Back when I was in high school, my pals and I all had our very "own" favorite singer. One of my buddies claimed Phil Collins, another dug Billy Joel, and one poor lunatic had every single Steve Winwood CD. Me, I was a Peter Gabriel fan. No, not that "early Genesis" stuff that sounds (to me) like a whole lot of acid-inspired warbling. No, I mean the "solo stuff" Peter Gabriel, from his numerous self-titled CDs to his fantastic "Plays Live" release, and (of course), the mega-platinum, amazingly overplayed "So," which yielded tunes like In Your Eyes, Big Time, and Sledgehammer.
And when Peter Gabriel would stretch his wings and pen entire scores for films like Birdy and The Last Temptation of Christ, something special was usually the result.
So when I picked up a DVD assignment that I'd never even heard of, something called "Still Growing Up Live & Unwrapped," my response was "Uh oh, a concert DVD. Great. Oh, wait. It's Peter Gabriel. Cool!"
And that's how I sat down to enjoy Live & Unwrapped: as an longtime fan of a performer I'd been unintentionally ignoring for the past few years.
Culled from footage recorded during Peter Gabriel's 2004 tour of some smaller venues in London, Belgium, Sicily, Germany, Switzerland, and France, Still Growing Up Live is 86 minutes of pure Gabriel goodness. Whether he's jetting across the stage in a Segway or sweating his face off during a passionate ballad, the guy's just as weirdly hypnotic as he's always been. Track list is as follows:
1. The Feeling Begins
2. Red Rain
3. Secret World
4. White Ashes
5. Games Without Frontiers
6. Burn You Up, Burn You Down
7. The Tower That Ate People
8. San Jacinto
9. Digging in the Dirt
10. Solsbury Hill
12. Come Talk to Me
-- In Your Eyes and No Self Control are included in the Extras menu.
So the concert was a lot of fun, even the tunes I don't really know all that well. But I was mostly curious to see what the second platter had to offer.
According to the slick little booklet included in the DVD fold-out, Still Growing Up Unwrapped is "exclusive film and interview footage documenting Peter Gabriel and the band on the Still Growing Up Live tour 2004," and I suppose I couldn't describe it more accurately than that. It's basically a lot of 'home-movie' style video footage and interview sessions cut against a series of concert excerpts very similar to what's found on disc 1. Fans of Peter Gabriel should certainly enjoy what's offered in this also-86-minute travelogue / interview bank / video concert, and I know this because I am a fan and I quite enjoyed it.
Video: The footage is presented in a surprisingly slick anamorphic widescreen format, with particularly strong video quality for a concert flick.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0, or DTS, with optional subtitles in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Audio quality is supremely satisfying, particularly if you're an old fan who hasn't heard songs like San Jacinto and Games Without Frontiers in quite some time.
Extras: On disc 1 you'll find a pair of extra concert clips for the songs In Your Eyes and No Self Control.
On disc 2, extras-wise, you'll find the songs Darkness, No Way Out, and Growing Up, as performed by Peter and his band in the studio. Last is another pair of tunes, Downside Up and Father, Son, as they were performed on a Jools Holland BBC show in May of 2000.
The final goodie is a 10-page booklet full of photos, song info, and related factoids.
It's a slickly-produced and content-heavy double-disc concert release of Peter Gabriel. That one sentence alone should tell you all you need to know. Gabriel fans will devour this release and appreciate the quality; others need not apply.