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Genesis Genesis Live album cover
3.99 | 1040 ratings | 99 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Watcher of the Skies (8:34)
2. Get 'em Out by Friday (9:14)
3. The Return of the Giant Hogweed (8:14)
4. The Musical Box (10:55)
5. The Knife (9:46)

Total Time 46:43

Line-up / Musicians

- Tony Banks / organ, Mellotron, piano, acoustic 12-string guitar, backing vocals
- Phil Collins / drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Peter Gabriel / lead vocals, flute, bass drum, tambourine
- Steve Hackett / electric guitar, acoustic 12 string guitar
- Mike Rutherford / acoustic 12-string guitar, bass, bass pedals, backing vocals

Releases information

LP Charisma CLASS1 (1973)
CD Atlantic 82676 (1994)

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GENESIS Genesis Live ratings distribution

(1040 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GENESIS Genesis Live reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by The Owl
5 stars From the loud spooky Mellotron intro of "Watcher of The Skies", you know you're in for a very special experience! The intensity just does not let up, the exaggerated dynamics are jaw-dropping and the aura is nothing short of magical!
Review by Jim Garten
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Retired Admin & Razor Guru
4 stars The first Genesis I ever heard, and still among my top 5 albums of all time; the closing section of 'Return of the giant hogweed' shows the sheer power of this band, and 'The musical box' brings the subtleties of Gabriel's voice to the fore in a way as to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. An essential purchase.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the live album of classic songs from "Trespass", "Nursery Cryme" and "Foxtrot". The sound lacks some depth and colour. The guitar is a bit gross, but not bad and quite present. GABRIEL's voice is excellent. The drums are loud and rather in the foreground. RUTHEFORD's bass really wants to kill your mama: full of bottom, it is absolutely elaborated here. They convince the listener that they can play very well live.
Review by daveconn
3 stars T his features the "classic" GENESIS quintet recorded live in February 1973, just as their muse was in full flower. The sound quality is very good, the performances faithful, and there are very few surprises. Some fans will wish that the band had added more to the originals ("The Knife" gets a slight update thanks to Steve HACKETT, but it's still 95% identical to the version on "Trespass"), others will be happy that the band doesn't tamper with treasured memories. Is it an essential album? Nah, but live albums rarely are, especially single-album distillations of larger shows. The band has since released double-album live sets on three occasions (counting The Way We Walk series as a single occasion), though this is the only officially sanctioned live album to feature Peter GABRIEL with GENESIS.

As a curio, it's well preserved, no doubt worth listening to from time to time, but unlikely to oust "Nursery Cryme" or "Foxtrot" from their regular rotation. Since Buddah's The Best of GENESIS is a little tricky to find, "Genesis Live" does serve as a good sampler from their earlier albums, but neophytes would do better to buy the aforementioned studio albums first. There's little chatter in between songs (Mike RUTHEFORD's impromptu bass pedal solo notwithstanding), and little inkling into the visual aesthetics that the band brought to their performances. "Genesis Live" is a tasty appetizer, but whether you want to pay an entree price for it is up to you.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Fox on the rocks and the musical box

A very good edited summary of the band's early live work, up to and including "Foxtrot".

Genesis appeal on stage was of course enhanced by Gabriel's theatrics, it would be good if archive footage of this period could be found and committed to DVD. In the meanwhile, "Live" on CD will have to suffice.

The sound is sharp and well recorded, while the tracks themselves are pretty much faithful to the studio originals. This of course then begs the question with any live album, does it offer anything over and above the original versions of the tracks. Answer, probably not.

A recording of "Supper's ready" from the recordings which were used for this album is at time of writing available for download from the "Genesis Museum" website, although you do have to look carefully for it!

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An underrated gem. Genesis Live 73 is the only official document of the famous Gabriel era concerts (until Archives I was released), we can't see his strange outfits or the amazing show, but we can listen fragments of the fluid feedback between Peter and his audience and listen 5 classic songs.

I read somewhere they planned to include Supper's Ready, Fountain of Salmacis and probably Can-Utility and the Coastliners but they couldn't do that on a single LP and the risk to release a double album from an obscure cult band was too high .

The album has that dark mysterious sound (almost spooky) so characteristic of early Genesis that combines perfectly with the shocking story Gabriel wrote on the cover and the obituary for Richard Mc. Phail who is in fact alive.

