Peter Gabriel at Blickling
Review: Peter Gabriel at Blickling
By Mariam Issimdar
Music legend Peter Gabriel’s performance broke through the soggy weather to elevate the mood with a mix of classic hits which left Mariam Issimdar wanting more.
We arrived and the sun was shining. Wow, we'd missed the rain according to the steward who took our tickets.
The ground was damp and as only the Brits can do, most of the crowd turned up for a picnic in sturdy footwear and rain clobber with their trusty golf umbrellas, not to mention the odd candelabra!
I include myself here: not necessarily stylish, but certainly well kitted out for every eventuality.
However, it seems there’s little you can do when the rain descends and a rogue brolly allows water to seep onto your seat and create wet knicker syndrome!
With the weather giving us an unpleasant and unseasonal surprise at least the balance was tipped back up in the crowd’s favour when Peter Gabriel made an early and welcome entrance - not to perform but to introduce the first of three support acts.
I can't think of any other concert I've been to where the headline act has introduced the warm-up. In fact, many support bands don't even get to meet the main act!
Cambodian duo Kung Nai and Savy Ouch were the first to be welcomed and their music plays out Kung's interesting life story.
Kung Nai is an escapee of Cambodia’s Killing Fields. His captors gave the blind musical maestro a reprieve after they heard him play.
There was every need for a warm padded waistcoat!
His captivating rap-style song - as explained by the translator - was about his trip to the UK, including details of his flight number, departure time and who picked him up from the airport!
The legendary Zawose Family came on next and despite a lack of reciprocal grooving from the soggy audience, the clapping seemed to suggest much appreciation for this African band.
Finally, and closer to home was a performance from Charlie Winston And The Oxymorons. From Suffolk, his eclectic mix of more familiar Western sounds went down well.
With the crowd nicely warmed up, the man himself came on to rapturous applause. He kicked off with The Rhythm Of The Heat followed by On The Air.
The band featured some fantastic musicians who always accompany PG, including drummer Ged Lynch, bassist Tony Levin and the silky-voiced Angie Pollock on backing vocals and keyboards.
See more photos in our gallery
As hoped, we were treated to many classics including 1970s' classic Solsbury Hill – given an extra flourish by the band’s Morris-style dancing - Lay Your Hands On Me, Family Snapshot, Big Time and the MTV ground-breaker Sledgehammer.
The only criticism, and it’s just a small one, is given the weather it would have been better to have played the more rousing tunes in sequences rather than alternate them with ballads.
It was like being on a gentle roller-coaster and we would have preferred a more heart-racing ride.
Nonetheless it was a super show, brimming with humour and gentle wit from PG in his asides to the audience, and in his generosity to his band and support acts.
As a human rights activist, PG could only sign off his encore by singing Biko, to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder of South African anti-apartheid activist Steven Biko.
Someone once said that everybody should see Peter Gabriel at least once. Given the strength of this performance, I hope I get more than this one chance.
Peter Gabriel played Blickling Hall on Saturday, 21 July, 2007.Photo credits: Martin Barber.
last updated: 24/07/07