Although he had thrived on live performance as a member of Genesis, Peter Gabriel waited until he was four albums and six years deep into his solo career -- with the hit album Security and the Top 40 "Shock the Monkey" chalked up to his credit -- before he took the plunge into concert recording with this album. Released as a double-LP and two-CD set (but also later in a single CD "highlights" edition, missing four songs), this is a fine summing up of the artist's early solo years. Most of his biggest hits and key album tracks are represented in tight, inspired performances -- the notes concede that some of what is here was sweetened after the fact in the studio, but the immediacy of the stage performances wasn't lost in the process, and that emotional edge and intimacy give songs such as "Solsbury Hill," "I Don't Remember," and "Shock the Monkey" a sharper, deeper resonance than their studio renditions, fine as those are. It's that side of the performance that makes this release well worth owning, for anyone enamored of Gabriel's voice or songs, even if nothing here wholly supplants the studio originals. And the band -- Tony Levin (bass, stick, backing vocals), Jerry Marotta (drums, vocals), David Rhodes (guitar, vocals), and Larry Fast (keyboards) -- is in excellent form as well. What is lacking is the cohesiveness that one might have gotten from a live album assembled from a single concert; derived from a multitude of shows, the individual songs are excellent unto themselves, but there's little sense (or even the illusion) from song to song of any forward momentum across the album, and that might be the one major flaw here. But this is a suitable capstone to the first phase of Gabriel's solo career, and also a peculiar one in certain respects -- given the effort that obviously went into assembling the album, the packaging is almost minimalist by the standards of live albums and double albums of the era (the LP version even put both platters into a single sleeve).
|Label:||Real World Prod. Ltd|
Performance CreditsPeter Gabriel Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Piano
Larry Fast Synthesizer,Piano
David Rhodes Guitar,Background Vocals
Tony Levin Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals
Technical CreditsPeter Gabriel Composer,Producer
Neil Kernon Engineer
Richard Chappell Engineer
Armando Gallo Cover Photo
Marc Bessant Graphic Design
Dan Blore Sleeve Restoration
Mic Smith Introduction
Peter Walsh Producer,Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Plays Live based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Despite the description, this is not the full double LP CD. It is missing Rhythm of the heat (possibly one of the best tracks on this album), Intruder, Not one of us, and On the Air. If you want the full album, look for the one with 16 tracks, not the 12 on this "highlights" album. Having said that, this is the best live album I've heard. Just buy the whole album, not this partial re-release.
This is the PG album I first bought over 20 years ago. It is key to understanding his music. Although So would make him a superstar, he seemed to lose his way in the 90s (one studio album). Hold out for the full album and don't settle for the shorter single CD. The songs are almost all tops except for a few (family and the Fishing Net, Humdrum) and the band is tight. It includes Tony Levin, who also played in the best version of King Crimson. Wait for a B&N coupon to get the price down to a more reasonable level.
For a while this album was being sold as a single CD with most of the songs missing so it is great to see the entire double CD available again. Be sure that you don't confuse this one with that single CD (both had the same cover). As to this double CD it is a very fine live set although there is nothing here that really improves on the studio albums. Entertaining but not essential.