UK viewers may have seen Saturday night's BBC documentary 'Robert Plant: By Myself' which explored his career following Led Zepplin and it's numerous fascinating musical partnerships.
Along with Phil Collins, a collaborator Peter and Robert have in common is Justin Adams, who has worked extensively with both Real World Records and WOMAD. Justin's also a long standing guitarist and collaborator with Robert. In 2009 at WOMAD Abu Dhabi Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara took to the stage together in an extraordinary joint performance with Robert Plant.
Peter and Salman talk about their collaboration 'Open Your Eyes' in aid of Pakistan flood relief in this CBC podcast.
There's a nice video interview with Tony Levin on the Bass Frontiers magazine site.
It was cool to sit down in his hotel room and listen to his story. It is always a big deal for me to be able to meet my heroes. I hope everyone enjoys the following video interview with the great Tony Levin." -Dave Fowler / Editor in Chief Bass Frontiers
Peter's been working with Salman Ahmad of Pakistani rock band Junoon, on a track Ahmed has composed and recorded for Pakistan Flood relief. The track, called "Open Your Eyes" will be released on download sites on November 2nd.
The proceeds from sales will go to Pakistan flood relief through Salman and his wife Dr. Samina's charity organisation, Salman and Samina Global Wellness initiative. Samina who previously sang on Junoon's song Azadi for the film on Quaid-e-azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah has also provided special background vocals on Open Your Eyes.
"Open Your Eyes" also features Grammy nominated American singer Alison Sudol (A fine frenzy).
Peter's back in London recording 'New Blood' vocals and he steps out into the autumn sunshine to give us this month's update. He gives us a quick look back at the recent at the tour, news of upcoming releases and a possible future live date, along with an explanation for those wondering what happened to the antipodean shows he mentioned earlier in the year. There's also has some good news from that part of the world with the confirmation that WOMAD festivals will be continuing in New Zealand.
Peter's also been reading some forum posts, so you can hear his response to one hot-topic - direct from 'the horse's mouth', and he has news of the warm welcome our American cousins have given to Portico Quartet.
All this and some wonderful animation, 'Green Pastures' from 1926 by pioneer animator Joseph Sunn courtesy of The Prelinger Archives.
This rather wonderful visualisation by Kai Krause keeps popping up today, it's well worth a look. The image is designed to correct the worldwide misjudgment of true size of Africa - it's big, quite possible bigger than you thought.
If you didn't manage to get hold of Peter's 'New Blood' orchestral recording of 'Washing Of The Water' as part of the http://amazon.com/petergabriel promotion, it's now available as a free download to all - regardless of geographical location
A new orchestral recording of "Washing Of The Water' is a free download as 'Track Of The Day' for amazon.com customers today, released as part of an exclusive 'Book Of Love/Washing Of The Water' Amazon.com single which coincides with their promotion of Peter's catalog. All Peter's albums are now available at http://amazon.com/petergabriel .
In this video Peter talks about the original recording of 'Washing' from the 'US' album sessions with Dan Lanois and we see the 'New Blood' version being recorded at Air. There's also an except of 'The Book of Love' from the current 'New Blood' tour (Köln tonight, Hamburg tomorrow)
The first of our 4 shows under the command of klaus Hoffmann begins. He is normally our local German production promoter rep and was a rigger for us on the US tour when we were in Germany.
Everything went very well tonight, it seemed that Peter had relaxed since Verona. We sang happy birthday to the lovely Cellist Caroline Lavel and then at the end of the show Peter dedicated 'In Your Eyes' to one of our viola players Rachel Robson as her boyfriend had just proposed to her.
PG was relaxed and in a good space. His stage antics are acquiring more PG moves, he is starting to play more with the melodies of the tunes. I would say that if the Swiss had gone for it more as a crowd, that show would have been in the top 3 so far. Performance wise Peter is finding his groove with Ane, Mel and Tom singing as tight as they ever have.
I read the Intruders blog ( http://therealintruder.blogspot.com/2010/09/171-verona-arena-2692010.html ) which I think really nails the whole idea of this tour correctly.
PG went to see sound check people again today. Lots of times he is late and cannot spend the time to meet, but now and again he tries to get out there. Afterwards he had drinks with the orchestra backstage, which never happens as he always runs after the show. He will come off stage, get into a car and drive off, to get to the airport on time to get home. But last night he relaxed more and stayed the night in Zurich, planning to come to today's show in Mannheim by train.
It feels like the orchestra are now at their peak. They are 'on' all the music 100 percent. They are the best, they really spend the time getting it right and now its paying off. John Metcalfe and Ben Foster have really been pushing them in sound-checks to keep them thinking and alert.
So 3 shows to go. We are getting a bit sad, last night it felt like we should carry on another 3 weeks at least. Peter had become very happy in his new position at the front of the stage.
If you do want to see this show, start a petition wherever you are and lets see if we can go out one more time. North America anyone?
