“You can blow out a candle, but you can’t blow out a fire. Once the flames begin to catch, the wind will blow it higher”
Peter Gabriel, the flamboyant original front man for Genesis from 1967 to 1977, left that band to pursue recording his own solo albums. Although none of his early albums scored a top 40 hit, they were deeply loved by the art house music crowd. Gabriel’s penchant for exotic world musical instruments, dark moving lyrics, and complicated arrangements built on his fiercely loyal following.
In 1980, inspired by the cold-blooded murder of noted black South African anti-apartheid activist Steven Biko, Gabriel released the song Biko, and the world took notice. Since then his work has been informed by his personal crusade to protect human rights, joining the ranks of world-changing activist musicians like John Lennon and Bono.
New Blood strips away all the synths, drums, guitars and drums, rearranging Gabriel’s body of work to be accompanied live by the 46-piece New Blood Orchestra. Eclectic global influences stir up the entire set with a multicultural blend of World, New Age, Electronica, and Celtic Folk and feature elaborate orchestral solos. Every song is accented with 3D laser light sculpting and hypnotic images projected on a monster screen framing the orchestra.
Filmed over two nights at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, the entire concert was staged for the film, shot originally in 3D and featuring many different camera setups and gags. The video feels intimate, as if you were the only one on stage and they are performing just for you. Gabriel’s voice is still amazing even in his sixties. His body may be a bit plumper, but his show is lean and muscular. If you are a fan you will most likely be moved to tears by some of the sublime rearrangements of his beloved hits. I know I was, as was everyone else watching the concert with me.
The nearly 2 ½ hour concert highlights classic Gabriel, such as Red Rain, Don’t Give Up, Mercy Street, and Biko, as well as jaw dropping covers, like Boy in the Bubble (Paul Simon), Apres Moi (Regina Spektor), and The Book of Love (Magnetic Fields).
- The Boy in the Bubble
- Apres Moi
- The Drop
- Washing of the Water
- The Book of Love
- The Power of the Heart
- San Jacinto
- Digging in the Dirt
- Signal to Noise
- Downside Up
- Mercy Street
- The Rhythm Of The Heart
- Blood of Eden
- Red Rain
- Solsbury Hill
- In Your Eyes
- Don’t Give Up
- The Nest that Sailed the Sky
New Blood is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and running an average of 29 Mbps. Although I only saw the 2D version, it was shot and is offered in 3D Blu-ray as well. The colors are sharp and detailed, blacks rich and stable. There is no digital artifacting, but there is a little background noise in some of the shots capturing the heavy red stage lights.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is lush and expresses a wide range of nuanced dynamics. The orchestral arrangements and prominent solos are perfectly balanced with incredible vocals. Surround isn’t extremely immersive, but works to compliment the audience reactions. There were no audio dropouts or sync issues. This is a beautiful use of lossless audio and live music.
- Blood Donors (19 min, 1080i HD) in this featurette, Peter Gabriel discusses the process of rearranging his body of work for the New Blood orchestra, the decision to shoot in 3D, and the complicated process of capturing the concert on video. He is accompanied by interviews with arranger John Metcalfe, director Blue Leach, and conductor Ben Foster.
If you are fan of Peter Gabriel, this is a must have blu-ray. The songs’ unique orchestral arrangements completely revitalize his catalog of work. If you have a 3D television, make sure to pick up the 3D version of the disc. The repeat viewing value is quite high. This is simply a disc you could put on anytime to get lost in Gabriel’s magical music. This is a wonderful concert with excellent visuals and exceptional HD audio and video.
“Oh, I want to be that complete. I want to touch the light, the heat I see in your eyes.”