New Blood Live In London

Peter Gabriel

Leave it to Peter Gabriel to seize the latest technology and use it to his advantage. His concert film New Blood Live In London was filmed in high definition 3D, probably one of the first, if not the first, concert film to get this treatment (if there are others, let me know). It's just like Gabriel, who was one of the first popular artists to go fully digital on his fourth 1982 solo album, sometimes known as Security. Promoting his New Blood album, Gabriel is accompanied by the 46-piece New Blood Orchestra and three singers, including his daughter Melanie. And it all comes to life on various formats: a triple 3D release with a 3D Blu-ray, a regular Blu-ray and a DVD version; a regular Blu-ray and a standard DVD as separate packages. We went with a regular Blu-ray for this review.

The idea of playing with orchestras is a self-indulgent trip for most; for Gabriel, it's almost a natural progression. The Jaws-like opening provides the perfect gateway for the singer, gnome-like and all in black, his bald head and silver goatee evocative of early Genesis, only it's the real deal this time. The dramatic leap of "Intruder" provides the perfect set-up for "Wallflower," one of his most haunting melodies. The cellos and violins dampen the main riff, while the piano tinkles around the verses, magnificently delivered by Gabriel, daughter Melanie and Ane Brun. Along with more recent songs like "Darkness" and "Signal To Noise" (if you can call 2002 recent) and Gabriel classics like "Biko," "Red Rain," "Solsbury Hill," and "Don't Give Up" with Brun singing the Kate Bush parts, the concert is visually stunning, packed with flying graphics, animation and imagery that undoubtedly looks amazing in 3D.

Gabriel, more intent on reinventing his approach to music instead writing new music, also wavers off course with understated performances of Paul Simon's "The Boy In the Bubble," Regina Spektor's operatic "Après Moi," The Magnetic Fields' "Book Of Love" and Lou Reed's "The Power Of The Heart." And despite some of the dramatic undertones to many of the songs, there is also an air of sense of irreverence and humor, especially in Gabriel's in-between-song comments. New Blood Live In London might not get me out to buy a 3D widescreen and 3D Blu-ray Disc player just yet, but it's a good reminder of why I need to go see Peter Gabriel the next time he swings through town.

~ Shawn Perry

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