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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still amazing nearly two decades on...
This has been on my personal hi-def wishlist since HD was invented. Overall I'm very happy with the presentation, and relieved not to be disappointed after the long wait. I'll break my specific observations down by category:

Performance: In short, if you've even heard of Peter Gabriel, you don't need me telling you this is him at his peak. Not that I don't love...
Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer

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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great concert...Poor video quality on dvd
I was so excited to have this concert come out on dvd. Peter Gabriel is so talented, and this concert is blow-away amazing. Imagine how my heart stopped when I saw the very poor video transfer on this Universal Music dvd. It is in widescreen, but the techs fell asleep on the transfer. My original laserdisc looks 20 times better (thank God I didn't sell it!). Much of...
Published on March 17, 2003 by David Blond


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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still amazing nearly two decades on..., July 24, 2012
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This has been on my personal hi-def wishlist since HD was invented. Overall I'm very happy with the presentation, and relieved not to be disappointed after the long wait. I'll break my specific observations down by category:

Performance: In short, if you've even heard of Peter Gabriel, you don't need me telling you this is him at his peak. Not that I don't love the more recent work, and see the artistic merit, but he has the fire here, and it's blazing up strong. He assembled an amazing cast of musicians for these shows, and Paula Cole in particular is gorgeous and gives as good as she gets vocally all the way through playing against Gabriel (a true achievment for any singer). It just doesn't get better than this...

Video: A lot of work was apparently invested in cleaning and digitizing the original 16mm film. There is not a scratch or speck of dirt to be seen. Overall it looks great. There's a little image softness especially in longer shots, but it's largely due to the hazy auditorium environment as much as the small image size of the base film stock. A small amount of grain is noticable now and again but that's to be expected with the 16mm original. Colors are vibrant and beautifully saturated.

Audio: There are two audio tracks, an LPCM stereo track and a DTS-HD surround track. Neither is a bad choice for listening. The LPCM track is clean and smooth. The DTS-HD adds some very restrained ambience effects, but nothing that becomes distracting. Personally I slightly prefer the stereo track, but it's a close call.

Overall I consider this BD a bargain at the price, and am thrilled to finally have a superior version in my concert library.

Track listing:

Come Talk to Me
Steam
Across the River
Slow Marimbas
Shaking the Tree
Blood of Eden
San Jacinto
Kiss That Frog
Washing of the Water
Solsbury Hill
Digging in the Dirt
Sledgehammer
Secret World
Don't Give Up
In You Eyes

Bonus Tracks:
Red Rain
Steam (remixed "quiet" version paired with tour photo montage)
The Rhythm of the Heat (New Blood Live performance)

