Peter Gabriel at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI

Peter Gabriel @ LCA, Detroit | Photo by Jena McShane

Peter Gabriel did what he does best by combining insane musical talent and stunning visuals for an amazing show at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. 

Fans have waited a long time to see the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee (solo and Genesis). It was his first visit to the Detroit area since he last played the now-demolished Palace of Auburn Hills in 2016. And even though Gabriel is now pushing past 70, he proved that he can still entertain like none other. 

An analog clock was displayed on a large circular screen above the stage as fans filtered into the stadium taking their seats. Peter Gabriel walked onto the stage as it struck 8:00 PM and sat with his keyboard on his lap alongside bassist Tony Levin around a campfire scene. The two of them then performed “Here Comes the Flood” from Gabriel’s self-titled debut solo album. 

The rest of the band then joined around the campfire to play “Growing Up” as the large circular screen showed a full moon overhead and transitioned through each phase before the song came to a close. This was an important detail, not just for setting a beautiful scene but because Gabriel has been releasing each song from his new album, i/o, on a full moon. 

Gabriel’s bandmates then rose up and took their normal places on the stage as the crew, dressed in orange prison jumpsuits, cleared the set. Gabriel, who is well-known for artfully combining brilliant visuals into his tours, mentioned that he worked with renowned visual artists to create special artwork to correspond with each song in the show. 

From that point on, Gabriel kept fans on their toes by reserving about half of the show for new material from the i/o album while also strategically giving the crowd a taste of the classics at opportune moments. Similarly, his backing band also mixed in longtime staples like bassist Tony Levin, guitarist David Rhodes, and Manu Katche on drums while also incorporating fresh faces. 

On the song “IOIO,” Josh Shpak on trumpet combined with violinist Marina Moore and cellist Linnea Olsson to create an orchestral effect that had the crowd chanting along to the chorus. That was followed up with “Digging in the Dirt” from 1992’s Us album. 

Just before the first set came to a close, Gabriel brought out “This is Home,” the latest i/o single that was released only hours earlier. It featured artful layers of strings, bass, and rhythmic drums in a classic Peter Gabriel style and received a strong response from the crowd. But when the signature horn section from “Sledgehammer” blasted out through the arena, fans jumped to their feet to cheer as they watched Gabriel, Levin, and Rhodes strut in unison to the beat. 

After a lengthy intermission, it was more mixing of classic hits with new material. On “Don’t Give Up,” Linnea Olsson left her cello behind to take on the role of Kate Bush in the duet. Then on “Red Rain,” Manu Katche showed why he’s been drumming with Gabriel for the past 30 years. 

The second set was capped off with “Solsbury Hill” followed by an encore of “In Your Eyes,” with the crowd eagerly singing along to both. Fans might have thought that the entire band had taken their final bow of the night, but Gabriel then came back out for a second encore and explained that “Biko” was a tribute to the South African anti-apartheid activist who died in police custody, and he dedicated the song to all of those who continue to fight for freedom. 

While Peter Gabriel doesn’t tour that often anymore, he reminded his fans in Detroit that he still has the voice, the energy, and the creative production talent to put on one hell of a show that can rival – both musically and visually – any of his previous work.

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About Jena McShane 27 Articles
Jena McShane is a Lansing, MI based photographer specializing in candid portraiture, live music, and stormy landscapes.