Judge Patrick Naugle wants to be your sledgehammer. ((Growl))
New songs, new versions, new blood.
In March 2011, musician Peter Gabriel took the stage at the Hammersmith Apollo in London for two nights with the 46 string New Blood Orchestra. Rearranging some of his biggest hits and deepest cuts, Gabriel wowed his audience with classics like "Solsbury Hill," "Don't Give Up," "Digging in the Dirt," and more; completely retooled and rearranged.
The setlist for this concert…
While Peter Gabriel's look may have changed, his music stays firmly the same: emotional, gripping and above all different. There's really no one like Gabriel on the musical landscape and this two hour concert proves it.
The 62-year old Gabriel started his career in the 1970s with the pop band Genesis, which he soon left without ever looking back (except for a one-off 1982 concert with his former bandmates). Gabriel's output in the 1980s included some popular songs ("Sledgehammer," "Shock the Monkey") as well as the staple "In Your Eyes," which is now played by every teenager with a longing to be with the one they love. The '90s brought a few new albums and experimentations (including 1992's wonderful "Us"), but since then Gabriel's output has been sporadic at best.
Peter Gabriel: New Blood Live features the singer/songwriter in his element, experimenting with different sounds, arrangements, and songs. For the casual Peter Gabriel fan, this may not be to their liking; the songs here have mostly been rearranged to the point of being almost unrecognizable from their original counterparts. For those who want more out a concert experience than just hearing album versions replicated onstage (one of the reasons I've become a Springsteen fan), New Blood Live is a very welcome endeavor.
Gabriel's experiments span obvious hits and B-sides as well as newer songs off his recently released "Scratch My Back" album (featuring cover versions of songs written by other artists). Gabriel dabbles in other's music (including a fantastic, slow burn version of Paul Simon's "The Boy in the Bubble" from his album "Graceland") and takes some of his best known hits to haunting new levels ("In Your Eye,s" "Red Rain"). One of my favorite new songs, "The Book of Love," is given an immediacy and poignancy often missing from the current music scene.
If I have an complaint about this concert it's that many of the original melodies tend to get lost in the expansiveness of the New Blood Orchestra. While I enjoyed hearing these new versions of Gabriel's classics, during a few brief moments there was something intangible missing from the originals. But that's a minor complaint. Hearing some of Gabriel's most famous tunes switched up and turned around is a new and exciting experience.
Peter Gabriel: New Blood Live is a worthwhile concert that showcases an artist trying something different, and (mostly) succeeding. Gabriel's original and unique voice is still intact and his music—a combination of rock, pop, world music and symphonic textures—makes for a sonically fulfilling experience.
Peter Gabriel: New Blood Live is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. While the bulk of the concert is just watching Gabriel singing, it's a nice transfer for a pleasing concert; clean and lush with a multitude of stage lighting variations which look vibrant and beautiful. The audio is presented in both DTS 5.1 and Dolby 5.1 Surround, both of which are fantastic presentations. Sonically, this is a wonderful concert for a multi-speaker home theater system; the songs truly come alive. A Dolby 2.0 Stereo mix is also included.
The lone supplement on this release is a short backstage featurette titled "Blood Donors" that features interview clips with Gabriel, some of his bandmates, and conductor Ben Foster (who you may know as composer/arranger/conductor on Doctor Who). It's all fairly standard promotional stuff, though I did like when Gabriel noted that many rock legends grow old and starting doing symphonic concerts like this (he is a man filled with self awareness).
Peter Gabriel's new concert DVD is a must have for fans, and worth checking
out for casual listeners.
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