Special Features:
Behind the Scenes documentary
Time Lapse film of stage setup
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That This Is Amazing Is No Secret, April 2, 2001
By 
Kristin J Currier (Ukiah, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This isn't just a concert video. This is a beautifully orchestrated performance that you will watch again and again. Passion is the hallmark here...Gabriel has never been content with just singing songs he's written. He throws his soul into what he does, and the superbly talented musicians he plays with can't help but to shine as well. It's a joyfull show filled with brimming sound and imagery.
All of the musicians Gabriel works with past and present are always artists in their own right. Here you will see Singer Paula Cole looking gorgeous and giving Gabriel's dusky vocals a smooth comlement. It's no wonder her career soon skyrocketed. Tony Levin, who has played with Gabriel since his Security album and also has played with King Crimson and others as well as producing his own solo work, lends his commanding stage presence and unbelievable bass playing. David Rhodes gives us his understated but vital guitarwork. Manu Katche is a joy to watch, his percussion style reminding me a bit of a cross between Stewart Copeland (who also has written and played with Gabriel) and Neil Peart. And then there is Shankar, talented Indian double violinist...with his darkly beautiful playing filled with so much emotion.
If you are already a Gabriel fan, you are in for a treat here. The imagery his music invokes is here for you, live, and on stage. If you are only familiar with Gabriel's hits, you will be introduced to a musician who is a true artist that has so much more to offer than a hit or two. Seeing this may make you an avid fan.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable Performance!, May 20, 2000
By 
Ravi Hayashida (Fullerton, CA USA) - See all my reviews
My friends saw this tour live and I didn't realize what I had missed . . . until I saw this video.
For those who are tired of bands looking like they're still in the recording studio while performing live, this video is a must!
Peter Gabriel, and co., developed an elaborate and visually stunning performance - on two separate stages nonetheless - that can get even video audiences out of their seats and cheering.
This is not a concert - it's a theatrical event!
For Peter Gabriel Fans, this concert was about 90% new material. Most of that was from the "Us" album. However, the personal nature of the album was mirrored well by the song selection and powerful performances by Peter Gabriel and Paula Cole. These songs include "Blood of Eden", "In Your Eyes", "Don't Give Up" and "Shaking The Tree".
Other faves include "Sledgehammer", "Steam" and "Kiss That Frog". "Salisbury Hill" is a welcome entry, and "Across the River" is a moving performance. [There are more songs, but space here is limited.]
The band is in top form: Along with Paula Cole are familiar faces like Tony Levin (Bass), David Rhodes (Guitar) and Manu Katche (Drums), with Jean-Claude (Keyboards) and Shankar (violin) rounding out the main band.
Words are not enough. You must see it to get a taste of this truly monumental tour. I don't want to spoil anything, but I especially enjoyed the last part of "Secret World" near the end of the concert.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great concert...Poor video quality on dvd, March 17, 2003
By 
David Blond (Kansas City, MO United States) - See all my reviews
I was so excited to have this concert come out on dvd. Peter Gabriel is so talented, and this concert is blow-away amazing. Imagine how my heart stopped when I saw the very poor video transfer on this Universal Music dvd. It is in widescreen, but the techs fell asleep on the transfer. My original laserdisc looks 20 times better (thank God I didn't sell it!). Much of the video content appears blurry and there is little detail. I know it is not the camera guy's fault, because the laserdisc version looks clean and detailed (this concert is high-quality all the way). The dvd really looks that bad, and I blame Universal Music. The sound gets five stars, and the extras are very nice, when most concert dvd's lack any. The 'making of' and the preview of the Growing Up tour are great. Get this dvd for the extras and the sound, not for the video. Why did Universal drop the ball on one of my all-time favorite concerts? I feel sick when I watch this dvd version...I'm glad I kept the laserdisc!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 years later.... wow, July 26, 2012
By 
Ric C. Ruhlman "Rico Diver" (Long Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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Not long ago, I played the regular DVD of SWL and was reminded how amazing the concert was. Especially since I got to see the show live myself. My only disappointment was the quality of the video now on the flat screen. But now, that issue has been solved to with the Blu-ray release of Secret World Live. It's has all the great songs from the original concert DVD, remastered in phenomenal HD sound; and, the video has been remastered from the original 16mm film to blu-ray quality. Now, it's not going to be eye popping HD, but it's the best transfer of film to HD that I've seen. You also get a bonus concert footage of "Red Rain" (which was on the concert CD... but not the DVD).

This is a must have for any PG fan..

