Filmed live at The HMV Hammersmith Apollo in London, on March 23rd and 24th, 2011, New Blood is an interesting project that sees the music of Peter Gabriel performed without guitars, bass, and drums. Instead, the ex-Genesis man is assisted by Ben Foster and the 46-piece New Blood Orchestra, as well as a duo of backup singers (including popular Norwegian singer-songwriter Ane Brun).
Gabriel performs a total of twenty two songs with brand new orchestral arrangements by John Metcalfe (who also conducts « In Your Eyes« ) that are likely to surprise a lot of his long-time fans – or not, because practically all of them have the same art-rock qualities that his music is known for. The new arrangements blend elements from a variety of different styles, from New Age to Electronica to Celtic folk, and feature elaborate orchestral solos.
The program includes classic Gabriel songs, such as « Red Rain« , « Don’t Give Up« , and « Mercy Street« , as well as various covers of popular songs, such as « Boy In The Bubble » (Paul Simon), « Apres Moi » (Regina Spektor), and « The Book Of Love » (Magnetic Fields)… luckily, with the new arrangements essentially all of the songs sound calm and relaxed. Various laser effects (for « Red Rain« ) and images are also projected on the large screen behind the orchestra adds to the almost psychedelic but ultimately useless and gimmicky 3D presentation.
Multiple cameras follow Peter Gabriel as he moves and performs around the stage as well as the different orchestral groups whenever they have solos. During close-ups clarity is very good and during larger shots that capture the entire orchestra there are no serious shadow effects. This being said, the actual camera work isn’t overly impressive. Very laid-back and eerily calm. The show was apparently staged and filmed with 3D in mind and there are various light and laser effects that simply look a bit over the top. The ideas are good, but the execution is a bit lacking for my taste. Regardless, this is purely subjective and still this disc makes a good 3D demo at the stores.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track produces a wide range of nuanced dynamics that handle the new arrangements for Peter Gabriel‘s songs very well. What impressed me the most was the lush orchestral sound and the prominent woodwind solos. Surround activity is modest. That is too bad because there are so many instances where the surround channels can be easily used to enhance the on screen 3D visuals.
As a conclusion, this is not your typical Peter Gabriel, which for me is a big plus. Good recording, good video makes this 3D blu-ray into my RECOMMENDED list.
Video Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080i
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.78:1