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Peter Gabriel

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In 2002 and 2003 Peter Gabriel went on the road again with his "Growing Up" tour, once more collaborating with Robert Leppage. Performing in thirty-two cities across the USA, Canada and Europe, this film was recorded over two nights of the Filoforum, Milan in May 2003.Muisicians involved include: Ged Lynch (drums), Tony Levin (bass, vocal), David Rhodes (guitar, vocals), Richard Evans (guitar, mandolin, whistle, vocals), Rachel Z (keyboard, vocals), Melanie gabriel (vocals), Peter Gabriel (vocals, keyboard) and some special guests. I think Peter Gabriel has selected well qualified musicians to support the tour. As for my personal taste, I'd prefer Manu Katche looks after drum stools because he is a terrific drummer with unique style - especially on live performance. I like his performance during previous Peter Gabriel's "Secret World" DVD. However, Ged Lynch is an excellent drummer. It's a matter of personal taste only.

The Amazing Show

IMHO this is one of the best live performance videos I've ever seen. I cannot say that this is just a video that cast a live music performance but it covers the whole lot: the music, the overall live set and a film in itself. Gabriel has brilliantly selected part of his best songs (there are still many best songs of Gabriel!) and positioned each song in a such a way that produces ultimate satisfaction to the audience. Gabriel and the band have demonstrated a flawless stage act during the show. To provide better meaning of the show, he articulates the performance with the help of various equipment such as: giant rubber ball, bicycle, steel platform, boat, camera, etc. The other interesting part is on video shooting. In typical live performance, the stage and the artists on stage are the focus of video shooting. It's not the case with this video: all behind the scene crew - technician, roadies those who work beneath the stage are also part of the video shoot. This has created better appreciation on how big the efforts have been made for the show. Salute to Gabriel and Leppage!

The show begins with Gabriel alone walks on stage and communicates with the audience thru a body language - sort of welcoming them to the show. On the way he walks I can see how mature and charismatic Gabriel is. He can make the audience in his control. No music at all that accompanies him on stage. Having walked all angles of circular stage he then moved to the place where the keyboard located. And .. he starts singing "Here Comes The Flood" with he himself plays the keyboard. Wow! What a warm opening, Mr. Gabriel! That's enough to set the whole atmosphere of the show!

The show flows with next song from UP album "Darkness" with full band and his daughter Melanie Gabriel acts as backing vocals, "Red Rain", "Secret World". During "Sky Blue", at the end of the song there are guest appearance of The Blind Boy of Alabama.

Excellent attraction happens during "Downside Up" where Peter and Melanie sing together with an upside down position; both of them are hung underneath a huge steel platform. They walk along circle steel platform while singing! What an excellent and unexpected performance! "The Barry Williams Show" continues with Gabriel with his camera does his act on the steel platform - this time in normal position.

The great song "Mercy Street" is performed differently than studio version. It opens with a choir. It is performed wonderfully with Melanie sitting on the boat that moves around the stage. Very good song and great performance!

My best of the best, great of the great part is when it comes to "Signal to Noise" that features Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (unfortunately he does not appear on stage). The song itself is a wonderful composition. I knew this song the first time before UP album was released, ie. when Peter Gabriel performed on stage with Yousou Ndour on "Paris concert for amnesty international". It's much better performed in this video than the studio or Paris concert. I cannot believe that human being could ever create this well- researched (in terms of sounds) and well-thought-of song. Every detail of this track is really great! Many melodies in its musical segments are really wonderful and memorable. Usually, I don't want to be disturbed by anything else when watching (and listening to) this track. I'm so "entrance" with it. The tagline melody is great, combined with excellent orchestration at the background. The additional vocal of Nusrat is terrific. Many sound explorations are produced brilliantly in this track. I like the piece when GABRIEL sings "Turn up the signal wipe out the noise!" followed by David Rhodes simple (but nice!) guitar rhythm and programmed drumming. WOW! What a wonderful piece here!!!! It makes me cry from my heart. The ending part of this track is really stunning with orchestration and percussion / drums sounds rising up until it ends. It seems like Ged Lynch performs his drum solo (backed with orchestration) inside the slowly moving down steel platform.

Well my friends, really apologize for long write up. I just couldn't help it. The video is so amazing that actually impossible to be expressed in written words. You have to watch it yourself - would be better if you have a large screen using projector and decent home theater set. Guarranteed!!! - you will be hooked to the show from beginning to end. I envy on people who at that time watched the show in Milan by their own eyes! It's something that I believe they will never forget the rest of their life. It's a fantastic show! By the time I write this review I've watched the video (in its entirety) more than 6 times - with each time I repeat "Signal to Noise" minimum 3 times.

