I was in line for the pre-order of this superlative CD set. My vinyl copies of most of the originals that were culled for this song roster have suffered a strange fate that I can only account for by vaguely remembering that I had my records stacked on the floor and leaning against a heat-radiator which (while a student in Buffalo NY), was hot for endless winters… Stunned to find them warped beyond playability I have lived without this music for a long time. I find much of digital (CD) music generally sonically disappointing these days and was hesitant to replace my now-useless LP’s with dubious digital versions.
But still I could not resist the compulsion to go after this set and I will testify that I am not disappointed. This is a highly recommended re-creation of much of the classic-period (as I would define it) Genesis repertoire.
These kinds of musical exercises can pretty much go in one of two basic directions, a faithful recreation, maybe with a few of the original cast being one; I was pleased to see that Mr. Hackett and company took the other fork – avoiding the county-fair ‘oldies-show’ pitfall while re-imagining the music from a modern point of view and taking advantage of the bias of your particular instrument/s while opening the process up to folks who are equally enthusiastic about the journey.
I can see that a fair amount of time has gone into the track sequence and the various ways these songs were re-conceived and performed. The engineering of the material (primarily Roger King) is wonderful in it’s innovation, punch and clarity and the reclamation of Steve Hackett’s guitar authority within these songs, for my ears, reinvigorates and expands the originals. That hanging guitar sustain at the commencement of ‘The Chamber of 32 Doors’ will tell you all you need to know about Mr. Hackett’s approach to this music and his role in it’s original conception.
I confess that I went out and bought a sub-woofer, to upgrade the near-antique conglomeration of Hi-Fi (see how old I am?) components I cling to, essentially at the time of committing to this music purchase. I was stunned at the contribution to the output of my almost silly-looking paired Tandberg Fasett speakers those new-found lower bass notes made and this recording has plenty of those, even at the more subtle, low bass setting I prefer to maintain.
There are so many exemplary performances and vocal treatments here that both pay homage to and build upon the originals. I was afraid I would miss Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins’ voices but after a couple of playings and the expected getting-used-to period, I came to realize that it was the music that held steadfast and the new players brought something to the endeavor.
I have read through the various reviews here and agree with many of the comments; I also disagree with a few perspectives. So, I think that Gary O’Toole hit his marks on all his vocalizations; these never sounded better. Contrary to some opinions here, I greatly enjoy Amanda Lehmann’s handling of ‘Ripples’ and found that it opened up a new way of hearing that song, so-far “owned” by Phil Collins. Forget about who she is or is not sounding sort-of like; just listen to the intent of the music. I hit the repeat button a few times here (I had a similar reaction to hearing Shelby Lynne sing ‘Surfer Girl’ on Brian Wilson’s Musicares tribute video; I think some of this may involve getting over the gender bias of an original music and see what new may come of it). Rob Townsend’s wind contributions really do nudge a lot of this music into the improvisational jazz arena that it often tends toward. I have greatly enjoyed Mr. Hackett’s association and projects involving Steven Wilson and have yet to be disappointed with those outcomes; in so doing, I have become a huge fan of Mr. Wilson’s work with Porcupine Tree and on his own – this originating with these more recent collaborations of two creative thinkers. The participation of the Hungarian jazz ensemble Djabe in support of this music (and vice-versa) seems like a natural collaborative extension of their combined musical capabilities and interests.
Without pursuing the ‘favorites’ quagmire (okay, I’ll allow Musical Box…), I highly recommend this music purchase: obviously to Genesis freaks but also to younger listeners possibly new to what we still call ‘progressive rock’ – those who may find something missing or redundant in much of the musical out-pour these days. The long form, epic, ‘tone poem-ish’ nature of Mr. Hackett’s recent original works and now this particular ‘musical rehash’ – which may suffer under the “progressive” moniker – lends itself to introspection, absorption and a degree of musical feeling that remains with you after the demands of the day inevitably take you back over. The original or traditional classical and other musical references (the music-box intro; Greensleeves) which ‘set up’ or embellish certain selections help to redefine, enrich those pieces and bridge the chasm to other music forms and your own music memory.
Get it, queue it up, crank it up (I definitely agree with that fellow!) and sit down and listen. It’s quite excellent.
Wow! Quite the feat! Obviously, a great deal of work, and love, were put into this album, not to mention production!
Having heard Genesis mostly from “Selling England by The Pound”, onward (except for “Watcher of the Skies”) there are some songs I’d never heard before. The third, for example, is a killer instrumental with Steve playing an insane, frantic Jeff Beck-like, seething solo. In fact, Jeff was one of Steve’s influences, and he quotes Jeff (from the Yardbird’s: “I Can’t Make Your Way”) fom 6:05 to 6:11 minutes into the track, “Fountain of Salmacis”, one of the great pieces I’d never heard before.
Prior to that, (though I haven’t really read the notes), I’m guessing that’s probably Steve singing through some device on “Dance on a Volcano”, which I’m sure most people would agree would have been much better suited to Paul Carrack, (who sings on a couple of other pieces), in the upper registers. However, in a couple of sections (when the vocal “octavider”, or whatever it is, goes ominously low) it couldn’t sound cooler! Perhaps if he’d sung the “whole” song like that, it might have worked better.
But there’s plenty of amazing things happening throughout this album. Like “Watcher of the Skies”,(imagine Steve playing this with King Crimson, since three key members of that band are playing it with him), and the amazing interpretation of “Firth of Fifth”, with some beautiful classical guitar in the middle, and then Steve demonstrating he’s one of the best rock guitarists in the world in the following section, not just with speed, but taste, and (more importantly something sorely missing these days),”creativity”.
The orchestra, at the beginning of this piece, recalls something enchanting, and beautiful not unlike “Nutcracker Suite”. Too bad that section wasn’t even longer! “Your Own Special Way” is nice, but occasionally there’s a little synth “riff” that sounds a little too “soft rock”, but Steve (I think wisely), leaves out the familiar riff in the chorus, and does a brilliant solo, that I can’t possibly imagine being topped by anyone on the planet!
“Waiting Room Only” is the “strange” piece, pretty much a “Number Nine”-ish, weird bit of Hackettry- at first. But by about two minutes into the piece, it starts to get rather interesting, and soon, more “musical”, with some fairly cool stuff going on.
I have to admit that I don’t really care for the following version of “I Know What I Like”, except for the funny bits, and the famous solo that Steve pretty much keeps intact and even adds to, that is only now becoming deservedly recognized for being the very first “real” example of the two-handed, finger-tapping technique in rock guitar, years before Eddie Van Halen unjustly got all the credit.
