Review of P.O.V.

Washington Post - August 1, 1991
By Richard Harrington


Few rock artists have made the creative commitment to video that Peter Gabriel has, but it turns out to be simply an extension of a grand theatricality in place since his days fronting Genesis. There's always been an ambitiousness to Gabriel's video personas, whether the zillion zany image of "Sledgehammer" or the single revolving shot of him and Kate Bush for "Don't Give Up." "P.O.V." is a concert video with many levels: For instance, "Sledgehammer" is straightforward performance this go-round, while "Don't Give Up" is layered with documentary footage of depressions past and current, giving both tunes a radical visual twist without undermining their power. Other video-washed songs include the native-culture-conscious "This is the Picture (Excellent Birds)," "Games Without Frontiers," the ethereal "Mercy Street" and the quietly anthemic "Biko" (on which Gabriel is joined by Senegalese star Youssou N'Dour, who also graces "In Your Eyes"). Much of Gabriel's music is built on languid, supple pulses against which his dramatic gestures act as either subtle underpinning (as on "No Self Control") or emotive punctuation ("Shock the Monkey"). This is most evident on "Lay Your Hands On Me," in which Gabriel drops flat on his back onto the upraised hands of the crowd and then floats through the front of the Athens stadium where much of the concert was shot (note: technically, the song should be titled "Lay Me on Your Hands"). Afterward, Gabriel seems renewed; his fans will be too, after this confirmation of his PC/MTV instincts.


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