"Turn up the signal wipe out the noise!".

Progressively yours, GW - Indonesia.

Report this review (#33500)
Posted Tuesday, January 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oh boy, what a show... This is one of theses DVDs you want to buy to watch every now and them, cos its just plainly AMAZING. Starting by the song selection, wich is Gabriel's bests ever (except for Biko and Family snapshot, wich are missing). Musicians are superb, Gabriel's singing is perfect and his daughter Melanie sings extremelly well and smoothly, Tony is also a master bassist as we all know by now. However, the thing that makes this show so fantastic is the stage scenery, starting by a stage wich ceiling can go UP and down freely and other stage effects that Gabriel likes so much, i aint gonna say anything else cos' it would spoil for you guys. The only strange thing and a bad idea was to put musicians wearing black (by the way, Gabriel looks like a Jedi :p) and Roadies in ORANGE, getting much more atencion than the musicians when they climb onstage for the effects or shooting the video, but nothin that can take some of the fun away
Report this review (#38127)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars FANTASTIC! It shows Peter Gabriel... hanging upside down, walking in a clear ball that he designed, brought some very good guest musicians, very cool main menu and song selection menu, has good special features, neat rotating stage, cool stage sets, and a whole bunch more. This is absolutly a MUST- HAVE. ( It shouldn't be worth $9.00 on Amazon, which is true, but it should be worth $20.00)
Report this review (#39757)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4 2/3 Stars :

This DVD contains a great song selection that balances pop songs with some prog ones, a great show including Peter singing while bicycle riding, being inside a huge sphere, or walking upside down, and great guest musicians.

While all the songs are really beautiful here, I have to say that 'here comes the flood' is not that good without the dramatic band musicianship heard on studio.

Putting that negative aside, this concert is perfect, and has Peter Gabriel's song of all times (Signal To noise) played even better than on studio. I was very excited hearing that masterpiece.

My Grade : A-

Report this review (#41739)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Peter Gabriel's tour in 2002 for the album Up utilized a lineup of new and old faces and dazzled the concert goers with dynamic performances and great theatrics and stage work from Gabriel himself, he seems to always like to dazzle his fans visually and aurally. Old lineup favorites Tony Levin and David Rhodes join newcomers Rachel Z, Ged Lynch, Melanie Gabriel (Peter's daughter), and Richard Evans to put on a grand spectacle that involves old and new songs in a perfect blend of Gabriel's biggest hits and some of his lesser known masterpieces. Although only two songs from his pre-So days (which in my opinion were his best) are performed, there is a great sense of nostalgia in those pieces and even in the songs from So there is a great sense of the same sentiment as well.

The concert is 17 songs played in about two hours and fifteen minutes, so each song averages at around 7-8 minutes so you can expect some wild extended sections in pieces. It opens with just Gabriel on stage performing the piano-only arrangement of Here Comes the Flood that made its debut on Robert Fripp's album Exposure. The first group song is Red Rain, which was the stellar opening to his album So. Gabriel's vocals are a lot rougher than in the time that he recorded that album, but he's still as emotive as ever and can really hit some incredible spots during pieces. As expected most of the album Up is played (as they were touring in promotion of that album), and all of the songs played here are incredible when seen in the live aspect. Gabriel tries to put on a visual show for the concert goers as well, and songs like the Barry Williams Show has him playing with cameras to give the illusion of being on a talk show, Growing Up has him inside of essentially a giant hamster ball running around the stage, and Downside Up has both Peter and Melanie Gabriel walking upside down on the stage that moves vertically at different points of the show. Fan favorites Solsbury Hill and Sledgehammer are played back to back and both are just as incredible as the studio counterparts, but in terms of showmanship Sledgehammer is king as the entire group gets into it and they really seem to be enjoying themselves. In Your Eyes (along with Secret World, Animal Kingdom, and a few other pieces) is one of the pieces to get an extended middle section, with one of the best songs in the Gabriel catalogue getting a faithful yet different rendition. It's a fantastic, if not masterful live show to say the least, although it would have been nice to have snuck in a song like Biko or The Rhythm of the Heat, but I won't hold it against the rating.

