Peter Gabriel Shares Stunning 6th Track From New Studio Album, ‘i/o’

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Peter Gabriel (Photo: York Tillyer; used with permission)

Peter Gabriel has shared “Road to Joy” today (June 4), another stunning track from his upcoming studio album, i/o. It’s the sixth song released, which he’s been doing once each month in 2023 upon a full moon. Listen to all of them below. He’s supporting the album with an extensive tour that began on May 18. The first track, “Panopticom,” was released at midnight on Jan. 6, nearly two months after he announced plans for the tour last Nov. 8. “i/o The Tour” sees Gabriel playing new material from the forthcoming album, as well as delving into his extensive catalogue of music, with hits, fan favorites and “the unexpected.” Tickets for the concerts are available here. See the itinerary below.

The latest track, “Road to Joy,” features the Soweto Gospel Choir, a string arrangement from John Metcalfe and contributions from a number of Gabriel’s current touring band. The song is one of the last tracks to emerge for the i/o record, but it has some DNA from an earlier project. “It was actually very late in the record that we got to this,” says Gabriel. There had been a song that musically I’d started, I think, around the OVO project called Pukka. It was very different to this, but it was actually the starting point for coming back to this song. I just felt there was a good groove there, and I wanted something else with rhythm and so we tried a few things when I was working with Brian Eno. The excitement and energy in the song was something that I was getting off on. I felt we didn’t have enough of that for this record.” The mp3 is available to order here.

Watch Gabriel and his band perform “Road to Joy” on the 2023 tour

The fifth track released, “Four Kinds of Horses,” “actually began on Richard Russell’s project ‘Everything Is Recorded,’ said Gabriel in a May 5 post. “He’s a friend (and founder of XL Records) and he asked me to pop in to his studio. I came up with some chords, melodies and words on top of a groove he was working on. We tried a few things that didn’t altogether work and so it laid dormant for quite a while. Then I started playing around with it again and changed the mood and the groove and something else began to emerge with a better chorus.” Order an mp3 of “Four Kinds of Horses” here.

When he released the title track on April 6, he noted, “This month the song is ‘i/o’ and ‘i/o’ means input/output. You see it on the back of a lot of electrical equipment and it just triggered some ideas about the stuff we put in and pull out of ourselves, in physical and non-physical ways,” says Gabriel. The song features Soweto Gospel Choir, who were recorded at High Seas Studios in South Africa. Order an mp3 of the track in the U.S. here and the U.K. here.

Of the album, he says, “It’s been around for a long time as a title for this project. I always knew I was going to write a song called i/o, but the title came first.” As of June 4, the album was still not yet available for pre-order.

“‘Playing For Time,'” says Gabriel of the stunning third track, “is a song that I have been working on for a long time and have performed live, without lyrics, so some people may be familiar with it. It’s been an important song for me. It’s about time, mortality and memories and the idea that each of us has a planet full of memories which get stashed inside the brain.

“It is more of a personal song about how you assemble memories and whether we are prisoners of time or whether that is something that can actually free us. I do think it’s good to push yourself towards more bold or interesting experiences because then you will have richer memories to feed you when you get to my age. You also get taught by every meaningful experience that you go through.” Order an mp3 of “Playing For Time” in the U.S. here and in the U.K. here.

Of “The Court,” Gabriel says, he was inspired by the work of Namati, whose mission is to provide people around the world access to justice they may not otherwise be able to afford. “I had this idea for ‘the court will rise’ chorus, so it became a free-form, impressionistic lyric that connected to justice, but there’s a sense of urgency there. A lot of life is a struggle between order and chaos and in some senses the justice or legal system is something that we impose to try and bring some element of order to the chaos. That’s often abused, it’s often unfair and discriminatory but at the same time it’s probably an essential part of a civilized society.” Listen to the song as well as an extended feature on the track. “I’m an old drummer; I still love to find a groove,” he says. Order an mp3 of “The Court” here.

The European dates mark his first shows outside of North America since 2014’s tour celebrating the era-defining album So. “It’s been a while and I am now surrounded by a whole lot of new songs and am excited to be taking them out on the road for a spin. Look forward to seeing you out there,” said Gabriel in the original Nov. 8 tour announcement.

