First off, phenomenal show! Couldn't be more thrilled, even if I can't help but at least partially agree with the general sentiment that "That Voice Again" isn't really working still. Other than that, though, absolutely top notch the whole way through. One of the best shows of my life. Peter is killing it.
However, the crowd was abysmal... at least the area I was in, and that's disconcerting to me considering I was in the second row. Peter Gabriel and Tony Levin each spent a good amount of time being about ten feet away from my face, and the general audience response went something like...
a) Texting throughout the show -- the guy next to me was seriously checking out his fantasy football scores and kept checking his watch
b) People all around me kept saying "He needs to play Big Time or something" during songs like Family and the Fishing Net/No Self Control
c) EVERYONE LEFT DURING BIKO. WHAAAAAAAT THE HELL. Excuse my caps lock, but the second Peter said "The rest is up to you", everyone bolted, and maybe 1/3 of my section was actually doing the participation bit. Freaking front and center, people... didn't you spend money to see this show?
d) A lot of people around me in general looked like they were dragged against their will and were dead quiet the whole show. I don't even begin to understand how you can spend this kind of money on front row seats and be so utterly depressing.
e) Apparently, standing is like super-serious-business for us Chicagoans. The audience refused to stand up until Digging in the Dirt! Obut's understandable... Come Talk to Me, once the band kicked in a little bit, I stood up to get a better view since I was just getting the back of the cameraman's head, and everyone else just sat there staring quietly at their phones... a worker of the United Center actually came up and told me I had to sit down or they'd remove me from the theater! "You can only stand if EVERYONE wants to stand." Excuse me? I paid $175 to see a rock concert and I'm not allowed to stand up or stare at something other than the back of this dude's head because people are too lazy to stand up? At least I understand the basic premise of why they didn't stand during the acoustic set... but then Shock the Monkey comes in and like three people stand up, then quickly sit back down, and even in Family Snapshot, no one stood or made any noise when the band and lights kicked in! Come on! That's a huge moment for the show. React!
Finally, everyone BEGRUDGINGLY grumbled to their feet for Digging in the Dirt, then some people actually sat back down for the beginning of Secret World. Once Family and the Fishing Net started, everyone sat for the duration of that and No Self Control, then stood for Solsbury Hill and sat back down AGAIN for Washing. It was funny in a kind of sad way that Peter seemed to have a look of "Oh, there's the audience" on his face when he started playing Solsbury Hill.
Time to sit down AGAIN come We Do What We're Told, but at least my faith was renewed in humanity a little bit when people stood up and were very much into This is the Picture. Minimal response to Tower, and like I mentioned with Biko, even that got a warm but still lazy reception.
Very few people sang along at any time, and Peter had to specifically get the audience going a couple different times. Basically, this is turning into quite the rant because I thought the band was PHENOMENAL and deserved a much better reception, but in no world should I spend $175 for a ticket to a rock concert and feel like I'm being socially ostracized or being "that weird guy" for standing or singing along. Like... concert 101, people.
Anyone else have experiences like this?
Oh, also, I'm aware that this is pretty much the unfortunate par for the course with opening acts, but people were just brazenly loudly chatting over Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson, which was annoying to me, not to mention disrespectful of them. Grated on me, because they were excellent -- not to mention I instantly fell in love with each of them, so... haha.
Progressive jen28 September 2012 at 7:46amPosts: 5474 (0 today)Status: offline
I'd be pissed too!
