Peter Gabriel has long been revered for his great songwriting, cinematic soundscapes, riveting concerts, and groundbreaking videos. Is it any surprise, then, that Play: The Videos
is a music DVD for the ages? Nope. But that doesn't make it any less thrilling to watch or to listen to. Gabriel has assembled and polished an evening-filling 26 clips, all of them collaborations with innovative visual artists and directors like Stephen Johnson, Matt Mahurin, Francois Vogel, and Sean Penn. From the 1977 promo for "Modern Love" to 2003's "Growing Up" and much between, it's all here, and most viewers will be pleasantly surprised to find more than a couple videos they missed along the way. The focus is explicitly on conceptual pieces, the lone visual exception being a 2004 live rendition of "Games Without Frontiers" among the extras.
Gabriel says in an accompanying essay that "music can stand more repetition than video and music together." Play gives us something extra in light of that: fresh 5.1 surround mixes in both Dolby Digital and DTS 96/24 for every track, with Gabriel/U2 production vet Daniel Lanois at the helm for most songs. (You'll get standard DTS sound from DTS-capable DVD players and, even better, lossless high-resolution audio from a DTS 96/24-compatible player.) The surround mixes are nothing short of revelatory, using all available channels to amplify Gabriel's ambient side while breaking out the percussion in fascinating ways and driving home the music's subterranean bass. --Michael Mikesell
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