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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 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...
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on 5 February 2015
My first Peter Gabriel album was the double LP version of this album. That 5 star album resulted in me becoming a massive fan of the ex-Genesis front man's solo career. I have knocked 1 star off this single CD review because it misses off 4 tracks. The double CD is very hard to find and I am not prepared to pay £15+ for a used copy or even more for a new copy. Peter, if you're reading this review, please release a remastered version of the full double CD. As it is the music on here is first class, focusing on the first 4 self-titled albums, and the remastered sound quality is excellent in my opinion.
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on 2 February 2010
Ok, so this tour was before my time as I'm quite a young fan so I can't comment on what the actual shows were like. This isn't about the shows though, it's about the music. This only covers Peter Gabriels music up to his fourth studio album. This means that some songs that have become iconic like "In your eyes" and "digging in the dirt" are not performed here.
What is performed is performed brilliantly. Peter Gabriel obviously has a knack for live shows and know how to play a crowd. It even includes a song that is not on any of his studio albums called "I go swimming". It is true that some of the songs are not as good as the album versions but they have a very different sound so it is very rare to be able to say outright that a song is not as good.
The Secret World Live album is much better as it contains a lot more of his classics and has a much richer sound but Plays Live is worth a listen because it's interesting to hear how his voice has changed with age.
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on 20 September 2005
this was the weirdly titled PLAYTIME 1988 tour- typically perverse PG anti- titling- as it was recorded in 1983!
Anyways contrary to the RISIBLE report above this is the definitive PG tour- streamlined shows, only monkey make up and lights- and BRILLIANT songs- long before RHYTHM really took over and guitars were thrown out of the window...........
DIY is a total standout here- and presents a snippet of the second album live- along with ON THE AIR- which we are unlikely to hear LIVE again from the great man.......
I THINK NEARLY ALL THE SONGS ARE PRESENTED DIFFERENTLY HERE- compared to the studio recordings and nearly all of them are better for that- apart from NO SELF CONTROL and possibly BIKO- which are still at least interesting in a completely different style- the former and possibly more emotional- biko
PGs voice is superb throughout and h NOT ONE OF US, I DONT REMEMBER, INTRUDER AND MONKEY- are all superb on here.........
AND Gabriels detached inbetween banter? is brilliantly self detached and ironic- harking back to his gabble ratchet dayze..... 'the title of this- i don't remember', 'THIS SONG IS FOR THOSE WHO KEEP THEMSELVES CLEAN'- i go swimming- etc....
THIS IS AN ASTOUNDING ALBUM AND IS THE ALBUM I fell in love with and grew up with nearly 23 years ago-
secret world is poor in comparison..........
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on 13 November 2000
"PG Plays Live", released in June 1983, is more than a live album: it is the end of an era. As Rush did, publishing a live at the end of every period, Gabriel places a milestone on his probably best tour: the 1982 tour of his self titled LP: Peter Gabriel. As a matter of fact, the first 4 PG LPs are named Peter Gabriel. PG IV is known in U.S. market as Security. Its sound reaches the ethnic, dark atmosphere which Peter has developed through a obsessive sound research since his III album, a unique style which influenced lots of artists (from Kate Bush & U2 to Prodigy & 80's King Crimson - Fripp will say the opposite). In Plays Live, the PG Band is very different from current ensemble (Secret World Tour), in which only Levin & Rhodes survive: Peter Gabriel on lead vocals, synthesizer, piano Jerry Marotta on drums, percussion, b-vox Tony Levin on stick, bass, b-vox David Rhodes on guitar, b-vox Larry Fast - synthesizer, piano This version of P.G. Band was more monolithic and powerful, while last tour's Band is more skilled, jazzy and versatile, (just think about French Afro drummer Manù Katchè). Lucky fans attending any date of 1982 tour saw an hypnotic lightshow, reflecting concert's sound, and a very strong, empathic link between performers, with an almost military discipline on the stage. PG performances in the 90's are an example of World Music: female vocalists and musicians, Womad musicians cameos, dancing choreographies and a lighter climax. Apart from his golden voice, the main quality of this fantastic artist on stage is his acting ability: Gabriel can give life to every word of his lyrics, being a master of live communication, winning every culture and language difference. This album was originally a double LP, and you can find 2 Cd versions: this is double CD edition, which I advice to buy: beware of 1 CD version, in Europe titled Plays Live highlights! All the tracks are wonderful versions of his best songs: in RHYTHM OF THE HEAT, you will feel alone in the jungle; you will be moved to tears in FAMILY SNAPSHOT; will admire the power of Peter's voice in DIY and start to shiver with FAMILY AND THE FISHING NET. I GO SWIMMING is a musical scherzo, and SAN JACINTO a masterpiece, introducing avant-garde musical concepts. There are classics and singles, like SOLSBURY HILL and SHOCK THE MONKEY. The concert (and the record) end with BIKO, the final anthem of every Peter Gabriel's concert from 1980 on. Plays Live album, whose highest U.S. chart position was #44 has been slightly improved in Studio by PG with some overdubs. Compared to other live recordings of the same period is without any doubt richer, but very close to this Band's live standard.
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on 29 March 2003
PG shows, of this era, are vastly underrated. Though a little later in time, the PG performance of BIKO during the Conspiracy
of Hope tour at RFK stadium in '86, just one year after LIVE AID, was one of the most compelling and hypnotic moments in rock'n'roll. There is a forcefulness in every syllable that really draws the listener in such songs as Family Snapshot, Biko, Lay you hands on Me and others. If you weren't there,
PLAYS LIVE allows you to join the festivites.
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on 11 November 2014
Fantastic job.

I waited a little while for this to arrive, as it was coming to me in the UK from teh States, but it was well worth the wait.
Pristine condition, great wrapping, I'm overjoyed to own this double album at last - thank you!

I am relatively new to PG but this is quite simply a fantastic recording. He should re-issue it. San Jacinto, Shock the Monkey, No Self Control - brilliant interpretations.
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on 27 May 2002
This is a slightly odd one. To many people Peter Gabriel was at the height of his songwriting powers when this live album came out. His performances were astonishing and his energy and dynamism are somewhat lost on this treated album. Having said that there are a few gems here. The Rhythm of The Heat builds well. DIY sounds at its frustrated best. The quieter version of No Self Control sounds menacing and the out and out energy of On The Air captures the energy of the performance in which Gabriel used to run across the stage and dive head first into the audience (usually getting to about row E!!!). There are some songs that don't quite cut it. I Go Swimming is for completists only and, although good live, should have stayed an unrecorded track (Far better would have been Milgram's 37 which became a toned down We Do What We're Told on "So")and Humdrum sounds tired although Tony Levin does his best on Bass. As a whole if you like the Gabriel of the third and fourth albums this is worth having. If you are a fan from "So" onwards this may not be for you!
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on 14 February 2013
This album showcases one of the best live bands around at the time. The recordings are excellent and form a brilliant view of one of the most innovative and talented artists of his generation
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on 27 April 2016
Arrived on time and in good condition.
Good sounds Peter sound great in the studio and live, great CD.
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