Why bother going to the show if you're just going to text the night away - what a bunch of morons
ty webb28 September 2012 at 8:20amPosts: 5 (0 today)Status: offline
I just returned home from the Chicago show, my first Peter show and to tell the truth, I wasn't impressed. I've seen secret world live probably 10 times and it always blows me away. Same for Growing up Live. I'm always completely mesmerized every time I watch them. This show, while an excellent performance, with great sound( except for "Don't Give Up", which had painfully overdriven bass, at least where I was sitting, next to the soundboard, at that), was just plain BORING! I understand the whole 'minimalist' thing, but it doesn't really work in a venue this size. For $200 I expected to be blown away, I was not. Peter is known for his theatrical, ground breakingly creative live shows, unfortunately this was not one of them. I also found the setlist to be oddly paced with no real tempo to get the audience into it. It is no wonder everyone was texting and up and down in their seats. Add to that the fact that we aren't getting younger and you wind up with a fairly mellow crowd I didn't see anyone under 35 and many were probably pushing 60. I've been to probably 100 concerts over the past 30 years, this one wasn't even in the top 20.
ty webb28 September 2012 at 8:27amPosts: 5 (0 today)Status: offline
ty webb28 September 2012 at 8:31amPosts: 5 (0 today)Status: offline
one more thing, opening acts need to be done away with. They serve no purpose. Everyone around me was asking the same question I was: Who are they?
Beaker28 September 2012 at 9:01amPosts: 102 (0 today)Status: offline
Wow.....It's 3am and I just got back and guess I saw a different show. It thought the numbers were great and the audience (except for sitting at time) was very loud and responsive.
I was front row center, and yeah people did sit, I wanted to stand but did during the slower songs, because the people in the second row behind us were whining about having to stand (in fact there was nearly a fight over it) but I think that the energy was very good for the other numbers. Lots of whooping, singing, and so on. I had the impression that the band was very happy with it. I really wasn't able or interested in watching the other rows and so have no opinion on what they were doing.
I really enjoyed the show. Tremendously in fact. I can write more but it's real late.
"d) A lot of people around me in general looked like they were dragged against their will and were dead quiet the whole show"
HEAVEN ON EARTH !!!
QuiteWitty28 September 2012 at 11:06amPosts: 10 (0 today)Status: offline
So there are certain parts I can agree with, others, not so much.
- Yes, the crowd was bizarre. I met some awesome people in Section 4. There was also a very obnoxious guy who kept sneaking up front and getting sent back. Loud and dickish and creepy. Yes, people kept texting/surfing for long periods of time, which I found appalling. But the cool people were into the music and up and dancing. I'm 32 and was one of the youngest in my area, by the way.
- I had great seats when people weren't standing. I went into the aisle when people were standing, especially the three people who stood through the whole concert. I'm starting to save for the package tickets now. It's what I get for being short.
- Opening acts are about giving new talent a chance. I thought Jennie had a lovely voice. PG coming out at the very start to give her an intro- very humble, very classy. No complaints here.
- I didn't think the acoustic set hit its stride until Family Snapshot. I didn't think the other acoustic arrangements did the songs justice.
- I loved the rest of it. The concept of having 3 sections lent to an interesting feel. Even though it wasn't as elaborate as other productions, they did some fun camera work. And the performances in parts 2 and 3 were just incredible.
- Family and the Fishing Net is so wonderfully creepy, though I'm now sure he says "warm fresh cake" instead of flesh. It was a real treat to hear and see it performed live. But the cameras were in his face through most of the performance.
- But oh my, the rest of the concert was phenomenal. The voice and the energy is still there. I plan to buy the recording.
Overall, I loved it!
Zenrider28 September 2012 at 1:13pmPosts: 3560 (0 today)Status: offline
Except for some people, not in my area, mostly in the stadium seating that I noticed, leaving during the short break between the final set and the encore, no one near me left. Didn't see the people up front leave, but was that in one of the side sections? I thought it was a fantastic concert. The people were pretty energized, though it was pretty apparent some people wanted to sit through the concert. Denied. Kind of hard to dance as we were pretty much packed like sardines on the floor, but did my best. Did meet up with Beaker and Bert. Did get some pictures. Didn't do any video due to the location I was in on the floor. Figure I can look on youtube for those. Anyway, glad I went, but have to head for work now. Would rather .
