Title - 'Live Blood' (Eagle Rock)
Artist - Peter Gabriel
After the crowd's applause dies down, the orchestra gently comes to the fore as they bring us the first song off the double album, 'Intruder,' a song whose lyrics are simply shocking - "slipping the clippers through the telephone wire" - given their reality-based, happens all the time in our society subject matter. "I wouldn't clap for too long or I'll do it again," he jokes, before the crystal clear live recording continues onwards with the older track 'Wallflower.' A track from his Scratch My Back album that Gabriel was involved in is next; a stunningly-quiet version of Paul Simon's 'The Boy in the Bubble.' Before the Regina Spektor culled 'Apres Moi' and the delicious 'The Drop.'
We then get an incredible live version of 'Washing of the Water', before one final pull from Scratch, 'The Book of Love.' The slow,, mellow, thoughtful first CD continues with 'Darkness,' before the interesting arrangement of 'The Power of the Heart' ("This is actually how Lou Reed proposed to Lori Anderson") is performed. And then comes a song they had never sung live before with strings, the newly-arranged 'Biko,' before the first disc is rounded off with the piano-infused 'San Jacinto'.
A gentle orchestral sway-bounce opens into a brilliant duet on 'Digging in the Dirt,' before the 46-piece New Blood Orchestra step their game up for the incredible 'Signal to Noise.' After introducing the New Blood Orchestra, the duet 'Downside Up' is backed by one of the stand-out tracks included on this fine album, 'Mercy Street.' Composed now with beautiful tubular bells-inspired orchestral sounds and pitch perfect resonating vocals, the songs soars in its depth.
After reading Carl Jung books, Gabriel then informs us that the origins of 'The Rhythm of the Heat' originated from those very same readings. After introducing his on stage band that fronts the New Blood Orchestra, he introduces the love song, the beautiful 'Blood of Eden.' Recorded at the beautifully simple and iconic Hammersmith Apollo in London in March of last year, the acoustics add a vibrant flow to one of the most anticipated songs of the evening, 'Red Rain.'
It's now about the time that the audience call out for songs to be sung, which is a shame as it breaks up the beauty of this album. But, as Gabriel progresses ever onwards with his reimagined, and it has to be said awe-inspiring orchestral arrangements, he introduces all the soloists and we next get a quietly pulsating 'Solsbury Hill.' After thanking the baying audience multiple times, Gabriel's orchestra heads down the musical road less traveled before breaking into 'In Your Eyes,' with special guest Samara Lubelski.
A haunting Marcia Bassett-infused 'Don't Give Up' then leads us into the last song of the long night, the ethereal instrumental track 'The Nest that Sailed the Sky.' A song that brings this to a close in fine style, the entire 2CD recording shows us the veteran Peter Gabriel as a man who has, once again, outdone himself. These new, beautiful orchestral arrangements of songs with his New Blood Orchestra are of the highest sound quality and means that this is a highly recommended live recording of his work - even if 'Sledgehammer' is nowhere to be seen!