I saw Peter Gabriel last night at MSG, and it was… interesting. It was excellent in many ways but also really depressing in many other ways, and the whole thing really threw me by the time I got out of there. It’s strange to say that going to a show full of people and energy and music that I essentially enjoy would make me leave in a deep depression, but there were a few nerves to be pinched.
To first get this out of the way: I like Peter Gabriel’s music, but I don’t think I like people who like his music. I think it’s a very personal thing to me, and the songs of his that mean the most to me aren’t the ones that have supported his livelihood. So to go and have the guy sitting next to me yell “SHOCK THE MONKEY! SHOCK THE MONKEY!” after every other song really made me want to sell everything I own, put a unabomber-style shack on my property, and never talk to another human again.
The other thing that bothered me is that although I go to a lot of shows alone, I really don’t like doing it. And this is probably the first non-metal show I’ve ever attended. So not only was there no chance for me to talk to some other dude about the band, like I did when I went to see Rush or Fozzy or whatever else, but pretty much every guy there was with a woman, because this is the kind of show you bring your girlfriend to and hope they play “in your eyes” or whatever. And, not that I haven’t noticed this before, but I’m getting extremely depressed about being alone. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me, but then there are these breakthrough points where I suddenly realize that it’s been months and months since I’ve dated, and I’m currently sustaining no relationships, and I have nothing going on where I’d potentially meet people, and I have no energy to seek out people, and things won’t change themselves, and I have no energy to try to change things. And I can push this stuff away enough to get up every day, and go to my job every day, and maybe put in a little bit of writing on my books or whatever, but when I really think about it, it completely fucking demolishes me. And that happened.
So I’m sitting there for this whole show, essentially spending the whole thing not thinking “wow, I have all of his albums, he’s great,” but rather “I wish this show was over so I could go home and completely reinvent my horrible life.” And the thing is that a lot of Peter Gabriel songs mix happiness and depression in such a strange way that they totally pulled me further into this. When I’m alone, when I’m depressed, I listen to his music, and that helps me write and create. And that means I’m not a fan of “Sledgehammer,” but if you’re depressed and you listen to “Mercy Street” or “Red Rain,” it’s not going to snap you out of it. And my whole career of depression has bookmarks in it via his songs. Even the happy songs remind me of failed relationships, like when they played “Secret World” and it reminded me of the girl I dated back when that album was out, the girl that put “In Your Eyes” on a mix tape for me and now even the first two notes of that song practially exorcise her to me again.
The concert “ended” in a very strange way. They played the song “Signal to Noise” from the new album, and it’s very heavy and deep and dark and forbearing, but absolutely incredible. It’s primarily a more tribal drum sound and some symphonic synth. As the song approached the end, each instrument would finish playing their part and the person would just put down their stuff and walk off the stage, until finally it was just the drummer and a synth playing a sample on its own. Then he got to the end, and the lights went off, and that was it. It was such a heavy and strange ending, watching everyone just walk away, and it struck such a strong impression on me that it completely blew me away.
(Of course, they came out and played a couple of radio-friendly singles as an encore, which sort of ruined it for me, but still…)
So there it is. I have a lot of thoughts and a lot of plans, but mostly I just want to go home and sleep and sit in bed and read and just try to figure out what to do next. I have a hot idea for a new book and I’ve been letting it fester in my head. I think getting onto something real in the writing department would help, but it’s also one of those times where I know that writing isn’t the answer for me and I need to figure out what is.
On that note, I better go home.