Peter Gabriel has more “quirky” songs that have gone mainstream than perhaps any musician, highlighted by “Sledgehammer,” and his movie-soundtrack work has ingratiated him with multiple generations (“In Your Eyes” from Say Anything, and “Love Town” from Philadelphia). Yet it’s Gabriel’s desire to try new things, be it unique topics, innovative sounds or, in the case of his newest recoded concert, cutting-edge technology, that have helped him stand apart as a solo artist since breaking from Genesis in the 1980s. Peter Gabriel: New Blood – Live in London was filmed entirely in 3D, a relatively new approach when it was recorded, but it was executed so well that it’s frankly one of the best Blu-ray 3D presentations I’ve seen. The fact that the outstanding effects come hand-in-hand with a great concert is just gravy.
Whoever filmed Peter Gabriel: New Blood Live in London knew damn well what they were doing, even if the concert was recorded before some of the more high-profile Blu-ray 3D feature films that have crossed my desk. Between the camera angles, the positioning of Gabriel and the orchestra, and the way the instruments themselves were filmed, every single shot in this concert was composed with 3D in mind. The video transfer itself also has great clarity and crispness, with an impressive range of colors that shows off both the stage light and the concert’s post-production work for Blu-ray. At times the shots of the conductor seem a bit forced, at least from a 3D standpoint, but the other macro and distance shots are almost universally sweet. Only very occasionally are there instances of crosstalk in the extreme foreground, but it’s so subtle, sporadic and only on the bottom corners that you really have to be looking for crosstalk to notice it.
The concert runs a total of two hours and nine minutes, which to people unfamiliar with the singer’s latest work may seem like a lot of Peter Gabriel. This isn’t helped by the fact that the concert starts slowly, to the point that the 3D effects and the stage’s video-wall backdrops are what keep you going for the first hour. Once you hit the 55-minute mark, Gabriel starts to find his groove on stage and the sets get even more creative, thus amping-up the whole production.
I say “even more creative,” because the set for Peter Gabriel: New Blood – Live in London is top-notch from the very beginning, even if it does appear somewhat Spartan at the outset. The stage seems simple enough, with an orchestra in the middle, a video wall in the background and top foreground, and Gabriel situated right in front of the orchestra. But what the producers achieve with the video walls, both from a “movie” standpoint and a “motion” standpoint (the walls move) is nothing short of awesome. The stage also makes nice use of dynamic lighting, industrial-looking displays and animation-filled backdrops, all of which really pop with the crisp video and 3D effects.
On several songs, the post-production crew added some 3D words and icons that float around the screen to coincide with the on-stage video displays. This effect is most pronounced (and impressive) on the song “The Book of Love,” but each time it’s used it will almost assuredly bring a smile to the face of 3D-at-home aficionados. It did to mine.
Some of the videos they use on the displays are bold and aggressive, and they’re coupled with outstanding post-production visual effects. Some examples include when a man using a Sharpie has his art superimposed over Gabriel’s face, when maggots crawling over one another are superimposed above the stage, or when the background vocalists are hitting high notes and equalizer-like bar charts emanate from their bodies in 3D. In each case, your brain can barely handle the creative blast. It’s simply phenomenal. The only visual miscue in my opinion was one song when the picture goes black-and-white, which doesn’t do the stage or 3D effects justice. There’s plenty of artistic quality in this presentation without going all pre-Oz grayscale on it; they should’ve just stuck with the all-color version for the entire concert.
But that’s literally the only miscue, other than the slow start. Peter Gabriel: New Blood – Live in London has great DTS-HD Master Audio, the New Blood orchestra on stage is an amazing touch, and haunting background vocals just blow right through you. Without question, this is the best concert I’ve ever seen on Blu-ray, and it’s among the best Blu-ray 3D presentations I’ve experienced in the past two years.
Click this link to check the film’s prices on Amazon.com: Peter Gabriel: New Blood – Live in London 3D [Blu-Ray / DVD Combo].