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Peter Gabriel - Plays Live CD (album) cover

PLAYS LIVE

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

4.08 | 176 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Peter Gabriel is an artist that releases outstanding studio albums hard to classify, but when the guy is on stage he suffers a transformation like Dr Jeckill and Mr. Hyde but in a positive way) and he is able to give 110% every second, even beyond any range limitation he was born with, the guy is simply out of this world.

Normally solo artists choose efficient but unknown session musicians in order to be the only star over the stage, but this is not the case of Peter, he already was working with Tony Levin who was always a star and David Rhodes, a great guitar player who made his career as a permanent member of Peter's staff, plus Jerry Marotta on drums and Larry Fast in keyboards being that Peter was never a virtuoso and required somebody to support him.

During the review I won't focus in the songs because all are well known, but mainly in the performances, some of which are simply outstanding.

Disk one starts with the powerful "The Rhythm of Heat" a strong opener because of the percussion intro that places the audience in the right mood, each time I play this track I'm able to feel the expectation of the people who are waiting for Peter to start singing and he begins with his famous semi yodel, he keeps nothing for later he gives it all. The mysterious atmosphere is perfect for the moment,. The first track of the concert in which all the contained emotion is set free by the former Genesis frontman and his crew who make great vocal work, the final section with strong percussion and bass is breathtaking a perfect opener.

"I Have the Touch" is the adequate song for Peter to sing, flows incredibly from start to end, again all the band is perfect, not the best track with some poppy moments but the performance is brilliant.

"Family Snapshot" is a soft track that goes in crescendo from start to end, nothing spectacular but a good chance for him to show his versatility and to prove he can still manage to transmit his deepest feelings to the audience.

"DIY" is a very strong track, some kind of light Prog but again perfect for him to give the audience what they want, despite the mainstream background the song presents radical changes reminiscent of early Genesis (The vocal work reminds me of "Battle for the Epping Forest" even when musically is different) but with his own touch, another highlight.

In the search for the best moments we have to jump to a more solid Disk two, most precisely with "San Jacinto", the perfect song for Peter's voice, he can control the level of vocals required, without effort goes slowly from low tow to high ranges and when he can't reach some point he adds dramatics with his semi yodel that people love so much.

Of course no peter Gabriel live album will be complete without "Solsbury Hills" a very personal track which is a favorite of the audience and him, in this case it seems a bit slower than normally, not the best performance ever but people wouldn't accept a concert without this classic. The highlight of the song is the perfect drumming by Jerry Marotta.

Some people will call me blasphemous, but I like "Shock the Monkey", not Prog, overplayed in the radio and MTV but an old favorite of post Genesis fans who took notice of him with this track, I can't understand why in his later concerts he replaced this track with the much weaker and conventional "Sledgehammer", at least "Shock the Monkey" is unusual even for him and has strong moments.

"On the Air" is a good chance for the audience to participate directly singing along with Gabriel, one of the few moments in which you can really listen the fans, seems that in the desire to make a clear recording they forgot that what makes a Peter Gabriel concert unique is the mutual feedback between him and the fans..

The album ends with the best of all tracks the ultra emotional "Biko", from the start Peter's voice surrounded by the low bass drums prepare the audience for an emotional moment, and Gabriel gives his best performance, unusually clear and dramatic as always, this time his yodel is almost a scream of pain surrounded by the bagpipes that cry with him.There's something in this song that makes me listen it over and over, maybe not a masterpiece but he achieved his goal, to transmit his anger and the suffering of South African people under a criminal regimen. Another track that is not played too much lately.

Probably the later concerts are more spectacular, but this albums presents one of the purest performances by Gabriel and crew, less effects but pure voice and emotion, even if you have "Secret World Live" or "Growing UP Tour", try this album it's really good,

The rating.4 stars, not perfect, but without doubt an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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