is rewarded with some very beautiful performances. Peter's difficulties are still noticeable, especially during the last part of the concert. All in all, the concert is quite ambivalent probably making the other Encores of the current tour a more attractive choice.
* order this Encore: 2CD


12/05/14 LODZ, Poland - Atlas Arena

Sound: In one word: perfect! I've rarely heard such a well sounding and transparent Encore. Reverb is pleasant and unobtrusive, all instruments are clearly audible in the mix. Especially the basses are incredibly powerful again, but at the same time brilliant within the sound pattern without drowning out the other instruments. The audience is lively and participates. Only the guitar could be louder during a few passages.
Fuck-ups: Tony's bass suddenly starts squealing during Daddy Long Legs. Peter aborts the song explaining what just happened - visibly amused - before restarting the song. David's guitar is strangely out of tune all of a sudden during the bridge of In Your Eyes ("and all my instincts") and then goes silent completely. There seem to have some technical difficulties, but it's fixed again after the chorus. As "compensation" David Sancious's piano solo is very well done this time.
Special moments: Peter speaks English most of the time and leaves it at a brief welcome and a few interspersed words in Polish. All in all, there are very few announcements again. In fact, Peter is most talkative during the Daddy Long Legs fuck-up when he philosophically compares Tony's bass equipment to a sensitive baby. Even the announcement of Biko is unusually brief. Some might disapprove, though the show gains more drive when it isn't interrupted by long announcements all the time. The fans in Lodz also could enjoy a wonderful version of Here Comes The Flood again - in English. Peter's voice sounds so close and direct at times as if he were sitting on my speaker.
Further information / comparison with other Encores: This time we get to see a harmonious band again. Everything seems to run like clockwork. Peter's voice is excellent and very present in the mix. There are only few mistakes: David Sancious makes a small but unobtrusive mistake during Come Talk To Me, and also in Don't Give Up (again). Peter begins the last verse of Secret World in a lower register and only goes up one octave at "of make believe". Peter also almost misses his cue in We Do What We're Told (the "One Doubt" is pretty late). The audience happily sings along with the brass melody during the intro of Sledgehammer, it's just that different parts of the audience chose different starting points. It almost sounds as if they're singing in canon. The audience is pretty lively all in all, but fortunately also disciplined when it comes to annoying heckles.

All in all: A great performance and really worth listening to. The few tiny mistakes don't really lessen the enjoyment, since there are no serious lapses. Everything seems to work out fine, even Big Time is fun this time. However, some of the songs could have been a little more gripping and enthusiastic. The performance is more than rock solid, but not always outstanding. Together with the great sound, you really can't go wrong with this Encore.
* order this Encore: 2CD


13/05/14 OSTRAVA, Czechia - Cez Arena


Sound: The sound is very balanced, all instruments are audible. The only flaw is the reverb, which is especially noticeable in the announcements, but it's better during the songs. The audience is also nicely audible, there are even some camera clicks in-between songs.
There are some slight adjustments to the sound at a few points, but they are barely noticeable. Unfortunately a few songs like Secret World or Red Rain lack the necessary pressure and a little more bass and drums wouldn't have hurt.
Fuck-Ups: The show is almost flawless and there are only a few minor inaccuracies.
In Come Talk To Me Peter comes in two bars too early with “The earthly power”, but the band notices immediately so it isn't really a fuck-up. Peter is difficult to hear at the start of the first verse of No Self Control, probably because the mic wasn't in the right position. The same happens at the start of Red Rain.
In the first chorus of Sledgehammer Linnea sings “Sledge” instead of “Yeah”. Manu Katché has a small fuck-up in That Voice Again missing a double beat on the snare.
The start of We Do What We're Told is a little shaky and Peter forgets to sing the lines “Catching up, moving in” in This Is The Picture. Peter also mixes things up slightly in In Your Eyes singing “said and done” instead of “done and said”. As a final point he forgets “September 77” at the start of Biko and opens with “Port Elizabeth”.
Special Moments/further information/comparison with other Encores: There is only a brief introduction in Czech, which causes some laughter in the audience again. Thus, everything else is explained in English including the progression of the show in three sets and the announcement before Biko. Peter's voice is great that day with him singing many passages in the higher register. The band also seems to play well together.
Before Sledgehammer the audience doesn't sing along again and only claps along rhythmically. Only a single fan starts singing the well-known brass sample just before the start of the song.
Another asks for Signal To Noise twice during the So set, once before Mercy Street and once before We Do What We're Told. At last a song from the UP album that hadn't received any attention at all until then. The song wasn't played, of course. Here Comes The Flood is missing as well this evening and it continues with The Tower That Ate People after In Your Eyes.

All in all: A superb performance all in all! Peter and the band are really great that evening. Only the audience is a little too passive, which probably explains the absence of Here Comes The Flood.
* order this Encore: 2CD


16/05/14 VILNIUS, Lithuania - Siemens Arena

Sound: Very well-made. The sound during the quieter parts benefits from the arena's pleasant reverb. The mix is balanced and clear - everything is just right.
Fuck-ups: Only during Sledgehammer, Peter confuses some of the lyrics. Apart from that, flawless.
Special moments: During the evening's opening Gabriel says a few lines in the local language, as always. The people think it's funny, whatever he's saying. During the introduction, Gabriel remarks about Tony Levin: "photographer and part time basses...". Vilnius is another show without Flood, even though one of the fans is very vocal about it after Solsbury Hill.
Further information / comparison with other Encores: The performance is strangely ambivalent. Everyone on stage is ambitious - but that little bit of extra magic seems to be missing. Daddy Long Legs is very convincing, Family Snapshot and Family And The Fishing Net as well. Why Don't You Show Yourself, by contrast, seems laborious and just barely error-free. Gabriel's voice starts failing in part three (So). He strains audibly, has to save his voice and sing a few passages transposed down in almost every song. He only recovers somewhat towards the end of So. Tower is decent again - and possibly the best version of this part of the tour because of some unusual sounds that the mix brings to light (it's the most interesting version in any case).

