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Peter Gabriel - Plays Live CD (album) cover

PLAYS LIVE

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

4.07 | 169 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Just what the title says

Released one year after Gabriel's fourth studio solo album, his first live solo album could probably not have come at a better time - particularly as his next studio album was still three years away at this point. The 1986 album So would also constitute a change of musical direction for Gabriel, so this double live album thus makes up a fitting conclusion of the first part of his solo career. He does, however, sadly forgo the opportunity to include anything from his Genesis days in the set list. Given the inclusions of some less-than-great songs here, there would have been ample room for one or two Genesis classics. But you can't have everything can you?

While Gabriel's studio albums were often uneven and inconsistent, a live album was the perfect opportunity to pick out some of the strongest tracks from each studio album and present them together thus creating a kind of "best of" album in a live setting. Is this what he did here? Well, to a degree. In my opinion, there are some songs that I would have liked in place of some others (but that is often the case with live albums, isn't it?). Particularly Here Comes The Flood from the solo debut is a glaring omission. Indeed, only two tracks here are taken from that first album. But we do get the catchy Solsbury Hill from that same album which is great.

The weak Peter Gabriel 2 is equally represented with two songs, while Peter Gabriel 3 and 4 are represented with as many as six and five tracks respectively. The focus is thus on more recent (at the time) material. A highlight for me is the Genesis-like Family Snapshot from the third album. I Go Swimming is a non-album track that offers something new for those who already have all the studio albums.

It is unclear to me to what degree the running order here accurately represents the actual set list of the tour. It is evident that the songs here were recorded at different locations and it would surely have been better to have single show. The production is not perfect and it often very hard to hear what Gabriel is telling the audience between songs. Still, this is a nice live album that will make a good addition both to committed fans and to beginners.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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