9

Peter Gabriel: Live in Athens 1987 (The Full Recorded Show)

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Peter Gabriel
Live in Athens 1987: The Full Recorded Show including Youssou N'Dour and Le Super Etoile de Dakar
Real World / Eagle Eye Media
2013

Count on Peter Gabriel to be ahead of the curve. In 1987, when he was touring his commercial breakthrough record So (Geffen, 1986), he was already thinking ahead (now that the MTV generation had made the value of videos clear) to the potential of recording and releasing concert videos from each of his major tours.

Since that time he's done just that, though considering the amount of time between tours that hasn't really amounted to all that much, with the British singer—and co-founder of initially less financially successful progressive rock group Genesis that may have attained greater immediate success in the years after he left, but whose albums with the singer/songwriter have since ultimately outsold those more dispensable '80s hit records—releasing only Us (Real Word/Geffen, 1992) and Up (Real World/Virgin, 2002), before turning to his recent orchestral projects, Scratch My Back (Real World, 2010) and New Blood (Real World, 2011), where he revisits his own back catalogue (no Genesis, though), along with some favorite songs by other artists, ranging from Paul Simon and Randy Newman to Arcade Fire and David Bowie.

But his first concert video, PoV (Virgin, 1990)—while a thoroughly captivating document, released on VHS tape and laserdisc, of his band's 1987 show in Athens, Greece—was both incomplete and, interspersed with all kinds of home film-level behind-the-scenes footage, never quite as successful as later live videos, in particular Secret World Live (Real World/Eagle Entertainment), remaining the only Gabriel live video that has never been made available on DVD (well, it has, but by bootleggers who ripped the original laserdisc and sold illegal DVD versions). That it was a much leaner production—both in terms of visuals and the size of the band—PoV has nevertheless remained a highly regarded (if not somewhat frustrating) document of Gabriel, just as he was making the leap from the cult figure of his first four recordings to that of pop superstar; frustrating, because the assumption has long been that tapes of the entire Athens show have been sitting around, gathering dust, while fans of PoV craved the opportunity to see and hear them.

The good news is that, with the 25th Anniversary Immersion Box version of So—released in late 2012 by Real World Productions that, in addition to the album, remastered for CD and 180 gram vinyl, also included a second LP with two previously unreleased tracks, a 90-minute documentary DVD about the making of the album and So DNA, a disc revealing, through various versions of tunes in various forms morphing from humble beginnings to finished form)—the entire Athens show has finally been made available—both on two CDs and on DVD. However, it comes at a not-insignificant price and, while a budget version of So, with the remastered album and two-CD audio version of Live in Athens, was released concurrently, the video remained something exclusive to those prepared to invest in the Immersion Box.

Coming nearly a year later, the separately released Live in Athens 1987 is strictly either DVD or Blu-Ray, and finally provides an opportunity, for those who didn't want to cough up over $100 for the Immersion Box, the chance to see the Athens show in its entirety, in sequence and without any of the disturbing interruptions of the PoV video. As an added incentive, Live in Athens 1987 also comes with Play: The Videos (only on DVD, regardless of the format chosen for the Athens video)—originally released by Rhino in 2004 and collecting all of Gabriel's music videos, including the groundbreaking video for his breakthrough hit "Sledgehammer," which won a record nine awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards (the most awards a single video has ever won andthe most played video in the history of MTV).

But as entertaining as many of Gabriel's videos are, the inclusion of Play really is just a bonus; it's the Athens show that's the meat of this two-disc set, and is especially significant since Gabriel reunited the entire band—keyboardist David Sancious, guitarist David Rhodes, bassist/stick player Tony Levin and drummer Manu Katche—for his "Back to Front Tour" that, occupying much of late 2012 and 2013, opens with a brief acoustic set and an electric set of some of his other material, before taking an intermission, followed by a complete performance of So, from start to finish—including some songs that were never previously performed live.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read La La Land DVD/Film Reviews La La Land
by Gareth Thomas
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Jeff Beck: Live at the Hollywood Bowl DVD/Film Reviews Jeff Beck: Live at the Hollywood Bowl
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2017
Read Rolling Stones From The Vault: Sticky Fingers Live at the Fonda Theatre 2015 DVD/Film Reviews Rolling Stones From The Vault: Sticky Fingers Live at the...
by Doug Collette
Published: September 30, 2017
Read Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First 40 Years DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read Frank Sinatra: The Royal Festival Hall (1962) | Live At Carnegie Hall DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: The Royal Festival Hall (1962) | Live At...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi" DVD/Film Reviews The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi
by Marc Davis
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "I Called Him Morgan by Kasper Collin" DVD/Film Reviews I Called Him Morgan by Kasper Collin
by Christine Connallon
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Bob Dylan: No Direction Home - Deluxe 10th Anniversary  Edition" DVD/Film Reviews Bob Dylan: No Direction Home - Deluxe 10th Anniversary ...
by Doug Collette
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "La La Land" DVD/Film Reviews La La Land
by Gareth Thomas
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "The Who At The Isle of Wight Festival 2004" DVD/Film Reviews The Who At The Isle of Wight Festival 2004
by Doug Collette
Published: June 3, 2017
Read "Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First 40 Years" DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.