There's not much to comment about the tracks because all are well known and commented before in their original versions which sound not much better to the ones in this album, except maybe for The Knife, recorded for the first time with Steve Hackett instead of the correct Anthony Phillips.

Even though the styles of both guitar players is very similar, the atmosphere created by Steve is more dense and closer to hard rock but again this version is almost faithful to the original.

Mike Rutherford deserves a special paragraph, because I never heard him so aggressive and strong as in Genesis Live, he's simply outstanding.

An excellent addition for any Genesis fan who wants to have an idea about the legendary concerts with the charismatic Peter Gabriel and a chance to listen the live versions by the fabulous five without new vocals and sounds added 30 years later.

Try to get the Definitive Remastered Edition which is far superior to older versions, you won't regret.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The first official live album release with Peter Gabriel at the helm. Whilst the band were still in the pre Selling England By The Pound era this live release does bring us up to date with their vintage early progressive albums. The best tracks off Live are Musical Box and the opener Watcher of The Skies. Superlative verisons and to this reviewer you cannot drink in enough of these two songs. The band are very much in sync, slightly different from the original works but hardly noticeable. There is a pleasant tempo to WOTS and Bank's keyboards work a treat.The Musical Box is the perfect platform for Gabriel to show his fragile and soulful voice. Collin's drumming is excellent as is all five member's input.

Now the downside is the song choices of the remaining three tracks. Get em Out By Friday and " Hogweed" probably the weakest songs off the respective studio releases. The Knife equally could have been better replaced by Looking For Someone or Stagnation from Trespass. Overall though a great snapshot of Gabriel era Genesis.

Review by richardh
2 stars Like so many live albums this fails to improve or even reach the standards of the studio albums.In fact Phil Collins over busy drumming sets my teeth on edge on 'The Knife' and that's before mentioning Gabriel's childish whistling and irritating vibrato.The rest is merely pointless but then very early Genesis was always well overated in my opinion (except Suppers Ready).Save your money and get the live archive set 1969-1975 instead.
Review by Sean Trane
4 stars I never did understand why the members of the group did not want to get this out. Charisma label did not thankfully listen to them and put this out as a single but they could have easily made it a double with the material available. I mean , the sound is not perfect (but which early Genesis album has a it? Even the studio ones are not perfect) for a live album - but get a load of Crimson's Earthbound. To think that we would've had to wait until the archives box-set to get some live Gabriel era stuff , just that idea makes me shiver.....

However even if remastered , the different versions of this albums coming from different countries present slight differences . I see half the prog planet raising an eyebrow and ask themselves what this loony has come up with this time. This might be nit-picking but if you are analysing the applause and other crowd noises in between the numbers , you will see that there has been some tampering over the years compared with the original vinyl. The applause in between Friday and Hogweed have disappeared on some version and been replaced with applause from Musical Box. Even my friend's Italian vinyl presents a different version compared to my Canadian pressing.

As for the choice or tracks on this sole album , the discussins are useless but I wish they had not put Watchers (I have grown sick of that number) but then again, they opened with it. Had they put in Salmacis or Supper's, this would've given another star.

