Judge Patrick Naugle has mastered the art of "shocking the monkey."
It's time to dig in the dirt.
Peter Gabriel has been a staple of the pop scene for so long that it's hard to remember a time when he wasn't making music. Gabriel got his start as a founding member of the seminal band Genesis in 1967 and spent over a decade making classic rock with Mike Rutherford and company. Gabriel stayed in Genesis for almost twelve years (as both the lead singer and one of the main songwriters), departing in 1975 to branch out as a solo artist. The singer/songwriter quickly found success with his self-titled debut album, which contained the hit single "Solsbury Hill" and sent Gabriel's career soaring into overdrive. Gabriel became an enormously famous artist in the 1980s, culminating with 1986's successful album So, which included such hits as "In Your Eyes", "Big Time", "Red Rain", and "Sledgehammer" (complemented by its remarkably ground breaking stop-motion music video). Since the 1990s, Gabriel's popularity has garnered him a solid following, if not quite as many radio hits.
Peter Gabriel's live concerts have been woefully under-represented on home video, and Eagle Rock means to correct this oversight with Peter Gabriel: Live in Athens 1987 (Blu-ray). Diehard fans will flock to this release because, for the very first time, an entire full length concert experience has been offered up in 1080p HD, including songs by Gabriel's opening act Youssou N'Dour and Le Super Etoile De Daker. Ffilmed in Athens, Greece, at the height of Gabriel's success as a musician, this one features some of the artist's biggest hits.
I wholly enjoyed sitting through Peter Gabriel: Live in Athens 1987. As a fan of Gabriel's emotionally resonant and often ethereal compositions, hearing some of these songs performed live was a real treat. All of Gabriel's big hits are here—so many that it almost feels like a greatest hits compilation package on stage—with some of them given new life utilizing slightly different musical arrangements. It's hard not to get chills when you hear the opening chords of "Solsbury Hill" or "Mercy Street" played in front of a crowd of thousands of screaming fans. Every performance of Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" I've heard live has been gut wrenching, and the version here is no exception. If the concert has any downside it's that the '80s fashions are often laughable and rather ridiculous. Then again, considering the quality of the music, it's a forgivable offense.
As a bonus, fans get to witness this concert as it was meant to be seen and heard, with Youssou N'Dour and Le Super Etolie De Daker as the opening act. Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour had famously performed at Human Rights concerts in the 1980s with such acts as Bruce Springsteen, Sting, and Peter Gabriel. Although I didn't recognize any of N'Dour's world music, it's still stirring and a worthy inclusion here.
Gabriel's set list is as follows…
1. This is the Picture (Excellent Birds)
Youssou N'Dour's and Le Super Etoile de Dakar set includes…
Presented in 1.78:1/1080p HD widescreen, Eagle Rock has done a very nice job on this transfer, making sure the colors and black levels are clear and representative of the original viewing experience. Due to Gabriel's lack of stage theatrics and props, the visuals may not be quite as exciting as some may have hoped for, but what it lacks in "pop" it makes up for in clarity and definition. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track is uniformly excellent, with both the front and rear speakers engaged throughout the entire presentation. Also included is an LPCM 2.0 Stereo mix, but no subtitles.
Bonus features include an archival interview with Paul Gambaccini and Peter Gabriel (circa 1986), Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" music video remastered in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, and an extra standard definition DVD ("Play the Videos") that features 23 of Gabriel's best known music videos.
This is Gabriel at the top of his game. Not Guilty!
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Review content copyright © 2013 Patrick Naugle; Site design and review layout copyright © 2013 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.