Peter Gabriel’s ‘Plays Live’ to be reissued as a two-CD set

The full 16-track version back on CD

Peter Gabriel‘s 1983 live album Plays Live is being reissued as a two-CD set next month.

Plays Live was compiled from live recordings made in early December 1982, when the touring band was Gabriel, Jerry Marrotta (drums and percussion), Tony Levin (bass and stick), David Rhodes (guitar) and Larry Fast (synthesizer and piano). “Additional recording” was carried out after the gigs which was acknowledged in the sleeve notes.

The 16-track live album was originally issued in the summer of 1983, on double vinyl and twin cassette tape. It’s notable for featuring a live version of ‘I Go Swimming’ (a track worked on for the third studio album, but never released) and was promoted with a single; a live version of ‘I Don’t Remember’. A CD of Plays Live didn’t emerge until 1985 and to cram everything onto one disc, four tracks were omitted (‘The Rhythm of the Heat’, ‘Not One of Us’, ‘Intruder’ and ‘On the Air’). This version was dubbed Plays Live Highlights.

A full two-CD set was eventually released a few years later, but it hasn’t been available – at least in the UK – for over 30 years. Gabriel’s CD/SACD reissue campaign of 2003 stuck with Highlights.

This release is packed in a 2CD jewel case (these break-as-soon-as-you-open-it plastic case is ironically know in the trade as a ‘brilliant box’) and features the original artwork in a new layout from Peter Gabriel’s longtime designer Marc Bessant.

Plays Live two-CD set will be issued on 19 March via Realworld/Caroline International.

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Peter Gabriel

Plays Live - new 2CD set


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The Rhythm Of the Heat 6:26
I Have the Touch 4:50
Not One of Us 5:29
Family Snapshot 4:48
D.I.Y. 4:06
The Family and the Fishing Net 7:34
Intruder 5:03
I Go Swimming 4:44

San Jacinto 8:29
Solsbury Hill 4:41
No Self Control 5:03
I Don’t Remember 4:13
Shock the Monkey 7:09
Humdrum 4:23
On the Air 5:22
Biko 6:54

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For nearly 40 years, I never realized that “Plays Live” was a play on the phrase “Plays Dead.” Just figured it out. Forehead, meet the palm of my hand.

Ginines C.

It seems that this re release is not available in France.
Except on import.
Any infos?


Will this be released in the US?


Not even remastered?!?

Josef Lenz

Needs no remaster. It sounds well, very warm. My favorit live output from Mr. G.

The Misnomers

Thanks Paul! I suppose there is no chance PG will revisit the surround format? I can dream!

Derek Langsford

After the 5.1 of Up and the videos being remastered in 5.1 I was hopeful we’d see more. But the SACDs he released were stereo and its been years. Heck, he hasn’t even released a physical format for Flotsam & Jetsam.

Wonder how many busted an eardrum or speaker cone with the 30 dB glitch on the DTS of the original Play: The Videos DVD? it was a frightening experience discovering that the first time.

Ginines C.

And for the others countries ( France…)?

And the others PG Live albums?
Secret World Live was never re released ( except exclusive italy 2012 edition)
Live in Athens 87 is only available with SO special edition
And Growing Up Live was never released on CD


Guess I’m lucky to have the original 2-disc version I bought sometime in the early 90’s. I’m good.

Now, if only they’d filmed the concert as well as recording the audio. Alas, I have to imagine the monkey-man makeup in action.

Nathan Thomas

‘Concerts’ you mean – the album was stitched together from 4 different concerts (which is why some of the spoken song intros were re-recorded as they changed the order of the songs as well) so unless they had filmed all 4 (which they didn’t) you’ll never get a video version.


A great live album but another missed opportunity to give fans value for the money. I actually don’t like bonus tracks on the same CD as the original album. But a live album is a different experience. Video content or additional live tracks would have enhanced the experience.


It’s a pity he never really embraced the Genesis years in his live sets. Vocally, he got much much better in post-Genesis years. Although I have to agree with Peter that Phil Collins sand songs better than he himself did. Seconds Out still my number one desert island disc.


FYI that the full/extended release of this album is also available to stream on Tidal (in Master quality, no less). I just double-checked the catalog with crossed fingers and I’m listening to the tracks I don’t have on the SACD release. :)

Cary Allen Wilson

I have the a Japanese mini-LP CD with the full LP set list and the original artwork. I’m good.


I have the original Geffen CD’s. They are separate issues with different album covers but the track listings are identical. Interestingly, they were “made in West Germany”.

