DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Peter Gabriel – Secret World Live, Blu-ray (2012)

Filmed in Modena Italy in 1993, the concert is an upbeat performance that encompasses Gabriel’s solo career.

Published on August 5, 2012

Peter Gabriel – Secret World Live, Blu-ray (2012)

Performers: Peter Gabriel – keyboards, vocals; Manu Katche – drums; Tony Levin – bass, vocals; David Rhodes – guitar, vocals; Jean Claude Naimro – keyboards, vocals; Paula Cole – vocals; Shankar – violin, vocals; Levon Minassian – doudouk; with special guests Papa Wemba and Molokai
TrackList: Come Talk To Me; Steam; Across The River; Slow Marimbas; Shaking The Tree; Blood Of Eden; San Jacinto; Kiss That Frog; Washing Of The Water; Solisbury Hill; Digging In The Dirt; Sledgehammer; Secret World; Don’t Give Up; In Your Eyes; Bonus Track: Red Rain
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment [7/24/2012)
Producer: Robert Warr
Director: Francois Girard
Video: 1.78:1 for 16×9 1080i HD Color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1; PCM Stereo
Subtitles: German, French, Spanish, Italian (bonus features only)
Extras: Time lapse film of the stage setup; The Making Of Peter Gabriel’s Secret World Live; Remixed “Quiet” version of “Steam” with tour photo montage; performance of “The Rhythm Of The Heat” with the New Blood Orchestra at the Hammersmoth Appollo, London 2011.
Length: 135 minutes
Rating: Audio: ****½          Video: ***½           Extras: ***

Peter Gabriel Secret World Live has been released on Blu-ray (and is also available on DVD). Filmed in Modena Italy in 1993, the concert is an upbeat performance that encompasses Gabriel’s solo career. With elaborate staging and a multi-dimensional band, there seems to be a return to the enhanced stage presence of the early Genesis (Lamb Lies Down On Broadway). Known for his use of exotic instruments, the show opens with a brief solo by Levon Minassian on  “Come Talk To Me”. Gabriel emerges from a red telephone booth, bound by a rope. Then his amazing voice takes over. He possesses a unique combination of smoothness and hoarseness that works perfectly. Backup singer Paula Cole harmonizes note for note in an ethereal counterpoint. Some choreography accompanies the grooves on cuts like “Steam” and “Sledgehammer”. There is some unusual camera work. On “Digging In The Dirt” a head cam offers a “fish eye” look.

Secret World Live is shaped by the arrangements of these terrific songs. The plaintive “Don’t Give Up” features a wonderful interaction between Gabriel and Cole. Keyboardist Claude Naimro consistently provides atmospheric and rhythmic shading to the performances. Violinist Shankar offers a shimmering run on what appears to be a double electric violin during “In Your Eyes”. Again, Gabriel is a strong talented singer with an innate sense of timing and melody. His falsetto is unwaveringly on pitch, and illuminates “Blood Of Eden”. His catalogue seems fresh and vital.

Generally speaking, bonus material is not usually crucial to the success of a film.  The inclusion of “Red Rain”—one of Gabriel’s most revered compositions—is more than worthwhile. The Making Of Peter Gabriel’s Secret World does provide insight into the tour and musicians. Both of the audio representations (5.1 and PCM stereo) are clear and layered. More importantly, they reflect the aural templates of this music with subtlety and nuance. The transfer to Blu-ray is like that of many 16mm original footage attempts. At times, the lighting (especially blue and red) seems muted and lacks sharp focus at distances. But the overall performance negates any technological shortcomings. [It’s a good thing the audio was recorded separately with timecode and not optically on the 16mm film!...Ed.]

—Robbie Gerson




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