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Peter Gabriel Live in Athens 1987

It's October, 1987, in Athens, Greece, the final night of the So tour for Peter Gabriel. This is the peak. His best selling album, his widest acclaim, 12 months of sold out shows around the world, and here, in an open-air theater cut into a hillside, five musicians take to the stage.

I grew up in this era. The epitome of romance is standing outside a girl's window with a boombox raised over your head as "In Your Eyes" blasts from it. "Big Time" and "Sledgehammer" play on MTV a few times a day. Kate Bush's vocals came in between versus to tell me "Don't Give Up". For a moment, Peter Gabriel owned the airwaves. Or at least part of them. 1986's release of So, his fifth album but the first that wasn't self titles, would go on to be certified 5 times Platinum. Even now, decades later, nearly 3 of them, I can still sing every word.

This final night of the So tour, an extensive film crew has been assembled to try and capture every angle of every moment of this. And in 2012, for the 25th Anniversary of the album's release, the album is re-released and so is this concert album, along with a DVD of this final night. But now, just a year later, comes the Blu-ray release. Why release it again? Now, the entire night is included, from the moment the opening act of Youssou N'Dour and Le Super etoile de Dakar take to the stage until the ending tones of "Biko" and the cheers of the crowd fade. In 1987, there was no chance at all that I could have been at this concert, but now, 26 years later, I feel almost as if I was.

I've seen some concert movies before, and they often try to intercut interviews or steal performances from different nights of the tour to try and piece together the "best" night, or they try too hard to stylize the show. But this one, it's just the show, as it was, as someone there might have seen it, but with better angles on the action. The only better way to see it would be to have been there.

Not content to just give you a single concert show, this set also includes an interview with Peter Gabriel. And then it has a second disc that contains 23 of Peter Gabriel's music videos from the length of his career. Beyond the concert, this second disc is worth it on its own. You can see as Peter made videos that pushed the boundaries of technology (for the time) and incorporated unique elements that maintain a near surreal quality even decades later.

Peter Gabriel Live in Athens 1987 on Blu-ray is a unique and fascinating experience that you simply can't get without using a time machine. And since I didn't see myself in the crowd, I can only assume I never invent one.

Review by Jason Pace
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