At the beginning of “Los Endos”, Steve demonstrates that he can play a pretty decent bit ot Flamenco, and then the band goes into high energy mode, the rest of the song being intact with all kinds of great little moments, with great drumming and layered drums, synth guitar, mellotron, and so forth.
Overall, a great album, especially for the usually low price. But if you’re not that familiar with Steve Hackett, he has even better albums- since, and prior. But this is still a “keeper” considering that almost all of it is superb.
Civic Auditorium Arena, Omaha, NE – February 3rd, 1984
Disc 1 (70:52): Dodo / Lurker, Abacab, That’s All, Mama, Medley (The Eleventh Earl of Mar / The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway / Firth Of Fifth / The Musical Box), Phil Talking, Illegal Alien, Home By The Sea, Second Home By The Sea
Disc 2 (70:42): Man On The Corner, Keep It Dark, It’s Gonna Get Better, Follow You Follow Me, Phil Talking, In The Cage featuring The Cinema Show / The Colony of Slippermen, Afterglow, Drum Duet / Los Endos, Misunderstanding, Turn It On Again
After Genesis was released in October 1983, Genesis limited their tour schedule to dates only in the US, Canada, and Birmingham, England. Close to the end the band played their first ever show in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Civic Auditorium. The Steam Of The Medley presents the complete show in very good to borderline excellent sound quality. The first ten minutes of the tape are quite distorted, but it cleans up nicely. There are two cuts in “Follow You, Follow Me”.
Not many bootlegs derive from shows in Nebraska for some reason, so this is an odd choice for a silver. Highland chose it because besides being another fun show on the short tour, it was the final time the band played “Man On The Corner” live.
On the Genesis Movement website, kaspergm writes “As the show memory below says, last ever performance of ‘Man On The Corner.’ However, the occurrence of ‘Man On The Corner’ on this bootleg is suspicious as neither ‘Man On The Corner’ nor ‘Who Dunnit?’ were played on any of the nights after January 10. [A claim that isn’t true – ‘Man On The Corner’ was a regular inclusion in the set up until the January 21st show in Dallas]. I would not be surprised if ‘Man On The Corner’ in this recording was cut in from another show – it would not be the first time Highland did this – but I have not been bothered to dig out the discs I have, somewhere, to check on this – don’t know if anybody ever gave any thought to this.”
“Man On The Corner” certainly sounds genuine. It is in the same sound quality as the rest of the tape and there are not cuts at the end. (In fact, the first four songs on disc two run together with no pause).
Keeping their habit of starting the show with the previous album’s hits, they begin with “Dodo / Lurker” and “Abacab,” the two epics from Abacab. Phil Collins greets the audience, “Good evening Omaha! Good evening Nebraska in general. Well this is the first time we’ve come to this neck of the woods” and tell them that “we’re gonna be here for a couple of hours, until the drugs wear off.”
“Mama,” complete with Collins’ spitting and groaning, is the first of the new songs to be played and the most abrasive. Not prog and not pop, it’s in a Genesis category of its own and thankfully doesn’t set the tone of the entire show.
The first “old medley” starts off with the opening fanfare of “The Eleventh Earl Of Mar” which segues into “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway,” the instrumental portion of “Firth Of Fifth” and the final “old man’s lament” of “The Musical Box.”
Before “Illegal Alien” Collins jokes about Oklahoma steaks being better than Omaha steaks. ”How quickly they turn on you” he jokes when the audience let out the expected boos. He continues with the fugitives from justice bit and plays the group radio, playing snatches of Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon ” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Yes’ “Owner Of A Lonely Heart.” The roadies join the band onstage for the “roadie choir,” adding their voices to the infectious (and silly) chorus.
As stated above “Man On The Corner” was a regular number in the show up until the Dallas show on January 24th. It was dropped afterwards, but added again in Omaha and played for the final time live. After “Follow You, Follow Me” Collins introduces the second medley of the night. The “In The Cage” oldies set is lifted straight from the Encore tour two years before as is the final drum duet and “Los Endos.”
“Misunderstanding” is the first encore and “Turn It On Again” closes the show. The latter contains a long medley of classics including “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love,” “Pinball Wizard” and “The Midnight Hour.” Genesis would retain a medley in this song in later tours.
The Steam Of The Medley was produced in 1999 by Highland and is one of their classic releases. They use several dramatic live shots for the artwork including the cover with the band’s famous light show and a shot inside of Phil addressing the audience from behind the stage. Not only is Omaha a great show, but the odd location of the concert and the excellent sound quality make this one worth having.
In the beginning of 1979 the world looked rather ambiguous for Genesis. On the one hand they were enjoying a major international success with their first album as a three-piece, …And Then There Were Three… and the accompanying single Follow You Follow Me. Phil’s marriage, on the other hand, was about to collapse and brought all band activities to a halt. Genesis had not planned a new album for 1979. Phil went to Vancouver to save what could not be saved anymore. Tony and Mike were at home with lots of time on their hands, time both decided to use creatively.
Mike Rutherford Smallcreep’s Day Mike’s first solo album would not become a long-term commercial success but a cult record for the hardcore fans. Smallcreep’s Day sounds very different from his later band project Mike + The Mechanics. It is rather a lost son of Duke, and when you listen to the music there is no mistaking which band Mike plays in. It is authentic Genesis, but it contains no rehash but high-quality music. Smallcreep’s Day can actually be called a concept album. It tells the story of a factory worker who does his work every day without actually ever realizing what kind of product he helps to manufacture. He embarks on a journey of discovery into the factory and into himself, into his life, and meets lots of interesting people and new emotions. The story is inspired by Peter Currell Brown’s book of the same title that came out in 1965.
How well is the story turned into music? Mike managed to enlist some choice musicians that helped his first solo album float. The songs he wrote himself. David Hentschel was the producer and sound engineer, and he made sure that the reliable dry and bassy Genesis sound graced Smallcreep’s Day. Noel McCalla, Simon Philips and Mike’s old friend Anthony Phillips also found their way to Stockholm’s Polar studios.
