Today: May 14, 2024

Back to Front: Peter Gabriel Live in London 4K

It is a very good time to be a Peter Gabriel fan. Following the release of the incredible i/o, his first album of new material in 20 years, at the end of last year, we’re now being treated to a 4K UHD release of his incredible career-spanning Back to Front concert film. When it was released back in 2014, the film’s marketing celebrated that the concert was captured “using the latest Ultra High Definition 4K technology” so it’s certainly a treat to finally be able to see it in this format! 

Capturing the 25th anniversary of Gabriel’s celebrated album So, the Back to Front tour saw the legendary musician reunite his original So touring band from 1986/87 (David Rhodes, Tony Levin, Manu Katché and David Sancious, with Jennie Abrahamson & Linnea Olsson), to play the multi-platinum selling album in its entirety “uninterrupted” for the very first time. And yet, So only makes up one part of the three-act structure of the setlist. We begin with a unique acoustic opening set (during which the arena’s house lights remain up), that sees Gabriel workshop an unfinished song – here titled Daddy Long Legs but finally completed and released only last year as Playing for Time – alongside deep cuts like Shock the Monkey and Family Snapshot. Gabriel and his band then blast through hits like Secret World and Digging in the Dirt in all their electronic glory with incredible stage production and lighting. All of this would have been worth the price of admission alone, and then we get So. What an absolute feast for fans this is.

In many ways, So can double up as a Peter Gabriel Greatest Hits compilation – Red Rain, Sledgehammer, Don’t Give Up, In Your Eyes are all there on this seminal album. A highlight remains Mercy Street, which is hypnotically performed here by Gabriel lying on his back.

I was lucky enough to attend this tour way back in  2013, and have been familiar with this recorded version since – but watching it again in 4K UHD is like experiencing it for the first time. The vivid clarity of the image compliments the impeccable production design and lighting of the show, particularly in the encore that sees Gabriel consumed by the so-called Tower that Ate People. Things fare very well on the sound front, too – the DTS-HD Master Audio and LPCM Stereo tracks both sound fantastic, although it’s disappointing that the disc wasn’t given a Dolby Atmos remix like Mercury Studios’ recent Queen Rock Montreal 4K UHD release.
Peter Gabriel’s Back to Front is an unforgettable concert film experience, capturing some of the acclaimed musician’s best tracks performed with heart and passion. The show itself is a technical marvel, too, which benefits greatly from this long-overdue 4K UHD release. All in all, Back to Front is a must-own for music fans who want to demo their system – this one drops you right in the heart of the O2.

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