Produced by Live Nation, the 22 shows in Europe kicked off on May 18 before wrapping on June 25. The touring band includes Gabriel veterans Tony Levin (bass), Richard Evans (guitar, flute), Manu Katché (drums), and David Rhodes (guitar), plus newcomers Ayanna Witter-Johnson (cello, piano, vocals), Marina Moore (violin, viola, vocals), Don McLean (keyboards), and Josh Shpak (trumpet, french horn, keys, vocals). Our recap of the tour’s opening night.

In December, Gabriel previewed the first release, “Panopticom,” and the tour for members of his fan club.

“Panopticom” references an idea that Gabriel has been working on to initiate the creation of an infinitely expandable accessible data globe. The aim is to “allow the world to see itself better and understand more of what’s really going on.”

Listen to the Bright Side Mix of “Panopticom,” the first song released from i/o

“I’m lucky to have two of the world’s best mix engineers, Tchad Blake and Mark ‘Spike’ Stent, working with me on the music from i/o,” Gabriel wrote on Jan. 21. “Rather than choosing only one of their mixes to release I have decided that people should be able to hear all the great work that they are both doing.”

From the song’s original Jan. 6 announcement: The release of “Panopticom” on the full moon is no coincidence and in true Gabriel fashion the approach for i/o will be a little different from the norm. The lunar phases will guide the release plan in 2023, with a new song revealed each full moon.

The song’s “Bright Side Mix” is available to order digitally in the U.S. here and in the U.K. here. The “Dark Side Mix” can be ordered here.

Gabriel turned 73 on Feb. 13. Full details on the i/o album will follow.

Watch the official tour trailer

Peter Gabriel 2023 Tour (Tickets are available here and here)

Peter Gabriel (Photo: York Tillyer; used with permission)Jun 05 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Ziggo Dome

Jun 06 – Antwerp, Belgium – Sportpaleis
Jun 08 – Zurich, Switzerland – Hallenstadion
Jun 10 – Cologne, Germany – Lanxess Arena
Jun 12 – Hamburg, Germany – Barclays Arena
Jun 13 – Frankfurt, Germany – Festhalle
Jun 15 – Bordeaux, France – Arkea Arena
Jun 17 – Birmingham, UK – Utilita Arena
Jun 19 – London, UK – The O2
Jun 22 – Glasgow, UK – OVO Hydro
Jun 23 – Manchester, UK – AO Arena
Jun 25 – Dublin, Ireland – 3Arena

Sep 08 – Quebec City, QC – Videotron Centre
Sep 09 – Ottawa, ON – Canadian Tire Centre
Sep 11 – Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena
Sep 13 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
Sep 14 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
Sep 16 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
Sep 18 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Sep 20 – Washington, DC – Capital One Arena
Sep 22 – Buffalo, NY – KeyBank Center
Sep 23 – Pittsburgh, PA – PPG Paints Arena
Sep 25 – Columbus, OH – Nationwide Arena
Sep 27 – Cleveland, OH – Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
Sep 29 – Detroit, MI – Little Caesars Arena
Sep 30 – Chicago, IL – United Center
Oct 02 – Milwaukee, WI – Fiserv Forum*
Oct 03 – St. Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center*
Oct 07 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
Oct 08 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena
Oct 11 – San Francisco, CA – Chase Center
Oct 13 – Los Angeles, CA – Kia Forum
Oct 14 – Palm Springs, CA – Acrisure Arena
Oct 16 – Denver, CO – Ball Arena
Oct 18 – Austin, TX – Moody Center
Oct 19 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
Oct 21 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center

More dates to come!

Related: Listings for 100s of classic rock tours

Watch a montage of vintage Gabriel live performances

Best Classic Bands Staff

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  1. muddywatersmann
    #1 muddywatersmann 7 April, 2023, 01:05

    brief comment: a dear friend in Houston took me to one of Peter’s concert and it was a shamanic/mystical/spiritual/religious/soulful [soul full]/communal/rocking/glorious/elegant musical and artistic experience…unique as all great concerts are…I can only imagine his lineup of concerts will only be the same..the world now desperately needs its artists to bring healing art beauty and community back to us…Peter is one of the best!

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