A couple of words about the musicians. Simon Collins was the drummer. His work can be admired on countless records; artists like Mick Jagger, Mike Oldfield, Joe Satriani or Jeff Beck hired his service. He also drummed on I Have The Touch on Peter Gabriel’s Shaking The Tree sampler. In 1979 Mike asked him to work on his first solo record. Says Simon: “Mike is an English gentleman in the true sense of the word. I seem to remember him being open to any suggestion and really it was down to arrangement as opposed to what I should play – in other words I played what I felt was right for the song. I do remember using Tama’s first synth drums which had little triggers that I stuck to the snare drum and basically did what syndrums did – very fashionable at the time but did not last with me though!” His slightly jazzy style seems a bit agitated and even hectic in places, but certainly brings life into the music. The drums have quite a presence in the mix without dominating it the way it does on Genesis and Collins solo albums.
Noel McCalla became the voice of the album. “Noel who?” He has been the singer in Manfred Mann’s Earth Band for several years. His voice is very soulful and McCalla interprets the songs on Smallcreep’s Day with feeling and the necessary vocal range.
The parts of guitarist and bassist were taken by Mike Rutherford himself – he knows that job very well. They always say that Rutherford cannot play. Though many guitarists expand their technique and speed up their playing over the years it seems as if Mike had taken a deceleration course. The older he grows the slower, calmer and lamer his style became. On all the records that would follow his guitar playing would grow less and less (and less and less exciting) – but for Smallcreep’s Day he seems to have told himself: “My record, my mistakes. If I mess this up, nobody will bother, it is ‘only’ my record.” Never before and never again did Mike play longer solos (Second Home By The Sea and Abacab excepted) or play his guitars in such a creative way.
So there is only one free slot. Mike brought in his old friend Ant Phillips to play the keyboards. Ta-daa: Two fifths of Genesis on one album, and don’t you hear it!
Let’s go. Side one, track one. The album begins with a bit of pseudo-prog; a repetitive keyboard melody prepares Noel’s first words „It’s so very dark in here“. And still you feel quite at home hearing this. Between The Tick & The Tock is a calm, atmospheric entrance to the album. The anticipation grows.
Merrily on: Working In Line, Mike’s first single, begins with strummed guitars and fidgety drums while the bass seems to mutter something. The song would not be much better than okay were it not for the superb instrumental. These are some fast fingers that touch the strings. Is this a glimpse at more to come? Working In Line fades out and gentle strings lead us unto the next track which is much more sedate and not at all as lively as the previous one.
It is actually only an intro to Cats And Rats (In This Neighbourhood) – and the beginning resembles Back In N.Y.C. or The Colony Of Slippermen in a way. The reviewer actually went back to the list of musicians to check if Tony Banks was secretly playing on this song. Or did Ant borrow his equipment? The song would not have sounded out of place on The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, and so it does not matter much that the next piece is another intro… or was it still the outro? Who cares, because now the big guns appear. The song that follows is a, if not –the- highlight in Mike’s musical creativity.
Out Into The Daylight is an entertaining instrumental dominated by guitars and full of keyboard melodies hunting each other. It begins with lots of riffing and rumbling drums before the first melodies come in and this swiftly flowing track develops. Mike delivers his best guitar solo ever – full of ideas and variation. He is admittedly no guitar genius, but he has a sophisticated way of playing out his ideas. Who would have expected that from him? It is, however, a pity that something this beautiful and exciting is hiding on a more or less unknown album only die-hard fans listen to. If Mike had saved this thrilling instrumental for Duke that album would have been even better – and maybe this would have happened: Out Into The Daylight inherits the position of Firth Of Fifth in concert and Mike steps out of Steve Hackett’s shadow – who knows? Who knows whether Daryl Stuermer would play this song today … but that’s another story.
At The End Of The Day closes the first half of the album. After a fairly schmaltzy start this turns into a wonderfully romantic song with a brief guitar solo. The song sits quite on the fence between kitsch and art.
The second half of the album consists of individual tracks, so the songs do not blend into the others as in the first half. It begins with an up-tempo track with lots of bass called Moonshine. Bombastic keyboard cascades remind one of Behind The Lines.
The early chords of Time And Again sound familiar, they do resemble Many Too Many. The chorus breaks out of the melancholy into some optimism. Perhaps one of the slightly weaker songs, but sung very pleasantly by Noel, and if Phil Collins had sung this there would have been a chance that this could have become a hit. The middle section has a nice brief solo by Mike. He doesn’t do things half.
Romani is tricky. The keyboards play a slow warbling into, then a new keyboard melody rises to the fore and the song reveals its real face. Interesting vocals and rhythmic niceties like frequent changes in signatures and speed make it particularly enjoyable. Two contrary melodies were wrapped in one song – this is typical Rutherford songwriting, and it sounds clever and at ease.
Calmly and happily we enter Every Road. The song is carried mainly by the acoustic guitar. It sounds like a symbiosis of Over My Shoulder and Open Door and spreads good vibrations along the way.
Overnight Job is harder again. Dynamics are what made Genesis so good, and it does not hurt Mike’s solo record at all either. The music is just bursting with liveliness. In the middle the song changes directions completely and proves yet again that one of Mike’s strengths lies in writing strong, catchy riffs. Lovely moments and happy faces at the end.
What remains is the impression that this is an album by Genesis under an assumed name. That is, of course, no problem. It is remarkable and at the same time very pleasant to see how intense an influence Mike has had on the typical Genesis sound from 1978 onwards. A larger variety of instruments was used on Smallcreep’s Day than on Tony’s first solo album, which avoids the album being swamped by one instrument. One never has the impression that something was missing that could have made it sound even better. Despite all the references to and parallels with Genesis (and particularly the Duke album) one it not tempted to miss Phil or Tony. It seems, in fact, that this album was very important to Mike, and you can hear that it is all of a piece. He brought all his strength and many interesting song ideas to it. If he had saved them for Genesis Duke might have become a double album. As it is now, Smallcreep’s Day stands for itself: a timeless gem, an interesting aspect of his solo work – and a masterpiece by underestimated song-writer genius who always stood in the shadows of Tony and Phil.
Genesis Six Of The Best: Rehearsals & Live (Hammersmith, September 1982 & Milton Keynes, October 1982)
There are many and various reasons why rock bands hold reunions. Most common is for nostalgia, the need to revisit past glories for contemporary fans and for the pocket book. Others are held for charitable reasons. Such was the case for the Six Of The Best show in 1982.
Careful not to call it a Genesis reunion for legal and speculative reasons, it is to date the only time Peter Gabriel played with Genesis for a full-length concert since his departure in 1975 (Gabriel did join the band for “I Know What I Like” in New York in July 1978).
The cause was quite worthy. Gabriel, in his attempt to introduce and preserve the heritage of world music and to find such interesting acts a new audience, had invested quite a lot of time and money into the World Of Music And Dance (WOMAD) festival at Shepton Mallot on July 16th.
