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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars


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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 14 December 2003
Secret World Live stems from the Us-tour of 1993 and is in many ways a companion to 'Peter Gabriel Plays Live' released a decade previously. Where that live album (which was tinkered with by Peters Gabriel & Walsh) focused on the material up to PG4, this focuses on the material since then (the only exception being Solsbury Hill, which is far superior to the 83-take). Note that Irridium's review below is actually of the album Us (1992) & not this live album- this does not feature Brian Eno or the track Love to be Loved. Wonder why he posted the wrong review- was it just the usual desperation to get as many reviews as possible on here, regardless of whether he's actually reviewing the right album or not?
This is the 15-song set from the Us-tour featuring Paula Cole (vocals), Shankar (violin, vocals), Manu Katche (drums), Jean Claude Naimro (keyboards), Levon Minassian (doudouk)& long-time Gabriel-associates Tony Levin (bass) & David Rhodes (guitar). Pity this reissue didn't include the take of San Jacinto, which is found on the DVD/VHS- though that version wasn't hugely different to the one on PG Live.
Disc One opens with a pair of tracks from Us- the bagpipe-sampling Come Talk to Me, which builds up to a suitably epic sound & a seven-minute take on hit single Steam, which is much better than the single-take & features a wonderfully atmospheric keyboard intro. Gabriel & co then travel back to the past, Womad-instrumental Across the River (found on the b-side of No Self Control & written by Gabriel with Rhodes, Shankar & Stewart Copeland)from the early 80s is performed, prior to an interlude of Slow Marimbas (from the Birdy soundtrack). This leads into a lovely nine-minute take on the Gabriel/Youssou N'Dour single Shaking the Tree (originally from 1989 & the title track of Gabriel's 1990 best of)- which has vocal turns from the whole band- including a great vocal from Cole (most famous for Where Have All the Cowboys Gone & the theme to Dawson's Creek!).
The music after the celebration of Shaking the Tree turns darker with the duo of Red Rain (from So) & the sublime Blood of Eden- which memorably featured in the film Until the End of the World. The band stay with Us for a few more tracks- silly pop funk Kiss That Frog (a more diluted take on the avenue suggested by tracks like Shock the Monkey & Big Time)& the atmospheric Washing of the Water (which would have been perfectly followed by the absent San Jacinto!). Finally there is that great take of Solsbury Hill, with more gorgeous acoustics & world music inflections...
Disc Two is just five songs long- opening with bleak lead single from Us, Digging in the Dirt , which advanced on the sound of 1982's PG4, that dark seven-minutes (with great guitar from Rhodes) is countered by huge hit single Sledgehammer, which is brilliantly delivered. The set closer was Secret World, the final track from Us- a 9-minute track that veers close to prog-rock. If Radiohead did it now, it would be revered as futuristic or something...The encore is a great take on Don't Give Up (Cole as great as La Bush) with a brilliant chant at the end; Gabriel & co stay with So & with guests Papa Wemba, Reddy Mela Amissi & Styno Mubi Matadi perform a definitive/stunning take on In Your Eyes that pushes the 11-minute mark. This has a wonderful intro prior to the song proper, which along with Mercy Street & Red Rain was the highlight of So. Gabriel & co still perform it to this day- it was played at the Mandela-AIDS benefit a few weeks ago; a great end to a brilliant live album. A brilliant live album a rarity in itself!
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on 24 April 2001
100 minutes of outstanding singing and playing from Peter and his band (with Paula Cole doing a great job on backing vocals--I don't even miss Kate Bush on "Don't Give Up"!). I never saw the live show but this CD convinces me that I missed the musical experience of a lifetime. The energy and excitement blasts out of the speakers and knocks you flat--Peter's singing is stunning, I don't know how he has the guts to try such things night after night live, and the band are very, very tight. Every track is an improvement over the studio recordings in my opinion--if only all live albums were this good. Definitely a desert island disc!
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on 23 April 2011
This album encapsulates all that is good about Peter Gabriel's solo music - ethnic-influenced beats and sounds and soulful lyrics and vocals. This double album focusses on Peter's later solo albums, particularly 'Us'. Standout tracks for me are 'Digging in the Dirt' and 'Secret World'. Also, 'Across the River' is a magical piece of work that is just so atmospheric! This album also contains brilliant live versions of his big hits 'Sledgehammer' and 'Don't Give Up'.
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on 5 July 2005
Had this album for a while now, and still can't beat it as an exceptional live performance. Every song is executed so well and so many have been reworked from their studio incarnations with such craft and guile. A truly golden album.

