“Saw it on the TV” - A look at some of the more recent bootleg compilations and other footage by Alan Hewitt.

This collecting lark never seems to end. Gradually, bit by bit, collectors are beginning to amass compilations of the various TV appearances that the band and the solo members have made over the years. Peter Gabriel has been the subject of two more compilations which have come into the archive recently and I shall start this feature by looking at the pair of them.

Beginning with the curiously titled, Waiting For Work. This is another of the increasing number of compilations which have been put together by fans from their own archives. It mixes the old and the new and there are even a few bits and pieces which I had never seen before not least the performance of Red rain by Peter with REM and Alanis Morissette. Sadly the so-called “Original video” for Solsbury Hill is nothing of the sort but the version made for Shaking the Tree compilation in 1989. That disappointment aside though, this is a nicely put together compilation and easily of interest to collectors of Peter’s TV output.

This is followed by the more appropriately titled, Collection 1976 -1980 which is another interesting collection of oddments from the period. There is some duplication of material from previous releases but the collection is worthwhile for the 8mm footage from various gigs some of which is new to the TWR archive. Quality varies quite substantially as you would expect and this compilation is more for the serious collector of Peter’s material rather than the casual fan.

Of more recent vintage are several archival live recordings by Peter beginning with a complete film of his gig at the Sportshalle Cologne on 19th June 1987 during the height of the So tour. This is a superior quality film of the gig which manages to capture the spontaneity and drama of the gigs on this tour. The camera work is excellent throughout although the problem of heads in the way might spoil this one for some people. Sound quality is excellent throughout though.

Moving on to the US tour and another complete recording from one of Peter’s appearances at the various WOMAD events this one pretty close to where it all began back in 1982 with a show at the St Austell Coliseum on 30th August 1993. With a running time of a mere 89 minutes, I am not sure if this is the entire gig although as part of a WOMAD event, Peter’s sets would, of necessity be shorter. Either way, what we have here is another enjoyable souvenir from the 1993 tour. Once again, the camerawork is spoiled somewhat by heads but the cameraman/woman must have been quite close to the stage because the footage, when not obscured, is very good and once again, sound is excellent throughout.

Finally another recording of one of the gigs that Peter performed in 2007, this one from another WOMAD event this time at Charlton Park, Malmesbury on 27th July 2007. The two films from this tour which have already been reviewed in an earlier edition of TWR effectively tell the story of this tour. Sadly, the recording here, although of equally good quality is a mere 39 minutes in length due to the taper having problems with their camera - shame! For serious collectors only this one.

Genesis too, have been represented with a few more interesting releases. Without doubt the most fascinating of these is “The Story Of Albert Day Two” which, as its title suggests is the film of the band’s second night at the Lyceum Ballrooms in London on 7th May 1980. It was rumoured for many years that both nights at this venue had been sound and film recorded by the BBC but the film of the second night only ever appeared in truncated form when broadcast by the BBC’s Whistle Test programme. The film now in the archive is shot from Tony Bank’s side of the stage and is one of the multi cams which were subsequently diffused to make the final broadcast. Sadly once again, most of Ripples is missing which is obviously where the VT operators had to change tape/film during the filming process. However, this is compensated for by the presence of The Knife as the final encore. The story concerning the fact that this film had been damaged in the BBC archives appears to be true because from the instrumental section of Ripples onwards, the film suffers from an increasing problem with the tracking which spoils the viewing pleasure somewhat. Nonetheless, the mere existence of the film is enough cause for celebration in its own right.

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The Story of Albert Day Two: Lyceum Ballrooms 7/5/80. Running Time: 140 Minutes.

The 2007 tour continues to turn up nice items and two have recently appeared which are definitely worth a look. The first is another complete recording of one of the gigs from the European leg of the tour. This one is from the band’s Paris gig on 30th June. Once again, the taper has done a fine job on this one. Sound and vision are excellent throughout and this is definitely a nice souvenir for anyone who was actually at this gig.

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Because Tonight…. Parc Des Princes Paris 30/6/07. Running Time: 147 Minutes.

Next in this round up is an unusual item under the title “Circo Massimo - The Day Before” which is a compilation of TV clips covering the lead up to the band’s final show at this massive arena. An unusual collection this one, featuring very little of Genesis themselves apart from a couple of TV interviews. The rest is made up of irritating waffle from a variety of Italian presenters which tries the patience enormously after a few minutes’ viewing!

Genesis ; Circo Massimo The Day Before. Running Time 55 Minutes.

It’s amazing these days, you go to a gig and in a matter of weeks, you can have either a CD or a DVD recording of it available. Even so, I was surprised at the speed with which the next recording became available. I had no doubts that Steve’s recent run of gigs in Italy would have been bootlegged and sure enough, the first one is now in my possession!

The show is filmed from the rear stand with superb sound and mainly excellent visuals throughout apart from the odd head from time to time. Capturing the first gig of the tour also ensured that the usual technical first night technical glitches are there too especially Gary’s problems with his vocal mic during Firth Of Fifth although Steve too makes at least one gaffe which he wryly acknowledges at one point. Visually too, this is an extremely enjoyable item even if the taper seems somewhat reluctant to focus on Mr Beggs for any length of time (can’t think why!) . Yet another essential item to any visual archive of Steve’s career.

Steve Hackett: Vaillant Palace Genoa 12/3/09. Running Time 100 Minutes.

The same astonishment surrounds the arrival of the latest item to chronicle Peter’s career. With only a handful of shows in South America so far this year, it was great to have a short but professionally shot film of part of one of them arrive in the archive.

With the emphasis on the older material once again the TV company appears to have focussed on the “hits” element of Peter’s output. Not that there is anything wrong with having performances of Solsbury Hill, Sledgehammer and Big Time for our visual delectation once again, but it would have been nice to have some of the other older material that was being performed probably for the last time at these gigs. Nevertheless, another nice item for collectors.

Peter Gabriel: Buenos Aires 22/3/09. Running Time: 39 Minutes.