All in all: The recording is split into two parts. On one side the flawless, but somewhat restrained half on CD1 and on the other side the slightly botched half on CD2. Individually, some of the songs are convincing - the Encore as a whole unfortunately isn't.
* order this Encore: 2CD


17/05/14 RIGA, Latvia - Arena


Sound: The arena has a lot of reverb, and so does the recording. Additionally, the music sounds as if it had been recorded from a distance. Both factors sometimes muddle the sound, especially during the quieter parts (Daddy Long Legs). Some of the announcements are hard to understand as well. This isn't as noticeable with the more energetic songs, and even sounds good sometimes (Secret World). The mix is also a little unbalanced at times, the drums during Come Talk To Me drop down too much, the same goes for the bass in Show Yourself.
Fuck-ups: Two noticeable mistakes: during the powerful middle part of Secret World the organ chord isn't pitched down at first until the third time. The beginning of Red Rain is botched because the guitar is missing. Peter alternates between singing high and low during the verses of Shock The Monkey, which is a little confusing. Gabriel's voice sometimes sounds a little rough during the announcements, which is unnoticeable during the songs though.
Special moments:Someone calls out "Peter, you are the best!" after Solsbury Hill, which he laconically comments on with "Yes, as always...". It's also unusual that Gabriel doesn't ask for applause for the whole tour crew, or if he did, it isn't on the Encore. The announcement of Biko is missing completely, because instead PG gets 6 workers of different humanitarian organisations on stage to thank them for their dedication.
Further information / comparison with other Encores:The first sentences of the welcome are in the local language again and he then continues in English. The audience remains relatively restrained throughout the show - even when clapping or singing along. Possibly because all members of the audience were seated. There is no singing along of the brass riff, for example, but the audience claps along loudly. The performance of Don't Give Up is remarkably good - Sancious's piano parts are striking, which move Gabriel to mention not just Jennie Abrahamson, but also Sancious by name. Solsbury Hill, That Voice Again and This Is The Picture also leave a good impression. Sancious's piano solo in In Your Eyes is really just minimalistic.
 
All in all: The show is mixed. The initial unplugged part doesn't really get of the ground and some parts still seem restrained and like a routine. Instead we get some good to very good performances of some songs in the So part.
* order this Encore: 2CD


20/05/14 HELSINKI, Finland - Hartwall Arena


Sound: The sound is very balanced. Every instrument can be heard clearly. Only when the audience is louder during the announcements, Peter is sometimes difficult to understand. The venue's very slight reverb is also noticeable and the audience is still audible during the songs as well.
Fuck-Ups: The show runs very smoothly and there are only a few mistakes. Peter can't decide whether to sing in a high or low register in the first two verses of Come Talk To Me and switches back and forth a couple of times, which sounds a little strange. During Family Snapshot two songs later, Peter sings just “I've” instead of “I've been waiting for this”, the background singers do, however. The next - and biggest - mistake comes only towards the end of the show. Manu Katché (!) misses his cue after David Sancious' solo in In Your Eye. The fills are still spot on, but he then looses his rhythm and re-enters 1-2 bars later. Peter seems a little disoriented during the middle section of The Tower That Ate People, since he already switches into a high register for the first “man feed machine”. Additionally he fluffs at the start of the first verse of Biko, because David Rhodes forgets a guitar riff.
Special Moments: Peter plays a short note on the piano before Daddy Long Legs commenting he only wanted to see whether it worked at all. The announcements are all in English, there is only a brief introduction in Finnish. He also mentions during the band introduction that it is the same band that played the album 30 years ago (?) - rounded up, probably. Manu Katché receives extra applause, which makes Peter chuckle. Secret World has a very brief announcement. David Sancious plays some low notes on the keyboard during the “Boom, Boom, Boom” in Solsbury Hill. Peter has to laugh during the announcement before Why Don't You Show Yourself, because the audience yells a loud “Yeah” after every word (god, sex and drugs). The bass has a little overdrive at the end of Red Rain, but it gives the song a lot of pressure. One fan calls for Here Comes The Flood before That Voice Again, but it isn't played that evening.

All in all: A good show with one big mistake and a few smaller ones. Great versions of Digging In The Dirt, No Self Control and Red Rain. Peter's voice is very good this evening.
* order this Encore: 2CD


22/05/14 STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Ericsson Globe


Sound: A little bit of reverb, but very transparent throughout. Every instrument is clearly audible and mixed in well, especially in the acoustic part 1. It's a little more muffled starting with part 2, but not considerably worse. This is what a live recording should sound like.
Fuck-Ups: None to be found.
Special Moments: Peter's brief announcement in Swedish - or his trying - is met with enthusiasm. All in all though, the audience is quite restrained and (almost too) disciplined, except for one “Peter, play Here Comes The Flood”-request, which isn't fulfilled in Stockholm, however.
Further information / comparison with other Encores:Come Talk To Me: Great version; Sancious' accordion has a stereo effect alternating from left to right channel; drums are (finally) clearly audible. Huge applause after the song. The Swedes like it. Family Snapshot: PG's first “I've been waiting for this!” is a little weak; there is no audible “lights out””-reaction from the audience, but it's still a very atmospheric version of the song. Digging: The bass isn't booming as much as it should. Secret World: Strong; strangely almost no clapping-along before “Shh, listen!” Drums and bass drown out DR's guitar a little. Fishing Net: More intensive atmosphere than usual in the beginning, very creepy! Well played, best version of the Encores so far! No Self Control: PG's Vocoder has the perfect setting this time! MK is at his best: Wow! Great version. Show Yourself: PG is just whispering for most of the beginning, another very good version. Red Rain: The drums are excellent, as is so often the case with this song! Ecstatic applause at the end. Sledgehammer: David Rhodes starts with some neat parts on his guitar to tease the audience a little. A few members of the audience sing along with the intro very enthusiastically, this seems to be one of the Swedes' favourite songs. Don't Give Up: A very strong performance by Jenni A. again, but the audience is too cautious with the applause in between for their compatriot (or have too much respect) and are very hesitant to sing along in the party-part. In Your Eyes: The Swedes like Tony Levin's fake “In your Eyes”-singing a lot! Another very original keyboard solo by David Sancious... Tower: The beginning is a little muffled, drums are very aggressive, keyboard clearly audible again, Vocoder has perfect setting again. Biko: PG opens very quietly, it's closer to talking than singing. Audience is relatively cautious to sing along in the end. Still a decent version!

