Peter Gabriel: Back to Front

Peter Gabriel: Back to Front (PG)

The singer who takes the stage with his reformed band barely resembles the one-time Genesis frontman who was one of the most original voices of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

But the voice sustains, and the charisma of this mightily unusual and formidably talented man is timeless.

Thus it is that Peter Gabriel burns through an eclectic back catalogue – much of it taken from his 1986 album So – that includes crowd-pleasers such as ‘Solsbury Hill’ and ‘Sledgehammer’, and protest anthems like ‘Biko’, with a modesty that is inspiring.

The 63-year-old man on stage – grey goatee, head shaven – is contrasted with his younger self courtesy of archive footage from the ‘80s. It is intercut with skill and is a testament to the on-going evolution of this man that he embraces it.

This concert film is interspersed with on-camera sound bites from Gabriel and his bandmates as they ruminate on past and present – hit songs, the glory of the Eighties, getting older, the refreshing lack of ego and the phenomenon of bad “Dad dancing” that Gabriel demonstrates with humour.

There was a time when perhaps Gabriel couldn’t have had this much fun. He’s mellower now, less uptight. Perhaps he’s banished any spectres that haunted him. Now it’s all about the music.

Alongside the popular classics are less familiar compositions such as ‘Why Don’t You Show Yourself?’ It was written for the atheistic Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Arriaga for a film about God and people’s faiths. It sits comfortably alongside the rest.

Age and edge. It’s a winning combo.

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