Hey Tony, if you want to make a few bucks more , you might want to release this one with Can-Utility and Salmacis (or any other one) , please feel free to do so . Seeing the Musical Box do this live - replica show of this tour was amazing except that if they force the guitarist to play sitting down, then the bald-headed Kbist and drummer should wear wigs.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars A premature live album, in my opinion. It was released to promote the band for a bigger audience and to give the band a rest from touring while they were composing the material for their next studio album. It is a strong live album, with a great cover design too. "Watcher of the Skies" is more energetic than the studio version. "Get `em out by Friday" is "dramatic" and is one of the best examples of Gabriel`s theatrical vocals in concert. "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" has a very good interplay between the keyboards and the guitar. The song is sung in unison by both Gabriel and Collins. The end of this song is great. "The Musical Box" is the only song in this album where Rutherford plays guitar and bass pedals, and it is a very good live version, with another interplay by Banks and Hackett and more theatre by Gabriel. This live version of "The Knife" is better than the studio version, because Collins`s drums are more "heavy" and Hackett also plays a very good distorted heavy lead guitar. I have the remastered version of this album in CD, released with "miniature" cover and made in Japan. It sounds very good.
Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Sadly short live album that represents Genesis at their peak live performances from 1973. It was originally intended to be an double LP-Release, featuring "Supper's Ready" too, but Charisma didn't want to do that due to commercial reasons. Excellent performances of tracks featured on their three previous studio efforts, some of the tracks are even more powerful here than ever. The performance of "Watcher of the Skies" is too slow though, but the rest is top-quality live stuff that gives an insight of how good Genesis were live at that time. A must for Genesis fans and definetly not a bad purchase at all! I'll give it 4.5/5.
Review by erik neuteboom
5 stars At the age of 13 prog rock was too complex for me, I couldn't bear the sound of YES, ELP and KING CRIMSON that I heard from the older brothers of some friends. But at the age of 15 I listened to "Live" from GENESIS and then I got interested. I was mesmerized by the cover picture with the dark figure wearing a strange red box on his head. It matched with the mythical music in all those compelling and alternating compositions on the album "Live", what a great and unique sound: warm 12-string acoustic guitars, fiery, Fripp-inspired electric guitar, mighty waves of the Mellotron, powerful Hammond runs, dynamic and inventive drumming and, last but not least, the wonderful vocals by Peter GABRIEL, from warm and fragile to aggressive and dramatic, his contributions lifts every song to a higher level. It's very hard to choose a favourite GENESIS album but in my opinion this LP was sensational in '73 because of the unique blend of folk, rock and classic. This band could let their audience dream away but also shock the crowd with heavy and bombastic outbursts. Timeless music like the best of Bach, Beethoven and Vivaldi!
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I was interested to hear the live recordings of early Genesis, and this album fulfilled that desire to some extent. Sadly there are only five tracks on this record, as my appetite would have demanded at least two LP's of their concert activities. However the opener "Watcher of The Skies" sounds very powerful, and the composition worked certainly well also on stage and not just studio. I have noted some symphonic rock bands have troubles in transforming their compositionally demanding material to live situation, or being unable to divide their roles as studio album creators and live performers, all between the pressure of producers, managers and audiences. All of the albums songs are mini epics with ca. ten minutes duration, in my opinion funny observation considering the band's recording history. Also the cover is quite nice, presenting us the cool visual aspect of the band. Peter seems to be dressed up as a robot or such, and the rest of the band plays seated as true rock'n'rollers do. "The Knife" is a good selection for a song here, but the version isn't as powerful as on their studio release. Interesting album, but I'm waiting to hear the other archive recordings from early 1970's live concerts of this unbalanced but influential and major group.
Review by NetsNJFan
5 stars Genesis was meant to be seen live. Their live reputation was slowly building up in the UK, thanks to their extensive touring and dramatic concerts. Genesis's concerts ranged from a Broadway show with the elaborate costumes and theatrics of frontman Peter Gabriel (note his mask on the cover), to a concert hall recital with the focused professionalism of Collins, Banks, Rutherford, and especially Hackett, who sat and bent over his instrument like a classical guitarist. Very odd for a rock guitarist. GENESIS LIVE was released in 1973, and captures (most of) their best material from 1970-1972. It opens with the haunting, ethereal Mellotron of Watcher of the Skies, which is performed perfectly. This version is extended, with a slower pace than its studio counterpart. This gives this FOXTROT song a more majestic feel. Unlike in the studio, Collins' drums come in loud and clear on this album, which is what it must have sounded like in concert. Watcher of the Skies is Genesis's best piece, and is treated accordingly. The perfect opening to this album. Also off of FOXTROT, Get 'Em Out by Friday is performed next. This song is much harder here than in the studio, with Gabriel yelling the lyrics, and singing with much more emotion. As always with Genesis, the playing is superb. Better than any other track here, Return of the Giant Hogweed showcases the Genesis's musical abilities. Tony Banks and Steve Hackett are near- perfect in their playing here. While the keyboards usually come through muffled on this album, they sound crisp and excellent here. This track is improved with Gabriel's frantic shouting of "Giant Hogweed Lives!" at the end of the song, (this was not present on the studio version). While The Musical Box is one of Genesis's best songs, and sadly it is not that great here. The recording could not really pick up and amplify the more acoustic passages, and the playing is sloppier here than on other tracks. The studio version is worlds better. By this point, Gabriel's voice was also getting tired. One must remember this is 1972, and the live recording capabilities were limited. The album closes with the TRESPASS rocker, The Knife, a fan favorite. This song is performed well, but the Steve Hackett's take on the Anthony Phillips guitar solo is not as riveting or interesting. It is a great song to close the show with, and besides the guitar solo, is perfect. These tracks were recorded in 1972 for an American radio show, and due to the time period, are low quality, (but still better than bootlegs). The keyboards always sound muffled, which is a complaint here. Also, the absence of FOXTROT's epic track, Supper's Ready prevents this from being an early 'Best Of' for Genesis. While not as expansive or well-recorded as 1977's SECONDS OUT live album, this is an essential for fans of the Gabriel years. Genesis fans should also check out the GENESIS ARCHIVE Vol. 1 (1967-1975), as it features their live repertoire from SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND (1973) and THE LAMB LIES DOWN...(1974), with Gabriel. Historically, this album marks Genesis's first commercial success, reaching # 9 in the UK. 5 Stars - This is what Genesis is all about, thrilling performances of great compositions.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars All songs featured in this live set are much better than their original studio version. The band successfully demonstrated the energy and virtuosity to make this record as an excellent live performance. Gabriel's voice is much powerful here. I initially did not like Watcher Of The Skies, but after hearing this live version I started to like the studio version from Foxtrot album (1972). Get 'Em Out By Friday that sounded a bit boring with the studio version, is now performed much morel lively here. The Return Of The Giant Hogweed with a driving guitar work is really great. I had already liked this song even at the studio version from Nursery Cryme album. The Musical Box was the first song that introduced me to the band from Nursery Cryme album. The vibes of the song are really dynamic. I enjoy the way Gabriel sings here. "Play me my song ." oh man . what a memorable segment! The Knife introduced me to the band's second album Trespass (1970). It's truly a masterpiece song by Genesis.

