“Revisiting The Secret World” - Peter Gabriel’s Secret World DVD re-issue examined by Alan Hewitt.

Am I getting old? (Yes; you’re fifty and now you‘re talking to yourself!). Am I getting cynical? (No, you have always been cynical). Ok with those facts about myself established here we are examining yet another re-issue from the Genesis solo artists stable.

I do find it strange that for a man who has eschewed so much of his past as Peter has, that of late he has indulged himself in so much navel gazing. OK, the New Blood and Scratch My Back projects did bring something new to the table in terms of a definite re-evaluation of his previous solo work and he is currently out on the road celebrating the 25th anniversary of the So album although why that album should merit such treatment whilst the fortieth anniversaries of such seminal works as Foxtrot, Selling England… and The Lamb… went by unremarked is beyond me, and I suspect a great many Gabriel/Genesis fans!

Remastering an album that may have been victim to the poor production values of a previous generation is one thing but the sudden trend to remaster music videos does make me wonder is this a bona fide article or yet another cash cow for the record company to milk dry? Especially when like myself, you may have already purchased this item on VHS (remember them?) and then again on DVD. Now we are presented with it yet again on DVD and the new fangled Blu Ray which a technical Luddite like myself has as yet refrained from investigating. Is this really necessary?

Well, purely from a visual point of view, I have to say that in this case the answer is a definite yes. Anyone who has the original version of this concert will remember that visually it was extremely disappointing. Just comparing the opening track on it with the new version will clearly reveal the disparity in quality between the two. Why this was the case is anyone’s guess especially given Peter’s penchant for using state of the art technology. The performance is as stunning as ever and anyone who attended any of the shows on this tour will tell you that Peter was probably at his performing peak at this time.

That said, is there anything else of real merit behind this re-issue apart from better picture quality? With the bare bones of the concert remaining intact then the simple answer is no. All the so-called “bonus” features which appeared on the original DVD re-issue are here present and correct. The interviews appear to have been slightly extended if the running times of 105 (original DVD) minutes and 135 (Re-issue) minutes are any indication but not by enough to make this of real merit. The inclusion of Red Rain begs the question why this wasn’t released as part of the original VHS/DVD as time constraints don’t appear to have been an issue in either case? And its appearance as an appendage is irritating in the extreme. The inclusion of The Rhythm Of The Heat from the recently released New Blood Live In London DVD is singularly uninspired especially when fans have already purchased that self same DVD!

If this had been a seminal film I would have understood the need to restore it. This is not the case here sadly, and although the film has visually undoubtedly benefited from the work done on it, this release still has all the hall marks of a cash-in which is something I would never have expected of Peter Gabriel.

Peter Gabriel: Secret World Live. Eagle Rock Entertainment EREDV925.