"Unwrapping the elusive Peter Gabriel" - Peter Gabriel: Still Growing Up Live & Unwrapped DVD reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

I admit that I was not very impressed by the Growing Up DVD which Peter released last year, especially when it became known that parts of it had been re-dubbed! "Is it live or is it Memorex?" became the question of the day. It did not help either, I suppose when you remember that I was not thrilled by the 2003 show itself, which I found too slick and predictable; something that Peter's performances could never be accused of in the past!

So, with the appearance of this new DVD I did wonder if I was merely in for a further helping of the same. My curiosity was piqued, however, by the simple fact that this new release was filmed on the 2004 tour including the very gig in Liverpool which I attended and so this was a "must see" for that reason alone. Was it worth it? We shall see…

This release is a two disc set with the first disc focussing on the actual live presentation itself. Taken from footage filmed at several of the European 2004 gigs, the presentation was basically a truncated rendition of the show but with the emphasis on the tracks which had not appeared on the previous DVD. Visually it was very much a straight performance but the camerawork cunningly interwove footage from the various venues on the tour into a clever pastiche which did not become in the slightest intrusive. In fact, I was glued to the screen waiting for glimpses of the show I attended although fortunately for other viewers, I was too far away from the cameras on the day to be seen! With the focus being solely on the music this time around thanks to the size and location of some of the venues used on the tour, the visuals were reduced commensurately and to my mind, this made for a much better show at the time and some of the best effects were still among the simplest; the mirror reflecting the "line" of light during San Jacinto and the clenched fist salute during Biko are still amazingly effective even after all these years!

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The second disc took a closer look behind the scenes of the tour although much of the live footage was essentially repeated from the previous disc interspliced with all too brief interview segments with Peter and the various other band members. There were some useful insights but their brevity spoiled what was otherwise an excellent opportunity for Peter to reveal his musical ideas. The accompanying "Big Room" rehearsal footage and the performances from the Jools Holland show were a nice touch and rounded off the disc in fine style.

Over all, I was impressed. The live show was captured faithfully and in all essential aspects was left untampered with. The interviews, although brief were nevertheless insightful and on occasions amusing too and with the other bonus features that were included they made an entirely enjoyable package - well done to all concerned!