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Genesis - Genesis Live CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.99 | 894 ratings

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4 stars 1973's GENESIS LIVE captures the English prog rock originals in concert, back in their FOXTROT era. Though there are only five tracks (but all over 8 minutes; the CD clocks in at more than 45 minutes), it offers the best means to experience early Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett-era Genesis in a stage setting. Granted, the sound is not as good as it would be on the expansive early Collins era live offering SECOND'S OUT, but it's certainly not bad -- especially in the newer "definitive edition remaster" which I have.

Every track is a winner, and essential material for fans of the classic Gabriel-led incarnation of the pioneering prog act. We get a very faithful and powerful rendition of "Watcher of the Skies" to start out the set, followed by a spot-on "Get 'em Out by Friday." Tony Banks' masterful organ work, Rutherford's rocking bass, Collins' accomplished drumming, and Gabriel's chameleon vocals, as he assumes the roles of the song's diverse characters, are particularly effective. Next up is "The Return of the Giant Hogweed," wherein Hackett gets the chance to shine from the outset, with blistering guitar that's complemented perfectly by Collins' incredible finesse on the high hat and cymbals. And what a crescendo of a climax: pure classic prog rock majesty, with the emphasis solidly on the rock!

For my money, things get even better on the old LP's "Side B."The Musical Box," with its alternately peaceful and loud movements, offers a textbook example of what attracted me to this terrific band and the amazing music we call "symphonic prog" in the first place: fragile, soothing beauty juxtaposed with sheer -- yet tightly reined -- power. Hackett's razor-sharp lead is again a standout here, as he cuts a sonic swath through the proceedings like some electrified swordsman sorcerer. As for the song's final section: please bear with me if this old fan's eyes well up! When Banks' initially subtle organ and Collins' cymbals, along with Gabriel's "I've been waiting here for so long" introduce the epic ending, the effect is magical, and still tremendously moving for me some 36 years after I first heard this astounding album.

Meanwhile, the last track is perhaps the best. The version of "The Knife" found here is absolutely definitive, and convincingly demonstrates how Genesis benefitted enormously by the change from original guitarist Anthony Phillips to his replacement, Steve Hackett. Phillips was certainly no slouch on the axe, and his acoustic work was particularly lovely, but here Hackett makes the live favourite truly his own. It's a wonder this rocking, raucous concert closer didn't bring the roof down upon its wildly appreciative audience. Searing guitar, relentlessly driving organ, wall-shaking bass, crashing drums and cymbals, venomous vocal delivery -- even some of PG's flute in the quiet middle section -- this number has it all. The thunderous conclusion is almost metal in its intensity. This, ladies and gentlemen, is progressive RAWK!

A truly epic live album. Every true fan of the band's heyday needs a copy. Play it often, and play it loud!

Peter | 4/5 |


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