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4.0 out of 5 stars
Secret World Live (Blu-ray)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is a great concert film. Shot on 16mm film (as per PG's web site) this film has been transferred from those negatives. The sound is nothing short of phenomenal. The show it's self mostly drawn from his then current album Us. The set does go back to great tracks like San Jacinto and Solsbury Hill from his earlier records. His band as always is top notch. Tony Levin is here on bass and Manu Katchie (not sure if that is spelt right) on drums for what would be his last tour with Gabriel. In fact it would be ten and a bit years after this before we got a new album from Gabriel (not counting Ovo). He has a then almost unknown Paula Cole on backing vocals and David Rhodes on guitar.
As for the grain/bad picture argument. This was shot on film but as I said 16mm so as with Monterey Pop or the recently released Hendrix plays Berkeley you have to expect a little bit of grain. Yes some directors do use grain to give the film a look. Like David Mallet using it on David Gilmour's "Remember That Night" so it could be either here. The 16mm used here I am sure is a lot better then the film used in the late 60's. I am just glad it was not shot on Video like so many other concert films of that period are. The transfer is much better then the laser disc, VHS or the DVD. Looks great on a HD TV.
This would easily go down as one of my top 10 Favorite concert films and I do have a very large collection (around the 300 mark) to compare it to. I am really happy to see this finally come out. Up till now on Blu ray there has only been New Blood with an orchestra. Which depending on witch fans you talk to either worked or didn't do anything for them at all. Now if they could get around to releasing POV from the So tour that would be great. With the So back to front tour starting in September and So being rereleased in a number of versions plus a classic album feature on it maybe we will see it in Septembet. This should keep me more then happy until then.
If you are not familiar with Mr. Gabriel's work you should check it out. In my opinion he is one of the great music visionaries of our time. Along with Trent Reznor, Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson and Tom Waits to just name check a few, I am not guaranteeing you will like it but if you love music it will at least keep you interested. If I could suggest two CD's I would say Gabriel 3 (the one were his face looks like a melting painting on the front) and Passion (The Last Temptation of Christ soundtrack) would be a good place for the brave at heart to start. If you like his more main stream stuff pick up So or Us which are brilliant records as well!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2004
Peter Gabrial: Vocals, piano, harmonica, tamborine and paddle Tony Levin: Bass, piano, tamborine and vocals David Rhodes: Guitar and vocals Shankar: Violin, tamborine and vocals Paula Cole: Vocals Levon Minassen: Doudouk Jean Claude Naimo: Synthesizers, piano, organ and vocals Manu Catche: Drums, tamborine and vocals
Whilst I dont have the DVD I have the video which has a fine transfer and no dubbing so this review is based mainly on that. This is very good. The band play well and Peter shows his abilities as a dancer and actor (the visuals in themselves are amazing). Peters vocals are as strong as ever and the compositions (all as always written or cowritten by Gabriel are all great. Forget Phil Collins Live, for the ultimate live music expieriance watch a Peter Gabriel concert.
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on January 3, 2004
I like concert videos and I have both DVD and VCR versions of this. I am glad I read these reviews because I learned that the sound is much improved if you change it from the default DTS to Dolby 2.0 (unless you're using DTS in which case never mind).
There have been some changes made for the DVD and not all for the better. I think some of the "grainy" complaints are because the filmmaker has chosen to add closeups which weren't really there... i.e. picking a small portion of the frame and blowing it up to make it a close up and naturally that makes those shots a bit grainy. Some of the choice of shots is a bit disappointing in comparison with the original and there's a bit more of the MTV jerkiness (in every sense of the word) about camera mix in a couple of numbers. You get grainy close-ups and disconcerting cross-cuts at the expense of the wider views that show you what's actually going on. OTOH there's also a few places where the choices of shot are better than the original - patriculary giving a little more prominence to the fabulous Manu Katche (sp?) in the opening number.