Overall, this is a perfect live dvd. The show has a great dynamic between new and old pieces and the band is lively and seem to be having a blast performances of classic songs as well as more unfamiliar pieces. On top of the show, a mini documentary and Tony Levin's tour photographs (it seems whatever group Tony Levin is in releases a dvd and his tour photos or videos are part of the special features). To all fans of Gabriel, this live dvd is a must have as it has everything you could ever want. Non-believers of Gabriel's genious should also watch this dvd and be wowed by his incredible stage skills and his charisma with the crowd behind him the entire way. Only one word can sum up my feelings for this dvd: Masterliness. 5/5.

Report this review (#87317)
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permalink

I guess everyone has his year. For PG "his year" was definitely 2003. In 2002 he had just issued another great studio album ("UP") and in 2003 he came up with "Growing Up Live", recorded in Milan, Italy.

The track list alone is already worth getting this album. But what's even more pleasant to see that this is not your ordinary music DVD. Hell no! This is a great show we are watching! We see Peter bouncing in a giant rubber ball during "Growing Up". He's hanging upside- down together with his daughter Melanie in "Downside Up", riding a bike while singing "Solsbury Hill" and floating in a boat during "Mercy Street". This truly is one of my favourite music DVD's. Not only for the music itself, but also for the great show and for the enthusiasm Peter is bringing it to us.

5 stars. What a show!

Report this review (#109838)
Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I do not particularly think of DVDs or videos as valid candidates for a five star rating. Live videos (and audio albums, for that matter) are simply regurgitations of the material originally invented on the album. Furthermore, even in the case of a magical, otherworldly visual show, completed by a majestic playing of classics, I still would not think a DVD worthy of a five star review. Even if a filmed concert is full of new material, I still would might feel the same way (or perhaps I wouldn't). For some reason, I simply feel that a studio release is the band's or artist's true outputs, true work, and in a way, their true purpose, and all else is simply a lovely distraction from the beef (EPs, compilations, singles, DVDs included). That being said, if ever in the history of music, if there was one DVD I would give five stars, it would unquestionably, undoubtedly, be Peter Gabriel's masterpiece Growing Up Live.

We all know the great Gabe has been the king of musical theatrics since way back in the early Genesis days when he first painted his face, cut his hair with the inverted semi-Mohawk, performed special stories for live concerts, and wowed all audiences with his silly dances, his dramatic singing, his many costumes, stage props, and mighty presence. Now, Peter has still managed to capture that magical theatrical spirit of his early days, but has dressed it in a more mature attire. Never in the history of concerts has there ever been a more elaborate production. The absolutely massive venue, packed to its limit with enthusiastic fans, plays host for a baffling array of lights, props, projectors, screens, and anything else you can name. From the rotating circular stage, to the sinking mesh football, which opens to reveal a majesty sphere, which opens to reveal a zorb ball (which Peter eventually enters and rolls around in), to the bicycle he rides, to the secondary stage that lowers from the ceiling, which he and his daughter walk around on upside down (or.downside up), et cetera, et cetera. It is truly amazing how much work went into the production of this concert. But even if the music were to be stripped of the grandiose presentation, the soul in the playing, and the earnest singing would still be powerful enough to send chills.

The masterful set list ranges from his elegant and personal Up, all the way back to his sincere debut, with many stops through his discography. The songs chosen range from the classics, to the not-so-famous. Regardless of songs' obscurity, every single one is a great selection, and I doubt the Gabe has ever given a more heartfelt, a more graceful, a more polished, a more dynamic performance of these songs: in studio or otherwise. The amazing talent of each individual band member (not the sort of Dream Theater, virtuoso talent, but a more elegant manifestation of the word) is amazing, from the feel of the magnificent Ged Lynch on the drums, to the organic and sensitive, yet precise guitar playing of both David Rhodes and Richard Evans, to the epic grooving of the legendary Tony Levin. But, let us not overlook the two women of the show: the simply stunning keyboarding of Rachel Z, and the stellar vocal work from the beautiful Melanie Gabriel. All musicians gel ingeniously, and no one seems isolated on the stage.

Now, I am under the impression that many or some (for lack of a better term) "classic prog purists" were unsure, or even disapproving of Peter Gabriel's synthetic 80s pop sound. They will be glad to know that all 80s songs played on this DVD have shed the 80s pop sound, and acquired a more mature and modern feel. However, such purists may also have been hesitating when it came to Peter's more modern sound: the electronic, though regal effects and sound clips may have seemed too artificial. Well, all effects remain on the live version, being scripted to play with the music (you can see the time-line on Peter's computer screen on his on-stage desk). If you weren't particularly fond of the electronic effects on Up (and I doubt many of you fall into this category), then there is no antidote for you here. However, there is plenty of excellent analog and acoustic playing to please anyone. In addition, we have a great appearance by the stellar Blind Boys of Alabama, and some lesser known ethnic musicians, who add a whole dimension of a World music spice to Gabriel's already impressive range of musical influences.