For Genesis fans or those who love prog music in the seventies, this album is a must. You should not miss this excellent live album. Keep on proggin' .!

Progressively yours, GW

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was my first prog album, bought when it first came out, but I never got round to buying it on CD until recently. In the meantime, I got used to the original studio versions with their dodgy production. Having recently downloaded this, I remember what a fantastic album it is. The sound is much improved on the studio versions and the performances are great (particularly the much maligned Mr Collins). The crowd roar as the opening chords of "Watcher of the Skies" are heard, but you could hear a pin drop in the quiet sections of "Get 'Em Out by Friday". The manic ending of "Return of the Giant Hogweed" concludes a great performance which is a big improvement on the original. "Musical Box" is preceded by the famous bass pedal solo from Michael Rutherford and what follows is still one of the finest moments in any form of music, let alone prog. The ending is one of the ultimate "goose pimple" moments in prog. "The Knife" is the final track and features a great Hackett solo. Personally I prefer the versions here to the original and this is a must for fans of Gabriel-era Genesis.
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nothing special, I prefer studio versions better than on this live album. Exception is maybe "The Knife" which is stronger and heavier here and with famous audience request with Gabriel complying with. I always liked the blue cover photo of the band on stage. Mostly for GENESIS completists or as a introduction it can serve like a best of the early albums.
Review by BaldFriede
4 stars This album would not be very interesting, were it not for the performance of Steve Hackett, who especially shines on "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" and "The Knife". In "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" he wonderfully demonstrates the rising anger in the plants after Gabriel's singing of "Botanical creature stirs, seeking revenge". And I think the guitar solo of Hackett in "The Knife" by far outshines the guitar solo in the studio version (which I always found a bit dull). One of Hackett's finest moments and among the best guitar solos ever on my personal list. "Watcher of the Skies" is a little slow, compared to the studio version, and doesn't quite convince me. The same for "Get 'em Out by Friday!". The version of "The Musical Box" is on par with the studio version. Due to the stellar version of "The Knife" the whole album gets 4 stars from me.
Review by Prognut
4 stars Production and soung may not be the best! but, then again which GENESIS (early) album has it! I personally do not like 100% the musical-track choices. Moreover, now that I owe "Genesis Archives" hardly ever listen to this. Still, a great album and should be part of your GENESIS collection.
Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Incredible live outing from the Gabriel Era of Genesis. All the tracks here are superbly played and quite possibly better than their studio counterparts. Collins' drums sound incredibly better than they do on the Nursery Cryme album and Foxtrot, Hackett plays incredible leads (The Knife) and rich atmospheres during the Musical Box, etx. Rutherford continues playing complicated bass lines and Banks continues to take the musical spotlight with his magnificent organ and keyboard work. Gabriel's voice is refreshing and he performs the material quite well.

