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Genesis - Three Sides Live CD (album) cover

THREE SIDES LIVE

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.46 | 534 ratings

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Isa
Prog Reviewer
3 stars |C-|

This live album was made by the band with the apparent intention of promoting their two most recent albums, Duke and Abacab, which were at the time by far the most commercial- oriented of all of their work, and the songs performed from Duke were perhaps the most commercial from the album itself (even if it's a personal favorite!). This concert, after all, was given in 1982, which many of us prog rock listeners typically view as the beginning of a decade in which money and fame would become the main intention of music development, rather than creativity or adventure. This album makes this reality quite evident, especially with the often stagnated-sounding song extensions and especially Phil Collins' singing antics, him and his mass-appeal "ow"s and the "aren't I cool" ways of singing the songs, most evident on Misunderstanding (seriously, Phil?). These unfortunate pop-isms, plus the commercial-mindedness of much of the original material from the start, are perhaps the worst things about the album, sufficiently enough to keep me from recommending it much for progressive rock enthusiasts. Call me elitist, but to me anyway, this album sends the message of "here's us cashing in with the masses - oh, and for you prog listeners, here's a 15 minute collection of some old material to try to keep you coming to our concerts." And the saddest thing of all to me is that it's hardly even noticeable that Bill Bruford is a main percussionist on this album, unlike a previous live performance on the tour of Trick of the Tail. This seems hardly coincidental with the commercial direction the band was taking.

However, despite these issues. performance of all of the music here really is great from a purely musician-minded standpoint, with all of the instruments balanced almost perfectly and an inspired attitude coming from the players. Duchess is a particular favorite of mine in this regard, very emotionally and delicately played. There's hardly a mistake to be noticed anywhere in the entire performance, which is very praiseworthy in my book. The transition from The Cage to Cinema Show is nicely done, and it's great hearing some cheers from the audience at that part. The increase of energy on Afterglow is well done too, and here Bill Bruford shows us some nice fills.

I suppose my feelings on this album might be described as ambivalent, resulting from an inspired performance of mostly poppish Genesis material, with some good playing on their more prolific earlier work. A good live album, but more for Genesis fans than for progressive rock listeners, in my view. I'll round up my rating in the spirit of being merciful.

Isa | 3/5 |

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