Unfortunately, his ideals were higher than his business sense and didn’t count on acts such as La Place De La Concorde, OK Jive and The Drummers Of Burundi to not draw a sizable audience.
Not even Simple Minds, Echo & The Bunnymen, The English Beat or a scintillating set by himself was able save the festival from insolvency.
Genesis were still on the Encore tour, their biggest yet, and offered to donate proceeds from one of their shows for his cause. Instead of accepting charity from his old mates, Gabriel decided instead to schedule the one-off reunion to raise funds. Unfortunately the show wasn’t professionally recorded (as far as we know), but there were several enterprising audience members to capture the event for posterity.
In 2009 a soundboard recording of the rehearsal surfaced and was quickly pressed onto silver disc. Six Of The Best: Rehearsals & Live on Virtuoso is a four disc set presenting both tapes in one convenient package. This is the first time the reunion concert has been issued on silver disc in almost fifteen years and it receives a welcome overhaul in a definitive package.
Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – September 29th, 1982
Disc 1 (46:49): Back In NYC, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight (Take 1), Dancing With The Moonlit Knight (Take 2), The Carpet Crawlers, Firth Of Fifth, The Musical Box, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Fly On A Windshield, Broadway Melody Of 1974
Disc 2 (47:39): In The Cage (Take 1), In The Cage (Take 2), Supper’s Ready, The Knife, Solsbury Hill (Take 1), Solsbury Hill (Take 2), Solsbury Hill (Take 3)
The only rehearsal for the event occurred on the afternoon of Genesis’ September 29th show at the Hammersmith Odeon, the penultimate show on the Encore tour which was recently released on Man On The Hammersmith (Virtuoso 137/138). The ninety minute soundboard recording was first pressed on All The Help I Can Get (GR 458/459). The sound quality of the Virtuoso doesn’t differ significantly from the Godfather release.
A very clear but unbalanced recording, it clearly illustrates the band resurrecting the older numbers for the reunion show. Several of the old songs like “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway,” “I Know What I Like,” “In The Cage” and the epic “Supper’s Ready” are already well rehearsed because they were already part of Genesis’ live act.
But the other numbers require much more work. Gabriel has to practice the opening to “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight” several times before getting right. They choose to play the opening of the song as an introduction to “Carpet Crawlers,” the same arrangement Genesis employed on the Duke tour in 1980.
“Firth Of Fifth” was part of the set as recently as the Duke tour, but “The Musical Box” hadn’t been played in its entirety since 1974 (only the fast paced instrumental was played in medley). Collins and Gabriel try to sing the first verse of “The Musical Box” in union but quickly drop the idea. Gabriel’s flute out of tune in the beginning of “The Musical Box.”
“In The Cage” is cooking along until a key change is missed and they have to start again. Most work goes into Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill.” It’s interesting hearing him teach the band how to play and to work on the Genesis arrangement of one of his most famous solo works. Cliff, in his review of the Godfather release two years ago, opined that there must have been much more to the rehearsal since “Turn It On Again” must have been rehearsed. Nothing new has surfaced since, so this is probably all we’ll get to hear from the rehearsal session.
Six of The Best Reunion Show, Concert Bowl, Milton Keynes, England – October 2nd, 1982
Disc 3 (72:49): Introduction by Jonathan King, Back In NYC, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, The Carpet Crawlers, Peter Gabriel MC, Firth Of Fifth, The Musical Box, Solsbury Hill, Member Introduction, Turn It On Again, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Fly On A Windshield, 1974 Broadway Melody, In The Cage
Disc 4 (47:25): Introduction Of Supper’s Ready, Supper’s Ready, I Know What I Like (with Steve Hackett), The Knife (with Steve Hackett), Closing Words
For such an important show in Genesis’ history, there have been very few pressed versions available. The first was The Lamb Woke Up Again (Stonehenge STCD 2008/2009) which contains the entire show plus the three song encore from Steve Hackett’s January 29th, 1983 show in Guildford where Peter Gabriel and Michael Rutherford joined him onstage for the encores. In the late nineties Highland released Six Of The Best (Highland HL 388/389) using a fair to good tape.
Since then several more audience tapes have been uncovered. Arguably, the best version was on the fan produced Live In Milton Keynes (TM Productions) and was commercially available on the CDR Emotional Reunion (Amity 106). It is a very clear and enjoyable audience tape of the entire concert. It also picks up nicely the sound of 60,000 punters singing along to the music and singing “Happy Birthday” to Michael Rutherford.
Genesis’ first manager Jonathan King gives some introductory words, speaking about how they formed sixteen years ago, before the band start with the thumping rhythms of “Back In NYC.” Six pallbearers carry a coffin onstage while the band extend the intro. After placing the coffin onstage, it opens and out comes Peter Gabriel dressed in Rael costume. The opening lines are muffled due to a faulty lead, but it clears up nicely and the show gets off to a wonderful start.
After a pause, Gabriel sings the opening to “Dancing With A Moonlit Knight” which segues directly into “Carpet Crawlers.” Collins joins in on the verses like in the old days, but it is Gabriel’s mesmerizing performance that carries the tune.
“Some of you may be wondering what we’re doing here.” The audience replies “NOOOOOOOOO” in unison. Gabriel continues anyway to talk about WOMAD, its financial woes, and to tell the audience they will play a selection they think they would like to hear. ”Firth Of Fifth” follows (with Darryl Steurmer playing the solo).
“The Musical Box” is a bit sloppy with Steurmer being the main culprit. He doesn’t know the guitar embellishments during the opening verses and makes up his own which sound strange. He’s much more confident during the heavy instrumental, however, since it has been part of the set.
The middle part of the show is a trade off. They play “Solsbury Hill” from Gabriel’s first album. And, after the band introductions, Gabriel and Collins switch places. Collins takes over vocal and Gabriel plays drums for “Turn It On Again” from Duke. Of course Chester Thompson handles the tricky time signatures, but it’s all in good fun and the symbolism is very fitting.
Gabriel then mentions they rehearsed in Hammersmith for the show and starts telling the train story from Genesis Live. He stops and jokes “the only thing we didn’t rehearse were the stories and that is the wrong story.” He then tells another story as an intro to “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.” They play all of the first side of the first LP except “Cuckoo Cocoon” after “Broadway Melody Of 1974″ and “The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging” after “In The Cage.”
Afterwards Gabriel tells the tube story again as an introduction to “Supper’s Ready.” It’s very tight since they’ve been playing it on tour. Gabriel dons his flower costume to the approval of the audience.
