Monday, October 01, 2012

Peter Gabriel at Red Rocks

TOAPP Camp pays Dividends

I try to keep tabs on the various musicians I admire through their websites. In the case of Tony Levin, I was already tracking his site in preparation for camp this past August.

On one of my regular visits to Tony's site last spring, I noticed that he was going out on tour with Peter Gabriel, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of So. After carefully looking over the tour dates, I zeroed in on the Red Rocks show.

I had always wanted to see a concert at this legendary venue, this show was on a weekend, the Ravens played on the Thursday night before that weekend, and I had close friends in Denver (no hotel required). Shot, score!

The Pièce de résistance came at camp. Tony had a sign-up sheet, and promised to try and get any campers with tickets to one of the Peter Gabriel shows, back-stage/hospitality passes. Browsing the list at camp, I could see that myself and 3 other campers would be present at the Red Rocks show.

Arriving Early at the Venue

The Park which includes the Amphitheater is in the foothills of the mountains, southwest of Denver. I estimate that it somewhere between 1,000 to 1,500 ft above Denver. The drive in is stunning and breath-taking, as you slowly climb the hills heading toward the large sandstone formation.

We arrived at the Box Office early in order to pick up the passes. I was given 2 passes. I used one myself and gave the other to my friend's spouse, who was also a big fan. She had enough wisdom to take a lot of pictures, some of which are mixed in with mine in this post. (Thanks Sarah!)


As you can see in the picture above, it is quite a workout walking up the ramp to the base of the amphitheater. The air was particularly thin for a low lander like me.

On the way to the entrance to the back stage area, I stopped to take a picture of the empty venue from the front of the stage. As you can see, the seats have a respectable slope. The capacity is said to be approximately 9,500.


The small group of about 20 of us was led to the Hospitality area. It was well stocked with drinks, and snacks. It was one of three such areas, that I observed. There was quite a bit of activity back stage, all well organized, and running like clockwork.

Hospitality Suite


After a short wait, Tony arrived and welcomed us all.


Of course, one of the first orders of business was to take a shot with the 4 TOAPP campers.


While Peter himself didn't make back to our room, keyboard player, David Sancious, did stop by. Also present, as a fan, rather than a performer on this night, was Paul Richards, from the California Guitar Trio.


Guitarist David Rhodes was the last band member to stop by our suite. Here you see him posing with my friend, Sarah.


The Openers

Of course, the back stage fun had to came to an end. So, we found our seats in the amphitheater. Ane Brun was originally supposed to be the opener for this tour, but she had became unexpectedly ill.

As a result, Peter's backing singers, Jennie Abrahamson (on piano) and Linnea Olsson (on cello) played a set of Jennie's music. It should come as no surprise that the acoustics in this venue are exceptional, and this only enhanced, an outstanding performance. I am not familiar with Jennie's music, but have ordered a CD, after hearing her.

As the show began, a nearly full moon was visible above the stage, and the lights of downtown Denver were visible, down below, behind the stage.

Peter's Band takes the stage

The stage change over was completed in short order, at which time Peter walked out on stage, and announced that the show would be served as 3 courses:

  1. An appetizer
  2. A main course
  3. And desert ( the So album in its entirety)

Peter Gabriel

Peter's band consisted of the following personel:

The setlist seems to be constant during the tour. It contained several magic moments. Peter was also able to get the entire crowd to sing along, at several key times.


The last note of the show ended at 10:58PM. (Two minutes before the 11PM curfew). For the remainder of my days on this planet, I will never forget this night.


On the way out, I snapped one last picture of the crew breaking down the stage.

Breakdown after the show

Post-show Update

Tony Levin has posted some of his pictures from the show.
Tony Levin's page