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3 stars I'm going to attempt to do something shocking - defend a Genesis compilation album featuring none of their great albums before Selling England, and focusing on their 80s content which is... erm... mixed. Why am I doing this against my own better judgement you might ask? Well, because it does need the context of why it exists.

A couple of years ago, Collins, Banks and Rutherford announced something of a last hurrah, a tour of the USA, UK, and Western Europe over two years which ended this March. They did this against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, the fact that all 3 would be in their early seventies by the end of the tour, and Phil Collins' own ill-health meaning he can barely stand, and that drumming was out of the question. His son Nic would take up the sticks having previously done so on Papa Phil's solo tour.

The age and health of the trio, the fact Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett were obviously not involved, and the fact that Nic hadn't really played the Genesis discography before meant that the more complex and lengthy progressive tracks were out of the question. Los Endos and Supper's Ready were both rehearsed at times, but deemed too much for a live show which for obvious reasons could only really be a couple of hours long.

Despite all the difficulties above, the tour was a hit, even notably seeing tickets bought by fans who weren't alive even when We Can't Dance was released in 1991. The set list contained what I would generously describe as the best of the worst - commercial hits from the 80s, but also a selection from Selling England, Lamb, Wind & Wuthering which were still accessible to the aging group. These though were either played as a medley, shortened, or acoustically.

It was successful, but quite rightly rather than release a live album, they opted for a compilation album matching the set list. Happily though, they included the full versions of those bigger 70s tracks, and in 2021 the album sent Genesis high in the charts once again.

Should it be a must-buy for a long-time Genesis fan or prog-afficionado? Not in the slightest.

But as a way of slowly introducing a newer Genesis fan to the earlier, better Genesis by carefully mixing some 'accessible' prog in with the moderately acceptable commercialised stuff? Might someone buy this album for someone as an introduction, which then makes them check out the whole of Selling England, and lead them on to Foxtrot, Nursery Cryme and Trespass? Will someone listen to this album and then within a few years be playing Supper's Ready on repeat? Who knows. But it might work.

Yes they could have just tacked The Knife or Watcher of the Skies, or even Suppers Ready on to the end of this album. But there's other ways.

Not essential for any existing Genesis / Prog fan. But could be for someone new to the world.

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Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2022 | Review Permalink

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