All in all: A very good Encore-CD. The sound is very nicely balanced, very strong during the songs with intense atmosphere. The audience could have shown a little more enthusiasm, which may be the reason why PG didn't play Flood this time?! Still one of the best Encores I had the pleasure of reviewing!
* order this Encore: 2CD


23/05/14 OSLO, Norway - Spektrum

Sound: At the very beginning, the recording still has a lot of reverb, but Peter Gabriel's sound engineers manage to turn it into another beautiful and balanced mix in the acoustic part. Peter's voice sounds a little battered all in all, so he isn't always clearly audible, especially during the So part, the concert's 'dessert'. The Norwegian audience is remarkably present in the mix by contrast, and seems to really have enjoyed the concert from beginning to end. As is often the case, the acoustic pieces appear to be the strongest.
Fuck-ups: The biggest lapse is in Come Talk To Me (again) when Peter starts with the third verse ("The earthly power...") after the first chorus, interrupting the band's interlude. He comments with British dryness, "I'll try again". There is another technical fuck-up at the start of Red Rain where Peter's mic seems to be turned down so that his first few words are almost or entirely inaudible.
Special moments: The second to last concert of the European Back To Front tour in early 2014 is a nice concert all in all. Peter's voice seems slightly hoarse and is noticeably less powerful during some passages, but he does quite well all things considered. He appears to be in a good mood just like the rest of the band. He does his best throughout the concert to deliver a good performance for the always enthusiastic audience in Oslo. David Sancious and David Rhodes put in an unusual amount of variations and some additional melodies and sounds from time to time, making them the most notable in the band. Unlike in Stockholm, Here Comes The Flood is played again.
Further information / comparison with other Encores: In Oslo, Peter also saves his voice during some of the songs by singing in a lower register. With this more defensive approach, the complete mix produces some surprisingly atmospheric renditions (esp. Come Talk To Me, despite the fuck-up) so this doesn't really have any negative impact. The audience is mixed in louder than usual and claps along a lot (esp. during Shock The Monkey, Secret World and after Mercy Street). The impression of a live performance gets across a lot better this way than with other Encore albums. David Rhodes plays a pretty aggressive intro to Monkey; David Sancious lets of steam at the beginning of Digging In The Dirt, which sounds relatively appealing, and Manu Katché's highlights on the (splash) cymbals are always a pleasure to listen to (No Self Control, Mercy Street, In Your Eyes). Even though the singing is quite a bit weaker in some of the songs during the concert's middle part (Why Don't You Show Yourself?, Red Rain), Gabe gets back on track in the course of the So part and manages to impress again. The audience celebrates the musicians and the music all the way through without exception – even the less well-known songs receive euphoric applause. The performance of Here Comes The Flood is one of the emotional high points that benefits from the hoarse voice. Biko gets a slightly different announcement at the end, during which Peter, speaking English, stresses the importance of mobile phones for spreading education and health. He speaks surprisingly little Norwegian throughout the evening.

All in all: An authentic sounding recording of a charming concert. The mix keeps up the now high level of this part of the tour, but Peter has already performed far better versions of the faster So songs during the current tour. A masterful performance instrument-wise and often exciting because of interesting twists by Rhodes and Sancious. It was quite some fun listening to and talking about another recording of this tour. The good mood in the yudience is also very enjoyable, so the concert in Oslo is recommendable for anyone looking for a warm-hearted and authentic show all in all.
* order this Encore: 2CD


25/05/14 BERLIN, Germany - Waldbühne


Sound: The sound is good, though there are a few Encores that sound even better. But open air always sounds a little different to a hall, of course. The Berlin recording has a pleasant airy sound, but has some muddled and distanced sounding passages. The (very enthusiastic) audience is quite loud. Individual heckles are relatively audible. Especially during the quieter parts, this is a little annoying sometimes, though it is fun to hear the people celebrating the show. The singing is wonderfully present and dominant (as during the rest of the tour) at all times. By contrast, David Rhodes's guitar is a little too quiet in the mix sometimes (especially the riff at the end of Secret World isn't as powerful as usual). But all this fortunately doesn't tarnish the enjoyment much. The show in Berlin is interesting for fans looking to buy several different Encores, because its sound is simply different from a show in a hall or arena.
Fuck-ups: Peter starts a few bars too early after the interlude of No Self Control with the line "you know I hate to hurt you..." only to sing sing it again later at the appropriate time. Not a real fuck-up, Peter is just a little too early (again). Peter's mic is muted during the first verse of Biko, unfortunately. Apart from that there are no lapses.
Special moments: Probably because it is the tour's last show (for now), Peter thanks sound mixer Dee Miller, sound engineer Ben Findley and tour manager David Tarakevics by name. Since it is the latter's birthday, Peter insists on singing "Zum Geburtstag viel Glück" (Happy Birthday) (in German!) with the audience. The usual explanation of the "show menu" follows. Since the standard line about the hall's lighting doesn't make much sense on the Waldbühne in Berlin, Peter adds "mit ein bisschen Hilfe von Oben" (with a little help from above), referring to Berlin's sunny evening sky. After Tony Levin's introduction as the "King of the Bottom End", Peter commented on the "Tony"-calls with "yes, he needs a little encouragement", only to urge the hecklers to be silent right afterwards with a strict "Wir sind fertig!" (We are ready!), almost sounding like a stern teacher. Could there be a better start to a concert evening?
The rest of the band is introduced before Talk To Me again. Manu Katché is named twice as if there had been too little applause for Peter's taste and indeed it's even louder the second time. In the cheering after David Sancious's introduction, it's possible to hear Peter say, quietly but clearly, "I'll give you the translation later" (probably to David S.) even though it's the same story about how they met.
Further information / comparison with other Encores: The band gives it their all on the last evening playing very passionately. It already starts well in the acoustic part. Peter nicely holds the long notes in Family Snapshot, which he hasn't done in a long time, making this an outstanding version of the song.
Digging In The Dirt is wonderfully lively, "dirty" and energetic. One can really visualise the grin on David Rhodes's face when showing off his skills on the guitar. As always, Secret World is one of the emotional high points, which is presented very nicely. Unfortunately, Peter's singing is lagging a little behind at times, so he isn't always in sync with the backing vocals. The unsettling The Family And The Fishing Net afterwards, which has always been performed well throughout the tour, is very strong again; Peter is just a little weak during the scream at the end.
Manu Katché once more unleashes a true firework in Red Rain, truly fantastic! The "DaBaDaba-DaBaaaa" in the intro of Sledgehammer seems to be sung by a single person in the audience (which definitely isn't true, but it's almost impossible to hear anyone but that one guy) – unfortunately, that someone is really untalented. It's impossible to determine, whether that's the reason Peter left out his usual squeaks before the first verse. Still a good version with a lot of energy and groove. Don't Give Up is to die for, the singing is haunting and soulful both by Jennie and Peter. Manu's great cymbals and a few very good piano lines by David Sancious are notable as well. Mercy Street is breathtaking! The singing at the beginning is already glorious; Gabriel's singing is very present, sounding very close and haunting. That's how it's done! Playing Big Time afterwards borders on sacrilege! Though, to be fair, the song has never been played better than during this tour, and the show in Berlin is no exception. The heckles at the start of We Do What We're Told are very annoying. When the powerful, distorted guitar chords come in, it almost seems like a (successful) try to silence the masses. Peter really picks up the pace and nicely holds the notes at "One Doubt – One Voice ...". On concerts, it's sometimes possible to tell right from the start if a song turns out really great. This was the case with In Your Eyes in Berlin. I haven't encountered such a lively, powerful and feel-good rendition of this song (which I wasn't really looking forward to, since it's always been played far too often and increasingly lost quality in performances over the last 20 years) in an eternity. Jennie really goes all out and her energetic singing even manages to reach similar levels to Paula Cole's. David Sancious's piano solo (if you want to call it that) is a joke, though! No, he doesn't make any mistakes this time. How could he? All he does is play a single (!) note that puffs up to a chord in the course of the "solo". You got to respect that kind of humour! This way, the otherwise really terrific version of In Your Eyes isn't ruined at least.
The audience's frenetic applause is rewarded with an especially beautiful version of Jetzt kommt die Flut as the first encore. The German lyrics had often been hard to understand in previous shows, but Gabriel's singing is unusually loud and clear this time. The announcement before Biko, however, is so confusing that it's almost impossible to understand without knowing what Peter was trying to say in the first place.

