Peter Gabriel - “Point of View - Live In Athens” video reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

Well, at long last, Peter’s live video has been released. The footage was shot during Peter’s European tour in 1987 at a show that he performed in Athens. As a live video this one is hard to beat. In fact, I would go so far as to nominate it as my video of the decade! Watching it makes it easy to understand why it has taken so long to be released. This is no ordinary video, it is drama of the highest calibre too.

The video begins with This Is The Picture and includes some excellent shots of the open air amphitheatre where the concert was filmed. This rapidly moves into the breathtaking drama of San Jacinto during which Peter is framed from time to time with an effect of rippling water and smoke along with shots of the Hopi Indians’ rain dance figure; “red paint, eagle feathers…” coupled with other images of Indian life in the USA making it even more poignant than its vinyl counterpart.

Next up are Shock The Monkey and Games Without Frontiers both of which make good use of home video and film footage to get a message across. Escpecially vivid are the images of wear during Games… Throughout the video it is evident that Peter is enjoying this added mode of communication and it is as a communicator that he has made his reputation.

These are followed by No Self Control, Mercy Street and Sledgehammer all of which are accompanied by the variety of images but which are most powerful for the sheer strength of the performance. Solsbury Hill follows to rapturous applause from the audience and a brilliant performance by the band. Fotunately the video also includes the real highlight of a Peter Gabriel show : lay Your Hands On Me which almost had me as deeply enthralled as I would have been had I been at the show. Excellent camerawork captures the emotion of Peter’s “dive” into the audience and their reactions perfectly.

There follows another excellent example of how a song/video can convey a VERY important message: Don’t Give Up definitely the social commentary song of the 1980’s is given added meaning by skilful addition of film footage of the 1929 Great Depression and images of more recent crises, giving the song an added strength previously unsuspected.

In Your Eyes and Biko round off the video and the latter has gained enormously from the added use of film footage of the situation in South Africa, always a powerful song; it transcends the medium to convey perhaps the most powerful message of man’s inhumanity to man.

At just over 85 minutes, perhaps the only criticism of this video is that it is not long enough, but what there is certainly will be enjoyed and more importantly, thought about by all fans of Peter’s and fans of good music in general.