Peter Gabriel has released a pair of concert films for free in an effort to raise money for Italian COVID-19 relief.
The former Genesis frontman made Scratch My Back and Taking the Pulse – Live in Verona available for free on his Real World label’s Vimeo page. The two projects capture Gabriel’s September 26th, 2010 show at the First Century Roman Amphitheatre in Verona, Italy, where he performed his Scratch My Back orchestral album of well-known covers. Gabriel has also encouraged fans to donate to the Italian Civil Protection Department or Italian Red Cross.
Gabriel has held a deep affinity for Italy dating back to the early Genesis days, the singer said in a statement,
For almost 50 years I have loved Italy, the people, the culture, the food, the history and more recently the island of Sardinia. 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.
Gabriel’s Scratch My Back album was released in 2010 and featured orchestral arrangements of covers from a variety of his favorite artists, including selections from David Bowie, Paul Simon, Lou Reed, David Byrne, Neil Young, Thom Yorke, and many more. The original intention was for the simultaneous release of a companion album, And I’ll Scratch Yours, featuring those same artists covering Gabriel. Unfortunately, And I’ll Scratch Yours wasn’t released until September 2013, however, this did not stop Gabriel from touring his beloved Italy and making these concert films. Given the current state of disarray in Italy as a result of COVID-19, Gabriel felt duty-bound to return the hospitality that Italy has shown him all these years,
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. 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.
Peter Gabriel – Scratch My Back
Peter Gabriel – Taking the Pulse – Live in Veronica
[H/T Rolling Stone]