All in all: The last evening of the tour (for now) was a very special one, where Peter and the band put in all their effort one last time. Even though it wasn't 100% perfect, the mistakes were few and far between and the audience in Berlin had the opportunity to enjoy a most excellent concert. The Encore nicely captured the concert experience at the Waldbühne in Berlin.
* order this Encore: 2CD



The Encore Series Winter 2014

12.11.14 BRUSSELS, Belgium - Palais 12

Sound: Another instance of nice and clear sound. The instruments have a balanced mix overall, the keyboards are quite dominant in a few songs. The audience is more on the quiet side, especially at the start of the show, but gets a little more lively towards the end. Like with many Encores, the sound is a little muffled in some parts. But once the ears get used to it, it has hardly any effect on the enjoyment.
Fuck-Ups: David Sancious is a little shaky right at the start of Come Talk To Me with some timing problems and sometimes playing the wrong notes. During the last chorus of Don't Give Up there suddenly are a few notes from the piano that don't belong there at all. It's not quite clear if it was a slip up (in that case Sancious must have been completely confused) or if a sequencer started by accident.
Special Moments: Either David Sancious has included a few different sounds or he is just louder in the mix than usual. In any case, it sometimes sounds a little different than on the other Encores. This is especially good for Mercy Street and This Is The Picture. The arrangement of Solsbury Hill is clearly more keyboard-heavy than that of other tour legs. In the announcement of Biko Peter makes a reference to current topics again and dedicates the song to the 43 students that were kidnapped and murdered in Mexico.
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
Peter's voice doesn't seem to be very well; he plays it safe by holding back more and singing many parts in a lower register; the high notes (for example, Shock The Monkey or Big Time) seem very strained. Fortunately this gets better over the course of the evening, but he's rarely in top shape. His voice often sounds brittle and a little weak. The first lines of Don't Give Up are more spoken than sung by Peter. As if to make up for it, he tops it all in the encores: Both Tower (though the voice is a little quiet in the mix) as well as Biko are very powerful performances. Remarkably, Peter already sings the second verse in the original register.

All in all: A show with a few minor flaws and slip ups. Still a strong performance all in all without any serious mistakes - but also (maybe except for Biko) without any real highlights. It surely is a great memory for the concert-goers in Brussels, but it's a forgettable Encore for everyone else. It's pretty good on average, but it doesn't manage to stand out between all the many recordings we have now from the Back To Front tours. (EE)


13.11.14 STRASBOURG, France - Zenitz

Sound: The sound is mostly very transparent and balanced. The bass is a little too weak in the electric part, but the other instruments are audible just fine. Gabriel's voice is mostly mixed in well, but it's very quiet at the start of the electric part and almost too loud during the encores. In contrast to other Encores, the drums are very light and dynamic. Rhodes gives this evening a lot of nice twists and is very present in the mix. The vocals aren't optimal from Digging In The Dirt up to and including Sledgehammer. The microphones sound as if they're wrapped in cotton.
Fuck-Ups: While Digging In The Dirt was still fine (only "Something in me" was missing), we have the first real slip-up in Secret World. Peter sings "I stood in this un..." getting more and more quiet. He then goes completely silent until he starts over and after singing the line correctly he comments on the repetition saying, "two for the price of one".
Special Moments: After a very shrill and very audible "Peteeer" scream right at the beginning he charmingly comments with "Merci". In his French announcement of the acoustic part Peter talks about the habit that he and his band tend to make the same mistakes over and over again and quotes one of his friends a little later, "dans le futur, la beauté se nichera à l'imperfection," (In the future, the imperfect will become beautiful) and he closes with a good dose of self-irony promising the audience to present lots of beautiful things tonight. There are a few interesting variations in the arrangements of several songs and Daby Touré has a guest appearance in In Your Eyes.
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
The acoustic part is very nice to listen to and benefits from Katché's going the extra mile. Here it's already apparent that Gabriel's voice is in good shape and that the high parts are no problem for him. On the other hand he sometimes sounds a little monotonous and more like it's routine for him. Digging In The Dirt has some hissing during the intro and Gabriel and the background vocals are alternately drowned out a little. Thus, the song loses a lot of its aggressiveness, but the great performance of the band still makes it very funky and enjoyable. The interpretation of No Self Control is very intimate. Peter breathes the lyrics into the mic. "You know I hate to hurt you" has some probably unwanted reverb that was actually meant for the end, but it has a great effect here. Not a perfect version, but very recommendable. Gabriel shines with his very strong falsetto and a beautiful performance with Abrahamson in Don't Give Up. Daby Touré goes on stage for In Your Eyes, but he doesn't seem too well and croaks more than he sings. Gabriel, however, delivers a top performance that's still also very strong during the high parts. David Sancious has a little surprise in store: Now his solo has completely lost any connection with IYE - but for once it doesn't sound half bad!