Douglas Bailey

Hmmm… not listed on Amazon US; the UK site doesn’t have it available for order; and Rough Trade will sell it to me for £10.83, but want £13.69 for US shipping. PG doesn’t make things easy, does he?

(I suspect I’ll wait for Amazon UK to get it in.

Nathan Thomas

Amazon UK has had the cd listed to order for the past 5 days (though it’s not released until 19th March so won’t actually ship until just before that) – if you can’t see it showing as available I would assume it’s geo-locked as you’re in the US.


Awesome. My favorite slice of the PG catalog (and backing band to boot!)


I’ve got the original ‘fat-boy’ 2CD EU edition (DR13), the Japan for USA edition with 2 separate discs (DR14) and the 2002 japanese 2CD remaster (i haven’t measured DR).
I suspect this new forthcoming edition will carry the newest lower 2019 remaster DR11 values.


Yay PG! Releasing something the fans wanted…..but only after having his way, releasing the HIGHLIGHTS and vinyl (again….and for the first time…..) Hey what about those SO sessions (Yep its great – opps no b-sides…hey we finished that unreleased track…..but didn’t include it in the box…..) Soundtrack songs are coming ! (opps new versions and only on vinyl…until its not) HEY B-Sides are coming! (opps no physical)….ugh.


I spent a pretty penny I could hardly afford to get the 2 disc Japanese import when the other remasters came out. I was mad the US was only getting “Highlights”.


Haha, “these break-as-soon-as-you-open-it plastic cases”….Thought it was just bad luck that mine were always broken. Terribly annoying.
I love this album. Probably the first live album ever that I liked. It’s brilliant. I have the 2cd version and wasn’t even aware it’s rare. Glad it’s getting reissued. Not sure if I have the remaster, if not, will get the new one.


Got the fat box of this a couple of years ago and it even still had the foam inserts. Sounds fantastic and it prompted me to get the PG1 – 4 and So in there grey tray originals. All very dynamic and just what I have always loved about the CD sound.
I have been doing a lot of tracking down original CDs or older versions over the last few years as part of my tinnitus slaying program. The latest editions being the Police AM + albums and the original Sting DOTBTs through to TSTs. Detail, clarity and great stereo image in all cases, oh and no ringing ears.


Obligatory “now Flotsam and Jetsam on CD please”

Kevin from Edinburgh

Yes, it does seem strange that they’re releasing this on cd but not F & J. I would have thought that the market for the recent collection would be greater than that for the live album?

That said, Plays Live was an important album in my musical development. I went to see Gabriel and these musicians almost a month to the day after it came out (Selhurst Park, home to Crystal Palace FC), my very first rock concert. The Undertones and the Thompson Twins were supporting. Phil Collins also joined in on drums about half way through. I was blown away at just how loud the concert was; something listening to the live recording hadn’t begun to prepare me for.

For that, and other reasons, this live album remains my favourite of his. I still have my original vinyl, although it’s showing some signs of age now (just like me, I guess).

Good to see the full track listing back in print (as it always ought to have been).

Kevin Henry

I actually played the album (16 tracks) on TIDAL last weekend and San Jacinto is brilliant. I had the cassette back in the day.


According to discogs there were CD versions released in 1983 but not in the UK. The Geffen label split the album into Part 1 and Part 2 with 4 years in between (how accurate is this??)

Wayne K.

Not,to,the best of my knowledge.

Mic Smith

The first CD was West German Highlights in early 1984. The first 2CD edition was made in Japan for the US release in a long box as 2 single discs in 1987. The first U.K. was in a fat box in 1988. It had never been released separately in 2 volumes.


Disappointing that they ignored the chance to include bonus tracks.

This was re-issued in Canada as a double CD (remixed, I seem to remember – my copy’s in storage) in 2002 & other countries followed suit.


The reissue campaign was actually 2002 not 2003. They were released in the run-up to “Up”

Richard Harris

Dare we hope that the reissues on vinyl and now on CD of the live albums are leading up to a long-awaited album of new material? After all next year marks 20 years since “Up”.

Michael Caspar

I am amazed that the 2 disc version is so special in the UK. I always wondered about the 1 disc version and – of course – got the 2 disc version (Germany) ;). The title selection corresponds 100% to the new version. If I remember correctly, there was a criticism of the album in 1983 that it was edited afterwards in the studio and is therefore not a “real live album”. This is common practice today. At that time it was probably not common.