Steve Hackett comes onstage for the final two numbers. ”I Know What I Like” features Collins playing his tambourine games, and “The Knife” is very short and powerful. Gabriel afterwards thanks everyone for coming and Collins wishes everyone a good night.
While this isn’t the greatest Genesis concert it is historically important. Thirty years on it is the final time Gabriel sang for Genesis in concert and, after the aborted plan for him to rejoin Genesis on their reunion in 2007, probably will remain so. There are many musical mistakes and miscues, but the emotion is right and is fun to listen to. Virtuoso did a good job bringing these two tapes together into one convenient package. Until a soundboard and / or video of the show surfaces, Six Of The Best: Rehearsals & Live will be the definitive silver title.
Palasport, Rome, Italy – September 7th, 1982
Disc 1: Dance On A Volcano, Behind The Lines, Follow You Follow Me, Dodo / Lurker, Abacab, Supper’s Ready, Misunderstanding, Man On The Corner
Disc 2: In The Cage / Cinema Show / Slipperman, Afterglow, Turn It On Again, drum duet / Los Endos, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway / Watcher Of The Skies, I Know What I Like
Genesis’ Three Sides Live Encore tour in 1982 served as a two month long reprise of the Abacab tour the previous year.
Beginning in Peoria, Illinois on August 1st, it took in dates in both North America and Europe before culminating in the famous “Six Of The Best” reunion with Peter Gabriel at Milton Keynes. They played two shows in Rome on September 6th and September 7th. Italy was one of the first places to become fanatical about the band but this represented their first appearance in the country in seven years on the Lamb tour.
Return To Roma contains the complete September 7th performance. This tape source was released previously on Apocalypse (GHOST 0101/0102) in similar quality. It is a good to very good and loud audience recording. There is distortion during the very loud passages and has a cuts after “Abacab” (eliminating Collins’ introduction to “Supper’s Ready”),
This is very good at capturing the atmosphere in the Palasport that night. The crowd is cheering and singing along and even get into football chants throughout the evening. It is one of the most enthusiastic crowds one will hear on an audience recording and this turns out to be a tremendously exciting concert. Normally Collins would speak in the native language and engage the audience to build enthusiasm but there is no need for that.
The show begins with the medley of “Dance On A Volcano,” ”Behind The Lines,” ”Follow You Follow Me.” Collins speaks to the audience in poor Italian explaining they will be playing a mixture of new songs, old songs, and really old songs. Two songs from the latest album, “Dodo/Lurker” and ”Abacab” follow.
“Supper’s Ready” was resurrected for the encore tour for the first time since the Wind & Wuthering days and these would be the epic’s final live performances. Everybody in the audience shouts “a flower!” at the appropriate time. “Misunderstanding” is followed by one of the all time greastest versions of “Man On A Corner.” The enthusiasm of the crowd and acoustics of the venue transform the thin drum machine into an industrial metronome and adds a new dimension to the song.
Collins introduces the band before “Turn It On Again” and in the finale of the set he drum duet sounds tremendous in the cacaphonous venue and the audience even begin to sing more football chants in the middle. The first encore is the bizarre melding of “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” (with everyone singing along!) with “Watcher Of The Skies.”
Highland released it in 1998 and is hard to find, but despite the limitations of the tape source this is a great title to track down.
Disc One: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway different mix 1, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway different mix 2, Fly On A Windshield/Broadway Melody Of 1974 rehearsal take 1, Fly On A Windshield/Broadway Melody Of 1974 rehearsal take 2, Cuckoo Cocoon different mix demo 1, Cuckoo Cocoon different mix demo 2, Cuckoo Cocoon different mix demo 3, Cuckoo Cocoon different mix demo 4, In The Cage different mix demo, In The Cage rehearsal instrumental take, The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging different mix demo#1, The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging incomplete different mix demo#2, The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging different mix demo#3, Back In N.Y.C. different mix demo#1, Back In N.Y.C. ending different mix demo#2, Back In N.Y.C. ending different mix demo#3, Back In N.Y.C. different mix demo#4, Counting Out Time incomplete different bass in demo, The Carpet Crawlers different mix demo#1, The Carpet Crawlers different mix demo#2
Disc 2: Lilywhite Lilith different mix demo, The Waiting Room sound effects only demo, The Waiting Room live at Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles January 24th, 1975, The Waiting Room different mix final demo, Anyway different mix demo, Anyway different final mix demo, Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist different final mix demo with Phil Collins, Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist rehearsal instrumental take 1, Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist rehearsal instrumental take 2, Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist rehearsal instrumental take 3, Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist rehearsal instrumental take 4, The Lamia different mix demo#1, The Lamia different mix demo#2, The Colony Of Slippermen rehearsal instrumental take#1, The Colony Of Slippermen rehearsal instrumental take#2, The Colony Of Slippermen rehearsal instrumental take#3, The Colony Of Slippermen ending rehearsal instrumental take#4, The Light Dies Down On Broadway different vocal rehearsal take, Riding The Scree different mix demo, In The Rapids incomplete different mix demo#1, In The Rapids incomplete different mix demo#2, In The Rapids different mix demo#1, In The Rapids different mix demo#2, In The Rapids rehearsal take, It rehearsal take 1, It rehearsal take 2
After reaching more success with the release of Foxtrot in 1972 and Selling England By The Pound in 1973, Genesis became even more ambitious by releasing The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, a 2LP concept album. Following in a line of The Who’s Tommy, Tales From Topographic Oceans by Yes and A Passion Play from Jethro Tull, Genesis’ contribution to this genre is one of the more bizarre yet fascinating creations. The demos for Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway are a strange collection of documents. These discs contain amateur recorded demos, different takes, and even a live track placed in proper sequential order of the final work. Before Highland released The Demo Mix On Broadway there were several other collections including The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – Outtakes (OUTTAKES COMPANY-G092110), Silence Of The Lamb, In The Beginning, Vol. 1 (Extremely Rare — EXR 005), In The Beginning, Vol. 6 (remastered) (Extremely Rare — EXR 022), In The Beginning Vol 13 (EXR 029) and In The Glare Of A Light (Alternative Recording Company ARC 021-022). Highland gather together all of the relevant outtakes and assemble them into one convenient package in the best available sound quality.
