A 23-year-old Peter Gabriel of Genesis in costume as “The Watcher in the Skies,” 1973
During the tour for their cosmic 1974 double record, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (the subject of an excellent book by the same name by Kevin Holm-Hudson), Peter Gabriel and his many different theatrical personalities took center stage. But that wasn’t the first time Peter Gabriel tripped his bandmates out with his on-stage personas.
In an 2012 interview, Gabriel recounted how the audience reacted the first time he appeared on stage in his wife’s dress, and a custom made fox head back in 1972 during Genesis’ tour for their album Foxtrot.
With the costumes, I started wearing bat wings and stuff, and getting a little more outlandish, and then on Foxtrot I wore the fox head and the red dress. My wife, Jill, had a red Ossie Clark dress which I could just about get into, and we had a fox head made. The first time we tried it was in a former boxing ring in Dublin, and there was just a shocked silence.
Peter Gabriel as “The Fox” during the tour for the 1972 album, ‘Foxtrot’ with his wife’s red dress and a custom made fox head
When it comes to how the other members of Genesis felt about Gabriel’s getups, he said that “some of them hated it” (I’m looking at you Phil Collins). According to Gabriel, none of the members of Genesis knew what “clothing” he had packed in his suitcase for the six-month Lamb tour, until he arrived to rehearsals. After the last performance of the tour, Gabriel left the band.
Peter Gabriel as “Old Man Henry” during a performance of “The Musical Box” from the album ‘Nursery Cryme’
If for some reason you’re not acquainted with this era of Genesis (which is perfectly understandable if you are of a certain age), the following images of a young Peter Gabriel, will probably blow your mind (man). Even if you are long-running fan of the band, it’s nearly impossible to not admire Gabriel’s pioneering weirdness, and chameleon-like ability to look like anyone but himself.
Peter Gabriel as the deformed “Slipperman” (Phil Collins’ most hated costume of the ‘Lamb Lies Down’ tour)
Peter Gabriel as “Britannia” 1973
More after the jump…