We've made it to lovely Italy, to the huge, sold-out, show that is called the Anfiteatro Arena Di Verona. Italy is one of our favourite countries to play in, the crowd can go nuts. This show will be a good test for them as the first half is a quiet sit-down contemplating experience.
It's a very old place as it was built by the Romans .. There should be some great pictures of it
as finally our great photographer York Tillyer was flown in with PG to shoot the show. My brave new assistant Scott Barnett came over to assist the recording of the show. Because we were filming it we needed the extra help. He had done a great job already prepping our gear when I was on my yearly Cambodian break, so it was great to have him over to see the show and work on it.
We played all of the songs that have been heard on this tour as we were filming! Which was a treat for the audience we hope, it was a long show!
The show started very late as PG wanted to have some make up done. Two makeup ladies came into the dressing room to do exactly that. Our normal procedure is for Peter to introduce Ane then quickly go back to his room and put on radios and do a fast translation run through, then get back to stage to start the show. Myself and our long suffering tour manager Mr T, waited and waited and waited as more and more make up went on to PG's face. It made us very late, and the audience was getting very restless. I could hear them through my headset. But we made it on stage in the end started the filming.
During the show I fell over trying to follow PG on the dark, we have these orchestra chairs that are black. Dan Lavi was sitting on one of these in his normal place next to me. On stage they become invisible. I took off after Peter when 'Solsbury Hill' had finished, but ran right into Dan's chair. It hit my knees and I went flying like a clown in a circus, and laughed. Dan came up to me and pulled me up making sure I was OK. I was laughing, I think I recorded it so will try yo post it here in the next few days.
The orchestra played to it's best tonight and did the boss proud. They all now are getting friendly and saying hello, I guess it's an English classical thing that we needed to get used to.
They are a great group of people that are really making the show perfect. An orchestra take time to blend and work together and this is getting better every show.
The audience had to be the best overall. Though Brussels and Madrid are coming a very close 2nd and 3rd. They did sit still for the first half quietly and then got really noisy in the second. By 'Red Rain' they were on their feet and by 'Solsbury' they went crazy, the whole Roman theatre all on their feet.
This was a great venue for us. It looked stunning, so I'm sure Anna Gabriel will get a great edit out of it for the DVD. Peter left very happy, the happiest I have seen him in a few shows, so all is good right now. He was smiling a lot during this show, he kept dropping his mic, and kept laughing about it. It was funny, he twice tried to cooly place it back on his stand and it just would drop off the clip, and bang on the stage, which is really loud when its going through Josh and Jerry's huge flown pa hangs.
So it's a good place to be saying goodbye to Commander or Admiral James Monkman. He is going off to do Jean-Michel Jarre and we are getting the very able and organised Klaus Hoffman to take us through Zurich and the remaining German shows.
We are now on a roll, let's see how it goes for the last week. If you have not seen this show, try to come, as I think this could be it. It's such a different way of hearing a singer do what he does best - it's exposed and has a very unique look that will influence other tours in the future. Just check out a current classical type tour as an example of influence - me thinks a few things were copied there.
Again a tough load out is still going on and its 4.45 am, we still have a way to go before we get out of the old roman amphitheatre here in Verona.
We asked this question a couple of weeks ago and people seemed to like the design, so the answer is yes. This 'New Blood' poster is now available in a limited run, Printed on 100% cotton rag paper and measuring 420x594mm.
We've got some great people working with us to make the 'New Blood' shows happen, amongst them is is our monitor engineer Dan Ungaretti.
We're using a lot of Dan's energy right now, but he'll hopefully have recovered by April next year when he is intending to climb Kilimanjaro in aid of MAG.
MAG - Mines Advisory Group - is a neutral and impartial humanitarian organisation that clears the remnants of conflict for the benefit of communities worldwide.
Dan's worked with us for four years and this time out has to make sure over 50 musicians can hear what's going on, we thought we'd show our appreciation by letting you hear what he's up to, and hopefully giving him some support on his climb.
We spent Friday as the first inhabitants of the new LH2 rehearsal facility in London - it's an amazing space with the ceiling 21 meters above your head.
A full run through of the show, sadly without any of the orchestra, helped us shake any kinks out of the equipment and gave Peter a chance to warm-up before appearing in-front of Sunday night's audience in Switzerland.
The crew have plenty to check off their lists before that first show, but everyone found a moment to choose their all important berth on the tour bus which started it's journey at the end of a long day - leaving for the ferry at 9.
See you tomorrow.
The wagons are being loaded and we're off to the first show at the Avenches amphitheater in Switzerland via a quick production rehearsal in London.
"I've always loved artwork and album art. I think it's been a huge part of what people identify and feel about the music and the records" said Peter Gabriel "I used to love gatefold sleeves... when you would sit with a new record and open it up it was just a precious moment. Now we've gone into this digital world a lot of that has been lost. We've being looking at ways of getting quality prints of the artwork for a long time and I'm happy now it has happened."