Peter Gabriel and a 46-piece orchestra – what a way to visit The Late Show at the legendary Ed Sullivan Theater for the first time!
The New Blood Orchestra re-imagined arrangements of many of Peter’s songs – without guitars or drum-kit – for Gabriel’s latest album New Blood, and a selection of this was played out live for the taping.
Gabriel opened his set with Red Rain, before heading into the solemn hymn of Wallflower, a song he wrote in the years after Biko, as a beacon of strength for “those who have the courage to stand up for what they believe in.” In tribute to the Arab Spring, he performed Signal to Noise, lauding the social media tools that, when connected like dots, can take single acts of courage that in the past would have burnt out like fireworks, and make them last so much longer. With each song, the orchestra echoed his lyrics and the stories he creates with them.
Then, just like Carl Jung, the protagonist in his song, Rhythm of the Heat, the audience became utterly mesmerized – by the rhythm of the pan drum; the hand movements of conductor Ben Foster; the heights Gabriel’s voice reaches. A rousing rendition of Solsbury Hill rounded out the set, all too soon. But then he returned, with Biko, still as poignant as ever. And as he left the stage, fist in the air, his words resonated as the orchestra played its final notes:
“As always, what happens next, is up to you.”