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Genesis - Three Sides Live CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.46 | 534 ratings

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3 stars There are two substantial and interrelated reasons that Three Sides Live isn't as good as Seconds Out, Genesis' prior live LP. First, very, very few albums are as good as Seconds Out. Secondly, the material isn't as good. Three Sides Live starts off strong: Side A of the original vinyl has 'Turn It On Again,' 'Dodo / Lurker,' and 'Abacab.' The live versions of this then-recent material don't vary radically from the originals, although vocalist Phil Collins re-arranges a few vocal parts here and there throughout the album to compensate for a lack of backing vocals. I prefer this approach to having sub-par live backing vocals which are later overdubbed in the studio. Side C also has great material: 'Misunderstanding,' 'In The Cage / Cinema Show / Slippermen,' and 'Afterglow' (or 'Afterflow,' as it was rendered on the original CD and LP). A live rendition of 'Afterglow' had just appeared a few years earlier on Seconds Out, and is thus basically superfluous; on the other hand, I guess having only one song in common between these two double live LPs isn't all that bad. The version here is a bit less inspired than the Seconds Out version, but it works nicely anyway.

Two other songs are worthy of special mention. First, the medley of 'it.' and 'Watcher of the Skies' is very good, although 'Watcher' is instrumental only. My favorite song on the album, though, is 'Follow You Follow Me.' This was a nice song when it appeared on ...And Then There Were Three... but the Three Sides Live version makes the original sound sterile and boring by comparison.

It seems unnecessary to explain again that there were two significantly different versions of this album. The one I grew up with had studio recordings on Side D. Of these, 'Paperlate' is really the only one worth mentioning. It's not a classic, but a nice, brass-laced number la 'No Reply at All' and Collins' 'I Missed Again.' For a while, once the single went out of print, Three Sides Live was the only place to get 'Paperlate' in the US.

As you might guess, the drumming is very good on this album. Chester Thompson turns in another outstanding performance, playing on all but of 'it. / Watcher of the Skies,' on which the inimitable Bill Bruford appears. Meanwhile Phil Collins pounds the skins alongside Thompson and Bruford at various times throughout. (He is also the drummer on the studio tracks on Side D of the 'international edition.')

Three Sides Live has its high points - - the songs I've mentioned here - - but the remaining songs (especially 'Behind the Lines,' 'Duchess,' and 'Me and Sarah Jane' just don't suit my Genesis tastes.

patrickq | 3/5 |


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