DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Peter Gabriel – So – Blu-ray (2012)

This disc is a must for fans of the album and essential for budding music producers.

Published on December 13, 2012

Peter Gabriel – So (The Definitive Authorized Story of the Album), Blu-ray (2012)

Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: PCM stereo
Extras: “Big Time”; Amnesty Tour, The Making of Sledgehammer, In Your Eyes
Length: 94 minutes
Rating: ****

In 1986 Peter Gabriel released an album that would elevate his career to new heights.  It took ten months to make and produce numerous hit singles and music videos.  Like the other videos in this series, this disc explores the production and creation of this highly acclaimed record from start to finish.  Heavy on interviews with artist Peter Gabriel and producer Daniel Lanois, the project started in a studio that was built in a farmhouse. [Gabriel observed that the cows in the field occasionally came up and licked the windows...Ed.]

Interestingly, this is the first solo record that had an actual title (after four albums that solely featured different cover art).  “Sledgehammer” pounded its way into the homes of listeners throughout the country and became an instant hit.  This paved the way for some of the “darker” tunes on the record to get exposure and play.  Musicians on this track were assembled like pieces of a puzzle bringing Manu Katche on drums and Wayne Jackson of “The Memphis Horns” to achieve the soul and life of the recording.

The song “Don’t Give Up” came from viewing pictures of the American Great Depression by Dorothea Lange and about those who lost work.  Gabriel wanted it to be a country song and actually approached Dolly Parton for the duet.  However, it was Kate Bush who made the song magical.

Anne Sexton’s poetry served as the inspiration for “Mercy Street” and enlisted the aid of Tony Levin, Joni Mitchell’s husband of the time.  Reducing the speed of percussion created a heavy, semi-plodding sound while multiple harmonies added a lovely layering to the song.

David Fricke, Senior editor of Rolling Stone, drummer Jerry Marotta, Laurie Anderson, and engineer Kevin Killen all weigh in and reminisce about the record.  This disc is a must for fans of the album and essential for budding music producers.

—Brian Bloom




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