Shock the Monkey.

Monday night, Vidna and his wife accompanied us to the orchestra. Not just any orchestra, mind you - but the New Blood orchestra, fronted by none other than Mr. Peter Gabriel.

It was a thoroughly amazing show, and while a little too political in places for my simple tastes, I accept that with Peter. He puts his money and his heart where his mouth is, and there is no doubt that the man has a passion for his work and is still at the top of his game.

I have never had tears in my eyes at a concert before, unless you count that one Click Five concert where I realized I was the oldest person in the audience and was forced to weep silently into my coke because I discovered that they did not, in fact, serve alcohol on the premises. No, these were a different sort of tears.

The first song that really hit me was "Wallflower" - one of my all-time favorites. I always thought it was either about someone in a mental institution, or a song about political prisoners. I guess from what he was saying, it's the latter. I think I got the mental institution idea from the movie "Birdy" for which Peter did the soundtrack. A weirdass movie to be sure, but one worth watching. There was just something about that song and the orchestra backing him... the raw emotion of the song was somehow multiplied ten-fold. If you've never heard it, here's a non-orchestral version. The orchestral arrangement made it truly haunting.

For me, the standout of the concert was the story he told about a yoga retreat he went on with his elderly father. It was a type of yoga where you use the other person's body weight to aid you in your stretching. He said it was the most intimate physical contact he'd had with his dad in years. When the trip was over, he said his father hugged him like he hadn't since he was a small boy.

Then he said, "This next song is a reminder to cherish the time you have with your friends and family, and let them know how much you love them, because you never know how long you're going to have each other." Then he played the song "Father, Son."

Until I heard that yoga story, I never really understood what that song was about -- but now it's brilliantly clear. Those words, combined with the orchestral arrangement and the black and white film of Peter and his dad walking side by side almost had me bawling like a little kid. I kept it together though, because I'm a mean, heartless son-of-a-bitch with no feelings.

That you know of.

Here's a video of that particular song, directed by Anna, his daughter. Go watch it now. I'll wait.

Added bonus -- We almost got to see a drunk chick climb over a row of seats and start a fight with a girl behind her who apparently told her to shut up. The shushing was warranted though, because for some reason the drunk chick had decided that an orchestral concert was the best place to have a loud, personal conversation with her friend. Security finally had to get involved and calm her down. I love people.

Also, this cracked me up. We parked next to this mobile dumpster:

Of course I had to get a picture, because number one, it was disgusting, and number two, I knew you bastards wouldn't believe me when I told you how bad it was unless I had proof. So there you go.

The funny part? When I was converting the picture file for this post, I noticed the name of the magazine floating on the waves of crap:

Mission: Fail.

(If that car belongs to anyone reading this -- Sorry. You really are a slob, though.)

Anyway, if you get the chance, go see Peter on this tour. Yeah, it's a little weird, and yeah, you might wonder if you should maybe wear a tux, but one thing is for sure. You won't regret it.


  1. I like responding to MVAs with cars like this. I just paw that shit out with two hands.

  2. I can’t sit still long enough to last through a concert

  3. Is that a push broom in the back seat of that car? They might want to actually USE it to sweep some of that shit outta there.

  4. I didn't know that dude was still alive!

    And dude, that car....Jimmy Hoffa might be in there.

  5. I am always looking for new music......I just found some. LOVE it. Thanks Johnny!!

  6. Anonymous2:12 PM

    Yes, that is indeed my car.

    In response, I think I will visit you and leave my socks on your kitchen counter.

    My mom made me change em once when I was eight. For this special event, I don't mind changing em again.

  7. Thank you for sharing this Johnny. His voice, the music, the lyrics, the video..it all got to me ... just like when I see some beautiful footage of Ireland. The imagery that these Peter Gabriel songs made me "see" is overwhelming. ...even if the first song was of imprisonment and despair... the message of protest comes from the heart.

  8. I've always had a "thing" about Peter Gabriel (he's from "my neck of the woods", which is rare as it's hardly a part of Britain you associate with rock stars) and used to listen to Solsbury Hill on a loop... His voice sends shivers down my spine (in a good way). And that video is beautiful.
    You're very lucky to have seen him on tour - I suspect he won't be making it down to where I am (few people do, to be honest).
    My one, tiny, pathetic claim to PG fame: his nephew Julian was in my Spanish class for 4 years at university.

  9. Motor Vehicle Accident, That guy is a C.O.P.

  10. Motor Vehicle Accident, that guy is a C.O.P.

  11. mackerel8:29 PM

    Well. Here's my more-or-less optimistic theory on the car that you guys parked next to: mobile art installation. The fact that there is a magazine about organizational prowess on top is just one drop too ironic to not be intentional, right?

    Am I right?

    Alternatively, this person is a very lazy rural postal route mail delivery professional, and edits the junk mail of ALL the people on the route.

  12. Or an E.M.T.! Peter Gabriel got so O.L.D. and he still sounds so amazing!

  13. Yours truly could not handle the pathos of that song, in person, with the movie playing. I would be an embarrassing floating wreck. But glad you got to see/hear it!

    Re: the car - that is truly... exceptional. I don't believe I have ever seen an automotive version of "Hoarders" before. It looks to be a fairly nice car, too. Makes me feel much, MUCH better about the random flotsam in my mini-van! I can at least still fit seven passengers + a dog. :-)

  14. @ Mackerel - LOVE your explanation.XD

    Our mail carrier when I was a kid (not a rural route, suburban NJ) used to park his truck on a back road and read people's magazines. My mom would see him, plus our TIME would arrive dog-eared, no joke! Good old Jim the Mailman.

  15. Anonymous7:25 PM

    TY for posting "Father, Son". I loved it. dj

  16. That’s an amazing song. Thanks for telling us about it. I don’t mind saying that if I had seen Peter Gabriel in the supermarket I wouldn’t know who he was! I have a tendency to slot people in my brain when they are a certain age and looking a certain way. And this part of my brain does not recognize the aging process at all. This is why I’m still 30 and Peter Gabriel is however old he was in the 1980s, when he still had a head full of hair.

    But that voice I would recognize anywhere, no matter how much hair he had or what color it was.

  17. kristina3:00 PM

    Don't hate me - I am not a PG fan, especially Shock the Monkey. Something about the reverberation in his voice makes me feel creepy all over... sorry!

    But it is cool when you run into one of those story-behind-the-song situations that you can really relate to and/or makes you really feel the song.

    Re: car full of shit...
    Considering the broom and the bizarre pile of stuff, could someone have just cleaned out their locker/desk from somewhere?

  18. Carlo, I think it's an ice scraper.

    Ed, that's sacrilege, my friend.

    W, I'll look forward to the socks. Maybe they will keep the deer out of my yard.

    L, glad you enjoyed it.

    Magic, I didn't know I had readers from the UK. Cool.

    Mac, I'm thinking not, although it's a good theory.

    Alli, yeah, I think he pulls it off though. Less goofy looking than the 80's, right?

    Rider, you're not the only one....

    DJ, I didn't know you still lurked around here. :)

    Jen, I know what you mean. I'm the same way with actors.

    Kristina, shock the monkey isn't one of my favorites either, but I could listen to him sing the phone book and I'd be ok with it. PG and Justin Currie are about the only two people I would say that about.

  19. The concert sounds amazing. I saw Peter Gabriel once at one of those giant Amnesty International shows they used to put on - remember those? He performed, along with Springsteen, Joan Baez, Tracy Chapman, Sting . . .

    Each time I see Gabriel now he imediately makes me think of when Darth Vader's mask came off at the end of the original Jedi. It's kind of a weird association, but tell me they don't look alike!