Ryan T Bouchard

One thing I can say about the Plays Live album: it transforms a rare track, the rather cheesy song “I Go Swimming”, into an awesome performance. It is energetic and even humorous (“Water on the brain!”) and fun…but…near the end of the song, the lyric “Swimming in water, swimming in water, water all over me” keeps repeating like a mantra, invoking some kind of elemental purification with water, and it’s actually quite an emotional release!


about dam time! Wheres the US link tho!!??!! Ive had the 2 cd edition since its release back in the 80’s. Was hoping for cd release in the 03 reissues and not highlights! Have no interest in overpriced vinyl that dont have a record player for in the 1st place as the reason i sold all my original vinyls when cds came around in the 1st place.


I have an American version on 2 single CD’s on Geffen that came in a tallbox… I sent my brother with instructions what to bring back when he went to Florida in the late 80’s lol. The English 2 CD didn’t stay in print long so I’m glad this is out again on CD. I thought this time was Peter’s creative peak. It would have been nice to have had some enticing extras: Normal Life – Don’t Remember extended and Kiss Of Life. It’s also a pity that the remix of Lay Your Hands on Me that was aired on Italian TV hasn’t shown up officially anywhere as that is a doozy.


About time.

Oh, wait. No American links for the CD. Hopefully this will be rectified soon…

Michael Inman

I always order things through Burning Shed UK and I live in the USA.
If there’s a King Crimson Release I order through Burning Shed and get it cheaper and faster than I do if I order through Inner Knot their US Label for King Crimson. So I order a lot of things from Burning Shed. They are really good it takes about 5 days to get it via Royal mail but it does come


I’ve used Burning Shed a few times. Last time I went to order from them, shipping was astronimical. Probably pandemic relater. Great company, though.

george glazener

Speaking of Peter Gabriel – has any news come across the rumor mill about a “Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” reissue? There was some chatter about it pre-Covid. Cheers.


One of My Favorite Gabriel (Live) Albums..I have the New Vinyl Version (just Fun to Listen too)..I was kinda of hoping for this new cd release that he would thrown in ‘ the Live version ‘Kiss of Life’ from ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’ Besides Album. Plus ‘Games without Frontiers” I know there is a 83 version floating around on YouTube..Still might pick this one up on CD anyway.


“but it hasn’t been available – at least in the UK – for over 30 years.”

Nothing ages you quite like a statement like that!!!!

Great to see these available again for “younger” folks – shame there is nothing new added – or even a deluxe set


Back in ’89 I bough a twin cassette edition, in a local shop, here in Italy.
I have seen them around for years, I am sure they were not pirate copies.

Carl Jacobs

Well being a Gabriel fan, I’m in.
Agree with others that this sadly represents a missed opportunity with the extra tracks list.

What I want is a cd issue of F&J box set


Could this be a precursor to the other recent PG live vinyl albums being reissued on CD? Secret World live is still available as a CD and Live in Athens was part of the So box, but it would be awesome to have a 2CD version of Growing Up Live at least.

Alan Blevin

Good to see with this and Rated PG that Peter hasn’t given up entirely on cds.Growing Up Live next please.
Standard request for a physical release of Flotsam And Jetsam.


Took a full year for me to get “Rated PG” on CD. I almost gave up…

The Golden Age Of The Phonograph

I suspect the other live LPs will be given a release on CD. Although I have all the LPs I`m in for the CDs also.

As someone has already mentioned a SDE of `Melt` would be good.

I rate all of Gabriels albume better than every Genesis Album afer and including `And Then There Were Three`, although I recken Steve Hacket has an even better body of work than Peter Gabriel. That`s just my opinion, OOAA.


Grumble grumble still no Melt SDE grumble grumble



I remember standing outside of the Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street in 1988. Inside the main glass window, they actually had a CD pressing machine that was knocking out the single CD version of this every few seconds. That’s where I bought mine.


Back then, that technology felt like magic.

It’s a great album too.


I remember the Bob Dylan website describing one of the early Bootleg Series releases as coming in a “brilliant box” and thinking “well it’s all right I suppose”.


I make the amazon.uk vinyl £19.17 rather than thirty two quid?

tom m hans

I remember getting the double vinyl after seeing So live in Rome, Italy while on vacation in 1987 – I always liked both records – later I learned that he altered/resung some of his vocals in the studio? Can anyone confirm that? I also have the double CD Version, which does not sound better than the initial vinyl. Also, set setlist seems to be not mirrored on the records/CDs. If PG would not be PG then we would probably receive an expanded version…. he added San Jacinto onto the Secret World half speed vinyl remaster, though – maybe a one off, sadly.

