Holding My Breath (Highland HL566)
Werchter Festival, Werchter, Belgium – July 3rd, 1983
(78:04): Across The River, Intruder, Not One Of Us, The Family And The Fishing Net, Humdrum, Shock The Monkey, Milgrams 37 (We Do What We’re Told), Family Snapshot, Solsbury Hill, San Jacinto, On The Air, Biko
When Peter Gabriel released his fourth solo album in 1982, called Securityin many parts of the world, he commenced touring north America just before Halloween in Stony Brook on Long Island and ending just before Christmas. Touring Europe began six months later with a show in Rouen, France and two in Paris before playing two shows at the Tourhout-Werchter Festival in Belgium on July 2nd and July 3rd.
The radio broadcast for the second show in Werchter is a popular recording, receiving two silver pressed releases (there is an audience tape for the Tourhout show which has never been pressed). The first release can be found on On The Air (Golden Stars LACD1136) issued in the late eighties. Highland’s Holding My Breath was released in 2000 and represents a nice upgrade over Golden Stars. The music is more loud, clear, and enjoyable.
A DJ speaking in French is audible at the beginning, after “Solsbury Hill” and at the end but doesn’t interfere with the music. There are also non-destructive cuts after “The Family And The Fishing Net,” “Family Snapshot” and “Solsbury Hill” (eliminating some of the DJs comments). Otherwise this represents the complete, albeit abbreviated festival set from the Securitytour in excellent sound quality.
Gabriel was joined on tour by his touring band at the time including Tony Levin (bass and stick), David Rhodes (guitar), Larry Fast (keyboards), and Jerry Morotta (drums). After the mc introduces Gabriel, he begins the set with “Across The River,” which wouldn’t be released until 1994’s Secret World Live. It is an introduction full of exalted spook and segues nicely into “Intruder” from the third album.
After “Not One Of Us” Gabriel speaks about the next song being about a “strange, amoeba like organism called a family…this is called ‘The Family And The Fishing Net.'” The studio version is outstanding but the live versions without the drum machines lose the tribal war-drum elements that make it terrifying.
The big hit off of the new album “Shock The Monkey” is described as a “tale of jealousy.” Gabriel then leads the audience through the “we do what we’re told” for “Milgrams 37” which wouldn’t be released until 1986’s So. The irony of the artist shouting out commands for a song about our propensity for fascism seems to be lost on the audience who follow the directions faithfully.
Before “Solsbury Hill” someone in the front row complains that the bass is too loud and Gabriel tells the engineer to lower the bass in the mix. “You hear that Dave. There’s someone in the front row who’d prefer the bass to be down just a little bit. This of course is one of our most popular numbers and one we wind up playing a lot. It’s called…a conceptual piece…it’s called ‘Technical Fuck-Up.'” This is a flashback to his running skits on early Genesis tours. The finale of the set is an eight minute version of “Biko” where again Gabriel encourages the crowd to sing along to the tune.
Holding My Breath is one of the very few Peter Gabriel silvers available and is a solid release that is highly recommended. It captures in excellent quality at time when he hit an artistic peak.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)