Secret World Live
By the time Peter Gabriel got around to releasing 1992's Us, the long-awaited follow-up to the 1986 mega-selling, mega-award-winning So album, his live shows were light years beyond the spectacle and theatrics the singer had introduced when he was with Genesis. Gabriel had established himself as a pioneer in music video in the 80s, so it wasn't that much of a stretch, given his propensity for some truly weird and wonderful concepts, to bring video and other multimedia devices to the live medium. Secret World Live, filmed in Modena, Italy across two nights in November 1993 and reissued on Blu-ray and DVD from Eagle Rock, is a prime example of an elaborately presented and choreographed Peter Gabriel show that's as fresh and hi-tech today as it was 20 years ago.
For this outing, Gabriel is joined by 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 guests Papa Wemba and Molokai. The phone booth tug-a-war opening of "Come Talk To Me" is enough to catch your interest. The wacky synchronized dance moves on "Shaking The Tree" add a joyous edge while the goose bump-producing intensity of "Blood Of Eden," which finds Gabriel and Cole sashaying around a tree like wounded lovers, is simply magical. Through it all, songs like "Solsbury Hill," "Digging In The Dirt" and "Sledgehammer" emerge as unpretentious and uplifting romps.
If you love bonus features, you'll love this set. "Red Rain," which was not included in the original film, is here. There's also a timelapse film of the complex stage set up, plus a featurette on the making of the Secret World Live film, a restored photo montage slideshow to the remixed "Quiet" version of "Steam," and the orchestral version of "The Rhythm Of The Heat" from the New Blood: Live In London show from 2011. Since the filming of Secret World Live, things have come a long way. No stranger to progress, Peter Gabriel continues to reinvent himself while redeveloping the medium in which he presents his music. It all makes for an unpredictable and stimulating experience.
~ Shawn Perry