Highly Recommended
4 stars
List Price
$19.77 (21%)
3rd Party
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»
Overall Grade
4 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
4.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
4 Stars
HD Audio Quality
5 Stars
2 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
Highly Recommended

Peter Gabriel: Live in Athens 1987

Street Date:
September 17th, 2013
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
November 20th, 2013
Movie Release Year:
Eagle Rock
177 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Peter Gabriel fans, this should put a smile on your faces. The long awaited 1987 concert from Athens is out on Blu-ray. The previous releases of this concert have been of poor quality on the whole, and the show has never been released in its entirety. Previously, the people close to Gabriel have said this wasn't going to be released in high definition anytime soon, so best to pick up the big 'So 25th Anniversary Box Set' which included the DVD version. So I'm sure many of you, like myself, went ahead and purchased the expensive box set when it was released.

But luckily or maybe a little annoyingly for us, they went back on their statement and eventually released the 1987 Live in Athens concert in Blu-ray. This is one hell of a concert, and not just for Gabriel fans, but for fans of music in general. If you a newbie to Peter Gabriel, I guarantee you'll be a fan for life after watching this concert film.

Back in the mid to late 80s, Gabriel was already a big name, but with the release of So, he definitely changed the world and rose to super stardom. And this concert shows just what a genius he is when it comes to music. And that's what I love about this concert film. Gabriel didn't rely on fancy lights, or big stage setups, fireworks, or big screens. Here, it was all about the music, where it's mostly just a plain black backdrop with the band, their instruments, and the man himself giving it their all.

His opening act, Youssou N'Dour is lively and lets you in on some great world music beats with some African influences. Then it's on to the main event, in which Gabriel focuses on the album So, but also manages to get some of his other hits from earlier years in there. Some of the songs sound a little different from the album, but then again it's a live show and Gabriel likes to surprise us. Gabriel is joined by David Sancious on the keyboard, Manu Katche on the drums, David Rhodes on lead guitar and vocals, and Tony Levin on the bass and more vocals. Let me also mention that Martin Scorsese was a big part of this project.

The Peter Gabriel setlist includes This is the Picture (Excellent Birds), San Jacinto, Shock the Monkey, Family Snapshot, Intruder, Games Without Frontiers, No Self Control, Mercy Street, The Family and the Fishing Net, Don't Give Up, Solsbury Hill, Lay Your Hands on Me, Sledgehammer, Here Comes the Flood, and Biko.

This is a great concert film and for fans of this genius musician, it's worth every penny.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'Peter Gabriel: Live in Athens 1987' comes with a great 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Like I mentioned above, there isn't much in the way of a lively and colorful stage here. Much of the time the stage is dark with a light or two shining on Gabriel and his bandmates. But that doesn't stop the image from being high quality. The detail here is very sharp and clearly defines the musicians facial blemishes, sweat beads, and hair follicles.

Sure there are some soft elements in the picture, but there isn't a whole lot of grain here. This has been cleaned up very nicely from the original negative. There isn't a lot in the way of color. The blacks run very deep and are inky with some great contrast in the dark stage and the brighter costumes on stage. This is the best this concert has ever looked on the screen,a great improvement from previous releases.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

This release comes with an incredible lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix as well as an uncompressed LPCM 2.0 stereo mix. As mentioned in the booklet, this audio track was remastered from the original film negative and mixed from the original recordings with individual instrument and vocal channels. Needless to say, this sounds like you're actually there.

The vocals are crystal clear and always easy to understand, and the instruments give a full immersive sound that slowly takes you over like some sort of alien feeding off your nervous system. The bass is full and smooth with the highs sounding perfect. Every note played, every drum hit, and every lyric sung, all sounds top notch. If you close your eyes, you might believe you are actually at the concert.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

  • 'Play the Videos' DVD (SD, 153 mins) - There are 23 music videos on this separate DVD, totaling 153 minutes.
  • 1986 Peter Gabriel Interview With Paul Gambaccini (SD,11 mins) - An interview with Peter Gabriel and Paul Gambaccini as he talks about his music career and the album So.
  • Sledgehammer Music Video (HD, 6 mins) - The Sledgehammer video with 5.1 audio.
  • Booklet - You get a booklet that talks about the remaster, the concert, and the credits of the show and Blu-ray, as well as info on all the music videos and songs.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no HD exclusives.

Final Thoughts

This high definition version of 'Peter Gabriel: Live in Athens 1987' is one of the holy grails for Peter Gabriel fans. The video and audio presentations here are top notch, and we finally get the entire concert on disc. Not to mention a completely separate DVD of 23 music videos. If you're fan of Peter Gabriel or just a fan of music, this Blu-ray release comes highly recommended.

Technical Specs

  • 50GB Blu-ray+DVD

Video Resolution/Codec

  • "1080p"/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • English: LPCM 2.0


  • None.


  • 'Play the Videos' DVD
  • 1986 Peter Gabriel Interview With Paul Gambaccini
  • Sledgehammer Music Video
  • Booklet

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about our gear.

Puzzled by the technical jargon in our reviews, or wondering how we assess and rate HD DVD and Blu-ray discs? Learn about our review methodology.

List Price
$19.77 (21%)
3rd Party
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»