Peter Gabriel's video for his 1986 Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, a collaboration with Aardman Animations which set new standards for the industry and became one of the most awarded videos in history.
Stephen R. Johnson
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It's actually kind of funny. I never meant to see this film. I was home one night studying when i happened to turn on the T.V. and I saw 'Peter Gabriel's Secret World' on the screen while the opening strains of what I later found out to be 'Come Talk To Me'. Thinking I would get to see 'Sledgehammer' (the only song i knew of by PG), I left it on. By the time 'Come Talk To Me' and 'Steam' were done, there was nothing that could have gotten me to turn the channel.
I have since seen the entire film as well as purchased the CD, and it impresses me as much now as when I first watched it 6 years ago. Shot over 2 nights in November, 1993 in Modena, Italy, composed of 2 stages, a catwalk with a 60' treadmill built into it, a dome which doubled as the lighting structure for the 'female' (round) stage and a rotating screen over the 'male' (square) stage, there is definately a lot to keep track of. And I haven't even mentioned the band yet! To the credit of Gabriel and stage director Robert LePage, it all works together seamlessly from song to song and never seems excessive or disjointed.
And then there is the band itself. Peter has always managed to stock his studio albums with top-notch talent and his tours are no exception. Tony Levin on bass is rock-solid in his playing and actually getting to watch his technique for playing, from tapping out notes with drumsticks, to the upright bass, to doing a little jig with the Chapman Stick during 'Solisbury Hill' will impress everyone watching. David Rhodes, while not nearly as flashy on guitar, is equally solid and provided a lot of the background rhythm in the songs. When you're following along to something in your head and can't quite put your finger on it, credit Mr. Rhodes. Manu Katche on drums manages to infuse a variety of sources into some truly enjoyable percussion work. Levon Miinissian and Jean-Claude Naimro both serve to add depth and atmosphere to the songs on the Duooduk and keyboards respectivly. And for her 1st tour, Paula Cole does an amazing job on vocals alongside Gabriel. And considering she was brought in as a 2nd replacement female vox. on the tour, it is all the more impressive. And then there is Peter himself. While not quite able to sustain the high notes of his youth and looking rather embaressing doing pelvic thrusts during 'Steam', he nontheless turns in an impressive vocal performance which manages to convey the emotion of the tracks selected here, most of which are from the 'Us' album, which was written as a form of therapy for Peter after a divorce from his childhood sweetheart and 2 nasty ends to relationships.
Overall, this is a top-notch concert film from start to finish, and I think only Pink Floyd's The Wall beats it in terms of a concert that combines performance, music and a theme to take home with you and think about after it's all said and done.
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