Genesis worked on their opus from August to October 1974 in Headley Grange using the Island Studio mobile truck with final mixing at Island Studios in London. As Phil Collins explained, “We were living at Headley Grange – this house that Led Zeppelin, Bad Company and the Pretty Things had lived in. it was a bit of a shambles – in fact they’d ripped the shit out of it. We were all living together and writing together and it went very well to start with. Pete had said he wanted to do all the words so Mike and Tony had backed off and we were merrily churning out this music. Every time we sat down and played, something good came out.”
Peter Gabriel said: “Several ideas for the album were presented in order for the band to exercise a democratic vote. I knew mine was the strongest and I knew it would win – or, I knew that I could get it to win. The only other idea that was seriously considered was The Little Prince which Mike was in favour of – a kid’s story. I thought that was too twee. This was 1974; it was pre-punk but I still thought we needed to base the story around a contemporary figure rather than a fantasy creation. We were beginning to get into the era of the big, fat supergroups of the seventies and I thought, ‘I don’t want to go down with this Titanic.’
“Once the story idea had been accepted we had all these heavy arguments about writing the lyrics. My argument was that there aren’t many novels which are written by a committee. I said, ‘I think this is something that only I’m going to be able to get into, in terms of understanding the characters and the situations.’ I wrote indirectly about lots of my emotional experiences in The Lamb and so I didn’t want other people coloring it. In fat there are parts of it which are almost indecipherable and very difficult which I don’t think are very successful. In some ways it was quite a traditional concept album – it was a type of Pilgrim’s Progress but with this street character in leather jacket and jeans. Rael would have been called a punk at that time without all the post-’76 connotations. The Ramones hadn’t started then, although the New York Dolls had, but they were more glam-punk. The Lamb was looking towards West Side Story as a starting point.”
Gabriel’s reference to John Bunyan’s 1678 novel The Pilgrim’s Progress is significant in understanding the plot his work. All good drama centers on the struggle of the hero against challenging odds to emerge victorious over the adversary and growing spiritually in the process. But Gabriel’s work is unique because, while most heroes deal with enemies or internal struggles, he focuses upon the sexual awakening of the male protagonist Rael. The female’s sexual awakening has been covered in literature before by authors such as Thomas Hardy, Kate Chopin and Judy Blume, focusing on the male aspect is rare. This is supported by the consistent reference to the male genitalia with “Counting Out Time,” and “The Colony Of Slipperman” where the raven snatches it from the character and the end of the story is concerned with the quest to retrieve it in the rapids. Also important are the use of mythological figures Lilith and the Lamia, both of whom have strong sexual connotations. The conclusion of the story seems to suggest a reversal of the “free love” movement with a prudish use of the double entendre in the final song “It.”
The first two tracks are different mixes of the opening song “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.” Except for the little guitar introduction and the fade out, they are identical to the final version used on the LP. This is followed by two different takes of “Fly On A Windshield.” The first is a twelve minute amateur rehearsal tape of the band working through the rhythm under the heavy mellotron lines of Banks. Gabriel can be heard scatting the melody over the music. The second is another mix of the commercial version of the track with less echo on the vocals.
The four tracks of ”Cuckoo Cocoon” also come from the final mixing at Island Studios and differ very little from one another and from the final version. They emphasize the different instruments and experiment a bit with the echo, but the differences between them are minimal. It is the same story with the first “In The Cage.” The various instruments are louder compared to the final version. The second “In The Cage” is from an amateur cassette demo from Headley Grange which begins during the solo as the band runs through the song. The three takes of “The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging” all are variations of the commercial version. The second is a forty-four second fragment of the beginning only, and the differences are minuscule.
The four “Back In NYC” experiment with different mixes of the ending and its transition into “Hairless Heart.” The third and fourth are only forty second fragments, and in it the band try emphasizing different instruments such as the bass or the tambourine. “Counting Out Time” is merely a two minute fragment of the track with louder guitar in the mix. The first disc ends with two different mixes of “The Carpet Crawlers.” The differences are again subtle, but in the first Gabriel’s vocals sound a bit more buried in the mix while in the second Collins’ backing vocals are a bit higher. The second also has the song’s original, awkward ending.
The second disc begins with “Lilywhite Lilith” that is pretty much identical to the finished version. This is followed by a five minute track “The Waiting Room.” The first two minutes are concerned with the sound effects and Gabriel can be heard speaking in the control room speaking to someone many identify as Brian Eno. As Christopher Currie writes: “Eno himself has never specified his role, claiming only that he helped the group to adjust a few tracks. Frequently suggested possibilities as to the identity of these tracks include: vocal distortions on “The Grand Parade”, keyboard distortions on “Riding The Scree” and “In The Cage”, effects on “The Colony Of Slippermen”, etc. Tony Banks has recently claimed that Eno’s role was actually quite minimal, and that he didn’t really deserve an official credit. Nevertheless, this mystery, too, refuses to die.” This is followed by “The Waiting Room” from the KBFH Shrine tape and another mix of the song.
The first track for “Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist” is the final version with a bit less echo on the vocals. The next four come from an amateur recording of the band practicing the melody and the transition from the happy melodic guitar theme into change into a minor key. Gabriel doesn’t sing the lyrics but claps along at points. The two takes of “The Lamia” are the final version mixed with different levels of echo on the vocals. The four “The Colony Of Slippermen” is another amateur cassette rehersal recording running through the organ theme. It is the same with the minute long rehearsal of “The Light Dies Down On Broadway,” which features Gabriel improvising lyrics.
“Riding The Scree” is the commercial version with minor differences in the mix. Five different tracks of “In The Rapids” follow. The first four are fragments of different verses in the song and, with the pausing of the tape, sound like monitor mixes. The first is a different mix of the first verse “Moving down the water / John is drifting out of sight, / Its only at the turning point / That you find out how you fight / In the cold, feel the cold / all around / And the rush of crashing water /Surrounds me with its sound.”
The second track focuses upon the fourth verse: “I’m spiralled down the river bed, / My fire is burning low. / Catching hold of a rock that’s firm, / I’m waiting for John to be carried past. /We hold together, hold together and shoot the rapids fast.” The third track backs up a bit to “And the rush of crashing water / Surrounds me with its sound.”
The last three tracks on the disc, the final “In The Rapids” and the two takes of “It,” are amateur cassette rehearsal demos in very good to excellent quality. The arrangements don’t differ much from the final versions, but Gabriel improvises the lyrics during “It.” His voice cracks at times throughout as he tries to keep up with the furious pace of the song. It is perhaps the most interesting tape on this release, but it makes one wish his lyrics were more audible since whatever ever he is singing, he sings passionately. The Demo Mix Down On Broadway is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with an interesting variation of the cover art with Gabriel truly taking the role of Rael on the cover and Collins taking the place of John. Outtake material is valuable in tracing an artist’s development in general. Although there is nothing here truly revelatory, it does make one appreciate the work that went into the piece.