All in all: If you can live with the small flaws mentioned above, the Strasbourg Encore offers a band in great form and an entertaining concert without any great highlights, but also without any big slip-ups. Because of the pretty good sound in parts and the good overall impression, this Encore is one of the "more recommendable" ones (LW)


15.11.14 NANTES, France - Zenith

Sound: The sound isn't quite ideal at the beginning: the accordion is a little too loud, the acoustic bass isn't very clear, and the acoustic guitar has almost nothing but treble. With the switch from acoustic to electric starting with Digging In The Dirt there is a lot more pressure. The keyboards are too loud all the way through. From Red Rain onwards, the levels of all instruments sound properly balanced. Peter's singing is a little weak during Big Time. The audience actively takes part by clapping and singing along.
Fuck-Ups: The last note of the bass drops off at the end of Daddy Long Legs (mistake or technical problem?). Peter decides to restart Come Talk To Me and forgets half a line right in the middle of the chorus because he switches to a lower register. Peter seems distracted or a little shaky in We Do What We're Told since the first bits on the piano are not quite in rhythm. He, moreover, surprises his other singers when he already starts singing during the first repetition by the band. The others have to join in after him. He is too early, usually all start together with the third repetition.
Special Moments: ---
Further info, comparison with other Encores: Peter's announcements are mostly in French with some English words thrown in like when he doesn't know the French word for "axe". In the announcement of Why Don't You Show Yourself he jokes about the translation of "sex" (= sex), "C'est facile, ça? Mais pas toujours." (= This - the translation - is easy. But not always.)

All in all: The sound in the first half is a little unbalanced, but it gets better with So. The audience actively takes part making the recording really come to life. (PM)



16.11.14 TOULOUSE, France - Zenith

Sound: The sound is incredibly good. All instruments are crystal clear with very little reverb. Songs that need more power like Digging In The Dirt or No Self Control are very impressive. The audience is barely - if at all - audible during the songs.
Fuck-Ups: There are no real blunders at all! Peter misses out one or two words during Secret World and the middle part of No Self Control. Peter fluffs on his lines in Mercy Street singing "right in the waves" instead of "boat". David Rhodes slips up at the end of This Is The Picture. He doesn't finish in time with the rest of the band and plays one or two notes more. Peter forgets to sing "and the eyes of the world are watching now" in Biko.
Special Moments: Peter explains the evening's programme in French. After In Your Eyes, the work of the crew is also explained in French. Daddy Long Legs has gotten a few new notes on the keyboard and more clearly recognisable words. Peter plays the intro of The Family And The Fishing Net a little lower on the keyboard, which gives it a darker atmosphere. After that there is reverb at the end of No Self Control making Peter's voice echo. The snare sounds a little tinny during The Tower That Ate People.
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
The concert has several very good versions of some of the songs. The trio Family Snapshot, Digging In The Dirt, and Secret World are especially noteworthy. Red Rain and In Your Eyes are also very strong performances; David Sancious's very original solo sticks out in particular. There is a small cut just before The Tower That Ate People, but it fortunately has no effect on the song itself.

All in all: The band seems to have a great day, which the audience rewards with a great mood. This Encore is a must-listen! (MR)



18.11.14 ZÜRICH, Switzerland - Hallenstadion

Sound: The individual instruments can still be made out well and are lifted into the foreground of the mix for solos (for example guitar and keyboard in Secret World) so it's possible to hear things that would normally be drowned out. It really gets the impression of being there live across, so the energy in the stadium is almost palpable. This is especially true when the bass and the drums compete with the singing during the more powerful parts. The only time the sound is close to the limit and gets a little fuzzier is during the loud parts of The Tower That Ate People, but it's still within reason. Peter's voice isn't always completely clean due to a nasty hissing sound. Especially during the acoustic part where the voice is quite dominant this is a bit of a damper on the experience. It gets better later and isn't much of an annoyance then. The audience is audible enough so that the live feeling is captured very well. During Solsbury Hill, for example, the audience loudly sings along the "boom boom boom", the same goes for the intro of Sledgehammer and the end of Biko. Despite the concert being in an old hall, there is no effect on the sound, which is clear and snappy with only slight noise in the very quiet parts.
Fuck-Ups:Daddy Long Legs: Peter doesn't sing the first few notes right, then goes down one octave making the whole song a little shaky. Sounds very "special". Shock The Monkey: A small slip up with the lyrics, nothing out of the ordinary for Peter. But he confuses the topic of the film Why Don't You Show Yourself is featured in a little: "religion, sex and god" instead of "religion, sex and drugs" gets a few laughs from the audience.
Special Moments: Peter briefly interacts with the audience after Solsbury Hill. Before Biko he's updated the text regarding the murdered students in Mexico (in German).
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
A lot better than most BTF Encores up to now. There are very few mistakes: There is a small technical problem (clicking) in the flac version of The Family And The Fishing Net, which is a little annoying (1.02 minute mark).

All in all: Strong performance with very good sound and only minor flaws that don't impair the experience significantly. It's what can be expected of an Encore: not remastered to death, but real and authentic. (ME)


20.11.14 TORINO, Italy - Palaolimpico

Sound: The sound is basically good, but the keyboards appear to be very dominant. Peter's voice isn't at its best and is drowned out during louder passages. This is the case throughout the whole concert. PG struggles to hit the higher notes and switches to lower registers frequently, even when higher ones would still be required.
Fuck-Ups: Early on during the opener (What Lies Ahead instead of Daddy Long Legs) there is a very loud and enthusiastic interjection: "Peter ti amo" - which causes loud applause from the audience. PG stops the song and restarts it once things have settled down. Peter misses his cue during Don't Give Up and "joyfully" comments on his mishap, rather than starting the song anew he just joins in a bit later.
Special Moments: The opener What Lies Ahead is played for the very first and therefor should be mentioned as a special moment. As written above David Sancious is very high in the mix. You can hear some of his keyboard sounds which you usually wouldn't notice.
Further info, comparison with other Encores: 
PG's voice is in bad condition and he really struggles during the whole gig. The listener really feels with him during some of his vocal parts. Six days later he had to cancel his concert in Lyon because of illness. That was already foreshadowed in Torino. The Italian audience is very enthusiastic, but that's nothing unusual.