Special features are very nice: the recorded thoughts of Peter on the tour are very enlightening and interesting, and the sideshow of Tony's photography over the course of the tour is excellently complimented by a new acoustic mix of More Than This. Packaging is fantastic, with the dual booklets, the beautiful artwork throughout the thing, and its smooth, gorgeous jacket. Video and sound quality are both beyond perfect, if you can imagine that. I swear, as the concert goes on, you can see Peter's hairs grow, and you can watch the beads of sweat escape his pores. That's how sharp the picture is. A slew of effects fills the concert, but never overpowers the music. Colour and shading changes, momentary slow motion sequences, and especially on The Barry Williams Show, plenty of imitated television static and whatnot. It doesn't ruin the concert experience at all, but actually adds to it. In fact, nothing ruins this concert experience. It is phenomenal in every aspect: even Peter's age doesn't do so. Unlike other gray legends, the Gabe has held to his musical talents, and has not at all lost his voice, his enthusiasm or energy in delivery, or his sense of theatrics. In fact, it's so phenomenal that I would go so far as to call this the greatest concert DVD to have crossed my path, and any casual Gabriel fan will be glad to have coughed up the mere twenty or thirty dollars (whatever it costs now) for a piece of progressive music brilliance. Growing Up is an essential DVD: a masterpiece of live music, but not necessarily progressive music.

