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    Secret World tour - The May shows 1993

    Peter Gabriel’s rock show comes to Germany for the first time

    Peter Gabriel is always one for a surprise. So are his shows, and since there was a full month between the first and the second batch of his German shows the fans were expecting a lot. The gig at Westfalenhalle Dortmund on 22/05/1993 was absolutely unique for Germany, and this is why we have decided to point out what was special about the May gigs.

    First of all here is a list of the songs that were played to give you an overview of the set: 

    Come Talk To Me
    Quiet Steam/Steam
    Games Without Frontiers
    Across The River
    Slow Marimbas
    Shaking The Tree
    Blood Of Eden
    San Jacinto
    Shock The Monkey
    Kiss That Frag
    Washing Of The Water
    Solsbury Hili
    Digging In The Dirt
    Secret World

    In Your Eyes
    Jetzt kommt die Flut

    Peter gave everything at this show, because at the Olympiahalle Munich (20/05/93) he left out Jetzt Kommt Die Flut. Kiss That Frog was not played in Frankenhalle Nuremberg on May 21. Rome was the first time that Here Comes The Flood could be enjoyed as the third encore, and Peter really wanted to be able to sing this song in the language of the country on his German shows. Unfortunately this worked out a bit too late for the Munich show, but in Nuremburg. Peter sang Jetzt Kommt Die Flut without the band, accompanying himself on the piano, and it was a big success and very moving for the audience.

    Sixtus Seelenmeyer (of Virgin Germany), who was a big help for us during the tour, also told us a funny anecdote we would not like to withhold from you: When Peter decided to sing Jetzt Kommt Die Flut they had to get hold of the German lyrics. All attempts at finding the words in the record company’s archives failed, though, so they contacted Horst Königstein (who wrote the German lyrics for 3 and 4 with Peter) and asked for help. Königstein faxed the lyrics forthwith to the relevant people who passed them on to Peter who took them to his hotel room and learned them by heart word for word.

    Late in April Peter decided to add another classic to his set list: Shock The Monkey. This song had lots of power and grew steadily stronger so that the audiences were ecstatic about it. Apart from these two new songs there were a couple of other things about the May gigs. A couple of special effects added even more expression to certain songs. During Steam, four dry ice fountains (two on each stage) provided bursts of steam that rose far above the artist’s heads. It must be said that the technology worked ever better during the tour so that audiences experienced the desired visual effect in full. Digging In The Dirt is a good example for this. While the mini-cam Peter used to project unusual views of his face on to the screen would frequently fail during the April gigs, it worked almost flawlessly in May. The song was also played much more aggressive (at least for our ears). David Rhodes would, for example, play a long, screeching guitar sound to symbolize a desperate cry. Terrific!

    Another performance that has grown stronger since the April show is San Jacinto. It was not the technical side but the theatrical means Peter used to give the song additional expression. After he was carried on the raft from the round to the square stage he got up and began a fantastic shadow play in that he continued his gestures hunched over a spot light. The shadows could be seen on the screen that had moved into a horizontal position. Towards the end of the song the screen turned upright again while Peter stood in a small pedestal and another spotlight behind him projected his distorted and somehow unreal silhouette onto the screen. This growing and shrinking shadow accompanied the final lines of the song.

    For Shaking The Tree Peter decided to have some fun. He decided to drum the first couple of bars of this song himself. Manu Katche was apparently not worried and danced around the circular stage with the other musicians. In Your Eyes (the first encore) had three more musicians on the stage when Ayub Ogada, Zak Sikobe and a percussionist joined the band. The percussionist had already supported Ayub and Zak at their warm-up act. With them In Your Eyes turned into a gigantic song everybody enjoyed so much that nobody wanted to finish it. The performance of the final song, Secret World, was changed: While in April it was roadie who closed the suitcase all the musicians including Peter had disappeared in now Gabriel took this role. He also carried the suitcase to the middle of the round stage. Upon his arrival there a whistle was blown, Peter looked at his watch and the sound of a departing train indicated the end of the scene. The cupola that was suspended above the round stage was lowered and covered Peter in its silver cloak. Speaking of which, the Nuremberg audience may have missed the cupola. The explanation for this: The steel joists in the Frankenhalle had just been repainted, and apparently someone, fearing scratches in the paint, forbid the installation of additional safety ropes. Setting up the cupola had thus become impossible – a very weak performance by the local operator. And now that it seems that Peter Gabriel will return to Germany in November for more shows we are looking forward to what new ideas the maestro will have had til then.

    by B.Z.
    translated by Martin Klinkhardt

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