Peter Gabriel creates such a tapestry of sounds with such a variety of instruments, and this live album is almost a celebration of that. All the musicians move effortlessly between songs in a way that suggests painstaking preparation and work. Hearing it come together is a real joy that manages to capture a 'live' sound. The talent of his musicians and collaborators is well docmented, and this is a fine showcase.

My fear was that a ten minute version of the wonderful 'In Your Eyes' would reek of self-indulgence, and though it does indulge the effect is a glowing example of what live albums can achieve. Every song has been added to and offers much more than a live version of album favourites.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 May 2011
i bought this cd on its orig.release then misplaced it years ago.having recently purchased it again i forgot what a superb live album this is.to the opening Come Talk To Me and blasting into Steam this a rollercoaster show that delivers.Covering a lot of material from Us and So but incl.oldy Solsbury Hill.Too many highlights but my faves are;Steam.Red Rain.Dirt.Sledgehammer and the sublime Dont Give Up feat a superb vocal from Paula Cole filling in the orig Kate Bush role.Along with Bowies Stage this is one of my fave live albums.EVER!!Buy it and play loud.Amazing.
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'Secret World Live' is a brilliant example of Peter Gabriel in concert. You can hear how he performs the songs live and how the audience react to them. This collection includes all his major hits, as well as some songs that are less known commercially, but which are just as, if not more, impressive. This tour was highly acclaimed for it's innovative stage set, as designed by Robert Lepage, and although you can't see the set, you get a feel for how it affected the performance from the audiences reaction throughout. If you want a better idea of this, check out the DVD of this tour. This is a great album of Gabriel doing what he does best, performing simple, honest songs with passion and integrity. It can't be beaten.

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An exquisite musical menagerie with ideas drawn from the four corners of the world. Producer is Daniel Lanois and musicians of stature like Brian Eno, Manu Katche and the Babacar Faye drummers assist. Roots instruments like the djembe, sabar drums, tama surdu and doukdouk spice up the sound with delicious results.
The opener Come Talk To Me starts with the mournful drone of bagpipes and African drums, reaches a transcendant climax in a magnificent chorus of vocals & drum and fades out on grieving sitar infusions. The influence of Lanois is very much in evidence here and on Blood Of Eden, with dense layers of dreamy sounds and yearning, spiritual vocals.
Love To Be Loved combines Brian Eno, the Valiha (a Malagasy instrument) and the tabla, for a lovely exotic sound. Kiss That Frog sports some tight rock riffs. Digging In The Dirt and Steam are more mainstream rock songs. Warm, powerful and multi-faceted. Some of the live songs here rival the studio versions for passion and intensity.
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An exquisite musical menagerie with ideas drawn from the four corners of the world. Producer is Daniel Lanois and musicians of stature like Brian Eno, Manu Katche and the Babacar Faye drummers assist. Roots instruments like the djembe, sabar drums, tama surdu and doukdouk spice up the sound with delicious results.
The opener Come Talk To Me starts with the mournful drone of bagpipes and African drums, reaches a transcendant climax in a magnificent chorus of vocals & drum and fades out on grieving sitar infusions. The influence of Lanois is very much in evidence here and on Blood Of Eden, with dense layers of dreamy sounds and yearning, spiritual vocals.
Love To Be Loved combines Brian Eno, the Valiha (a Malagasy instrument) and the tabla, for a lovely exotic sound. Kiss That Frog sports some tight rock riffs. Digging In The Dirt and Steam are more mainstream rock songs. Warm, powerful and multi-faceted. Some of the live songs here rival the studio versions for passion and intensity.
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on 21 February 2016
Such a great CD which I bought to hear in the car ,I also purchased the DVD so I could watch the performance , which is stunning . Peter never fails to disappoint at His concerts and is supported by some fabulous musicians . Paula Cole's vocals are gorgeous .This man just keeps on developing .
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on 9 November 2010
One day the "hip" music press will credit "unhip" rock "relics" like PG. This is totally joyful, uplifting, understated and brilliant - great playing and singing from everyone. Everyone who loves music and theatre should see and hear this! Frequently!
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