Peter Gabriel – Wembley SSE Arena

Last night, I went to see Peter Gabriel at the SSE Arena in Wembley – not a venue I’d been to before.

In fact, having seen the changes around Wembley, I realised that it must be a good four years (and yes, it turns out it was September 2010 to see Muse) and there’s a lot of new stuff gone up in that time. Not least a whole set of shops – sorry, a ‘retail village’ – and eating places etc., which is pretty welcome when you consider how poor the facilities of the area were for that kind of thing when I was there last.

Anyway, rather than use the godawful parking this time, I opted for parking further out (Watford, to be precise) and taking the tube in to Wembley. It actually worked out really well, despite me ending up using Watford station itself, rather than the intended Watford Junction. I blame a) stupidity and b) having one of those wavering decision processes of mine, of not being sure which station I’d use. So I ended up going to a station I hadn’t intended to use, but it working out as being for the best. Such is life sometimes.

I didn’t write beforehand about seeing this gig, because well, my attendance record with Peter Gabriel gigs isn’t really that good. I was determined to go to this one, but that doesn’t always equate with it actually happening, sad to say.

Anyway, for this one I did get there- and in tons of time, too. Watford’s a shithole for getting round (although some of that’s due to my own stupidity and crap timing, getting there just as most people were leaving) but once I got there all was easy.

And the gig itself was brilliant – thoroughly enjoyed all of it. It was billed as a gig in three sections – starting with an acoustic, going on to the electric (and super-loud) section, finished up by a complete play-through of the “So” album in it’s entirety, and in the order it was originally supposed to be. And it did all it was billed to, and more besides.

As always, the lighting and staging was innovative, in the same way that Nine Inch Nails gigs tend to be – in this case, making a lot of use of small video cameras on all the players, and five lighting rigs on counterbalanced dollies that could move around the stage, controlled by stagehands. Very very impressive – and reminiscent of the Martians in War of the Worlds (which I’m seeing at the O2 in ten days time) in how they loomed over the stage and seemed almost animated.

Getting home afterwards was pretty much a doddle too – out of the Arena, up to the nearest tube station, wait for the correct train back to Watford, and then drive home, straight up the M1. Ninety minutes door-to-door. On evidence of the last time I went to Wembley, in that time I wouldn’t have even got out of the car-park in that time, so all good.

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