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German Genesis Fanclub: 25th anniversary


Wednesday,  18/05/1994 (Hannover)

Next day will be the first show on the new leg of the tour, and the band are rehearsing extensively. Peter and his band are in a good mood. They rehearse Shaking The Tree, where Peter conserves his voice and has the band run through it as an instrumental. For Games Without Frontiers a live recording from November is used to instruct Bill Cobham who has pitched in at short notice for Manu Katche. 


Thursay, 19/05/1994 (Hannover)

Apart from Peter’s permanent guest on the tour, Lucky Dube’s South African reggae combo The Slaves, three other world music groups open for Peter at this special WOMAD show: The Guo Brothers, Dr.John and S.E.Rogie. The show is unique in that it is one of only few non-festival performances on this leg of the tour and takes place in an arena. While Lucky Dube performs Peter can be seen dancing relaxedly in the wings; the whole evening will have this enthusiastic start-of-a-tour mood. The biggest difference from the November gigs is the stage, which is very simple. There are no two stages and no catwalk between them, no cupolas, no screen, no gimmicks such as phone booths, trees, chairs, water basins or suitcases. The whole show is hand-made, as it were, and works solely through the strength of Peter’s songs and his (and the band’s) energetic performance. Zaar is played from tape, then the show begins with Come Talk To Me. Peter politely greets his audience in Germany: “Hallo Hannover! Es ist schön, wieder hier zu sein [Hello Hannover! It’s good to be back].“ The set list has not changed much from previous shows, and so the gig continues “traditionally” with Quiet Steam as an introduction to Steam. The fire extinguisher (aka steam) fountains are too strong so that Peter’s hairs stand on end because of the electrostatic effects – a hilarious sight. Games Without Frontiers is performed as usual. The audience participation vocal loop introduces Across The River in which song Tony Levin plays a double bass with a bow and thus replaces Shankar who is not present in this part of the tour. Many songs now sound as in the live gig that was broadcast on [a German pay-TV channel], particularly Across The River, Shaking The Tree and Secret World (new keyboard bit!).

There is no break between Across The River and Shaking The Tree, hence no Slow Marimbas, and Paula Cole has her first major performance. She has become far more agile, does not simply stand and sing but has turned into a whirlwind that dances frolicking across the stage with Peter. Shaking The Tree has solos for Tony Levin (Peter: “Shaking one tree”) and Billy Cobham (Peter: “Shaking two trees”) as well as different sing-along parts for the men and women in the audience. The song is followed by Blood Of Eden and (only in Hannover) San Jacinto. From Peter’s introduction: “… and initiated with the bite of a snake. And if he returned down to the town he was brave, and if he didn’t he was … dead.” Because there is no movable screen Peter’s waxing and waning shadow is projected directly on the stage backdrop. This, however, involves Peter standing on a pedestal with his back to the audience and the roadie with the spotlight between him and the audience, and it was an unscheduled comic moment when the spotlight would focus on the small of Peter’s back. Lovetown returned to the set list (except at Nürburgring) after its hiatus in November. What follows is a big surprise: Schock Den Affen – Peter sings in German! He is obviously reading from lyrics sheets that lie on either side of him on the stage. At the Nürburgring he returns to singing Shock The Monkey in English. Solsbury Hill gets the party started in the audience. Digging In The Dirt is performed without Peter’s headcam. The festivals have video screens, though, so the headcam is back there. During this song Peter uses a hand-held spot to illuminate the audience and then himself from below. He also cannot resist gripping his privates Jacko-style – and not only Paula breaks out into a grin. Sledgehammer, too, has its share of sexual innuendos. Peter’s famous hip swings now happen back to back with Paula, and both seem to enjoy it. The final song in the main show, Secret World, is also used as an excuse to frolic on stage. Excellent: The strobe light effects!

The encores In Your Eyes and Biko bring back Lucky Dube and his Slaves, so that In Your Eyes benefits from a strong choir of Zulu women. At the of Biko Peter reminds the audience in German: “Was jetzt kommt, kommt von Euch [The rest is up to you] !” The funniest thing is the good-bye. All the musicians are jolly and silly. Though they had only planned for taking the usual bows (as they did at Nürburgring) Lucky Dube breaks out spontaneously into singing and dancing, and the others have to follow him willy-nilly. With all the musicians next to each other this could have turned into a can-can, but their legs are busy enough as it is. It is clear to see how Tony, David and the others are trying hard to work out the secret of Dube’s cross-step. Lucky teaches the audience the South African shouts of “Amandla!” and “Avetu!” and finally breaks out into “Viva Peter Gabriel viva”, an honour South Africans usually reserve for their national heroes like Nelson Mandela. With these apt words ends the Hannover gig and thousands of happy Gabriel fans make their way home with one song or another on their lips.

Oh, besides the differences in the shows that were already mentioned above the Nürburgring gig had one decisive bonus: After an unusually brief good-bye to the musicians Peter comes back on stage to play the fans Jetzt Kommt Die Flut – what an ending!


(Thank you for your help and support: Heike Runte, Anke Sievers, Ralf Kammerer, Claudia Reineke, Michael Remus)
by Karin Woywood
translated by Martin Klinkhardt
first published in German in it magazine #11 (June 1994)

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