Peter Gabriel - Live in Athens

Peter Gabriel’s ‘So’ was released in 1986 and became one of the defining albums of the era, achieving multi-platinum sales worldwide. The album was launched with the huge hit single and groundbreaking music video ‘Sledgehammer’, which remains MTV’s most played video of all time

Peter Gabriel took ‘So’ on tour throughout 1986/87. With the worldwide success of the album things were beginning to change as David Stallbaumer, Peter’s former assistant, recalls: “The first couple of tours I did with Peter, it was very much a cult crowd, everyone knew every word, every note of every song. With ‘So’ everything catapulted, we went from playing 3,000 to 10,000 venues to stadiums. Instead of seeing 5,000 die hard student fans in a college town somewhere, you were seeing 40,000 people who knew every word to ‘So’. It became a very different environment: 20,000 to 40,000 people was a regular concert after that.”

In October 1987 after many months on the road, it was in the elevated surroundings of the hillside open-air theatre at Lykabetos, overlooking Athens, that the ‘So’ tour came to a climactic close. Recorded and filmed over three nights, the Athens shows provide a fascinating document of those heady times.

In 2012, 25 years later, producer Ben Findlay was given the assignment to restore and remix the audio recorded at Athens. Simultaneously, 150 reels of original 35mm film negatives have also undergone months of painstaking scanning, restoration and editing work.

After 25 years Peter Gabriel wanted to see if the archives held enough material to recreate the full 1987 concert experience. Ben was tasked with sifting through all the original analog multi-track tapes, making the transfers of the audio to the digital world and, if it existed, mixing the relevant material – using all the digital world can bring to get the best out of the original analog recordings.

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