All the tracks here are standouts. From the mellotron drenched intro of Watcher of the Skies, to the almost Legend of Zelda-esque intro to Return of the Giant Hogweed. The solos on all these tracks are stunning, nothing short of breathtaking. Although Supper's Ready would have been a welcome addition to this album, it isn't needed because the material presented is incredibly strong. Banks' best performance would have to be Watcher of the Skies, with anxious mellotron and triumphant organ dispersed between Hackett fills. Rutherford is a joy on Return of the Giant Hogweed with what could be his most intricate bass line. Collins' plays the material at the same level he always does and is nothing short of excellent.

Overall, if you want live Genesis with Gabriel and are not willing to spend the money on the Archive 69-75, this is your album. Great work from this quintet. 4.5/5.

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Unlike many people here I generally prefer studio albums than live albums... but I have to recognize that some live works run very well. This is the case of 1973 Genesis Live.

Ok, I also confess that initially this album did not impress me too much due to the fact that at that time (1974, I guess) I had not seen anything live from Genesis be it a video or a film or a tv demo or whatever (I knew Genesis only in photos which explains little). Many years later (thanks to VHS) I saw the band in action and my impressions grew intensely.

On the other hand the single fact that a then-unknown song appeared in the album, 'The knife', was a reason for rejoicing for me and other Brazilian fans. Until today, I consider the live version of 'The knife' better than the studio version.

Minus 1-star since this album functions better when you have moving action together. Total: 4.

Review by Chicapah
2 stars I have to agree with the band members on this one and say that it shouldn't have been released when it was, if ever. The group was still trying to establish a foothold here in the US with their studio efforts and this did nothing to further their popularity. It simply doesn't sound good at all and, without the visuals of Peter Gabriel, it's just an inferior rehash of what they had already put out on vinyl. I have tried many, many times to listen to this with an open mind but it doesn't work on any level for me. The guitars and keyboards are harsh and brittle on almost every song and the performances just don't impress me much. Now "Seconds Out," THAT'S what a live album should sound like! I much prefer the recordings on Archives I, as well. Get this one if you just have to have their complete catalogue of work. It's a disappointment, otherwise.
Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "4.30 p.m.....

The tube train draws to a halt. There is no station in sight. Anxious glances dart around amongst the passengers as they acknowledge each other's presence for the first time.

At the end of the train, a young lady in a green trouser suit stands up in the centre of the carriage and proceeds to unbutton her jacket, which she removes and drops to the dirty wooden floor. She also takes off her shoes, her trousers, her blouse, her brassiere, her tights and her floral panties, dropping them all in a neat pile. This leaves her totally naked. She then moves her hands across her thighs and begins to fiddle around in between her legs. Eventually, she catches hold of something cold and metallic and very slowly, she starts to unzip her body; working in a straight line up the stomach, between the breasts, up the neck, taking it right on through the centre of her face to her forehead. Her fingers probe up and down the resulting slit; finally coming to rest on either side of her navel. She pauses for a moment, before meticulously working her flesh apart. Slipping her right hand into the open gash, she pushes up through her throat, latching on to some buried solid at the top of her spine. With tremendous effort, she loosens and pulls out a thin, shimmering golden rod. Her fingers release their grip and her crumpled body, neatly sliced, slithers down the liquid surface of the rod to the floor.


The rod remains hovering just off the ground. A flagpole without a flag. The other passengers have been totally silent, but at the sound of the body dropping on the floor a large middle-aged lady, wearing a pink dress and matching poodle stands up and shouts, "STOP THIS, IT'S DISGUSTING!" The golden rod disappeared. the green trouser suit was left on a hanger, with a dry cleaning ticket pinned to the left arm. On the ticket was written....."