West Palm Beach Convention Hall, West Palm Beach, FL – January 10th, 1975
Disc 1(59:19): The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Fly On a Windshield, Broadway Melody Of 1974, Cuckoo Cocoon, In The Cage, The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging, Story of Rael I, Back In N.Y.C., Hairless Heart, Counting Out Time, The Carpet Crawlers, The Chamber Of 32 Doors, Story of Rael II, Lilywhite Lilith, The Waiting Room
Disc 2 (47:32): Here Comes The Supernatural Anesthetist, The Lamia, Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats, The Colony Of Slippermen, Ravine, The Light Dies Down On Broadway, Riding The Scree, In The Rapids, It, The Musical Box
When Genesis resumed their US Lamb tour 1975 they started with two shows at the West Palm Beach Convention Hall in Florida on January 9th and January 10th. The second show exists on both a very good audience recording and a soundboard recording. It has been thought this soundboard, along with the soundboard for the following night in Lakeland Florida, belonged initially to Mike Rutherford before being circulated. Something Inside Me on Virtuoso presents the complete soundboard recording which was pressed before on Supper’s Ready With A Little Lost Lamb (Colosseum CD 97-C-25 A/B), which dates this tape as the January 11th Lakeland show, and The Lamb Descends On Waterbury (Oxygen OXY 089-090) which labels this as the Waterbury, Connecticut show and is supplemented with various Lamb outtakes from Headley Grange. The Lamb Lives (Backstage BKCD 033/034) uses this tape as a base with various other sources used to complete the show.
There are cuts in “The Waiting Room” and at the end which eliminates the story before “The Musical Box” and the opening verse. In general it is a clear and lively stereo recording, but there are times when there are slight unbalances between the instruments during the first half, such as Collins’ percussion in “Hairless Heart,” Hackett’s guitar in “Back In N.Y.C.” and Collins’ backing vocals in “Carpet Crawlers” are raised in the mix. After the first big cut the tape improves immensely and it can be considered to be one of the best Lamb soundboards in circulation.
The tape begins a few second after Banks begins the spine-tingling keyboard introduction and Gabriel’s intonation of “and the lamb, lies down, on Broadway….” The opening numbers in general are melodic, catchy, and draw the listener into the narrative. Gabriel’s flute is a bit buried in the mix during “Cuckoo Cocoon” and Collins’ percussion overshadows the melody. The band heat up for “In The Cage,” one of their best stage pieces which would pretty much be retained in the set list even to the present day. All of the Rael stories are comparatively short, being little more than Gabriel’s exposition of the narrative of the piece. He tells the story of Rael reading the book about the erogenous zones and how he is left cuddling the porcupine before they get into a dark and brooding version of “Back In N.Y.C.” followed by a majestic “Hairless Heart.”
After the middle part cacophony in “The Lamia” sounds beautiful. The entire Slipperman episode is marred by Gabriel’s costume which audibly interferes with the vocals. Several in the band complained about this very issue and their concerns are justified here. Hackett’s guitar again becomes prominent during “Ravine” and in the space of two minutes accomplishes much as he leads them into the melancholy “The Light Dies Down On Broadway.“ The sound of someone rewinding a tape is audible at the very end of the song. Banks’ synthesizer predominates on “Riding The Scree,” adding life to the strange bit of recitative. “In The Rapids” and “It” end the set.
In the encore Gabriel’s story is missing and what is left is Phil Collins saying, “we’re going to play an older song” before “The Musical Box.” Despite the cut the song is nine minutes long with very heavy jamming in the middle. Collins adds an uncharacteristic demon voice to Gabriel’s old man’ lament in the latter half of the song. Overall it is an extraordinary performance in great sound quality. Virtuoso have been releasing many of the Lamb soundboards of late in definitive editions and this comes close. They could have improved this release if they edited in the audience recording for the complete concert but they chose to retain the soundboard source only. Something Inside Me is packaged in a double slimline jewel case and with a collage of Lamb photos on the artwork, something they’ve been utilizing a great deal.
Disc 1, Teatro Alcione, Genoa, Italy – August 22nd, 1972: Watcher Of The Skies, Can-Utility And The Coastliners, The Fountain Of Salmacis, Twilight Alehouse, Seven Stones, The Musical Box, The Return Of The Giant Hogweed, The Knife
Disc 2, Parasport, Rome, Italy – January 22nd, 1973: Watcher Of The Skies, The Musical Box, The Fountain Of Salmacis, Supper’s Ready, The Return Of The Giant Hogweed, The Knife
Double Watchers collects together two early Genesis tapes recorded several months apart during one of their early transition phases. The first disc contains the August 22nd, 1972 show in Genoa, Italy. Popular on bootleg, this tape received its first release on vinyl on Through The Looking Glass (Alternative Recording Company GNV017), which has the show except for ”The Knife” which wasn’t recorded. Another LP called Old Man’s Tale (Brush) has “Seven Stones” and “Bye Bye Johnny” (“Can-Utility And The Coastliners”) and an earlier compact disc release is Alone Within A Storm (Orange Records OP14).
Highland is a two source mix with most of the show coming from the first tape source and an alternate source being used for the encore “The Knife.” The first tape source is good to very good sounding. It is clear but flat and lacking in dynamics and the taper paused the tape between each song to save tape cutting out some of the stories. The second tape source used for the encore is poor, muffled and distorted and is added only to offer a complete show. There are doubts about its authenticity and more likely than not is not from this actual show.
The concert itself is an interesting glimpse into the final days of the Nursery Cryme era. The band had just finished recording the follow up Foxtrot before its October release and they open the show with two new songs which the audience are unfamiliar. “Watcher Of The Skies” is played very fast. In introducing the next song Gabriel says, “a translation of which is quite impossible.” Although this was played on stage before under its working title “Bye Bye Johnny,” it has taken the final form as it appears on the LP. After the tape fades back in Gabriel introduces the next song as ”La Fontana di Salmacis.” ”Twilight Alehouse” was a regular inclusion in the set list although it wasn’t officially released until 1974.
