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GENESIS LIVE 1973 - 2007


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3 stars After releasing all their studio albums in three luxurious box sets, not surprisingly Genesis have now turned their attention to the live albums. The 1970 - 75 box set in particular was a masterclass in how to repackage your back catalogue with the albums sounding better than ever in both stereo and 5.1 mixes and wonderful DVD footage capturing the band at their artistic peak and interesting interview footage giving an insight into the making of the albums. Sadly the same can't be said for the Live box. Oh sure, there's some excellent music here, but the overall package short changes the Genesis fan.

I'm not going to get into in depth reviews of individual albums here, there's plenty already under each albums own heading. This review is intended to address the worthiness of the box set as a whole. Most fans of the band will no doubt own most of the material here already, so with the lack of unreleased incentives to entice the buyer it's a tough call on if it's worth shelling out around Ł80 for or not. There have been a few poor decisions made here about what and what not to include, more of this later.

Genesis Live, their excellent 1973 release and only live album released whilst Peter Gabriel was in the band has been polished a bit and sounds fine, though there's not the noticeable sonic improvements clearly audible on the studio albums of this era. An opportunity has been missed to expand on the original album. For example I'm sure most fans would have welcomed the addition of Suppers Ready from these shows which in known to be in the vaults. The reason for its non appearance is apparently because as a version by the Gabriel era line up appears on the Live At The Rainbow disc which is supposedly better it was not deemed worthy of inclusion. I'm sure I'm not the only fan who would have liked to have been given the opportunity to have made my own mind up and welcomed both versions. Instead the album is padded out with five tracks from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway 1975 tour and whilst they're very welcome and are very good versions they do seem a little out of place. A bonus disc would have been a better option. This disc also appears as a 5.1 mix which I can't really give a valid judgement on due to my ancient TV's 5'1 system not being up to the job.

Of most interest to classic era fans here will no doubt be the Live At the Rainbow 1973 disc. For me this is the ultimate Genesis live recording, the band putting on a particularly stunning and powerful performance brimming with energy and it sounds fantastic too. You will of course already have some of this show if you own the Archive Volume 1 box set. However it now includes very worthy extra material but again poor decisions have been made. The extras are The Cinema Show, The Battle Of Epping Forest, Watcher Of The Skies and The Musical Box, all brilliant versions by the way. The only problem is the latter two frustratingly only appear on the 5.1 disc. The reason for this decision is apparently because of running times and it would have been required to make it a double cd. So what! I can handle that and wouldn't have minded paying a little more.

Moving onto the Phil Collins on vocals era Seconds Out is rightly regarded as a classic album, many fans of the band citing this as their favourite live release by the band. With the exception of the revamped Live At The Rainbow I'd probably agree with this and its been nicely packaged in a book style cover and also appears as a 5.1 mix. I'm very happy with the remastered sound of the stereo version but again I'll reserve judgement on the 5.1 mix until I have the opportunity to hear it on a decent 5.1 system.

Three Sides Live appears as a stereo mix only as the 5.1 mix will appear on the DVD version to be released in the final box set of the series later this month. Hmm, would have been nice to have that included here. I can't put hand on heart and say it sounds any better than my original album vinyl version to be honest. In fact my initial impression as Turn It On Again comes from the speakers is that it sounded a little flat compared to my vinyl copy.

The Way We Walk for the same reasons as Three Sides Live also only appears as a stereo mix. It's the weakest of the bands live albums here relying heavily on the bands more lightweight and commercial eighties output. The older material that does appear sounds far inferior to earlier versions, to a large extent down to Tony Banks keyboard sounds. Ironically his more up to date eighties synths just don't cut it. A decision I do agree with is that the track listing has been reversed to the original running order where originally the album was released as two separate Cd's divided between the long and short tracks.

Another wise decision was not to include the 2007 release Live Over Europe. Being so recent understandably no audio improvements were deemed possible. However, space has been left to insert your copy if you already own it. I didn't and have been enticed to buy it just to complete my box set so maybe they're boxing clever there after all.

I'm sure most people's biggest gripe is going to be the exclusion of live video footage here. Okay, they've already released a fair bit on previous box sets but I'm sure they could have dug up something and it would have been a nice gesture to have included the Three Sides Live and The Way We Walk DVD versions as part of this package instead of in another box set.

The Live At The Rainbow is an essential Genesis live album and my biggest incentive for buying this even though I already own the Archive box set version. Also prior to owning this I only had the Live albums as vinyl versions. If you already own them on cd you will have to think long and hard as to whether it's worth such a hefty expense for them all again, particularly with the lack of bonus material.

Report this review (#248420)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars As usual their live recordings- regarding the most famous symphonic prog band (afterwards most popular poppy/pop rock band of the Collins Era)- are not up to the task linked to their fame.

Moreover (even though most of "Selling England By The Pound"- at the time of its release- is present here!), there's not a good job concerning the re-master of "Second's Out" and- in particular- between track 1 and 2, where unfortunately you can listen to some evident defects inside and random noise within, probably due to an unperfect cleaning of the original at this point it's better listening to the remastered version of their double album "Second's Out", rather than the present one, but nevermind...the concert performed at Rainbow Theatre (dated 1973) was an important gig and in general, the new re-master has improved all their recordings within the box set (taken from various concerts, including one of their most celebrated ones, which was performed in Paris), also regarding of a simple 2 channel version in the place of a multi-channel method in 5.1. Talking about "Three Sides Live" I don't want to add anything else.. I don't like neither that period nor the approach emerging from their modern live gigs, which is too much easy in my opinion...but probably each fan of their old Era- obviously- keep on prefering the theatrical approach of the most important romantic prog band ever (not necessarily the best one..).