That stated, this is still absolutely the best concert video bar none that I own or have owned. House of Yes comes quite close also 90125 - but that was rather more than a concert video anyway.
I've always liked PG's music without ever being a real fan but this is an almost perfect mix of styles and theatrics and special effects.
Yes it's highly choreographed - that's the show he's putting on. You don't go to a ballet and complain because it's too choreographed and the same complaint is just as out of place here. The musicians are all phenomenal, the show is wonderful and imaginative, it's long but never gets boring. Every song has its own identity both musically and visually. The musicians, even while they're following their choregraphed movements, are plainly enjoying themselves - and the music - and even the slight campiness of putting movement to the music; enjoying themselves enormously.
When I watch this video, and I do often, I get a gut sadness that I wasn't at the show to experience it live and a real joy at the recorded experience I AM getting. The very best music can bring up emotions and touch you very personally and this is the very best.
I love this video.
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on December 6, 2003
This concert is excellent, Peter Gabriel puts on a terrific show with an excellent support band and gorgeous vocalist Paula Cole.
The music in this DVD is mostly taken from the "US" album ("Come Talk to me","Steam", "Blood of Eden","Secret World" "Kiss that Frog" "Washing of the Water" and ) which is a great album.
The high points of this concert are indeed from it : "Come talk to me" and "Secret World". The greatest hits are included too: "Sledge Hammer", "Don't give up", "Solsbury Hill" and the other highlight in this DVD : "In your eyes".
Peter Gabriel and the Band put a great show that manages funny, sharp, dramatic, goofy AND very cool. Sound quality is excellent though I only listened to it in a low end 2.0 system. The video transfer is poor - as in grainy - but totally watchable because of the great show. The extras are not nearly as interesting :
a)Slow Steam Photo Gallery has very nice pics but Steam should have never been slowed down.
b)Concert Set-up Timelapse : Once you've seen a concert timelapse you've seen them all and this one has no music to it so it's quite dull
c)The "behind the scenes" is barely insightful or interesting but you would miss it if it hadn't been included.
d)The film "taster" of Growing Up is just that.
The show and music are great so this DVD is a must-have in any collection.
4 stars out of 5 because of the grainy transfer and poor extras.
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on December 5, 2003
I own a high end home theatre system (sony XBR CRT display, lexicon processor, B&W 7.1) and I am a professional in television so I feel qualified to comment on the technical quality of this disc.
Other reviews have noted the graniness of the film; the concert was recorded on film, not tape, and there's a lot of classic Gabriel moody lighting so maybe this accounts for the abnormally high graininess. It's certainly not unacceptable but is, admittedly, a little coarse.
The DTS mix is not up to speed...I find it too compressed and shrill lacking sufficient depth and bass, in particular. The imaging is pretty weak too.
The camerawork is frustrating at times, cutting off the arms of (virtuoso drummer/percusionist) Manu Katche. There is some gawdawful lip-syncing too which really removes the viewer from the illusion that you're watching a live performance.
My biggest complaint is that the show is self-conciously choreographed to the point that there's not a single moment that has any spontenaity. As with all Gabriel shows, there are some fabulous lighting effects and smart use of props but the show is far too restrained and Gabriel looks rather stiff as he swings around the stage trying to look free and improvised but obviously following rigorously well-rehearsed steps.