Now... Will they do the same for POV?
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a feast for the ears and eyes, May 2, 2003
By 
Tim (Newburyport, MA USA) - See all my reviews
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I've been a Peter Gabriel fan for years and have been to several of his shows, but until last week I'd never seen the "Secret World" concert footage before (although I've listened to my "Secret World" CD hundreds of times.) After seeing it, I can't stop smiling. What an amazing show - right up there with Talking Heads' "Stop Making Sense" and U2's "Live in Boston" as my all-time favorite concert movies.
I shouldn't be surprised, given Gabriel's gifts as both a musician AND a visual artist. Certain images will forever remained burned into my brain... trapped in a bright red British phone booth during COME TALK TO ME; his "breathing shadow" at the end of SAN JACINTO; rowing down the conveyor belt "river" during SLOW MARIMBAS then happily skipping around the stage while singing SHAKING THE TREE; and ending with a completely exuberant IN YOUR EYES.
I'm not going to quibble with video quality (it wasn't apparent to me) or sound synching (very minor... don't worry, this ISN'T Britney Spears lip-synching our National Anthem, for crying out loud!) What I was left with was an immense appreciation for Peter Gabriel's infectious energy and charismatic stage presence. Add to the mix a VERY talented band (Paula Cole is luminous) and one of the most innovative stage shows you'll ever see = an incredibly satisfying way to spend an hour and a half... over and over again!
What a feast for the ears and eyes.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great DTS sound, horrible picture, March 15, 2003
By 
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I won't delve into the concert performance on this DVD, since it's been out on VHS tape for many years, except to briefly state the concert itself is fantastic. Instead, I'd like to comment on the qualities of the DVD itself.
First off, the DVD's four added features, though not groundbreaking, certianly take advantage of the format. A timelapse of the stage being set up, a 'making of SWL' segment, a remixed version of "Steam" set to tour photos, and a glimpse of Peter's most recent "Up" tour, all give added value to the presentation.
As to the DVD itself, the DTS 5.1 sound mix is the best I've ever heard. I had seen this concert tour at Madison Square Garden and am happy to say this sounds just like being there. The seperation in the mix is perfect, placing Gabriel's vocals right up front. Tony Levin's bass will give your sub-woofer a workout, Manu Katche's drums are crisp and clean, David Rhode's guitar never gets lost, and the keyboards are mixed just slightly to the background. Background vocals and other instruments are always subtly there. Also, there appear to be no overdubs, you are watching and listening to the same performance. This is not something all concert videos can claim. All in all, a perfect example of how a live 5.1 channel recording should be.
On the other hand, the picture quality is another story. My DVD player is hooked up to a widescreen digital tv using component-out connections. Unfortunately, the picture is so grainy it becomes distracting, bordering on unwatchable. At first I thought the DVD was defective, but the bonus material does not have this graininess. I do not know if this is a result of the film being transferred digitally to widescreen, but if this is the case, I would prefer a regular fullscreen analog version. I have the Pearl Jam "Touring Band 2000" DVD, which has a slight graininess to it, however this gives it a certain raw feel that suits a live Pearl Jam concert. In the case of "Secret World Live" it is a disaster.
Someone out there will say I'm too picky about the picture, but with the all the hoopla about the 16:9 anamorphic widescreen digital transfer, I am dissapointed. Half of me wants to scream 'this is the best concert DVD ever', and half of me just wants to scream. Geffen Records certianly owes an explanation for the very poor video quality.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars DVD worse than VHS... too bad..., March 22, 2003
I love this concert. At least the VHS version. I have been waiting for this DVD for two years and I am very dissapointed. The grainy video is distracting, and the concert is different than my VHS version. The tempo is not the same, and the energy seems less intense. I guess if I hadn't watched the VHS version so much I wouldn't care, but I love that video. Maybe one problem is the Dolby 5.1 mix which (on my system) supresses Paul Cole, which is a big negative to me. It is still one of the greatest concerts ever (IMHO). Guess new isn't always better...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Good, Bad, and the Ugly, March 21, 2003
By A Customer
At the risk of being very unpopular (given the previous reviews of this video), I can only give the "Secret World" DVD two stars. Before detailing the reasons for that rating, let me say that I love Peter Gabriel's music - the deep spirituality conveyed in his songs and the intensity in which he delivers each musical offering are beautiful every time I see him perform. Also, he is such a beautifully unique visual performer - the movement he seemingly improvises to the music as he performs reminds me of a cross between Twila Tharpe and Bob Fosse (as done by an aging guy with the beginnings of a paunch :~)
Now for the critique...
Knowing the exacting technical standards P.G. has brought to his music videos and recordings, I find it hard to believe he would have approved the technical production of this recording. In regards to the audio, I can't believe I listened to the same disc as previous reviewers (althought this review refers to the DD5.1 mix, not the DTS). It sounds almost like AM radio - muted highs, muffled lows, and the vocal mix is WAY in the back of the 5.1 soundstage. I finally had to crank up the center channel to adequately hear his and Paula Cole's vocals. And, the post-production studio-added musical bits were NOT seemless - they stood out like a sore thumb, sometimes relegated arbitrarily to the surround speakers, sometimes panned around. The added vocals sounded like they were done in a cheap basement studio and then rather ham-handedly thrown into the mix. Even the levels were off, sometimes hugely - several times my wife and I jumped as a chorus of tinny, disembodied voices shouted at us from the rear. On some tracks, the sense of "additional music" added in post-production to the live mix was so overwhelming that I felt that I was watching a video with a different CD providing the audio. Also disconcerting was the use of pre-recorded rhythm tracks. I realize that the sound P.G. was aiming for would have made for a very complicated live mix and would have required more musicians and staging, but sometimes the pre-recorded tracks (or maybe they were midi loops from the keyboards?) completely overwhelmed the competent (I think?) drumming by Manu Katche... All in all, not engaging or enveloping, but claustrophobic and disjointed.
As for the video portion, the film stock that the DVD was transfered from was grainy, washed out in color, and with terrible shadow detail. You would have thought this was footage from a late 70's concert rather than shot in 1994. The grain and video noise in the picture was distracting, and the washed out color palette rendered what looked to be a wonderful lighting design pretty impotent - Either hot whites or murky grays. I will say that the camera shots and coverage, in fact the entire visual concept of the show were beautiful and creative. Too bad about the lousy capture of both audio and video.
That being said...if you can fight your way through the poor audio and video, Peter Gabriel himself is a revelation to watch. Each song is a psalm of praise or discovery- pure poetry that transcends the banal and the earthbound.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I only wish I had been there to see it , but this will definitely do, October 27, 2005
By 
A C SHIELDS (melbourne , australia) - See all my reviews
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I was more than impressed when I first saw this on videotape , but the DVD adds sound options which really help to immerse yourself in the music .

The staging has been much talked about and it is certainly something to behold , yet it does not detract from the focus of the show .

I hesitate to call Peter an entertainer as this DVD shows him to be more than that - after all , his band match him in creating the moods for all the songs .

It is almost like a movie .

I look forward to showing this to people over the years so they can see the full potential of presenting music to an audience .

This DVD together with STOP MAKING SENSE would be a potent double bill .

See this and be enriched .
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Secret World
Secret World by Peter Gabriel (DVD - 2012)
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