Live Blood

Released 23rd April, 2012

Recorded at Hammersmith Apollo in March 2011 and released the following year, Live Blood is exactly what its name suggests – the live incarnation of Peter’s New Blood project where he reworked a chunk of his back catalogue for a 46-piece orchestra. It was the inevitable next step for such an artistically successful project and the live version, reordering songs and adding a couple more (Signal To Noise and Biko), was more than up to the task.

_MG_2869-Photography credit York Tillyer

Brilliantly recorded, Live Blood captures every drop of that live show’s essence – the drama, the darkness, the sense of occasion. A wide palette of emotion is drawn from, while the orchestra change gear and mood without dropping a beat, from the triumphantly skipping Solsbury Hill to the furious maelstrom that concludes The Rhythm Of The Heat. And everything in between.

As the ‘New Blood’ project evolved, it grew into something different from anything else I’d done or heard, and I really wanted to take it out live on its own terms and not as a support for ‘Scratch’ – which we did.”

I was determined that it shouldn’t be just a sort of ‘Hits goes to the Orchestra’. So we did two things different: one was to try to choose songs that were more textural, more journey songs, more evocative, ambient pieces and less the obviously structured pop songs, and the second thing we did was, we threw away the rock band; most people when they do orchestral projects keep the rock band and add orchestra, but we took away guitar, we took away bass, we took away drum kit, and in a way that meant that we were more committed and had only to use the colours of the palette of the orchestra.

Then, touring this music, I started to get quite excited about it, and there was a moment for me around Rhythm of the Heat where I thought it would be wonderful to try taking the rhythm patterns of the drum machines and put them on the instruments of the orchestra, and John (Metcalfe) did a brilliant job of that. For me, it’s probably still the most exciting piece of the New Blood record, but it really encouraged me to think that this was going to go somewhere, possibly new territory, and that we should make it a record.

When we came to go through all the songs, I left to one side some of the obvious hits, and went more for the songs that were telling a story, or working with textures or mood that seemed to have the raw material that could translate well to orchestra and provide an interesting piece of music. So, that was much more the criteria than what are the strongest melodies or the best-loved tunes.

PG and conductor Ben Foster, performing The Rhythm of the Heat, London March 2011.
Photo: York Tillyer