Zenrider28 September 2012 at 1:15pmPosts: 3560 (0 today)Status: offline
Oh, and the next show might just get to hear Hum Drum. Played in the soundcheck, so those at the soundcheck got to hear it, but they weren't ready to take it public yet.
Interesting -- glad to hear maybe my experience WAS limited to some bad luck in my section (section one, front and off to the left). Obviously, being that close, I don't get much perspective on what's happening more than four or five rows behind me.
Hopefully the show was better elsewhere as you guys describe! I agree with what QuiteWitty said about the show almost entirely (though I think Come Talk to Me was beautiful in the acoustic set. Shock the Monkey, I'll admit, lacked it's usual "punch", but I think that's the point -- to take you inside the rehearsal process, and I felt like a lot of people didn't "get it").
I simply disagree with you, Ty, almost entirely. I could be wrong, but it seemed like your post was "Band is great, performance is great, but there wasn't enough tech spectacle so it was boring and people were justified in texting the whole time!" To each their own, but I think technical glitter is icing on the real cake/reason to go to the show. Also, I wouldn't do away with opening acts, especially since Peter uses them to introduce his backup singers and get them some recognition.
Ela28 September 2012 at 2:41pmPosts: 1336 (0 today)Status: offline
That Kid w/a piano-I can totally relate. Similar experience at Jones Beach. UGGH! Why do people buy great seats/packages if they just want to text and sit through the show. It's a bummer...
Lucky you Zen-Hum Drum....how did it sound?
Are PG's fans getting too old to stand and dance? He's still dancing, why can't we?
ty webb28 September 2012 at 4:48pmPosts: 5 (0 today)Status: offline
No, I'm not saying they were justified in being rude idiots. More than likely they "know someone" and were given the tix. I've seen a lot of this behavior at shows over the past 5 or so years and I don't get it either. A tech spectacle wouldn't change their act. " Oh, Peter Gabriel, I remember "Sledgehammer", let's see if Biff at ticketmaster can get us some good seats." I think a lot of the Vip package seats go unsold due to the prices and they wind up in the hands of people that aren't real fans of the act.
As far as the show itself, perhaps I failed to make my point. A minimalistic show is fine but it doesn't work in a venue the size of the United center. It just isn't an intimate enough of a space. The Talking Heads 'Stop Making Sense' is a perfect example of a minimalistic show and it works because of the venue they chose to film it in.
The show just didn't work for me. The great thing about art/music is that it is universal in it's ability to provoke a response. I'm glad the show worked for some of you, I wouldn't want it any other way.
That makes a lot more sense, Ty, thanks for explaining your stance!
I could definitely see where you're coming from on your opinion of the show not fitting the venue, depending on where you were sitting. Where were you at? The stage, by design, is smothering and oppressive, which makes for an awesome effect on stuff like No Self Control, Mercy Street, The Tower That Ate People, and We Do What We're Told, but doesn't leave much room for spectacle on stuff like Sledgehammer. I could also definitely see it being a bit more difficult to feel the intended "weight" if you were further back simply due to it being relatively cramped with all the giant lights moving around.
Being fortunate enough to get up close and personal for this one, I thought it worked wonderfully, but I could see even halfway back being a little bit of a different story. There was a lot of really intricate stuff going on that perhaps wouldn't communicate well over a big distance.
Also, you're spot on about the front row tickets, I think. I'm considering saving up for a Front Row Package next time he comes around simply to ensure I'm by real Peter Gabriel fans. Granted, I'm aware I can't expect everyone to know something like "The Tower That Ate People", but one of the more darkly humorous moments of the night was when Peter called that one out and the guys in the front row all looked at each other and said "The what?.." and one random guy off to the left heard and yelled "IT'S A GREAT SONG!"