As the opening mellotron notes cry out in the darkness, a roar of recognition and approval comes from the crowd - the band, warming up with a slightly plodding version of "Watcher of the Skies", soon get into one of the most legendary sets of songs in rock history. This album is the very essence of Prog, from the Golden age, this is what it's all about, the like of which we will never see again.

"Play me my song..."

Wow - wish I could have been there!

Review by ZowieZiggy
5 stars This album was my entry to the band. I purchased it in November 73 (I was not even 15 at that time). Great day the day I bought it : it was together with the triple "Yessongs" album! Can you imagine the shock for a 14 year-old boy ?

I consider this album a great album (although a double one would, almost, have allowed to represent the entire show of the era). The five tracks are amongst the best ones that the band ever wrote.

Discussion remaining to know whether the live versions are better than the studio ones. I guess everyone has his own opinion. Since I first discovered the live versions, I have considered for some time that they were all superior but after a few months, I changed my mind and I prefer now the studio version of "Get'em Out" and "The Knife". But all in all, it does not really matter.

I would consider this LP as a short "Best Of Genesis Live". What I do regret the most, is that the introduction stories by Peter are missing (short of space ?). It was quite unusual at the time (and still is in 2006) that the lead singer was introducing almost each song in such a brilliant and theatric way.

They were just magic moments (you need though to grab some "boots" to get them). Peter was (is) a marvel of an actor (although I never could follow him in his solo carreer). Five stars for this one (for what the tracks represent in the band's history). It will climb to Nr. 9 in the UK charts.

Review by NJprogfan
4 stars Powerful first live album by Genesis. Almost every song is notched up a degree on the power scale. If you're looking for more of their pastoral side, this may disappoint you. Starting with "Watcher Of The Sky" you'll get the idea. During the quieter moments, the sound suffers a bit. But when Hackett comes roaring in, look out! They are as loud and raw as any rock band can be. The only song that suffers is "Get 'Em Out By Friday". It sounds to me a bit disjointed. In fact, not until the second half of "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed" does that song gain in sound quality. I can't fault the players though, they all come out on top. The highlights for me are the incredible version of "The Musical Box" and the best rendition of "The Knife" ever, Hackett OWNS this version! The only thing missing is "Supper's Ready", but at least there's Youtube! :-)
Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
4 stars Genesis Live was Genesis' first of several live albums, and the only one featuring Peter Gabriel until the band released box sets many years later. It features material up to and including their Foxtrot album and is a fine, but far from perfect representation of Genesis' live performances during the time period.

They perform five of the best songs Genesis had created up until that time: Watcher of the Skies, Get 'Em Out by Friday, The Return of the Giant Hogweed, The Musical Box and The Knife. Their performance is lively and energetic, but with very little improvisation, sticking fairly close to their studio versions. The production could be better, but I don't find it a major distraction from the music.

Like some other reviewers, I think this would have been better as a double-LP release which would have ensured having The Fountain of Salmacis and Supper's Ready on the release. Maybe even Harold the Barrel? Unfortunately this wasn't the case, but we are left with a nicely done, if not complete recording. A must have for Genesis fans. For the rest of the prog community, it deserves a nice four star rating.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars For a long time this was the only "live" Gabriel-led GENESIS album out there. This was recorded during the "Foxtrot" tour in 1973. They stick pretty close to the original studio versions but there is much more passion and energy on this record. Every song on this album is better than the studio version in my opinion. Besides hearing Gabriel sing live, the other highlight for me is the guitar work of Steve Hackett. It just seems like he has no restraints whatsoever in his playing, and it's so enjoyable to hear. I'll pass on some other highlights.

"Watcher Of The Skies" opens with an ocean of mellotron, and check out the bass playing of Rutherford that seems so upfront in the mix. Nice. "Get 'Em Out By Friday" gives us an opportunity to hear Gabriel at his theatrical best. And i'm sure that's why this song was included. Mellotron is not as plentiful but it's on this one too. And Hackett is showing us how well he can play. The mellow section 2 1/2 minutes in is my favourite. "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed" out-shines the studio version, especially the powerful instrumental section 7 minutes in to end the song.