Nathan Thomas

It’s pretty common knowledge & the ‘cleaning up’ is actually mentioned in the liner notes of the album itself where they admit to ‘cheating’ a bit. Peter Walsh who mixed & co-produced the album said “ Peter’s lead vocal needed a few touch-ups. Not because of the performance, more for technical reasons. It’s hard to get the best sound quality out of a vocal when you’re falling backwards into an audience (Lay Your Hands on Me) or hanging upside down from a piece of scaffolding (Shock the Monkey)!” – so it sounds like there were a few vocal tweaks rather than a full on re-recording of vocals.

Nathan Thomas

PS. They also rearranged the song order when compiling the album so had to change some of Peters spoken introductions to fit with the new track order, so these spoken elements would also account for some of the ‘vocal re-recording’. (They also fiddled with the sound a little when glueing together the different concerts so they sounded like one show rather than disparate elements)

Trevor Pugh

Has this superb double album been remastered or indeed remixed?

Jonathan Simon

Not sure it’s been completely unavailable for 30 years. Checking back, I bought the full 2-CD set on Amazon UK in 2010. I think it was re-released that year.


Lost opportunity. Milgram’s 37 and Lay Your Hands On Me were played in Kansas City, Lead a Normal Life in Normal, IL (only time on that tour…since they were in Normal, get it!), Kiss of Life and John Has a Headache (never released) were played in Carbondale, IL. All of these shows were professionally recorded for Plays Live. As mentioned previously, Kiss of Life was issued as a B-side and appears digitally on ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’. Lead a Normal Life showed up on the ‘Raindrops Pattering on Banana Leaves’ charity LP. Plenty of room for any or all of these, especially since a lot of Lay Your Hands on Me could be edited down during the part where Peter was crowd surfing (it’s just a vamp).

Timm Davison

Are you sure about that? Plays Live came out in 1983, whereas Milgram’s 37 came out in 1986. Your timeline seems to be off, are you sure you’re not thinking of another live album in his canon?

Paul Wade

He’d been playing Milgram’s 37 live since The Tour Of China 1984 (which Gabrielesquely took place in 1980…)


Nope. He did an early (and much different) version live on previous tours.


Milligrams was performed live ahead of studio release.

Mic Smith

Great that this is coming out as 2CD in the U.K. again. The release date is 19th March though not 18th isn’t it?

paul widdows

Still got the original fat box 80s edition. Not sure why the release on CD, If You Purchased The recent remastered vinyl[Which I did] and used the Download card You Got The Album In High-Res ,WAV and Flac files .

Brad Breault

That’s right Paul, there are many of us still enjoying CD’s, so my question to Paul W. would be if ALL of the tracks from that original download are all at the same step of mastering quality, since the CD and SACD reissues were the ‘highlights’ tracks only? I’m hoping so but it wouldn’t suprise me if for some reason the tracks left of the ‘highlights’ tracks were not. Silly question I know, either way I’ll be buying this CD reissue as I have little faith Real World will bother with an SACD version.

Mic Smith

The reinstated tracks are the same mastering as the highlights tracks. It’s effectively the 2002 remaster but with 16 tracks not 12.


I have got friends who ditched their € 10.000 cd player and jumped on the high-end streaming wagon… and even they have admitted that the cd-player outplayed the streaming device on regular cd’s. The only exceptions are the high resolution editions of regular works.


“Not sure why the release on CD, If You Purchased The recent remastered vinyl[Which I did] and used the Download card You Got The Album In High-Res ,WAV and Flac files”

Because there are many people who did not buy the Vinyl version ? Not sure what is so hard to understand about that.

I have no interest in every again buying Vinyl. Did so twice in the last 30 years (really the last 5) because of some stupid bundle where the CDs were not available separately… Usually that makes me skip the bundle altogether but there apparently are exceptions to this where I put up with wasting money on Vinyl I will never play.
I certainly will never buy Vinyl on its own, and chances are there is no 3rd time I will buy a bundle either, most albums I would even consider this for I already have the SDE of.

Ben Williams

Great news, I’ll pick this one up!

Tom M

Would like to see an SACD of this as well.

Phil Morris

Yes. SACD highlights edition in 2003.

Elliott Buckingham

I think this needs a remix his vocals sound too far back in the mix


Never any bonus tracks on these. The 12″ version of I Don’t Remember was extended despite being live! It also had the live version of Kiss Of Life which has not been released elsewhere as far as I know?

Chris Needham

There is a live version of “Kiss of Life” on the Flotsam & Jetsam compilation from 2019. I don’t know if it’s from the 12″.

Ian Lowe

Thought they might have added the B-side to I don’t remember,kiss of life but hay oh I’m in.