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Edited version of 1983 double-live album...
on 14 December 2003
If anything, given the possibility of outtakes etc, this should be longer...instead the original double-album/tape has been reduced to a single disc. Music-wise this would be a five star offering, but it's missing several tracks: The Rhythm of the Heat, Not One of Us, Intruder, & On the Air. Taken from the Autumn 1982 US tour to promote Gabriel's fourth album, it finds PG & co more in new wave-mode; the world music influences that inform the Gabriel live video from the late 80s or 1994's Secret World Live aren't as apparent here. As was common in the 1980s (see Simple Minds Live in the City of the Light & Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense), the live recording was tampered with in the studio by Gabriel & Peter Walsh- though it does at least admit it on the sleeve! Gabriel's band here are as great as you would expect- regular players David Rhodes & Tony Levin with Larry Fast (keyboards/synths) & Jerry Marotta (drums & percussion).
Some of the songs are a little clunky in transition from studio to live arena- both I Have the Touch & No Self Control have a similar style in building up, though the conclusion of the former with Gabriel singing "I need contact!" is suitably wonderful. Family Snapshot is warmer than the studio take from the third album, pity he didn't play this track on the more recent tours Secret World & Growing Up (both on DVD). Nice to see DIY from the second album (though not including the great take of On the Air seems dumb!), which goes well with the experimental The Family & The Fishing Net and b-side I Go Swimming (which along with Games Without Frontiers is as new wave as Gabriel got).
The whole of the third side of the original album is left intact: a transcendental San Jacinto followed by a charming Solsbury Hill then a pair of tracks from the third album, No Self Control & I Don't Remember. Sadly neglected single Shock the Monkey is up next, always felt it was the missing link between Prince & Talking Heads! Then we get Humdrum from the second album prior to a brilliant take of Biko- which again, is much more powerful than the studio original (but would have made more sense with Rhythm of the Heat at the start, giving a notion of circularity in the music sense!).
Peter Gabriel Plays Live is brilliant, but still requires a proper reissue with two discs and bonus tracks if possible! Secret World Live remains a far superior live album at present, though, of course, it doesn't focus on the early material as this set does...