"The Musical Box" is my favourite track on this recording. Everything is so delicate and gentle for the first 4 minutes. Pulsating keys as well as some beautiful guitar melodies from Hackett follow. "The Knife" is from the "Trespass" record. What makes this interesting is hearing Hackett play Phillip's guitar parts. At 3 minutes in he's terrific, but at 6 1/2 minutes in he's lights out ! I've never heard Hackett play this aggressively before ! Incredible ! And check out Gabriel's flute melodies in a beautiful pastoral section a couple of minutes earlier.

I am just so impressed with this album. I had always heard how good this band was "live" when Gabriel was at the helm, well now I can vouch for that myself. This is a must have in every prog fans collection.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars The only official live recording of the Genesis classic line up is sort of a bittersweet experience. It shows how good the band was live and also, gives the frustration to know they could as well have released a double live one instead of a single LP. If only some of their older material could be included (more songs from Tresspass, for exemple)... It would be a killer CD.

Anyway, it is still a very interesting and convincing document of an era. I donīt really agree that much of the fun was Gabrielīs theatrics, like so many fans (and reviewrs) have stated. In fact I think it is the opposite: they distract the listener from the subtleties and richness of the music. When I hear this CD and compare itto the live bootleg video recorded a little latter (Live in Shepperton, 1973), that is very clear. No wonder the other members of Genesis were sometimes pissed with all the exposure Gabriel was getting from fans and press with his little personal show.

So in the end this CD proves the band could live very well without the visuals aid (although I must say they helped a lot to bring the concept one step further and gave a tremendous boost to the music in terms of all around perfomance). Iīm only sorry it is so short of songs. If it is a double CD Iīd gladly give it 5 stars. As it is 4 stars is more fitting. Not really a classic, but an excellent addtion to any prog music collection.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Live albums can be a shaky proposition; quaint offerings of music better experienced under a controlled setting and, except in rare cases, to be avoided until one has heard the original. This tends to be the case with Genesis Live and though it has the potential to be a good introduction for a new fan, it has real problems.

First, the mix which, somewhere along the line, went terribly wrong. Banks and Collins are often buried and at times it is hard to tell if Steve Hackett is even on stage, the whole thing sounding a bit like it was recorded from the third row of the audience. There also seems to be a slight intonation problem which, because of the band's complex and sometimes delicate music, is distracting. Zeppelin could get away with occasional mis-tunings, Genesis not so much. Zep also made up for their inexcusably sloppy demeanor with passion and bold improvisation. Here, Rutherford, Hackett, Banks, Gabriel and Collins simply recreate the album versions practically note-for-note which is not what rock is all about, even prog rock. Further, the mood of the performance lacks enthusiasm and life. Considering Gabriel left only one year later, this is perhaps not surprising. The set has its moments as in 'Hogweed' and 'Musical Box', both solid compositions. But there is something missing here, something important, and judging by their other live material - such as Three Sides Live, a much more dynamic and better-sounding affair - one assumes they could and did do better. A regrettable three stars.

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Watcher Of The Skies: 5 stars. Get 'Em Out By Friday: 5 stars. The Return Of The Giant Hogweed: 5 stars. The Musical Box: 5 stars. The Knife: 5 stars.

Overall rating: 4 stars.


How to explain? This is my valuation of ART, not exact science. Songs are great - varying from excellent to astonishing. What's wrong in the overall picture. Obviously, not much, since four stars is still quite high rating, but something is missing here.

Guess what's missing?

Let's take a look at the total time. 46 minutes and 43 seconds. You're right, you've guessed it. It's way too short. Of course, short but excellent material is not the same as shortage of excellent material: I really doubt anyone would rate, for example, PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI "Storia Di Un Minuto" with four stars (if a reviewers thinks music deserves 5 stars) simply because is very short.

No. But this is live album, and it ends almost abruptly. An extra minus is lack of communication with the audience; we have "an unaccompained bass pedal solo" and that's about it. Great live recordings must provide an illusion that listener is there, and this one is not the best in that (it's far from the worst though). Sound quality is everything but perfect - why so many (bad) recordings from the seventies have accented frequency mid-range? It's not hissy, barrel-y, or muffled, it's just awfully dry.

