It will only take you two minutes into the opening track, “Red Rain”, to know you have done the right thing by purchasing this wonderful remaster.  The sound is huge, the soundstage spreads across your listening room, and the detail is incredible.  From the tiniest cymbal ting to the heaviest bass lines, you are captured by the pure essence of the recording.

I have personally owned every incarnation of this CD (and LP too in a couple of versions) and So has never sounded as good and as complete as on this issue.  To compare, I put on the latest of the SO reissues, the Digi-pak that came out about a year or so ago.  There is no comparison.  To put it bluntly, there are musical bits and pieces that just can’t be heard on any previous CD.

The master itself was recorded a bit on the bright side from the beginning.  So on this transfer, that brightness is a bit amplified, but not in a disturbing way.  The trade-off is that you get to hear, in fine detail, all the other instruments more defined and in better stereo.  In particular, Tony Levin’s bass has never sounded so authoritative and in your face.  In addition, Peter Gabriel’s vocals are stronger too.  Ian Cooper, who mastered the original sessions, has come back in 2012 and done a magnificent job.

If you have never owned So before, and are planning to buy it, this is the one!  If you have never heard So, it is probably one of the key albums of the 80s, and certainly one of the most influential.  A mix of New Wave synth beat, old Genesis, Soul, pure Pop, abstract melodies, ballads and World Music, repeated listens always brings out more and more layers.  His collaboration with Kate Bush on “Don’t Give Up” influenced her greatly, sending her away with a new approach to composition and recording.  His hits, “Sledgehammer” and “Big Time”, produced some of the most innovative videos of the era.  It was Peter Gabriel testing new ground and So proved more popular than he could have ever imagined.  Though I prefer his earlier work, especially albums 3 and 4, So is still right up there for me.

The other 2 CDs in this set are of a concert from Athens in 1987, his last show on the So world tour.  Besides many tracks from So, he performs songs from his entire solo catalogue, including “San Jacinto”, “Shock the Monkey”, “No Self Control”, “Solsbury Hill”, “Here Comes the Flood” and “Biko”.  So essentially you get a live “best of”.  The concert has been remixed and remastered and is the best you can make of a live recording.  I am not generally a fan of live concerts on CD – it is rare to these ears that a live recording is enjoyable – more a record of the time for me.  The sound here is quite good and it sounds live indeed, with the “arena sound” of reverb.  It is not perfect, with sometimes too much brightness for my taste, but overall, it is better than a lot of live stuff today.  You have to remember that it is 25 years old!  Each instrument can be heard well and that is most important.  And to listen to the band work through his older stuff, especially Here Comes the Flood, is worth the extra bucks for the deluxe package.

Also included are 4 collectible post cards and a booklet with recording information and lyrics.

This is a great set, and I highly recommend you replace your current copy of So with this one.

Release Date: October 22, 2012

–Bob Metcalf 

By MARowe

2 thoughts on “Review: So – Peter Gabriel (3CD Deluxe Edition)”
  1. Agreed- excellent review nonetheless, but this reissue is superb in every way imaginable. Glad he gave it the attention it certainly deserves. I would certainly like to see him put out some creative new material though.

  2. This album has been re-issued enough times. I have the original CD edition (bought on release day) and the SACD 2002 stereo release, but have not fallen for purchasing this album numerous times. I would be interested to hear this version and compare it to the SACD release.

    In other news, RUSH made the Rock and Roll Hall of fame today, on their first attempt, alongside Heart, Public Enemy, Albert King, Donna Summer and Randy Newman.

    Not a bad list this year. Although I agree with your previous postings on the endless list of bands that have been overlooked.

    I am happy to see RUSH finally being recognized by more mainstream organizations for their contributions to the industry.

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