Bonus things I forgot to mention in that last post:
-Maybe I have unrealistic expectations for a PG crowd's energy these days. As someone else mentioned, most of his fanbase is getting up there in age, I suppose. I'm 21 and was probably the youngest person there aside from maybe a few teens that were dragged along by their parents, almost certainly the youngest person there that saved up to go themselves! Maybe I've just got a little more fuel in the tank for Peter Gabriel after a day of college than an older generation does after a day of work... but still, it's Peter Gabriel, break out the reserve tanks
-The upside to all this is that when the lights were still up and I was pretty much the only one standing for Come Talk to Me, I think Peter was amused! I can't be certain, because the piano was across the stage from me facing my direction, but I could've sworn we made eye contact a couple times and he was kind of smirking. Possibly coincidence, but I'll just go on telling myself he appreciated my enthusiasm
My god, I should really make sure I've said everything I want to say before I post three times in a row!
Beaker -- pardon the creepily-phrased question, but what were you wearing? Wondering if I saw you, since I definitely noticed some fans determined to stand at some points and talking to the people behind them at one point, haha.
Jonny7528 September 2012 at 5:32pmPosts: 55 (0 today)Status: offline
I think some of the complaints above have been happening to many PG tours over the last 10 years. I certainly remember dead audiences during Growing Up, esp London. The mobile phone cameras come out pretty fast for all gigs no matter who the artist. Hugely annoying-- why watch a show through your 3-4 inch LCD screen when it's happening in front of you??
If you want to raise the atmosphere you have to drop the floor seats. Having seen PG shows in recent years both with and without seats (and other bands) the difference is phenomenal. If you want a seat get one, but if you want to get into the music and enjoy the show, you have to stand. Even through the quiet numbers.
As for the show's production, this was a bit of a pile them in and keep the stage show production (costs) light. Still, better than most, but the arrangements sound flat in the bootlegs/videos I've heard so far, too jazzy and tame (a bit similar to the original tour!).
It looks like the band are going to mix things up a little for the rest of the tour, so some of the concerns must be being felt on stage.
Beaker28 September 2012 at 5:38pmPosts: 102 (0 today)Status: offline
Having slept on it (and that was nice! ) …
Re: standing/sitting – I had intended to stand the entire time but did sit for the slower numbers as I felt that some of those behind me probably could not stand for 2 and a half hours. Let’s face it, the crowd is not young! Asking someone who is 50+ and not used to being on their feet to stand for so long is harsh. Of course, maybe they should not have bought a floor seat then, but that’s another story.
Loved the opening band and the new singers. Her voice really had that Kate Bush feel more than any I’ve heard since about ever!
The sound check was fun. Glad I did it. The food at the VIP gig was excellent and drinks were unlimited (I limited myself to 2!) Hum Drum was wonderful, I think they are about ready to show it. Zen takes credit for the playing of it! Lol! (he did say it was requested, so maybe it’s true!)
Great to meet Zen, Brian (sorry, keep messing up your name), Bird. Hey Kid….wish I knew you were there! I was front row, right in the center, brown sweater, yellow striped shirt, 6’ 2” and to the right of a small lady who stood the entire show because she had to to see (the stage extension sort of blocked us). You probably saw me, I’m hard to miss! haahahaha
Good point Ty – I guess where I was it was personal enough.
All in all, loved the show, and am glad I went with the front row package.
(side note – spend time before and after the show talking to the middle security guard, Norman, who was totally cool. They knew we were mellow and old…night before they hard 18 guards up front for Prince, for Peter…only three!)
Time to download my pictures!
I lost all my pictures, sadly Updated my iPhone to iOS6 yesterday and it erased all my contacts before the show. Took a bunch of pictures and videos, then when I got home, I tried to get my contacts back by restoring my phone to a few days ago... which worked, but I wasn't thinking about the pictures! All gone...
Sad day. Though admittedly I only lost a few good video clips and a couple nice pictures before the concert when Peter was greeting us for perspective on my seats, I didn't want to stare through the camera the whole time.