07 April 2010
Peter Gabriel with orchestra at the O2
The last time I photographed Peter Gabriel in concert was at WOMAD last summer. That time I had my big camera and big lens. This time all I had with me was my little Panasonic GF1 with 40mm lens. It's a great little camera, but its hardly the right choice of kit for photographing from half way back in the O2 Arena.
I'd been at the O2 since lunchtime, bargain price parking by the station for just £3 for the whole day. I'd had a business meeting, seen the soundcheck, met up with some friends who I always meet at Gabriel concerts, got rained upon, had a couple of pints, a bowl of chips and some cheesy garlic bread. It was a good day.
It was my first visit to the O2 since 2000 when I'd visited the Millennium Dome experience, I'd mostly gone because Peter had done the music for the main show and I wanted to see it as it was intended. They've done lots with the Dome since then - the arena is a great music venue, there's a multiplex cinema, and loads of restaurants, pubs and clubs. I was quite impressed.
The concert was something quite different for Peter. Just him and a big orchestra. The first half of the concert were all the cover songs from his recent Scratch My Back album. A life long Gabriel fan described the album as "not as bad as it could have been", and that pretty much sums it up for me as well. There are a few good moments, and I admire the fact that he's been original and tried to make the covers sound different, but ultimately I can take it or leave it.
The second half the concert however was pure brilliance. It was all the songs we knew and loved, but all played with the orchestra. A magical evening of music.
The photos... more just a few snapshots than anything but they are a good memory of a great day.