Report this review (#134743)
Posted Friday, August 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I did not follow Gabriel's career after the album "Us" in 1992, so my astonishment was ever bigger while watching this video. Gabriel was always, not only a remarkable musician, composer and lyricist, but also highly original stage performer or actor since the early GENESIS days. This time he created a magnificent show that integrates his music, band performing live, high tech gadgets, stunning visual design, theatrical mise en scene and film directing. Of course, credits must be paid to other people as well, primarily to film director Hamish Hamilton and stage director Robert Lepage. Even the orange-robed stage crew has almost the acting part in the overall performance while preparing and handling the techinal machinery for props. "Growing Up Live" is one of the best musical videos I ever watched so far, therefore I shouldn't be too modest with rating.
Report this review (#141370)
Posted Monday, October 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Don't get me wrong I am a huge PG fan, and with the exception of some of the ' Us ' album there is very little to fault this gentleman's level of genius, however.....this is not a brilliant show. It is good but what Gabriel demonstrates is that showbiz is another form of ' noodling'....He shifts the focus, re-invents himself yet again and produces a flashy live show with Zorb balls and bicycles. Gabriel as usual is backed by quality as in Rhodes and Levin who tirelessley lend his shape to a predicatble live output. I don't like the opener rendition of ' Here Comes The Flood' , tedious but after that the mood improves. ' Downside Up' from Ovo is brilliant as is ' Growing Up'( zorb ball and all) and ' Solsbury Hill' but there is not much new here, even ' The Barry William's Show' seems like a trip down memory lane ( Get em Out By Friday). The most poignant moments on this DVD are Gabriel's comments inbetween, one of which sticks in my head like a couple of huge balloons..." I spend a lot of my mind these days just exploring the mind with friends and people....". This explains too much noodling from Gabriel and the long hiatae between albums and repetitive live shows. Reminds me of Roger Waters in so many ways. Again this guy has nothing to prove but IMO revisits the same old story too many times. For collectors only not conscious of parting with their wallet's contents..
Report this review (#148640)
Posted Saturday, November 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars When this tour rolled through our town a few years back, I was not all that excited to be going. I was not much of a Gabriel fan at that point but the show flipped me again. It was an incredible concert and I was able to relive it again with this DVD. Even at his advancing age this man is on top of his game and the entire production and band are simply as good as they can possibly be. While the show was full of innovative and mind-boggling technical tricks and theatrics I won't give those away. The real point is the music of course and I can't stress it enough-it is as good a performance as he's ever done. Passionate, poignant, full of joy and humor and love. I love how his voice evolves over the course of the shows now, always rough and gravelly when he begins, but getting clearer and more powerful as the show goes on. He is a master showman, commanding attention while allowing his bandmates plenty of time to shine. His daughter Melanie really steps up and give the show her heart.she may not have the pipes of Peter's previous pros like Paula Cole but she makes up for it with her enthusiasm and care for her father's music. Tony is great as usual with his eye-popping fret work. The first half of the show features the best material with an emotional "Here Comes the Flood" opener, the delicate "Sky Blue" and "Growing Up" from the latest album, and the classic "Mercy Street." The latter portion slips for me on "Animal Nation" and moments where the world music influences overtake the rock element. There's a painfully long introduction sequence that kills the momentum and by the time the tortuous version of "In Your Eyes" is dragging out with its crowd sing-a-long, I'm entertaining thoughts of filling the bathtub to drown myself. But the show is a winner and a must for Gabriel fans, featuring perfect sound and video. Not the greatest show in the progressive universe but a good time all the same. Recommended viewing. 7/10
Report this review (#169759)
Posted Saturday, May 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars While Peter Gabriel is not considered really prog by some punters (silly them), I cannot help feeling that perhaps if they had seen him with Genesis live and then witnessed some of his solo concerts, their skewed opinion would have undoubtedly changed. That Peter WAS the prog torchbearer is clear from the two opposites viewpoints, "after the ordeal" of divorce and going solo had established their future styles. It becomes interesting to analyze the rift from a live show perspective because Foxtrot, Selling or The Lamb were absolutely more riveting live than on record .While Phil the drummer could no doubt sing decently, the theater drama was forever gone, replaced eventually by lasers, pop tunes and arena- rock. Peter, on the other hand, continued his artistic extravagances by releasing complex art rock that eschewed the swooping Banks structures for the more electronic Larry Fast, replacing the fluid Hackett flights with the rawer guitar of Robert Fripp and the cymbal-less Marotta beats instead of the fizzy Collins frills. But Gabriel maintained his unequalled magical rapport with the audience, cleverly putting together shows that were miles ahead of any other artist anywhere, infusing a multi-tasking group of musicians with obligatory "performance" obligations (uniforms, portable klieg-lights, dance moves, teddy bears and various other props) as well as spellbinding technique (which is why Tony Levin has been manning the bass since day 1, just like guitarist Rhodes, both with almost 25 years of loyal service and complicity). This also explains why Peter Gabriel remains so beloved in both the pop and prog world, never having to endure the "Mama" period scorn from we, the prog purists. The Gabriel DVDs are an excellent testimony to the sheer brilliance of this incredible mind, who seamlessly fuses all the artistic elements into a seemingly effortless multi-production, smiling musicians actually enjoying their craft (ain't that cool?), incredibly dense arrangements that sound oh so simple (an extremely difficult attribute to master, by the way) and an intense experience between artist and audience. Growing Up Live is one of those obligatory music DVDs that will never induce boredom, too many senses being seduced simultaneously, extra ordinary rhythms, imperial mastery with the microphone (even though he is no Pavarotti, but then who is?), the ability to turn an impersonal concert venue into a memorable, exciting, thrilling forum of transcendence, where everyone is in a state of euphoria, far from the dreary routine. To start critiquing the show on a blow by blow basis is perhaps in vogue with other bands but with Pete, the whole thing is just .well grown up, yet extremely child-like exuberance (bicycling around the stage, walking inside a transparent globe, playing with a TV camera.). It's not the Barry Williams Show (the lyrics of which are some of his most searing) but the Peter Gabriel show. All the male musicians are bald (or almost..), their mastery over their respective instruments hypnotic : Ged Lynch on drums can really propel, Tony Levin is as introduced "the King of the bottom end, the emperor of bass.", David Rhodes and Richard Evans weave some stunning riffs, all loaded up with Rachel Z's sympho keys. The stage set up (Richard Lepage again) is spell-binding, the filming is top- rate; I mean everything about a Gabriel concert is there to admire. Even his daughter singing backing vocals is so cool. Too lazy to go see Gabriel live (a shame that really)? Get the DVDs and start with this one, entertainment tonight. 5 angels
Report this review (#171466)
Posted Sunday, May 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Before I visited this website I never gave any thought to the possibility that Peter Gabriel was anything but a prog act. None of his music has ever seemed particular pop-like to me. Though, admittedly, a few of his 'more popular' songs seem to lose the prog in prog rock. Still, most of his music seems to me like progressive rock. With that said, this DVD is by far the best of Peter Gabriel that I've ever heard or seen. The music on the DVD is simply unbelievably performed and credit goes to all the musicians (Levin, Evans, Rachel Z etc) who performed on it. If it was a DVD filled with Shock The Monkey's and Sledgehammer's it wouldn't be a 5/5 but with the inclusions of songs like Downside Up, Secret World and Red Rain, it's a special, special performance that epitomises the mantra 'a masterpiece of progressive rock music'.
Report this review (#448857)
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2011 | Review Permalink

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