Make your own choice as usual, even though in my opinion Genesis (except on the original Second's Out) don't show the best side of themselves in their "normal" live performances!!

Good, but non- essential...

Report this review (#276069)
Posted Saturday, April 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars CD utterly destroyed 'Seconds out', turning what was arguably one of the best live albums ever into nothing more than 'easy listening.' I kid you not.

When I used to hear the original vinyl album the drums were absolutely fantastic on 'Firth of fifth', 'Cinema show' and 'Los endos.' Okay, it may have been my system, but I doubt it, as the CD was going thru' the same amp... Oh, and I admit it, the 'air' drumkit received constant use listening to the old LP.

I'm pleased to say that once more I can bring out that drumkit, as the DVD version of 'Seconds out' (played with the DTS sound system) almost replicates that original experience, and I'm only listening through headphones too.

Amazingly, the remastered CD version is STILL rubbish! It's exactly the same! The mix is all wrong, with the drums taken from the forefront, and the bass being more prominent. I just don't understand why this is the case.

What I'm saying, is that if you haven't heard 'Seconds out' on vinyl, and can't, then you MUST save up for this DVD version, to experience it as it truly should be heard.

Genesis were always best 'live' anyway. It's such a pity that all those fantastic performances have been lost. This boxset goes some way to ensuring that their live reputation remains fully intact.

I have always loved the album 'Genesis live'. One of my all-time favourites in fact. The DVD does little to the sound, maybe there's a little bit more going on perhaps, but the CD was always perfectly adequate anyway. It always had a 'rich' sound. Added on the end of the DVD version are five live tracks from 'the Lamb.' They sound truly amazing. I'd love to hear the full 'Lamb' live on DVD. It's kind of crude, but equally so rich.

There's another disc, which is of a concert performed at the Rainbow theatre in London. I NEVER get bored listening to the tracks from 'Selling England by the pound', never, ever. And I never will.

I haven't even got as far as 'it/Watcher of the skies', from 'Three sides live' yet. Sadly, I know that this hasn't been made into a DVD, but if you haven't heard it, it's an absolute cracker!

I have no hesitation in giving this 5 stars. It's taken me 3 years to take the plunge. The negative reviews took their toll. But in the end, Genesis are MY band. I want to hear them as they should be heard. Re-hearing 'Seconds out' as it SHOULD sound seems like my divine right. Quite frankly, you should make it yours.

As a postscript, it seem that the SURROUND SOUND version may suffer from the 'easy listening' problems as explained. I don't have surround, and listen instead through headphones. it is through these that I heard the drums. Briefly listening to 'Seconds out' on my brother's surround sound system made it immediately noticeable that the bass (as well other instruments) were brought forward in the mix, and made it sound less dynamic. Pity.

Report this review (#627458)
Posted Monday, February 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars I am thrilled with this set. In fact, I feel these discs, especially the oldest album (Live 1973) benefits the most sonically.

However, having been cleaned up I am a bit surprised at how sloppy that first live album is, at least as far as Rutherford's bass work and, to a lesser degree, Hackett's guitar. The cleaning has shed a light that had been covered for a while. While this is normal for the time period, where edits on to live recording were not done, it is refreshing, as it gives it a sense of immmediacy. I applaud them for retaining the bum notes.

The remastering was done well, with great instrument seperation. I've only listened to a handful of the 5.1s (that's on the family system and they aren't as into this music as I am) but I have listened to all of the stereo remasters. Of all the boxes I feel that this one was done the best as far as the remastering.

There are two major glitches from edits on the Seconds Out CDs. It is annoying and it was avoidable. I hope Rhino fixes this glitch.

There are some complaints that there is no video here or 5.1 of Three Sides or a Mama's tour included, and the other live material released (b-sides of singles, 12" singles, etc.). These are legitamate gripes, but we need to concentrate on what we have. Most of the best live video is on the DVD disc's of the other sets or is set to be released in the Genesis Movie Box Set which will contain the official released videos redone in 5.1 sound.

As far as this one goes, the remastering and remixing are excellent, the material is excellent, but the glitches, to me, knock it down a star. Four stars. Recommended.

Report this review (#904110)
Posted Friday, February 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars A one-stop shop for all of the Genesis official live releases. Maddeningly, this doesn't include the full Shrine Auditorium show from the Lamb tour which was provided on the Genesis Archive boxed set, simply providing an extract as bonus tracks on Genesis Live. (Why do this? Who only wants a quarter of a Lamb show? Why not restore the material cut from the original Genesis Live instead?)

On the other hand, major fans will consider it worth tracking down for the Live At the Rainbow bonus disc, which is the great lost live album of the Gabriel era. Tracks from the setlist in common with Genesis Live are snipped from the CD, so it's missing Watcher of the Skies and The Musical Box, but what you then get is a really excellent live runthrough of all of Selling England By the Pound (save for Aisle of Plenty) plus Supper's Ready, in sound quality greatly superior to that of Genesis Live. It'd be a five-star disc released as a standalone.

Report this review (#2023099)
Posted Friday, September 7, 2018 | Review Permalink

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