Fresh Sounds: Peter Gabriel Live at the ACC

Last night I had the wondrous pleasure of seeing the incomparable Peter Gabriel live at the Air Canada Centre. A few months back I received a notification via email that in honor of its 25th anniversary, Peter would be touring his groundbreaking record SO. This album, featuring some of his greatest hits (In Your Eyes, Sledgehammer, Don’t Give Up & more!), just so happens to be the first album I ever owned. My father bought the cassette for me when I was around 8 years old and I fell madly in love. I would sit in my bedroom, dressing up my Barbie dolls, singing along and gazing at the photo on the cover (I thought he was SO handsome because he looked JUST like my Daddy). Luckily enough my Dad is still as awesome now as he was then and bought tickets for me, my younger brother  and himself as a birthday gift!

Even though this was my third time seeing him live and I’m well aware that he exists in real life, I still squealed “OH MY GOD IT’S HIM!” when he walked out on stage. He let us know that the performance would be split into 3 parts – the first would be a few songs acoustic, followed by a set of old favourites and finally, SO in its entirety. He opened with a beautiful new song on the piano accompanied by Tony Levin (the coolest bassist of all time) on electric stand up bass, followed by a beautiful rendition of Come Talk to Me – one of my all time favourites. An acoustic version of Shock The Monkey (can you believe it?) was probably the highlight of the stripped-down portion of the show, mainly because it somehow felt like a less cheesy song when all the 80’s synthesizers are swapped out for an acoustic guitar.

When the show kicked into gear and went electric, I could not believe my ears and eyes. Of course he played crowd pleasers like Digging in the Dirt and Solsbury Hill, but he also dove into some more obscure tracks such as No Self Control and The Family and The Fishing Net which had me over the moon!

“The Masters of Modern Dance” (according to Peter) doing a little side-step during This is the Picture

Next it was time for SO and it was every bit as wonderful as I could have dreamed. Though well into his 60’s, the man still has the voice and charisma of his youth. New opening act/backup singer Jennie Abrahamson was an incredible last-minute addition to the tour, and when she accompanied Peter on the classic Don’t Give Up (singing the part of the wonderful Kate Bush), I got goosebumps and tears came to my eyes.

After finishing with In Your Eyes to a roaring standing ovation Peter and co. returned to the stage for two more songs, finishing with the incredible Biko (an homage to anti-apartheid activist Steven Biko). The crowd chanted and threw their fists in the air along with the song, and continued even after the band left the stage, a beautiful reminder that Peter is not only an incredible musician but also an inspiring activist. Gabriel is well known for his longstanding association with Amnesty International, but you may not know that he also co-founded WITNESS, an organization that empowers human rights defenders to use video to fight injustice, and to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools that can pressure those in power or with power to act. As well, he helped initiate The Elders (along with Sir Richard Branson and South African politician/activist Nelson Mandela) – an international non-government organisation of public figures noted as elder statesmen, peace activists and human rights advocates whose goal is to use their “almost 1,000 years of collective experience” to work on solutions for seemingly insurmountable problems like climate change, HIV/AIDS, and poverty, as well as to “use their political independence to help resolve some of the world’s most intractable conflicts”

Moral of the story? Peter Gabriel may just be THE BEST.

NOW to answer the question that’s been plaguing you all since my cliffhanger facebook post yesterday… WHICH DRESS DID I WEAR TO THE SHOW?! ………………………

TA DA! In the end I chose the Fresh Baked Goods stretch peasant dress because it seemed the most fitting for a night out with my Dad and Brother (I believe Jane said I look “wholesome” in it)! After wearing it for a few hours I fell madly in love. The fit is incredibly flattering, the fabric is SO comfortable and the weight is perfect for fall/winter. I love the mid-calf length and the tapered hemline (it’s a touch longer in the back) and the weight of the jersey makes the skirt fall so beautifully! There are only limited colours/quantities in store right now (more on the way soon!) so call your nearest store to check availability OR snag it from our online store now!

I’m so happy I had the opportunity to see such a spellbinding show by one of the most influential artists of our time, but I’m equally thrilled that I got to share it with my amazing Father and wonderful brother. A night of family bonding and amazing music (don’t forget a fabulous dress!) what more could a girl ask for?

My favourite person. Dad.

SETLIST:
– Untitled New song
– Come Talk To Me
– Shock The Monkey
– Family Snapshot
– Digging in the Dirt
– Secret World
– The Family & the Fishing Net
– No Self Control
– Solsbury Hill
Followed by SO in its entirety:
– Red Rain
– Sledgehammer
– Don’t Give Up
– That Voice Again
– Mercy Street
– Big Time
– We Do What We’re Told
– This is the Picture
– In Your Eyes
ENCORE:
– The Tower That Ate People
– Biko

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