“Seven Stones” from Nursery Cryme receives its only known live performance and its presence on the tape make this important for Genesis collectors. There is a strange tape glitch afterwards as Gabriel is introducing the next song where he says, “…is the story of a little boy. This one is the story of a little boy and a little wooden box which has music playing from it. The little boy is kaput, finito and he flies up to heaven and then comes all the way down again. But now he meets the senorita. This is the story of Henry and the musical box.”
“The Return Of The Giant Hogweed” is a great set closer. The encore is very long, but it sounds like it was tacked on from another concert. The Italian audience is very quiet and respectful throughout the performance, but during “The Knife” they become very noisy throughout the piece. There is not any internal evidence to determine its precise location however.
The second disc comes very early in the Foxtrot period and was taped on January 22nd, 1973 in Rome. There is some debate about the correct date however. It is known they had two shows scheduled in Italy. January 19th as supposed to be the Charisma Festival, but that was postponed and the two other bands, Lindesfarne and String Driven Thing could not reschedule. Genesis rescheduled that date the 22nd. They also played on January 20th in Reggio Emila and a poor quality tape exists for that show, so this tape must be from January 22nd.
Regardless of the date, this is one of the most devastating live Genesis tapes in existence and deserves compulsive listening. The acoustics of the venue give this a brutal live sound and captures all the dynamics of this performance. It first surfaced on vinyl many years ago on Moonswept Paradise (Clean Sound Records CS 1004) and also on Charisma Festival (E.R.A. Music Milano). Both list this as being from the Charisma Festival on January 19th.
Like the Genoa tape there are cuts between most of the songs as if the taper were trying not to run out. The setlist reflects the current repertoire at the time with no rarities, but three months after the release of Foxtrot the delivery of the material is much more confident. The epic “Supper’s Ready” doesn’t have the “old Michael” story yet, but Gabriel gives a long and silly introduction when he says, after some mellotron tuning, “this is the music of tuning up. Very rehearsed. This was inspired by a shout late in the evening in London close to where we live. It goes like this: SUPPER’S READY! It is also understood as supper’s ready. We’d like to point out something special. The ding-a-ling of Mr. Phil Collins. No appreciation at all. Mr. Collins won’t play unless you give him more encouragement.”
What follows is a tremendous version of the Foxtrot epic, and even the restrained audience follow it up with a roar of approval. The final song is “The Return Of The Giant Hogweed” with a nine minute version of “The Knife” serving as the encore. Double Watchers is packaged in a double slimline sleeve with effective graphics utilizing photos from the era and a photo of Grabriel in his batwing costume for “Watchers,” appropriate given the title. This is the final Genesis release on the hallowed Highland title as it turns out and serves as a memorable swan song for the progressive rock pioneers.
Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY – November 29th, 1981
Disc 1 (47:31): Opening rehearsal, Behind The Lines, Duchess, Dodo / Lurker, Abacab, Me And Sarah Jane, Misunderstanding, No Reply At All
Disc 2 (60:49): Firth Of Fifth, Man On The Corner, Keep It Dark, Follow You Follow Me, Turn It On Again, In The Cage/Cinema Show/Slippermen, Afterglow, Dance On A Volcano/Los Endos, ending Genesis dressing room
The only major radio appearance for Genesis during the Abacab tour in 1981 was the “Supergroups In Concert” syndicated broadcast of April 10th, 1982. Produced in conjunction between ABC and DIR (the production company behind the King Biscuit Flower Hour), several shows in New York were recorded including the November 28th show at the smaller venue The Savoy Theater and the November 29th show in the much bigger Nassau Coliseum.
Both shows (as well as the December 23rd show in Birmingham and even the May 7th, 1980 Lyceum concert) contributed to the live tracks for the 1982 release Three Sides Live.
Several silver releases in the early nineties protection gap era were released with material from this tape. Perpetual Soundwave (Oh Boy 1-9098) is a one disc title with twelve songs all out of sequence and was copied onto Limbo (Living Legend LLRCD 160). Fiaba (Buccaneer Records BUC 017/2) is a two disc set with with more songs and dialogue from the dressing room at the end of the show.
Perfect “Three Sides Live” on Highland came out several years afterwards. It’s similar to Limbo but adds the opening soundcheck and dialogue and four additional songs, “Man On The Corner,” “Keep It Dark,” “Follow You Follow Me,” and “Turn It On Again.” The sound quality is excellent and sourced from a very clean vinyl copy of the syndicate transcription discs from the early eighties.
Obviously, this does not present a complete Abacab set nor is it all from the November 29th Nassau Coliseum show. The first track starts with the Westwood announcer speaking about the band, calling each Genesis show a “masterpiece” of sound and musicianship. There is a short snippet of the band rehersaing “Into The Cage” followed by the band relaxing before the show. “Phil Collins can be found practicing his trumpet, and Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford could be found playing air hockey.”
The promoter can be heard speaking to the band, asking them to play some ethnic songs. “There are lots of Italians here” he tells them, and asks if they know the “Hava Nagila.”
The opening three numbers, “Behind The Lines,” “Duchess,” ”Dodo / Lurker” and “Abacab” are also from the Nassau show.
It is thought the next three songs, “Me And Sarah Jane,” “Misunderstanding” and “No Reply At All” are from the previous evening at The Savoy Theater in Manhattan. There is a short instance of canned cheering (common to DIR productions), the sound sounds slightly flatter and the muted whistles and cheers indicate a smaller venue.
“Firth Of Fifth” is from Nassau. The Savoy Theater performance is notable for Phil forgetting the final verse, but this performance is perfect. ”Man On The Corner,” with fade at the end, is from The Savoy Theater just like the version from Genesis Archives Vol. 2.
The following two songs don’t even come from the Abacab tour. “Keep It Dark” comes from one of the two Philadelphia Spectrum DIR broadcasts from 1983. None of the various permutations of this broadcast contains this performance, so it must have been inserted by Highland themselves. It’s a nice performance, but it’s presence is a mystery. ”Follow You Follow Me” dates from the Lyceum in London in May 7th, 1980 and is included on several versions of the DIR discs and the Three Sides Live LP.
Afterwards, the recording reverts back to the Nassau Coliseum for the rest of the show. “Turn It On Again” was used for the officially video of the song released with the album and played incessantly on the early days of MTV.
The final track is a three minute candid recording of the band talking about the performance and the promoter congratulating them on a fine show and the closing radio show’s credits.
Perfect “Three Sides Live” is a very good sounding release but is neither complete nor definitive. Hearing good audience tapes from the Nassau Coliseum and The Savoy Theater shows would make a very good release covering these concerts. Despite that, this is the best version on silver disc of these Abacab radio shows and is worth hunting down.