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on November 14, 2003
Looking over the various reviews for this DVD its easy to conclude that people are largely divided on whether to review the concert, or the DVD. For those who have never seen this performance before, and who will be considering this purchase because this is the version of the conccert that is easy to buy, consider this... no one would be this upset about the quality of the DVD compared to the VHS tape or the laser disc if they were not first and foremost passionate about the quality of this performance. There are simply no better concert films available. The energy of the performance, the concepts of the staging, and the quality of the band mean there are no better film records of a live music show available. There may be others that are in the same league, Talking Heads "Stop Making Sense" for example, but this is definately in the top tier. Now, having written that, its staggering how badly the transfer to DVD was butchered. Yes, a high end DVD player should be able to sharpen the image enough so that there are no artificats, but at the end of the day, the picture quality is simply inferior to what was available on tape. The audio mix IS slightly different than it was on the original release. This is as often pleasing as it is frustrating, and will boil down to a matter of taste for previous fans of this show. I found some changes to be in poor taste, others gave me a sense of renewed discovery. Still, at the end of the day, there are only a handful of changes to have an opinion about. One more important note. The bass is completely audible. As one reviewer notes below, it is important to understand how the menu on this disc is configured. If you have a two speaker stereo setup, be sure to select the stereo mix, otherwise all the bass information will be sent to a non existant sub woofer. That's probably the issue that aflicted the reviewers who note an absence of bass. So, to sum up... if you are considering this perfomance for the first time... do not hesitate. The live energy of the show, and the conceptual cleverness of the staging and art design, not to mention the chance to catch glimpses of drummer Many Katche and Bassist Tony Levin in flight along with the rest of the band make this a must see. After you buy it, if you find that you are one of the people that this show can work its magic on so much that you find yourself returning to it again and again... consider UPGRADING to the VHS tape! As a final note for everyone here... send an email to Real World asking / demanding they make a new transfer to DVD.
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on October 27, 2003
I've read the reviews and can understand the frustrations expressed. I've heard complaints about video quality. While the quality could have been better, it could have been much worse. There may be other issues with video but I didn't have them. I suspect those with large screen TVs will notice a bit of graininess as I did detect some when examining the picture closely.
I wanted to discuss the audio. It should be noted that this DVD has three different audio tracks. Dolby 2.0, Dolby 5.1 and DTS. When I originally popped in the DVD I paid no attention to selecting what audio track I wanted. I figured my DVD player would select the appropriate track. During the playback I was extremely disappointed at the lack of 'depth' and bass in the recording.
When reading reviews of a couple people saying the bass was great, I went into 'audio setup' to see what it was set at. Lo and behold the default was set to **DTS** when I just have a basic 2 speaker setup. Switching the audio to Dolby 2.0 made a significant difference in the audio quality and brought back bass quality to the recording. It's not quite as strong as it was on VHS, but it's still quite decent.
So if you do get (or have) this DVD, use the audio setup from the main menu if you're not using a DTS receiver. If you have two speakers, choose Dolby 2.0 - only use Dolby 5.1 mode if you have that setup (6 speakers) and only use DTS if you have a DTS receiver. Make sure your audio is set BEFORE you play this disc!
I won't dwell too much on the issue of overdubs. I would have wished that Peter didn't overlay new audio over old. It's not so much that destroys the audio (it doesn't) but moreso that this was a show in it's own time. Like a glimpse into the past, it's meant to be seen and heard as it occurred.
Nevertheless, it's an outstanding show. I agree with others in that it plays more like a performance and not a simple concert. I consider this a must buy for any Peter Gabriel fan, as well as anyone who appreciates music of this genre.
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on September 14, 2003
I was first introduced to Peter Gabriel's live shows on his 2002/2003 "Growing Up" tour, being too young to have caught him on his previous tours 10 years earlier. His concerts are fantastic, combining art, music, and theatrics (and often acrobatics). "Secret World Live" was his 1994 concert in support of his "Us" album, and is one of the finest concert films ever released. The DVD release is great, save for some technical problems.
The highlight of the concert were "Come Talk To Me", which has Gabriel emerging from a phone booth and he inches towards backing vocalist Paula Cole, "Solsbury Hill" (a classic!), and "Shaking The Tree". Most, if not all, of the songs are book-ended by African vocals and tribal beats. It is beautiful how they meshed together the songs. With strong musicians (his longtime bassist Tony Levin especially) and backing vocals from Paula Cole (who has had some fleeting success in the mid-90s as a solo artist) and Shankar on violin and vocals makes the sound well rounded and pleasing to the ears. Gabriel himself is always an energetic and spirited presence, dressed like Han Solo and doing his odd dances and mimes throughout the show.
