Orchestral treatment for Gabriel songbook...
On hearing the name Peter Gabriel I, for one, tend to think of the big theatrical era Genesis or of the slick mid '80’s videos for the likes of hit singles 'Sledgehammer' or 'Big Time'. However, on new live DVD 'New Blood Live in London' Gabriel has taken some of his best known work, alongside tracks from recent album of covers 'Scratch My Back', and re-worked them.
Surely, nothing strikes fear into the heart (and mind) of your average rock music fan like the phrase 'orchestrated versions of familiar songs' but on this occasion that fear is quite nicely unfounded.
Backed by the 42 piece New Blood Orchestra, and recorded live at London’s Hammersmith Apollo earlier this year, Gabriel looks every inch the elder statesman of rock as he leads them through no less than 22 numbers backed by some of the most stunning screen visuals I have seen for a long time.
Kicking off the proceedings is the track 'Intruder' which evokes memories of the more theatrical Genesis, there is also a dramatic intro to 'Après Moi' (originally by Regina Spektor) and I am pleasantly surprised by how good some of the songs sound when interpreted in this way,
'Darkness', 'Biko' and 'Downside Up' all being great examples of this. 'Mercy Street' has a soundtrack like quality to it whilst 'The Rhythm of The Heat' is one of the points where the visuals and orchestration collide to create something magical.
'The Nest That Sailed The Sky', 'The Book of Love' and 'Digging In The Dirt' follow in a similar fashion but it is the trio of 'Red Rain', 'Solsbury Hill' and 'Don’t Give Up', all superbly backed by the orchestra here, that leave you in no doubt as to the genius of not only Peter Gabriel but of the songs themselves.
Bonus material on the DVD is the feature 'Blood Donors', which includes an interview with Gabriel and tells the story behind the whole project.
'New Blood Live in London' is being released in a couple of formats - aside from the obvious standard DVD and Blu-ray versions there is also Eagle Vision's first 3D release and a deluxe edition featuring a hardback book, CD and the DVD.
Review by Nikk Gunns