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Giraffe - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway - ProgFest '94 CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.53 | 11 ratings

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4 stars Let me start by saying that it's an utter tragedy that this recording is so hard to find. And even moreso that I'm the first to review this performance here -- 15 years after it took place! It took all of my resources to find video of this performance, but it was worth the effort many times over. This cover of The Lamb from ProgFest '94 rekindled my already healthy love for this classic Genesis concept album.

Beware: this recording is infectious. I'm the type of person who can't stand listening to the same stuff over and over again, but since discovering this gem in December, I'm hard pressed to think of a single day where this album wasn't either playing through my head or through my stereo. I'd wake up with a specific part of the concert in my head, then immediately dart for the computer to satiate my desire to hear it again.

The show starts with Kevin Gilbert strutting on stage, a boombox proudly mounted on his shoulder, with the voice of Casey Kasem announcing an old classic was being resurrected: The band? Genesis. And the song? A golden oldie: Invisible Touch!

The crowd instantly erupts with boos. Kevin responds by slamming the boombox into a nearby garbage can, then repeatedly crushing it with a 2x4. Justice at last!

Then the lights dim, the curtains are drawn, and the band starts up with The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. I'm not gonna go into every song here, but let me just say that the quality of musicianship was absolutely superb. I'm an overly critical listener and consider myself quite the elitist in this regard, and I'm happy to report that -- aside from a couple of keyboard blips where the pianist rushed his solo passages -- this concert was about as true to the original as it gets. Kevin even includes the original storyline segues made famous by Gabriel.

The only performer I was familiar with in the band was Nick DiVirgilio (a personal favorite), meaning I was totally unfamiliar with Kevin Gilbert and Giraffe prior to hearing this recording. To say he impressed me would be an understatement: I now prefer this band's (and Kevin's) interpretation of a few songs (namely Colony of Slippermen) to the original! After reading up more on Gilbert, it's truly a shame that he died so prematurely; this guy had some serious musical talent. Too sad.

As much as I love this album, it does contain a few disappointments. Firstly, some of my favorite songs from The Lamb were omitted from this performance. Gilbert jokes, It's at this point in our story that Rael skips the next 3 songs due to time considerations... Counting Out Time, The Chamber Of 32 Doors, Anyway, Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist, The Light Dies Down On Broadway, and Riding The Scree are all unfortunately absent, and I would LOVE to hear the band's interpretation of each. Especially Riding The Scree. :)

Additionally, the band's recreation of The Carpet Crawlers was quite a let-down. Granted, this song is extremely delicate in both its construction and presentation, but it's this ethereal quality that makes the song so compelling. This performance feels a little too slow; the driving musical melody from the original is gone; Gilbert's voice simply cannot recreate the calm, soothing undertones that Peter Gabriel mastered; and the guitarist sounds a little off for much of the song. Carpet Crawlers is the only blemish on this otherwise masterful recreation of The Lamb.

While Carpet Crawlers is the low point of this album, songs from the latter half of The Lamb are where these guys truly shine. Their performance of The Colony of Slippermen is, in a word, marvelous; I now prefer this performance of it to the original. Kevin's voice fits this song's style perfectly, and the band's flawless interpretation gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.

The concept album's finale It is recreated perfectly with the same joyous, uptempo feel of the original. The band members' excitement can truly be heard in the production of this song, culminating with Gilbert's mid-song ad-lib: If you think that it's pretentious / [Wait for ProgFest '95!] This song (and the entire album, for that matter) is such a joy to listen to.

I could go on all day about how much this album means to me and how it's changed the way I listen to the original, but I'll instead suggest you stop reading this review and start working on locating a copy of this concert. Right now. Go! Start with a YouTube search for Giraffe Lamb Lies Down and explore from there.

Cheers to Genesis, Giraffe, and Kevin Gilbert!

brystmar | 4/5 |


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