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Genesis - Reflection - Rock Theatre CD (album) cover

REFLECTION - ROCK THEATRE

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.67 | 56 ratings

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Per Kohler
5 stars Unlike the other reviewers here I hold this collection very high. The record in question belonged to serial of albums with more or less well known seventies groups. Like all "best of", "greatest hits" or "the story of" you can always discuss the track choice, the relevance of the album or the meaning of the release. This collection is simply a five star collection, no matter how, when or why the songs were chosen. With a band as great as Genesis you could have put almost any song on it and still kept its high quality. This German record from 1975 is meant to depict the Gabriel era. Quite understandable as the vocalist was still in the band at the moment. You get the full length "Supper's Ready", three tracks from Nursery Cryme (actually the three last tracks), one from Selling England by the Pound and the same from Foxtrot. Trespass and The Lamb are left out, as you can notice yourself. One can ask who this lot is meant for, the newcomer or the completist? Well, my answer is definitely both. I can tell that this album was one of the very first Genesis records I ever bought so it has a special meaning to me. I bought it on vinyl during high school. I was about 17. It's not in any sense a superfluous record.

First of all you have the highly impressive album sleeve showing the band on stage during their most theatrical period. How many pictures do you find on the regular record releases of this line-up? Gabriel completely hidden in his slipper man costume regarded by a sitting Steve Hackett. Rutherford is there with his familiar double-neck guitar. Then you find two minor close-up picture of Gabriel, this time more human. Not every band member is visible but it's still phenomenal and almost worth the price just for this reason. A work of art. And then about the music that interests us: "Watcher of the Skies" is not presented here in its entirety; instead we are introduced to the planned single version of this timeless masterpiece. When I say introduced I believe that's the fact for most of us. If you can't afford the box set from 1998, then you are dependent on Rock Theatre, either on vinyl or Cd. What's the big difference between the two versions of this song? If you want to simplify you can say that the mighty mellotron intro and ditto closing section are removed. Then there's an additional vocal part at the end. You are free to label it as a "single version", "remixed version" or "abbreviated version" or whatever you prefer. But then you don't really get the point, it's much more important than this. It's the quality of the music that counts, nothing else.

"Watcher" is the only released song from the Gabriel era with a significant alternative recording. It's like an insight in a new world beyond the existing Foxtrot album. Close to where Jesus and God are found... Most people will never ever hear this piece of music, including many ardent Genesis fans. Simply because of its limited availability. You who will can argue that the added vocals are very short time-wise. This may be true but it doesn't reduce its splendid mastery. Just listen to Hackett's few but heavenly guitar tones and understand that there will never be a musical unit of this standard again. All in all this makes Rock Theatre valuable as an album of its own. A personal anecdote: I bought Foxtrot a little later after this album. I listened to side A on the latter, while I already had "Supper's Ready" on this as mentioned. The result was that I missed acoustic guitar gem "Horizons" on the B-side of Foxtrot for some time. What a surprise when I finally found it! The vinyl I had is not replaced by a cd version of Rock Theatre but I surely will one day.

Per Kohler | 5/5 |

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