Story By: G. H. HARDING

Peter Gabriel

GABRIEL’S BACK TO FRONT --- Regulars readers know how I feel about Peter Gabriel; visionary, eclectic, passionate … I have always held him the highest esteem. His most recent tour was again, an interesting proposition. He’d be performing, in full, all the music from his ground-breaking 1986 album. So in typical Gabriel-fashion, he re-assembled the band from that album which included, in addition to regulars David Rhodes and bassist Tony Levin, keyboardist David Sancious (Bruce Springsteen) and drummer Manu Katche on drums.

The concert has now been released on DVD from our co-horts at Eagle Rock Entertainment and immediately becomes the live-concert disc of the year.

The concert begins with Gabriel, at an acoustic piano, performing a new, uncompleted song, called “Daddy Long Legs.” Hearing Gabriel essentially solo, with just dulcet accompaniment from Levin’s bass is extraordinary. What other artist would open a show, performing a new, unfinished song? Besides being a terrific new-song, just hearing him alone is breathtaking. He also performs another song sans band, his wonderful “Come Talk To Me.”

Immediately after, the band enters, plugs in and so begins the music from So, which again is pure visionary music. Hearing this album all these years latest presents fascinating portrait of the artist, who was still fabricating his solo work. It’s just so interesting to me that in so many of his songs, you can still detect his participation in his former band, the Behemoth Genesis. In songs like “Shock The Monkey,” “Digging In The Dirt,” and especially “Secret World,” his unique persona just breaks through. In “World,” the band just dazzles and is perhaps the best track in the show. Picture this: In the center of the stage is a huge bulls eye and with a camera shot from above, the entire band at one point positions themselves facing up to the camera … in effect up. With lights flashing; huge robotic arms with cameras mimicking the movements the band, the only available space is up … a typical, yet amazing move from the artist.

The band is amazing. Levin is his usual reliable, creative essence with his array of basses and different picking techniques. Years ago, Levin taped what looked like large plastic straws to his fingers and plucked his bass which created the most delicious aural effects. Rhodes, who Gabriel revealed wanted to be a sculptor, now sculpts with sounds. He and Levin represent Gabriel at his bets. Sancious, who Gabriel said hails from New Jersey and lived on E street is phenomenal. He also plays acoustic guitar on “Monkey” and reveals himself to be every bit as inspiring as on keys.

We also loved “Red Rain,” “Solsbury Hill,” “Don’t’ Give Up” and his massive solo hit “Sledgehammer.” A brilliant concert from start to finish … one of the best I have ever seen.

If you're a Gabriel fan, this is a must have.

ONCE FOR THE FIRST TIME --- Once is a 2007 Irish musical film written and directed by John Carney. Set in Dublin, Ireland, the naturalistic drama stars musicians Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Collaborators prior to making the film performing under the stage moniker The Swell Season, Hansard and Irglová composed and performed all of the original songs in the film.

The film was successful, receiving enthusiastic reviews and awards such as the 2007 Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Film. Hansard and Irglová's song "Falling Slowly" won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Original Song and the soundtrack as a whole also received a Grammy Award nomination.

Once, the musical stage adaptation is based on the 2006 film of the same name. The book was written by Enda Walsh, retaining many of the songs written by Hansard and Irglova’s, including the Academy Award-winning "Falling Slowly". The musical premiered at the New York Theatre Workshop in 2011, before transferring to Broadway in 2012. 

The production received eleven 2012 Tony Award nominations, and won eight of those awards including Best Musical, Best Actor, and Best Book. The musical also won the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical and the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. It has since spawned a London production, with a US Tour running from October 2013 to September 2014.

In the musical, the cast also serves as the orchestra. A minimalist set is used, including a bar in center stage with chairs lining stage left and right. Exiting cast members simply step to the side of the stage and sit down. They serve as the orchestra from these chairs. The bar is used before the show and at intermission as a working bar for theater patrons. We caught the show this week and absolutely loved it; in fact, it immediately ranks as one of the best musicals ever we've ever seen. 

Paul Alexander Nolan’s portrayal of Guy is truly moving, plus he’s a terrific vocalist. Laurel Griggs as Ivanka is equally stunning. 

The music’s terrific as well, especially “Gold” and the award-winning “Falling Slowly.” I'm a bit chagrined that I didn't catch this show earlier, but I cannot recommend it enough. 

CLOSING NOTES --- We walked into Ian Schrager’s newly-renovated Paramount hotel on West 46th street in NYC and was greeted by their new lobby DJ playing Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover.” Besides being dazzled by the visual aspect of the new room, we have always loved that song. Brilliant re-design for sure, although we do miss the colored lights in the elevators …

We neglected to mention how much we loved Sting's performance of his Last Ship, from his play of the same name opening in the fall. Honestly, it reminded us of his album Soul Cages released in 1991. Early reports, from Chicago, are that the show is terrific. Congrats Mr. Sumner ...

Chris Gilman With Donny Kehr And Christopher Gilman

Jersey Boys Donnie Kehr at Chris Gilman's Yerba Buena Perry in NYC's Village.We love dining at this great restaurant, right off Greenwich street. Tell them Times Square Gossip sent you!

Celebrity Mark Bego arrives next week in town for press on his forthcoming book, Life With My father Glen Campbell (Overlook Press); written with Glen's daughter Debby ...

 Peter Gabriel Photo Courtesy Of: Kayos PR