All in all: A mediocre encore with a number of flaws. PG's voice is in bad shape. Fans of David Sancious are in for a treat as he has never been so high in the mix before. The enthusiastic Italians provide a few good chuckles. (MS)


21.11.14 BOLOGNA, Italy - Unipol Arena

Sound: A pleasant bit of reverb, a lively audience present in the mix in the right places. The drums sound a bit muddy and not as crisp as on the other encores. Peter's voice lacks punch a lot of times, but that is rather due to the condition of his voice rather than the sound mix. Apart from that the mix once again is balanced and transparent and transports the live atmosphere quite well.
Fuck-Ups: During The Tower That Are People the drums sound like Manu is beating on a tapestry with a rug beater, something went terribly wrong there with the mix. Apart from that there is nothing to report.
Special Moments: ---
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
Peter's voice is in very bad shape. He sings many passages an octave lower. (Come Talk To Me, Shock The Monkey, the second Chorus of Biko). The higher notes - in case he sings them at all - often sound pressed and hoarse. Linnea and Jenny have to help him out with many longer notes. He gets a bit better during the electric part. Unfortunately it declines again with So. But Peter gives his all and hangs on. This isn't always pleasant to the ears, especially during those songs that need a bit more vocal power. It's the quieter songs like Why Don't You Show Yourself, Mercy Street and the new tune What Lies Ahead that turn out in a convincing manner. On the plus side there's a flawless course of the concert without any fuck-ups, a tight band and an enthusiastic crowd. David Sancious surprises with some experimental sound (This Is The Picture) and a convincing In Your Eyes solo and David Rhodes shines with some additional licks (during the instrumental parts of Digging In The Dirt for instance) and his once again very heavy riff at the end of Secret World.

All in all: Unfortunately, this show can not be recommended. There are no real fuck-ups but Peter's voice is the really weak point. The vocals are solid through most songs and sometimes makes you listen up with surprise, but the standards for a good Gabriel concert should be set considerably higher and there are plenty of encores, that more than meet these standards.


23.11.14 GRAZ, Austria - Stadthalle

Sound: The mix is transparent, the focus is on vocals and the guitar, though the drums are almost drowned out. The guitar and accordion are a little too loud in the acoustic part. Starting with the So part the mix is well balanced though.
Fuck-Ups: Gabriel's voice is very hoarse and doesn't seem to be quite awake yet at the start of Come Talk To Me, "... can unblock this misery, come on, come talk to me [he goes silent while he just continues playing the piano] ... You know, I'm extending this... that's because I forgot to finish it last time." Later he starts in too early with "the earthly power..." and also keeps count, "the second one already". Gabriel speaks more than he sings and several slip-ups by Sancious make this version either strange or completely unlistenable. During the other acoustic songs Gabriel mostly stays in the lower register and misses quite a few notes. At the start of Mercy Street Sancious accidentally plays a sample that doesn't belong there at all and also doesn't sound very nice. Gabriel's microphone overdrives completely. During Don't Give Up Sancious seems to think he's at a different concert and plays pretty much anything he can think of most of the time, there are some weak parts in Gabriel's and Abrahamson's performance.
Special Moments: ---
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
After the very rough acoustic part it starts going uphill again with Digging In The Dirt. Rhodes delivers a straight performance and the instrumental part at the end turns out very aggressive; Gabriel uses some reverb effects - it's nice to listen to this version of the song. Gabriel's hoarseness is very obvious in Secret World. An overall strong version, but not up to the high standards of this tour. While Why Don't You Show Yourself turns out a little rough, Red Rain really rocks, similar to the version on the Growing Up DVD, Gabriel sings "no more denial" in a strained falsetto. He saves his voice during the "looking for mercy" outro in Mercy Street. This Is The Picture benefits from some new sounds at the beginning and Sancious has invented another one of his "unique" solos for In Your Eyes. Before Biko, Gabriel commemorates the Mexican students. There are lots of better performances of the song. Gabriel even sings parts of the chorus in the lower register.

All in all: Graz certainly isn't the first chice for an Encore. You get to hear the band in a good mood with their singer not in his best form. But they recuperate after a rough start and perform some sometimes very enjoyable versions of the songs if you disregard the slight slip-ups. (LW)


24.11.14 SALZBURG, Austria - Arena

Sound: All instruments and vocals in the mix are clear. The band has power, seems to have fun and puts in a few variations, for example, the guitar in Shock The Monkey or That Voice Again. Sometimes the keyboards are a little loud and the bass a little too quiet, but it never gets to a level where it would be annoying. Linnea Olsson is hard to hear, Jennie Abrahamson is clearer though.
Fuck-Ups: Tony Levin slips up during What Lies Ahead right before the Cello joins in. In Secret World, the keyboards and the guitar lose track of one another for a moment during the instrumental part at the end. Peter struggles a little to stay in rhythm while singing the correct lyrics at the beginning of Sledgehammer. The long intro of No Self Control points towards a problem with the cues of all the band members.
Special Moments: It's already obvious during the first announcement that Peter is hoarse and has problems with his voice. He plays it safe during the first songs, but his voice still fails at times. He sings more quietly and switches to a lower register sometimes making it seem more like rhythmic speaking. The backing vocals, however, are a little less in the background than usual. Peter keeps conserving his voice all the way through, but starting with Secret World he is warmed up and it gets better. Peter reveals that he'd written What Lies Ahead together with his son two weeks before.
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
Peter's announcements are mostly in German with some English mixed in. The audience participates, but seems a little reserved.