While the concert is fantastic, the DVD release has a few problems with the picture and sound. The picture is grainy at times, which would be most noticeable to people with big screen, plasma, or projection television sets. While the DVD boasts "Re-Mixed and Re-Mastered", but it appears that the source material was a bit frayed. The picture is not horrible, but it could be much better, considering the capabilities of the DVD format. The sound is mostly well mastered, but there are times when the backing vocals are muted, making them almost indistinct. The bass also fades out on occasion, but this is less noticeable and therefore less of an inconvenience. These are not serious problems that would prevent me from recommending the DVD, but DVD purists would definitely find things to complaint about.
The supplements are nothing spectacular. There is an insubstantial "Making Of" featurette, which is good for a one-off viewing. There is also a nice promo for Gabriel's ":Growing Up" tour, where he goes into detail about the setup of his new concerts, including the giant hamster bubble that anyone who has seen his recent concerts loves. My favorite supplement, though I don't know why, is the time-lapse of a concert in Berlin, Germany. Over the course if a minute, we see the stages being set up in an empty arena, the full concert, and everything being dismantled, packed up, and shipped out. It is a lot of fun.
"Secret World Live" is a fantastic concert film that cannot be ruined, even by a sub-standard video transfer and iffy sound quality. It contains some of his best music during one of his best concerts. Highly recommended.
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on August 7, 2003
I'm very careful about the DVD's I buy, but I wish to god I could return this one. A total waste of money.
I've long felt that Peter Gabriel's albums are so overproduced that they lose any sense of real musicianship, but his live albums reveal just how good his musicians are without all the studio tricks. Characteristically, though, his "live" recordings are still prone to what he calls "cheating," meaning lots of overdubs.
I have my doubts that any of the vocals on this DVD were actually performed live in any concert setting. It's not unusual for concert films to be culled from several performances, but you have to really search for evidence of it in Talking Heads' amazing Stop Making Sense. Here, there seems to be no concern for what makes live performance lifelike. The fact that at one point all the musicians leave the stage and the music keeps playing pretty much says it all. Why does he even bother bringing them along?
The visuals in this concert are artful and well mounted and, in most cases, smartly filmed. There is one sequence (Digging In The Dirt) which is most obviously not a live performance, but in some ways it's the most honest part of this film. This is not a record of anything that ever existed in real time--it's a poorly refined addendum to what must have been an extraordinary event.
I've owned the audio cd of this show for several years. It's wonderfully produced, allowing for studio overdubs, but the mix on this DVD is apalling and completely unprofessional. I've listened to it in both 2.0 and 5.0 and find it totally mystifying. The volume keeps shifting, usually dropping out every time the vocals come in, meaning there's a continuous volume differentiation that is maddening.
My tenuous respect for Peter Gabriel has fallen by the wayside. Rent this falsified document if you must, but don't bother adding it to your library.
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Well, first, I am a huge Peter Gabriel fan. I have been watching the Secret World on VHS for about 9 years and think it is the most amazing rock concert one could hope to see. Saw Gabriel live last November and I like this video better. Now, I have been blessed with the DVD. Second, I am not a videophile or audiophile. Still, I enjoy a good picture and good sound. I played this on the DTS audio track on my Yamaha home amp and JVC flat screen TV. I thought the picture was great and the audio track was awesome. I often heard very strong bass coming from Tony Levin and do not have a subwoofer. I commented at the outset that the sync was very good and noticed how often the lips and vocals seemed together. Now, maybe there are a few places where this is not the case. But, third, I don't watch a video to see how many mistakes I can find. Sitback, relax....watch and listen. This is amazing music from a man who has been and is one of the most creative musical minds around. When I have a lot of time on my hands, I might do a side by side comparison with the VHS, but not for now. If you like Peter Gabriel more than a little bit, then get this.
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