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Gabriel, Peter: Live Blood
In progressive rock circles, Peter Gabriel is a living legend. He is a true visionary whose music has stretched well beyond the confines of progressive rock and has touched the lives of millions of people worldwide. His body of work starting with Genesis then embarking on a successful solo career speaks for itself.
So the question remains, has Gabriel lost that imaginative spark that was so prevalent throughout his career? I believe the answer is a resounding no. Yes the artist has chosen to revisit past works by putting them in an orchestral blender and reimagining some of his best songs from a solo career that is almost closing in on forty years but by doing so he has showed an imaginative flair that few artists possess. Indeed, these songs are changed, quite dramatically in fact. The complete absence of a rock element has given these tunes a different spin and I for one cannot imagine a Gabriel fan not interested in at least hearing them in this new light.
The next question that must be asked is does it really work? Again, the answer is yes. Indeed, it seems some of these songs were written for orchestra. The album was recorded live at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo in London in the spring of 2011. There are twenty-two songs in total, most taken from his New Blood CD with a few culled from Scratch My Back.
Starting with "Intruder", the New Blood Orchestra matches the original's dark intent, building in intensity and adding to the feeling of creepiness.
One of my favourites is the ethereal "Wallflower", originally penned for the Security album. This song has always packed an emotional impact (for those who don't know the theme of torture is explored). Tom Cawley's delicate piano and Gabriel's impassioned delivery are album highlights. Gabriel's vocals are still in great form which only adds to my enjoyment of these songs.
Other highlights include the uplifting "Solsbury Hill" where the New Blood Orchestra ramps it up a notch branching into Beethoven's "Ode To Joy" and the always engaging "In Your Eyes" featuring a string section in constant flux, changing the pace from languidly slow to blistering fast. Guest vocalist Sevara Nazarkhan brings a world music element to the table.
If you have the Scratch My Back and New Blood albums it will be up to you to decide whether to splurge for this live version. One thing is for sure, Live Blood exudes quality, sounds stunning and does a fine job of encapsulating two very special evenings.
3. The Boy in the Bubble
4. Après Moi
5. The Drop
6. Washing in the Water
7. The Book of Love
9. The Power of the Heart
11. San Jacinto
1. Digging in the Dirt
2. Signal to Noise
3. Downside Up
4. Mercy Street
5. The Rhythm of the Heat
6. Blood of Eden
7. Red Rain
8. Solsbury Hill
9. In Your Eyes
10. Don't Give Up
11. The Nest that Sailed the Sky
Added: September 24th 2012
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
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