Thursday, May 10, 2012

CD Review: Peter Gabriel “Live Blood” The New Blood Orchestra


Peter Gabriel Live Blood Live In London The New Blood Orchestra [2 CD]

Peter Gabriel first gained fame as the flautist and lead vocalist for Genesis. Formed in 1967 by Gabriel (Phil Collins joined as the drummer in 1970), Gabriel became famous for his costumes and theatrical performances. He shocked the band, and his fans when he left Genesis in 1975 before the tour began in support of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, which had seen Gabriel take  on the bulk of the song writing, which alienated the band who had always seen themselves as a collective. "Solsbury Hill", Gabriel's debut single as a solo artist, was written specifically about his departure from Genesis. From ‘76 through ‘85, Gabriel did very well commercially as well as critically, but he achieved his greatest popularity with songs from the 1986 album So. The album charted at number 1 in the UK Album Chart, and number 2 on the Billboard 200 in the US. It is certified triple platinum in the UK, and five times platinum in the US. The album produced three UK Top 20 hits, "Sledgehammer", "Big Time", and "Don't Give Up" — a duet with Kate Bush. The album also produced three Top 40 hits in the U.S., "Sledgehammer", "In Your Eyes" (featured in the John Cusack film Say Anything), and "Big Time". "Sledgehammer", peaked at #1 in the U.S., coincidentally knocking Genesis' "Invisible Touch" off the top spot.

“Solsbury hill”

In 1989, Gabriel shifted gears, and sounds. He released Passion, the soundtrack for the movie The Last Temptation of Christ. For this work he received his first Grammy Award, in the category of Best New Age Performance. He also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score - Motion Picture. From this point on Gabriel would explore more and more World Music as well as multimedia, particularly movie/video projects, which lead to more Grammys for long form and short form videos.

In 2010, Gabriel released Scratch My Back which is entirely cover songs by artists such as David Bowie, Lou Reed, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Regina Spektor, Neil Young, and more. But, probably more striking than a star of Gabriel’s stature doing covers is the departure from the  guitars, drums, or electronic elements and power rock that had become Gabriel’s trade marks. The album is entirely performed by orchestral instruments. 2011s New Blood , follows the same formula as a collection of his earlier songs recorded with an orchestra.

“Solsbury Hill” with The New Blood Orchestra

Live Blood Live In London is a newly remixed and re-mastered live 2-CD set recorded at London's iconic Hammersmith Apollo on March 23rd last year. The album is stunning and immediately grabs the listener, no matter if you were ready for the stadium rock sound that was most familiar on these tunes. They come as familiar but even more emotionally ‘grabbing as Gabriel
and the 46-piece New Blood Orchestra re-imagine some of Peter's best known songs with breathtaking orchestral arrangements that include "In Your Eyes" "Red Rain" "Rhythm of The Heat" and "Biko" - written in honor of anti-apartheid activist Stephen Biko (1946-1977). In addition, there are interpretations of Paul Simon's "The Boy in the Bubble" and Lou Reed's "The Power of the Heart". Gabriel is a renowned live performer whose onstage charisma and instantly recognizable voice combine brilliantly with the orchestral sound palette to breathe a new sense of wonder into familiar songs.

With this ‘new direction’  Gabriel at once pays tribute to a career that has now spanned 40 years, and also seems to not just pay tribute, but to mature and blossom into a realm where the music takes on even deeper emotions and  beauty.


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