Let’s Forgive Ourselves for the 90s
When I was in 9th grade, I heard the Peter Gabriel song Digging in the Dirt on the radio. It certainly didn’t sound like anything else I was listening to at the time, and I was familiar with the gnar killest video for Sledgehammer, so I decided I might like Peter Gabriel. I bought Us, the tape on which Digging (but not Sledgehammer) appeared.
I don’t recall exactly how it fit into my music listening at the time; I know I liked it, but it had an uphill battle to make it into regular rotation alongside Aerosmith, Zep, Nirvana, Guns n Roses, and Michael Jackson. It found a niche, and by 10th grade, I had tripled my Peter Gabriel tape collection with the purchase of Secret World Live, a 2-tape affair.
I remember liking that quite a bit. Again, Gabriel never quite made it into my pantheon, but there was certainly a place for him. Until today, I had never seen the videos of the performances from the Secret World album. For some reason, the name of one of his accompanying musicians -Papa Wemba- popped into my head today. I searched “papa wemba peter gabriel” and the video for In Your Eyes came up.
By no means am I saying Peter Gabriel’s aesthetic was indicative of anything other than his own Cirque de So Lame (see what I did there?) world music Benetton ad thing, but for the love of god, is this something we endured in Western society?
There are too many bits of ridiculousness to count. The box stepping, the conga line thing. Oy. I thought the bass player’s outfit took the cake until I saw the keyboard player’s outfit. A suit jacket, perhaps with tails, and spandex hotpants.
So here’s to the proprietary excesses of the roaring 90s. The 10 minute rendition of the five minute song. The stage that appears to be one component of a shell game. Enjoy enjoy enjoy.