Monday, May 19, 2014

Live shows and the best - Secret World

I'VE BEEN WATCHING video concerts and enjoying different bands and the approach to playing in front of people. You can turn it up and put it in their face with a bunch of pyro and bright lights, or you can make a concert an experience.

I guess there is no wrong approach. I like different versions of songs. I do not judge a live recording by how perfect it is, but how much energy it has and how the songs translate.

My favorite by far is Peter Gabriel's Secret World Live. This guy is a genius and I love the way he takes a recorded version of a song and turns into so much more live. I don't remember why I bought the double CD in the mid-1990s, but I started wearing it out I played it so much.

The concert was recorded in Italy in 1993. If you watch, pay attention to the stage setup and the way the musicians interact and move about. And listen closely to the way Gabriel builds his songs - the video on top is "The Blood of Eden," achingly beautiful and soaring at the same time.

It helps to have a great band - bass player Tony Levin is easily one of the best around, maybe THE best. The band careens through songs but never goes off the rails thanks to the brilliant drumming of Manu Katche, and Gabriel combines joyful abandon with his carefully crafted messages. That's right, his songs are messages, and the lyrics powerful.

Look how much fun the band has, and how lost they get in the music with the fans. Rock and roll, after all, cannot be taken seriously. Right?

The more I watch Secret World Live, the more stuff pops out, another mark of a great concert film. It's all fine to have props, but it's how you use them that counts.

So ... I'll watch it again!

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