Peter Gabriel dusted off a pair of rare concert films online, seeking donations to aid Italy’s fight against the coronavirus.
The singer-songwriter shared the previously released documentaries, Scratch My Back and Taking the Pulse – Live in Verona, for free via his Real World record label’s Vimeo account. Both projects document his September 26th, 2010 show in Verona, Italy — part of his tour supporting his orchestral covers album, Scratch My Back. In a message on his website, Gabriel asked fans to support the country’s coronavirus relief efforts by donating to the Civil Protection Department or the Italian Red Cross.
The vocalist also documented his deep admiration for Italy as a whole, dating back to his days in Genesis.
“For almost 50 years I have loved Italy, the people, the culture, the food, the history and more recently the island of Sardinia,” he said. “Italy offered us work when there was none, especially each summer in the ’70s, gigs were always found and some of our best and most chaotic tour experiences were when we were driving ourselves all over the country for a hodge-bodge of brilliant gigs, from seaside discos to football pitches in the mountains.
“Both Genesis and my music found wonderful and passionate audiences that used to sing along with us throughout the gigs, and whenever I was doing a live album I would always ask first whether it could be arranged in Italy,” he continued. “I speak some Italian — really badly, but enough for it to feel like our home from home. It really hit us hard as a family, to watch the daily reports of deaths and devastation that this brutal virus has brought.”
Gabriel’s daughter Anna — who previously directed a handful of films for her father, including 2005’s Still Growing Up Live and Unwrapped — captured the concert with her editor and assistant director Andrew Gaston. Though the singer admitted he was “recovering from a cold and not quite hitting he notes as [he] wanted” on that night, he commended the team for taking part in “a very special night.”
“The films [Anna] made have not been seen by a wide enough audience,” he said. “Now many of us are at home and isolated, so we wanted to make them available to anyone interested.”
Following Scratch My Back, Gabriel re-recorded a selection of his own songs for a companion orchestral record, 2011’s New Blood. In 2019, he released a pair of compilation albums, the soundtrack sampler Rated PG and the rarities collection Flotsam and Jetsam.