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Real World Collective presents Peter Gabriel's "Secret World Live” Revolution Hall, Thursday, March 15th

By Lou Fleischer // Real World Collective presents Peter Gabriel's  "Secret World Live” Revolution Hall, Thursday, March 15th. And its a benefit for Mercy Corps. Not your usual tribute show!


Real World Collective are 10 of Portland’s best session/gigging musicians who have teamed together to recreate  ‪Peter Gabriel‪'s Award winning 1994 Concept/Concert "Secret World Live"  in its entirety on Thursday, March 15 at Revolution Hall in Portland.

First released in 1994, "Secret World Live" documented one evening of ‪Peter Gabriel's "Us" tour, capturing the magic of Gabriel's beautifully somber album, with a truly amazing host of World Class musicians. 

In keeping with ‪Peter Gabriel's lifelong work supporting World Relief efforts and organizations, we will be donating 20% of all ticket sales to Mercy Corps, while using the evening's concert as a chance to raise awareness for the incredible work Mercy Corps does all throughout the Globe.

Real World Collective came about near the beginning of 2017. Chatting with the shows co-producer Anders Bergstrom we discovered more about the collective. “It really is, more or less, a group of incredible musicians that I’ve met primarily doing session work in Portland over the last ten years," he said. "I reached out to each of them individually about a year in advance to see if they were not only available, but also interested, and thankfully they were all excited at the prospect of playing this music.” 

Bergstrom has wanted to put this show together since the first time he watched the concert on DVD back in 1997, but it was always a combination of being too busy, not having the resources, or knowing the right folks to actually do it the way he envisioned it. But luckily this has all changed. "About a year ago, an opportunity presented itself that made the show feasible, so I started talking with my friend Greg Hyatt (Bass, Co-Producer), and we just sort of dove in head first."

When asked why Peter Gabriel's Award winning 1994 Concert he says that “Secret World Live” was really his first exposure to seeing Peter Gabriel and his band perform. At that time (Late Nineties) there wasn’t YouTube, and Peter Gabriel wasn’t touring, and wouldn’t for another 10 years or so. "I was totally blown away by the entirety of it," he said. "The songs were amazing, as was the musicianship; but really, it was the spectacle of it that changed the way I looked at music and performance. The entire show was a succinct story line that was engaging, moving, saddening, emotional and uplifting all in the course of a two-hour concert. It was music and theater combined which I had never really seen before so it made an indelible impression that has stuck with me ever since.”

Sarah King who is giving her vocals to the show along side Chris Robley was first approached by Jim Brunberg, who owns Revolution Hall. He reached out months ago to ask if she was a part of the show. "I wasn't but I reached out to Anders to offer any help I could provide. Anders brought me on with a, 'Hell, let's just get you on board and figure the rest out later!' Much to my delight!"

Sarah who is in a new project called, The Goods, a three piece group that includes Lara Michel (Stolen Sweets, Love Gigantic) and Susannah Weaver (Little Sue) is interested in getting more women in the spotlight in PDX. When asked what she is most looking forward to with the upcoming show she shares the obvious.

“These are some of my favorite musicians in Portland. I'm in other musical projects with some of them, and we always have a great time together. And the players I don't know, I'm excited to work with because the more amazing talent, the merrier. I'm genuinely excited to hear what Chris Robley does with the Gabriel vocals. Chris is a singular talent. I love his voice! And of course, I can't wait to step foot on the stage at Revolution Hall."

Sarah worked at Revolution Hall when it was used as a refugee center for people who were displaced from Hurricane Katrina. She says, "I was a volunteer there and heard stories that broke my heart. So to go and be a part of something as joyous as this production, is a really powerful thing for me personally."

How does one rehearse and plan for such an event? Anders said that given the size and scope of trying to recreate a stadium size concert (within the confines of a much smaller sized venue comparatively speaking) with two stages, a massive rotating screen, on stage fabricated props, a period piece London Phone Booth, and a massive space ship like retractable dome.

"It requires some long term planning, so we started in earnest over a year ago, he said. "There are 20+ musicians, artists, choreographers, visual designers, and fabricators working on this show, so it’s been a lot of meetings, and coordination. We also have a lead singer (Chris Robley) who lives in Portland, Maine.... so, there are additional logistical considerations involved as well. We also wanted to make sure something of this size would be not just another “Tribute” show, but a full experience. It was also important that the show served to benefit an organization that is doing well in the World. Thankfully, we found an amazing reception to the idea with the folks at Mercy Corps, and it was a perfect fit. We structured rehearsals the same way most bands do that are prepping for a large tour, which is to block out a few weeks in a row, and run the set as nauseam until the band knows the tunes intuitively.  We rented a large studio here in Portland for several weeks, and mapped out the stage dimensions of the venue to the rehearsal space, and ran the rehearsals as we would run the show on stage.”

This event is a benefit for Mercy Corps. Peter Gabriel is such a huge humanitarian they all felt that is seemed right to put his music to use in this way.  Chris Robley hopes the audience will join them, "Be there; get into the emotion and the theater and the fun of it; and ultimately go home feeling like they helped make the night special. From a production standpoint, a lot of work will have gone into making this thing way more memorable than your typical live music "experience", but it's all of us together in that room that will be unforgettable."

Real World Collective are:

Chet Lyster- Guitar,  (‪Lucinda Williams, Jayhawks, Eels)

Gil Assayas- Keys, Organ, Synth (GLASYS, ‪T-Pain)

Sarah King- Vocals,  (Love Gigantic, Nowhere Band, White Album Christmas)

Margaret Wehr- Vocals, Violin (‪El Vy, Y La Bamba, Moorea Masa and the Mood)

Anders Bergstrom- Drums (‪Tony Furtado, Climber)

Joe Mengis- Programming, Percussion  (Priory, Climber)

David Langenes- Guitar (Kung Pao Chickens, Stolen Sweets, Robert Wynia, Nowhere Band, Karaoke From Hell

Greg Hyatt- Bass (The Last Waltz, Kris Deelane and the Hurt)

Chris Robley- Vocals, Piano, Harmonica (The Fear of Heights)

Reggie Houston-Saxophone (Fats Domino, Peter Gabriel, Box of Chocolates) 

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