All in all: If Peter wasn't hoarse and the audience a little more enthusiastic, it would be a nice recording. But that is exactly what makes the Encores so attractive. (PM)



26.11.14 LYON, France - Halle Tony Garnier

The show in Lyon was cancelled due to illness


28.11.14 BIRMINGHAM, UK - LG Arena

Sound: This recording is of very high quality. Everything is very clear and transparent with very little reverb. A few parts lack the necessary pressure and the audience is barely noticeable during the songs though. 
Fuck-Ups: Peter, who doesn't seem very present since his voice is still strained due to his illness, makes all of the major blunders that evening. He changes register several times during Come Talk To Me and sometimes isn't quite on cue. The song as a whole sounds quite awkward. The next major mistake is Peter missing his cue at the beginning of Digging In The Dirt, thus confusing Linnea and Jenny, who then start too early with the chorus. Peter's voice fails completely during several parts of Secret World, which gives it a rather weird sound. From then on Peter's voice slowly gets better and a little more steady. The first half is still quite a strain on the ears due to his voice issues. That Voice Again has to be restarted because Peter, David, and Tony don't get into the right rhythm. David Rhodes doesn't finish in time with the rest of the band at the end of The Tower That Ate People because he keeps holding the last tone a little too long.
Special Moments: ---
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
Before What Lies Ahead, Peter asks the audience if they're ready. The band is in good shape. It seems like the break due to Peter's illness was quite good for them so they are now focused on the final part of the tour. Manu Katché has an especially good evening with very impressive performances in No Self Control and Red Rain. Peter jokes a little before restarting with That Voice Again saying that mistakes like these were always on purpose, that this was the short version, and that they had a special designer for these kinds of flaws. David Sancious plays a solo that sounds completely out of place again in In Your Eyes. Apparently one of the crew members had their stuffed wombat (an Australian marsupial) stolen. Peter makes some jokes about it and doesn't want to thank the crew. Of course they get their well earned applause in the end.

All in all: An average evening. Peter's voice is almost unbearable during some parts in the first half. It only starts getting better with the second half. The band apparently had a very good day though. (MR)


30.11.14 SHEFFIELD, UK - Motorpoint Arena

Sound: The sound of this encore is pretty good, quite a bit of reverb, but that can hardly be avoided if you want to capture the audience. Peter has regained control over his vocal cords, but still uses the deeper ranges of his still great voice a lot. In No Self Control for example you can hardly hear him during the beginning of the first loud passage. This is also because David Sancious' keyboards are high in the mix once again. Bass and drums hardly come into their own and are relatively low.
Fuck-Ups: No fuck-ups were spotted.
Special Moments: It's David Sancious' birthday and he gets a nice Happy Birthday sung by everyone, still the British audience is too disciplined. There are almost no shouts at all. The applause is reasonably frenetic, but only a few "Ultras" take part in the sing-a-long parts (e.g. the beginning of Sledgehammer). A huge difference compared to e.g. the Italians. One shout for Tony Levin can be heard though during In Your Eyes. Again there's a very special keyboard solo by David Sancious in In Your Eyes.
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
Peter mentions in an announcement, the melody of What Lies Ahead was written by his son and the lyrics (once again) have not yet been finished. Sledgehammer sounds like it's performed rather unenthusiastically, probably in part due to little to no audience participation. The first chords of Solsbury Hill are usually met with rousing cheers from the crowd on other encore releases, almost nothing can be heard on this Sheffield recording due to the (too) well-behaved audience.

All in all: An encore without big highs or lows. PG's voice is in better shape again. Keyboards very (too) loud, bass and drums very (too) low. The Sheffield audience is way to nice for a rock concert. (MS)


01.12.14 CARDIFF, UK - Motorpoint Arena

Sound: A lot better than some of the earlier encores. Mixed very clearly and balanced. Each main performer is discreetly brought up in the mix, brought from background to the front in the right places. Keyboards and percussion are nicely emphasized, e.g. each "pingpung" in This Is The Picture. No Self Control is clanging as it is most times, but not in an annoying way. A bit more power to the bass would have been the icing on the cake, especially on That Voice Again and Sledgehammer.
Fuck-Ups: When introducing David Rhodes after What Lies Ahead Gabriel apparently has "David Jones" on the tip of his tongue, but manages to turn it into "my mum called him David Jones but he's with The Monkees". He misses his first line on Big Time at 0:20 ("I'm on my way...") and joins at 0:27 with the second line. He closes No Self Control with "Well, I actually think you have to stop" instead of "I don't know how to stop."
Special Moments: Darkness is played for the first time, it replaces The Family And The Fishing Net. Peter tries to address the Welsh in their own language with "Diolch yn fawr" (Thank you), but it sounds more like "Dotcom Bow" and irritates the locals. With a wink he blames his sister, who lives in Wales: she had told him that way. He gets better with "Shwmae" (Hello / How are you?). In good mood Peter jokes about David Sancious' "first nuclear accordeon". Other than that announcements and stories are rather cut short.
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
There is the whole range of PG-voices, but he sings in a strangled voice more often than usual, even on Solsbury Hill and right before the end of In Your Eyes. Apparently a workaround after his illness, not annoying, just unsual for listeners of multiple shows. Some songs are played a tad faster than in the early stages of the tour (Red Rain, Why Don't You Show, Biko). The audience is friendly and knowing - no annoying interjections - but is mostly mixed out of the songs. The band appears to be tight, experienced and powerful. Peter takes it easy at times and sings an octave lower, now and then the girls are mixed a bit louder as support. All in all his voice is in very good shape again, Darkness is more suited under these circumstances than the vocally demanding Family And The Fishing Net. There is some beautiful and intense singeing in Darkness and Why Don't You Show Yourself.

All in all: This perfect mix still sounds good after hearing for the tenth time. Cardiff is a really listening pleasure. A wonderful encore, highly recommended. (A/G)


03.12.14 LONDON, UK - Wembley Arena

Sound: This encore has a very good sound mix. There is almost no feedback and reverb, but plenty of power. All instruments are brought up in the mix in the right places. Also the voices are mixed very transparent. The audience is hard to hear during the songs though.
Fuck-Ups: All major mistakes this night are provided by Peter. Early on in Come Talk To Me Peter accidently slides across the keys of his piano making the beginning sound sloppy. He misses the final line in Shock The Monkey ("shock the monkey to life"). Peter misses his cue at the beginning of the second verse of Digging In The Dirt and comes in later. The rest of the night is just about flawless. Only This Is The Picture has another minor miss by Peter, who leaves out a few words near the ending.
Special Moments: Sevarah, who already sang on the Growing Up Tour, guests on In Your Eyes. David Sancious plays different stuff after the last chorus of Biko, making the finale sound very interesting.
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
Peter explains the course of the show rather quickly, the band introductions also appear a bit rushed. But his voice is in good condition, far better than e.g. in Birmingham. What Lies Ahead is performed in a very beautiful version, Solsbury Hill is shortened by a few measures. Peter sings the first "Yihla Moja" from Biko in a high register. He also lists some cities and countries in which people currently risk their lives.

