"Joining the MUPPET Show" - The recent series of Peter Gabriel Bootlegs reviewed by Alan Hewitt

Well, this issue of TWR seems to be "Bootleg Central" there has been a veritable flood of new and not so new recordings coming online recently and so I thought it about time we looked at some of the more interesting ones and the series of features in this issue does just that.

With the unlikely title of MUPPET (and I am still not sure exactly what that acronym stands for, folks!) this is a series which focuses on the solo career of Peter Gabriel.

MUPPET 01/05: Chicago 10th July 1993.

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This is an excellent sound board recording of Peter's gig from the 1993 "Secret World" tour. Originally an incomplete version was released as MUPPET 01 and replaced when a complete version MUPPET05 was issued.

Capturing Peter and the band in superb form this is a complete unedited "Secret World" tour document which brings another excellent live document to the fans - excellent stuff!

Disc One: Come Talk To Me/Steam/Games Without Frontiers/Across the River/Slow Marimbas/Digging In the Dirt/Blood Of Eden/San Jacinto.

Disc Two: Shock The Monkey/Washing Of The Water/Solsbury Hill/Digging In The Dirt/Sledgehammer/Secret World/In Your Eyes/Biko.

MUPPET 02: Glasgow Apollo Theatre 12th September 1983.

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Peter's Plays Live album is the official live document from the 1983 tour. However, as technically excellent as that recording is, there is something missing from it: ATMOSPHERE. Peter's gigs on that tour were exhilarating experiences, as I am sure anyone who attended them can tell you. This second release in the series manages to capture both a band on top of their game but also an audience that wants to PARTY! Glasgow has always been a great place for live gigs and this superb recording certainly shows why! Capturing the entire gig in excellent sound, this is a delightful addition to any Gabriel collection!

Disc One: Rhythm Of The Heat/I Have The Touch/And Through the Wire/The Family & The Fishing Net/ Shock The Monkey/Family Snapshot/Intruder/Games Without Frontiers/Humdrum/DIY/Lay Your Hands. On Me.

Disc Two: Solsbury Hill/I Don't Remember/San Jacinto/On The Air/Biko/Here Comes The Flood/Kiss Of Life.

MUPPET 03: Oakland Coliseum December 14th 2002.

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The next release brings us up to date with another excellent recording from Peter's "Growing Up" Us tour of 2002. I freely admit that I am not a big fan of Peter's latest album , but there is no doubt that his material always gains something in the live translation and the new album is no exception. Captured here is another excellent recording from one of these gigs.

Disc One: Here Comes The Flood/Darkness/Red Rain/Secret World/Sky Blue/Downside Up/The Barry Williams Show/More Than This/Mercy Street/Digging In The Dirt.

Disc Two: Growing Up/Animal Nation/Solsbury Hill/Sledgehammer/I Grieve/In Your Eyes/Shock The Monkey/Father To Son.

MUPPET 04: Showering Pavilion Shepton Mallet 16th and 18th July 1982.

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Ah, the memories! I was one of the lucky attendees at both of these gigs; the progenitors of the now highly successful WOMAD Festival. Peter's performances on both nights were electrifying and they are magnificently captured here in their entirety for your aural pleasure. A key live document and an essential addition to any collection!

Disc One: San Jacinto/The Family & The Fishing Net/I have The Touch/Lay Your Hands On Me/Shock The Monkey/I Go Swimming/Rhythm Of The Heat/Shosholosa/Kiss Of Life/Biko.

Disc Two: Across The River/A Ritual Mask /IndianMelody/Dog1/Dog 2/Dog3.

With further releases in the series already planned, this is an excellent project and one which all Peter Gabriel fans will enjoy - I did!