Rock and classical are as different in the musical world as Felix Unger and Oscar Madison from The Odd Couple. Yet when the two come together, they have shown to make some of the most memorable live experiences in modern music history. That’s been exemplified by the likes of both Metallica and KISS. Now, fellow music veteran Peter Gabriel has shown just how powerful classical and mainstream music can be together with his upcoming new live release on Eagle Rock Entertainment/RealWorld, “Live Blood.”
“Live Blood” takes the orchestra formed for Gabriel’s most recent studio album, “New Blood” out to a live setting. “New Blood” was the second in a series of albums in which he and other artists re-interpreted each others’ songs. The first of those albums was the album, “Scratch My Back.” This new live performance of the New Blood orchestra does an amazing job of giving the songs from “Scratch My Back” and “New Blood” a whole new life of their own. The concert’s first disc offers up much of the more emotional sounds of the two albums, while the second disc in the set tends to pick things up just a little bit. The opener to the entire concert, ‘Intruder’ is a prime example of just how impressive this new live release is. The tension in the song makes it feel like it could have come right off of a horror movie soundtrack. ‘Digging’ in The Dirt’ has a similar feel. There’s also the joyous emotion expressed in ‘Solsbury Hill.’ The gleeful hopping of the string sections really emphasize and compliment the happiness Gabriel expresses lyrically.
The performance’s up-tempo pieces aren’t all that stand out in this set. The covers of Lou Reed’s ‘The Power of The Heart’ and The Magnetic Fields’ ‘The Book of Love’ are even more impactful in this live setting than even on “Scratch My Back.” Again, the new Blood Orchestra gives these songs a whole new depth of emotion, with its dynamic contrasts. The same especially applies with Gabriel’s major hit, “Biko.” “Biko” is given not only a whole new life, but an entirely new identity in this performance. The message is even more powerful than it could have ever been in its original studio release. Conductor Ben Foster and the entire New Blood Orchestra are to be commended for their work throughout the entire performance. Whether on the songs noted or the remainder of the songs that comprise the upcoming double disc set, the entire New Blood orchestra was the real star of this performance. This show was one more reminder that while rock and classical may be two entirely musical genres, when the pair come together, they make for some truly enjoyable and memorable songs.
Fans in Germany and the United Kingdom will get an added bonus with Peter Gabriel next month. He currently has a handful of European dates planned throughout Germany and the U.K. throughout May. To keep up with all of Peter Gabriel’s latest tour dates and news, fans can follow him online at http://www.petergabriel.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/PeterGabriel, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/itspetergabriel.