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Art rocker's hits and history re-imagined with a concert orchestra

Peter Gabriel - Live Blood
(Real World/ Eagle Rock Entertainment)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: April 16, 2012
Peter Gabriel

Review by Andy Argyrakis

Considering he usually waits a decade between discs, Peter Gabriel's been on a surprisingly prolific release streak as of late. Granted, 2010's Scratch My Back was a covers affair and last year's New Blood was a reworking of his past original crests (both accompanied by an orchestra), though at least that pair of studio projects inspired a two year international tour.

The results of Gabriel and the 46-piece New Blood Orchestra's stop at London's famed Hammersmith Apollo are traced on this ensuing live collection, which includes a few of his more indie-minded remakes from the aforementioned album, plus a blend of freshly arranged hits and obscure treasures. Whether it be gentle renditions of Regina Spektor's "Apres Moi" and Lou Reed's "The Power of the Heart" or Gabriel's signature wails throughout his own "Biko" and "Mercy Street," the veteran's in absolutely stunning vocal form.

Though the double disc set gets a little slow at times, it picks up plenty of stream on the home stretch, starting with the striking "Red Rain," the carefree "Solsbury Hill" and the African-influenced "In Your Eyes." Though the collection leaves off some of Gabriel's biggest smashes ("Shock the Monkey," "Sledgehammer," "Big Time"), they're barely missed since Live Blood refuses to rest in obvious nostalgia, but instead offers an ambitious sonic overhaul of the past and present.

Related articles:

Peter Gabriel (Summerfest 2011) - Photo gallery - Milwaukee, WI July 2011
Peter Gabriel - Concert review - Hollywood, CA May 2010
The Musical Box - Concert review - Chicago, IL - Jan. 2009
Genesis - Concert review - Chicago, IL - Oct. 2007
The Musical Box - Concert review - Chicago, IL - Nov. 2006
Various artists - Playing For Change: Songs Around The World - Album review
Genesis - Live Over Europe 2007 - Album review

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