All in all: This encore is a MUST HAVE! Peter and band are in very good form, you get to hear an excellent sound. And Sevarah guests on In Your Eyes, lifting the song to yet another level. (MR)


04/12/14 NEWCASTLE, UK - Metro Radio Arena

Sound: This recording has a very good, transparent and powerful sound. Even the backing vocals can be heard well. When Peter's vocals are distorted (No Self Control, The Tower) the overall sound gets a bit fuzzy and distorted as well.
Fuck-Ups: Early on during What Lies Ahead Peter has to level down his in-ear-monitor as it was set too loud, he cancels the song after three chords: "That was an abbreviated version of this song." Then he restarts it. In the following there are only a few minor mistakes: the (keyboard?) bass at the beginning of Big Time, David Rhodes' guitar drops out during We Do What We're Told because he couldn't hold the feedback, and the piano solo during In Your Eyes is not completely clean. 
Special Moments: Peter plays for safety on Come Talk To Me and keeps the verses low, while singing the chorus with more strength. Big Time sounds a bit restrained as well. Solsbury Hill appears to be a bit faster than usual.
Further info, comparison with other Encores: 
The Newcastle audience are really into it, they clap and sing but are very low in the mix most of the time. Peter is in good form.

All in all: A few small mistakes and Peter's sometimes restrained singing do not mar the good overall impression. One of the better Encore recordings. (PM)


07/12/14 LIVERPOOL, UK - Echo Arena

Sound: Instruments in crystal clear sound meet sometimes muffled vocals with slight hissing, probably caused by the microphone. Audience and bit of reverb are audible, fitting the experience of a live concert in a closed arena. This is a plus, as it does not sound narrow and smallish.
Fuck-Ups: None registered that would be worth mentioning.
Special Moments: Before Why Don't You Show Yourself Peter jokingly tells the audience that apparently fans of all three themes of the movie series are present (God, drugs, sex).
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
Routine show with Peter in good form, the band is tight and adds a few variations and improvisations at some points. Especially This Is The Picture is almost wild. Darkness is a nice variation to the setlist, fresh and unspent. The keyboard/guitar duel during Digging In The Dirt is exceptionally well-played and recorded. Power and detail are in perfect balance, a quiet Mercy Street followed immediately by the hard-hitting beat of Big Time in a version finally disproving the "does not work live" label.

All in all: Great show with a playful band in top form, the beautiful live athmosphere is authentically captured in great sound. Worth listening! (ME)


08/12/14 ABERDEEN, UK - Exhibition Center

Sound: The venue seems rather small, with a dry sound, everything seems to be happening nearby. The mix appears to be a bit disharmonious, instruments are singled out repeatedly and there is no cohesive sound as a whole. It lacks depth. The audience is well audible and cheerful, though a bit restrained in a British sort of way.
Fuck-Ups: What Lies Ahead is started twice, because Peter had set his in-ear-monitor too loud the first time.
Special Moments: ---
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
Peter is in a good mood and jokes between songs. His voice isn't in good shape though (again?) and he uncoordinatedly switches between high and low (Come Talk To Me, Red Rain). The whole night seems to be a routine affair and at times unfocussed. Peter once again doesn't pitch his organ sound in Secret World, Darkness misses the loudness during the industrial roar (like most times on this tour), guitar and keyboards form an indistinguishable sound mess at the beginning of Solsbury Hill, David Rhodes messes up some of his guitar effects during We Do What We're Told and the drum loop in The Tower That Ate People sounds weird, as if some parts of it were louder than usual. Apart of these minor flaws there are no big mistakes, but no brilliance either. And Sancious' In Your Eyes piano solo is not nearly as dynamic here (like on just about every Back To Front show) as it is on Point of View.

All in all: Not up to par on all levels (sound, performance, voice). TS


10/12/14 DUBLIN, Ireland - 3Arena

Sound: The last night in an arena with obviously great acoustics. Band and soundman are pulling all the stops, this recording of the 66th show tops all encores. Transparent sound, crystyl clear instruments, a harmonious vocal mix, the audience captured nicely. Details are audible very well - Linnea's cello in What Lies Ahead, both guitars in Shock The Monkey, Tony Levin's bass in Big Time, David Sancious' keyboard solos, spontaneous applause again and again.
Fuck-Ups: None. (There's a nice little microphone melee after Solsbury Hill)
Special Moments: "This is actually the last Show of the Back To Front-Tour - I can see a few familiar faces…" Peter points out the significance of this night with only a few words. He dedicates the farewell announcement after In Your Eyes to his exceptional companions: "this crew will never be together again in this form". He thanks the backstage and tour crew with "without them we'd have absolutely nothing" and lists all trades individually. You hear him applauding and the audience joins in frenetically. He addresses them with "You have given us a great last night – thank you so much".
Further info, comparison with other Encores:
Peter sings in the original keys almost all of the time, hardly any flaws, pressed notes in more difficult passages are hardly noticeable, Peter gets back on track immediately. All in all powerful, multifaceted, harmonious, warm, beautiful. A well-versed audience acts a a "twelfth man". The fans join in on the Sledgehammer intro relatively late though, the dada-wave does not reach its full impact. On the other hand the crowd comes through very well during the chorus of Don't Give Up, a joyful shout induces general cheering. Apart from that there are no distracting calls from the audience. The band enhances lots of songs with mini improvisations. Digging In The Dirt and Big Time are very powerful. There are plenty of perfectly timed dingdings, cymbals, fill ins to please percussion lovers, especially This Is The Picture with its funny sounds showcases the good mood of the band. Peter's final announcement before Biko is short, dedicated to human rights in general ("today is Human Rights Day") and closes his three year tour in an unexcited and harmonious manner.

All in all: A perfect show by a playful band, who have lots of fun with nice little elaborations. One of the best encores. A/G




show reviews by Eric Engler, Thomas Schrage, Niklas Ferch, Markus Scharpey & Matthias Rieken
English translations by Robin Morgenstern / Markus Scharpey


Links
Back To Front Tour 2012 + 2013 + 2014 - overview: all dates and setlists
Back To Front Tour 2012 - Encore Series Review
Back To Front Tour 2013 - Encore Series Review
Back To Front Tour 2012 - USA: West Coast tour report
Back To Front Tour 2013 - European tour report
Back To Front Tour 2014 - Bratislava Soundcheck experience - report
This Way Up Tour 1987 - tour report
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