The Penguin Rocks logo
The Penguin Rocks Menu

Peter Gabriel Lies Down on Broadway!

By Al Nigrin

originally published: 09/19/2023

Peter Gabriel Lies Down on Broadway!

All photos by Al Nigrin. 

After seeing Peter Gabriel in concert for the 28th time on Monday, September 18, 2023, I feel perhaps now is a good time to write a review of one of his concerts. I saw Gabriel perform at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia last Saturday and then again yesterday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Although, I had a good seat for the Philadelphia show, the 14th row center seat on the floor for the NYC gig was superior. The concert experience was much better up close. You could really get a good view of Gabriel’s amazing visual presentation which included video projections on nine moving screens, unusual plastic scrims, and two large video monitors which flanked the stage.

Peter Gabriel Lies Down on Broadway!

The concert was divided into two sets separated by an intermission. The sets were the same for both concerts and, as I discovered, for most of Gabriel’s North American tour. Gabriel performed two songs almost in an unplugged and seated manner. A stripped-down and moving Washing of the Water from his 1992 US album opened the show and was followed by Growing Up from his 2002 UP album. His renditions of these songs were tight and brilliantly reworked. The interplay between Peter Gabriel on piano and his longtime friend and bassist Tony Levin was very melodic and impressive. The rest of the band also featured long time guitarist David Rhodes and drummer extraordinaire Manu Katché. The seasoned band members were joined by a new addition to the group: the amazing vocalist, cellist, and keyboard player Ayanna Witter-Johnson. My friends all agreed Witter-Johnson is a star in the making if she is not already one. Her voice is beautiful as is her cello playing. The rest of the band featured Richard Evans on guitar and flute, Marina Moore on violin, viola, and vocals, Don McLean on keyboards, and Josh Shpak on trumpet, French horn, keys, and vocals).  Gabriel went out of his way to introduce each band member frequently as well as praise the key soloists throughout the concert. He is clearly very proud of this very talented touring band.

Peter Gabriel Lies Down on Broadway!

Advertise with The Penguin Rocks for $50-$100 per month, click here for info

After the first two songs Gabriel played three from his new album I/O. These new tracks included an uplifting and visually enticing Panopticon, Four Kinds of Horses, and the title track I/O. Gabriel played 11 songs from his new album, and I was surprised that the crowd received them well given that they are so new.

Peter Gabriel Lies Down on Broadway!

The 6th song Digging in the Dirt, also from his 1992 album US, brought the crowd to its feet and featured an inspired lead by guitarist David Rhodes set to a strobe light at the end of the piece. Then three more new songs followed which included Playing for Time, Olive Tree, and This is Home. In between many of the songs Gabriel spoke about the notion of time, getting older, climate change, and he made several heartfelt references to our collective need to save the planet. He also mentioned that he had worked with a number of artists from around the world to create the visuals for the concert. These visuals in many ways complimented the music in an imaginative way by using strobe lighting, anamorphic imagery and film projections that were presented on multiple screens behind the band.

Peter Gabriel Lies Down on Broadway!

Gabriel closed the first set with his most famous single Sledgehammer from his So album. The crowd responded with exuberance, singing and cheering throughout this song.

After a 20-minute intermission the band returned with a terrific version of Darkness from the Up album. This song featured a large plastic scrim with nine panels that dropped down in front of the stage. The panels enlarged Gabriel’s shadow and repeated his movements like an Edward Muybridge photographic sequence. The final eleven songs were a mix of old and new. The duet between Gabriel and Witter-Johnson for Don't Give Up was the highlight of the second set for me as were the now classic Red Rain from So and Solsbury Hill from Gabriel's first solo album from 1977. Gabriel played three encores at Madison Square Garden. These included another crowd favorite In Your Eyes, a special Happy Birthday tribute to President Jimmy Carter and the ever-stirring Biko which is from Gabriel’s third album.

All in all, I had a wonderful time and I highly recommend that you check Gabriel out if he is playing in your area.

Albert Gabriel Nigrin is an award-winning experimental media artist whose work has been screened on all five continents. He is also a Cinema Studies Lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Executive Director/Curator of the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, Inc.

Advertise with The Penguin Rocks for $50-$100 per month, click here for info



Makin Waves Song of the Week: "Kerosene Mountain" by Son of Dov feat. Renee Maskin

​​​​​​​The Makin Waves Song of the Week is "Kerosene Mountain," from the new Mint 400 Records split EP, "Chansons de lune," by Son of Dov and Renee Maskin.

Rock On! This Week's Sound Bites...7/18/24

This Week in Music: Previews for Concerts July 16-23, 2024

Makin Waves Song of the Week: "Strange and Wonderful" by Whirling Dervishes



Fans of The Grateful Dead are truckin' over to Kennedy Plaza on the Atlantic City Boardwalk this Wednesday, July 10, 2024 evening for a free Mardi Gras AC concert of Grateful Dead classics performed by virtuoso guitarist Stanley Jordan and his group, Stanley Plays The Dead.

Haddon Township presents Summer of Love - 60s, 70s, & 80s Music Festival on August 24th

A Conversation with Graham Gouldman Who Performs with 10cc at NJ's Ocean City Music Pier on July 29

Andrea Wolper Trio to Perform at the Puffin Cultural Forum



NJPAC Announces Lineup for 2024 Sounds of the City FREE Concerts

(NEWARK, NJ) -- Experience an amazing lineup of diverse artists under the stars this summer at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) for exciting, FREE concerts during the Horizon Sounds of the City series every Thursday from 5:00pm to 9:00pm. The series unites Newark's cultural diversity by bringing together residents, workers, and visitors for unforgettable evenings of great music, food, and fun. This year's lineup includes Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista, Afrobeat singer and artist Kofi Kinaata, New Orleans funk band Galactic f. Jelly Joseph, rap icon KRS-One, and New Orleans bounce singer Big Freedia. Some performances will also showcase a guest poet from Dodge Poetry, as well as local opening talent and NJPAC's student performers.

Slighty Stoopid and Dirty Heads to Perform Shows in Holmdel and Camden

Mercer County's $5 Friday Summer Concerts are Back!

West Windsor Arts presents "Summer Music and More" Free Concert Series

Advertise with The Penguin Rocks for $50-$100 per month, click here for info

The Penguin Rocks

© 2024 by Wine Time Media, LLC
PO Box 811, Belmar, NJ 07719

Presented by New Jersey Stage

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms. If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and our NJ Stage accounts on Instagram, and Threads

News | Features | Radio Shows | Penguin's Hall of Fame | Song of the Week | BlowUpRadio column

Contact Us | About Us | Submit Music | Ad Rates