PETER GABRIEL VIDEO REVIEWS

VIDEO RATING SYSTEM

*****

An excellent video. Strong effort from beginning to end! A must own!

****

A very good video. A few low points but, overall, a decent effort. Recommended. 

***

A good video. Several weak points detract from the release, but it's still worth owning.

**

A mediocre video. Unless you're a real fan, you might not like this release very much.

*

A poor video. Stay away from this one unless you are a hardcore fan!
   
Peter Gabriel - Secret World Live  DVD (2003)

WOG RATING: ****

Released in March 2003, Secret World Live has the distinction of being the first Peter Gabriel concert on the DVD format. Similar to Genesis' The Way We Walk DVD, expectations were reasonably high. Knowing that this DVD was being issued by Universal/Geffen in the U.S., Gabriel's label, I certainly was not expecting the wealth of extras that were featured on The Way We Walk, which was done directly with Genesis' involvement. What did come as a very pleasant surprise, however, was that Universal didn't simply transfer the video to DVD format throw it in a box and be done with it. What I found was a well produced video package with some decent extras.

Here are my overall thoughts on this product:
VIDEO:

The concert featured is from Modena, Italy on Gabriel's 1994 European Tour. While the video quality is very good, I would expect nothing less since the footage is less than a decade old. Still, the images are sharp and the coloring is excellent. There are a few moments were the picture is a bit grainy, but that has nothing do do with the transfer to DVD (the original video from the '90s looked the same way). The menus are animated, and they are easy to use. On a high-end television, the stage lights, musicians and audience appear in rich accurate tones. This video has been digitally enhanced for widescreen television in a 16:9 anamorphic format. 

As with the original video release, I was always impressed with Director Francois Girard's blending of images from the jumbo-tron screen and the actual performing of the musicians. This works especially well on songs like "Digging In The Dirt" and "Across The River."

AUDIO:

The audio is digitally remixed for standard stereo, DTS, and 5.1 surround sound. The standard stereo version is very close to that of the original video release. That being said, the 5.1 surround sound track and the DTS are simply amazing! It almost rivals the fidelity of the Genesis DVD, The Way They Walk, which is still one of the best sounding 5.1 DVDs I've heard. You definitely do not get the full DVD experience with Secret World Live if you only listen to this DVD in standard stereo... God bless technology! 

EXTRAS:

Time Lapse
This is time lapse footage of the stage set up, concert, and stage tear-down on Berlin, Germany. It's kind of cool to see once, but if you've seen time lapse photography before, it's nothing to write home about.

Behind The Scenes
This is a bonus featurette that is presented in full-screen format. The mini-documentary of the tour includes an exclusive period interview with Peter Gabriel, footage from the concert, and some great behind the scenes footage that takes you backstage (and under it as well)!  In the interview, Gabriel talks about the stage set-up, the concepts, and the band. There aren't any major revelations about the tour or the Us album discussed, but it was interesting to watch just the same.

"Quiet Steam" Gallery
This bonus feature is a montage of photos from the Secret World Tour. It includes the "Quiet Steam" remix of "Steam" playing in the background. The remix was included on the original "Steam" CD single, but its nice to see that the effort was made to incorporate a somewhat rare, non-album track for the fans who might not already have it.

Growing Up Live 2002/03
This is a short teaser for the Growing Up Tour. It features an interview with Gabriel about the stage concepts, the band, and so on. It has some cool slips from the 2002/03 tour, which serves as a nice introduction to the Growing Up Live DVD which came some time later. Like the Time Lapse footage, this isn't something you'll watch over and over again. I did, however, enjoy showing this to people to demonstrate to them what they missed by not buying tickets when the show came to town in 2002.

PACKAGING:

No corners were cut here! A beautiful 14-page full-color booklet accompanies this release. The booklet is filled with pictures from the tour and tour/personnel information. A very nice addition to the package!

THE COMPATIBILITY ISSUE:

I was surprised to see that the U.S. version of Secret World Live is an all-code/Region 0 NTSC DVD. This means if you live in a country that can play the NTSC video format, the U.S. version will play on your home system. It will, of course, also play on your personal computer if you have a DVD-Rom drive regardless of the country you live in.

MY CONCLUSION:

Overall, I was impressed with the DVD reissue of Secret World Live. The record company could have easily transferred this video to DVD with no extras, and I'm sure no one would have complained. Granted, some of the extras are not necessarily worth revisiting again and again, I still think they are worth owning for the most part. I would have enjoyed a commentary track by Peter Gabriel and Robert Lepage, but all things considered, this reissue does not disappoint. This was a great first DVD release for Peter Gabriel, and I look forward to many more to come!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER PETER GABRIEL'S SECRET WORLD LIVE DVD (NTSC)!

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