Peter Gabriel live in Cologne

He’s still at it, and doing it very well.

Peter Gabriel is one of the all time masters of emotional and rhythmic music. He’s been pushing the boundaries of modern music for many years, and last night’s concert in Cologne was a prime example of his mastery of music and staggering stage presence.

For many people, he is known for combining western music with an array of tribal rhythms to give his music that special something: derived from around the world, these imbue and enrich his music with a diverse tapestry of beats and harmonies. It is fascinating to see the band execute trance-like rhythms – often in the intros – that get the audience gyrating to the grooves.

Last night, the band were on form and delivered a breathtaking performance.

However, I had one minor criticism with the overall sound: for me, the bass was not high enough, and was very often “consumed” by Manu Katché’s bass drum and other low frequencies. The more quieter elements, however, where Tony Levin’s upright came into play, were perfect: his passion for the instrument came to the fore when married with Peter Gabriel’s piano pieces.

David Rhodes (who celebrated his birthday yesterday) was in great form too. Even though he is a more “subtle” player, tending to layer sounds and embellish the music with funky chops and blistering sustained notes that hang in the air for an eternity, he is a master of grooves and effects.

Peter’s voice was amazing: all I had to do was close my eyes and he transported me back to the 80’s again. I find it satisfying to see him in action and am pleased that he hasn’t lost any of those vocal nuances. He may have put on a few pounds, but his vocal prowess still holds it own.

Accompanied by two ladies from Stockholm, Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson, he delivered what everyone has come to expect from him. In fact, the two ladies opened the show with some of their own solo material.  Snowstorm, the opening song, was ethereal and had a very “Gabriel” feel to it. Check it out:

When they played Don’t Give Up, Jennie Abrahamson’s voice was a perfect substitute for what Kate Bush had created so many years ago. The crowd went crazy when she sang the chorus.

I would encourage everyone to check out the two ladies.

Here are some photos that Linnea Olsson uploaded form last night’s gig:

This is one of her songs:

All in all, a fantastic evening.