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Genesis - Genesis Live CD (album) cover

GENESIS LIVE

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 665 ratings

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TGM: Orb
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Genesis... Live!

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This 1973 live album (albeit made up of songs from 70-72) gives you perhaps an indication of just what a superb act classic Genesis were (even without the loony costumes). Comprising three of their absolute best songs and a couple of not-at-all-bad ones which really come to life in this context, it's a fun trip all the way. Just about every song is improved on in some ways, either by improvisations or better tones or new takes on old ideas. Perhaps the only real weakness is that sometimes Gabriel seems a bit drowned in the mix, and every now and then the weight of the bass seems to drown out Hackett's understated solos.

Watcher Of The Skies is particularly improved. That mellotron introduction I never liked becomes truly quite eerie and haunting, the bass is seething with new energy, and Gabriel, even if he doesn't quite pull off the sort of minstrel-of-the-future storyteller thing he seems to want to do as well as he could, does add new ideas and also isn't somewhat drawn back by the speed of his vocal (as in the studio version). A final word for Collins and Hackett, both are great on this one. The highlight of the piece is certainly that rather nice bit where Banks pulls off the quiet organ counterpoint thing, but certainly all the core strengths of the song are really emphasised here. Great stuff.

Get 'Em Out By Friday follows on with a quick, punchy Collins intro, and a real performance confirming my view of it as the high point of the Genesis rhythm section. Live, as in studio, the percussion and bass is simply superb. Gabriel's vocals are also a big step up, with all the theatricality, character and weirdness merited by the song within his basically really good voice. Banks and Hackett are both on top form, as well, with a particularly classy choppy organ performance and some classy guitar, squeezing out sounds I've never really heard before. As always, the high point for me is the mid-section. Absolutely brilliant performance.

The Return Of The Giant Hogweed gets some sort of infusion from being played live, it seems, and this performance simply flattens the Nursery Cryme version, with a particular improvement in Hackett and Rutherford's kicking little rhythm parts and riff. Hackett even provides a rather scraily solo. Banks' tone seems to work simply so much better here, and Gabriel's dry, mocking tone and off-the-wall vocals are simply brilliant. Collins' tasteful rolls fit perfectly. Brilliance. Such a good version.

The Musical Box is vamped up by Collins' re-thought drumming and a fantastic Hackett performance, bringing out all the rock in his guitar stylings. A sort of contra-bass (I think) part adds a bit of the unanticipated, and Gabriel's vocals sound almost as fantastic as in the studio one, though he can't quite pull off all the tricks in it live. The emotional climaxes, however, are just as powerful, and this is clearly one of Genesis' best songs. More great stuff.

The Knife is another song rather substantially improved here. Collins is absolutely on fire, with a rhythmic performance replete with inspired fills. I mean, he even turns one of the drum parts into a seriously danceable thing with absolutely no prior warning. Hackett fits the song like a glove, adding his own stylings, aggressive and yet sensitive, to the whole thing. Rutherford's rapid bass runs and Banks' solid organ also fit it very, very well. Gabriel adds a very neat flute solo as well as his idiosyncratic voice, and even if in the initial part of the song he feels a little drowned out, he more than makes up for it with the hilarious vocoder. Seriously, that entertains me every time I hear it. Anyway, another absolutely quality performance.

So, to sum it up, a very, very good live album, and vital even for those who aren't enormous fans of the group, and one on fairly regular rotation chez Orb. Just about every piece has some area of improvement on the studio version and two of them (Get 'Em Out and Hogweed) flatten the studio versions in every respect. Superb stuff.

Rating: Four Stars

Favourite Track: The Knife

TGM: Orb | 4/5 |

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