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Peter Gabriel live - Dublin | End of Front

Back To Front Tour 2014 - Dublin, 10/12/2014

When Peter Gabriel started his Back To Front Tour on 16th September 2012, it was very unclear whether or not he would continue the tour in Europe after the sabbatical he took right after the North American leg of the tour - also simply because the original reason of the tour, the 25th anniversary of his album So, has already passed. But Gabriel came to Europe, he did three further (European) legs in the end. The last few shows were some kind of homecoming for him, but the very last show took place in Ireland, in Dublin. Michaela Ix saw a couple of shows during that tour and shares her thoughts and some photos.

After I saw the fall shows in Brussels, Strasbourg and Zurich and Gabriel himself announced on Facebook that it would be the last tour for a long time, I took a closer look at the remaining touring schedule. The final show in Dublin was pretty tempting and also easy to reach. As I had seen the Back To Front tour 14 times, it was quite interesting for me to see the final concert in english-speaking territory, a first for me.

Dublin's 3Arena hosts 14,500 spectators and except for the upper rows was very well attended. Gabriel opened the show with "this is actually the last show of the Back To Front Tour", in that moment I was really proud to be part of it. At last, the setlist had changed a bit, compared to the first 14 shows I had seen, and I was looking forward to the new song What Lies Ahead. Peter explained that his oldest son Isaac had written the melody and that the song did not have lyrics yet, something Gabriel fans don't mind, already used to it from O But. I like the melody a lot and the cello accompaniment by Linnea Olson fits perfectly. Very important in this moment: Gabriel has his voice back, it sounds fantastic, he appears to be completely healthy. Zurich was the first concert, in which I experienced Gabriel having serious problems with several songs, but the explanation followed soon after, and Lyon even had to be cancelled.

The rest of the band is introduced to great applause before Come Talk To Me. The overall mood in Dublin is very good, the magic of the music reaches the audience and they're into it with body and soul. It's the first time I've seen the show from the upper tier so I have the opportunity the see all the screens. This perspective gives a completely different insight, and there are moments that get under your skin, for example Pete's head close up on the screen, when he says "Psst listen" during Secret World.

I'm not someone who goes to a concert and takes every song apart, to find out at which time Tony's bass sounded more intense than usual or when David's guitar appeared too loud (that will probably be done when the Encore series will be reviewed). What matters most to me is Peter's voice and I am a fan of rhythm, I enjoy Manu Katché's intensive moments especially. It is a pleasure to see the original This Way Up Tour line up again. My very first Gabriel show was So in Cologne in 1987, which shaped my taste in music forever.

In Dublin the band appears to be perfectly in sync, each musician has moments to soak up, for example David Rhodes' solo in Secret World. I saw David Rhodes for the first time as a solo artist this year and listened to his music a lot. Therefore I observed him more closely than usual at the fall shows, I am fascinated with the joy he seems to be getting from the music.

After Secret World there's the second premiere for me this evening, Peter has replaced The Family And The Fishing Net with Darkness, I think this change works well, although I always thought of Fishing Net as a highlight. There's a dark mood in both of these songs. He's fighting with a crane during Darkness before singing very soflty again and striding the stage. The audience responds with tremendous applause. Next up as usual is No Self Control, one of my two favourite moments of the concerts is when he raises his hand and shakes it lightly during this song, the other comes when he sings "It's in your eyes" at the end of In Your Eyes, extends his right hand and moves it sideways. These are magical moments you won't forget and will remember for a long time. No Self Control is followed by my beloved Why Don't You Show Yourself. I'm writing this review on December 31st 2014, I remember clearly when I decided for this song to be my song of the year last New Year's Eve, and I thought about it again this year. A year later it's Why Don't You Show Yourself again, especially since you could find the studio version on the internet a short while ago. BUT, the live version is far more beautiful.

After the electric part of course there's the complete So album. The view on Mercy Street was a lot better from the higher seating position, the screens during Red Rain and Big Time are worth seeing and the sound in the 3Arena was the best of all concerts I attended, which adds to making this concert yet more unforgettable. I also prefer the English announcements, not read from paper to those in the languages of other countries.

After In Your Eyes Peter says "this is the last night of the Back To Front Tour" and he thanks all contributors more extensively than usual. And with "you have given us a great last night – thank you so much", they leave the stage. Peter starts the introduction to Biko with "Today is Human Rights Day", we know him in this role exactly, just like I followed him all those years. When he performed at concerts for human rights I recorded his songs on video tapes and watched them a hundred times, of course Biko was almost always among them. This song is the worthy final of a fantastic Back To Front tour, which I saw 15 times and of which I enjoyed every single concert, I will never forget. Totally unforgettable to me was the concert in Cologne on May 2nd 2014, David Rhodes got a birthday song and I stood in the very front row. And Gabriel came out for the encore and played Jetzt kommt die Flut all on his own, a unique goosebump moment. Let's hope we may see more tours of him...

Dublin was a dream and it will be forever unforgettable to see the final show - thank you Peter for music!

Author & Photos: Michaela Ix

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