Another thing that could be addressed is the performance itself; personally I think it's fine, although I'm missing a minute or two of extended improvisation or jamming (within the symphonic rock context!). Some people prefer live performances to be exactly the same as studio recordings, some want literally decomposed songs, some people love spontaneous jammings - so this is not the major issue. Actually, none of aforementioned issues is a crucial one, but when we sum all that, it turns out this recording is not a five star material. Indeed it is not: it is by no means essential one in GENESIS' catalogue, neither a masterpiece. But it's surely excellent addition to your basket of joy, and surely will reward a listener with miryads of enjoyable moments.

Review by progrules
4 stars I feel like doing this review now. The Idea was to do the studio albums first before the live releases. But this live album was my first ever encounter with Genesis and you can say I fell in love a bit with this music. This is also due to the fact there are 5 great tracks (good choise) on it. I say this because I don't really like everything by Genesis and then we are only talking abou the early years ! For instance the whole Lamb lies down album is not really my thing. But these tracks are from earlier albums and like I said, the better in their history.

5 tremendous epics performed in a great way and they are not even the best ever by Genesis so after this there was still a lot to be discovered for me. But because these are the first 5 they will always have a special place in my heart. 4 stars.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This early attempt at a live album from Genesis doesnīt really show the greatness of Genesis music. The production is too weak for that. It is enjoyable though and essential to Peter Gabriel era Genesis fans. But it is not essential to prog heads in general. Good but not essential.

Itīs too bad though as the selection of songs on the album are really excellent. Except for Suppers Ready and The Fountain of Salmacis every epic is here. But the production is the worst enemy here as it is below standard.

Itīs hard to say that much about a live album like this, because itīs not brilliant only good, and average products are sometimes the hardest to review. I seldom listen to this album because itīs just not worth it. I have always regarded Genesis mostly as a studion band. I donīt really think their music is very fitting for the stage.

This sound very negative, but I think itīs a good album, and some might find it better than me. Iīm just generally not that excited about live albums.

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An Unaccompanied Bass Pedal solo by Michael Rutherford

This album rarely left my 8 track player in my car back in the 70's and I know every nuance of this great slice of Genesis history. The songs have all been reviewed in their respective studio releases so there is nothing new to add there. One thing to say is how Genesis performed in concert in that they did little to change any of their parts except some guitar solos. I believe they were trying to keep the overall structure of the studio as best as possible.

What does come across is how powerful this band was live. Phil Collins and Steve Hackett show how much difference they made to this lineup. Just listen to the last 2 minute of Watcher or if you need further convincing listen to The knife. It is like the studio version on steroids. I wish this album could have contained other things that they did on this tour but I understand the business decision not too. Still a great listen 4 stars.

Review by TGM: Orb
4 stars Genesis... Live!

StarStarStarStar StarStar

This 1973 live album (albeit made up of songs from 70-72) gives you perhaps an indication of just what a superb act classic Genesis were (even without the loony costumes). Comprising three of their absolute best songs and a couple of not-at-all-bad ones which really come to life in this context, it's a fun trip all the way. Just about every song is improved on in some ways, either by improvisations or better tones or new takes on old ideas. Perhaps the only real weakness is that sometimes Gabriel seems a bit drowned in the mix, and every now and then the weight of the bass seems to drown out Hackett's understated solos.

Watcher Of The Skies is particularly improved. That mellotron introduction I never liked becomes truly quite eerie and haunting, the bass is seething with new energy, and Gabriel, even if he doesn't quite pull off the sort of minstrel-of-the-future storyteller thing he seems to want to do as well as he could, does add new ideas and also isn't somewhat drawn back by the speed of his vocal (as in the studio version). A final word for Collins and Hackett, both are great on this one. The highlight of the piece is certainly that rather nice bit where Banks pulls off the quiet organ counterpoint thing, but certainly all the core strengths of the song are really emphasised here. Great stuff.

Get 'Em Out By Friday follows on with a quick, punchy Collins intro, and a real performance confirming my view of it as the high point of the Genesis rhythm section. Live, as in studio, the percussion and bass is simply superb. Gabriel's vocals are also a big step up, with all the theatricality, character and weirdness merited by the song within his basically really good voice. Banks and Hackett are both on top form, as well, with a particularly classy choppy organ performance and some classy guitar, squeezing out sounds I've never really heard before. As always, the high point for me is the mid-section. Absolutely brilliant performance.

The Return Of The Giant Hogweed gets some sort of infusion from being played live, it seems, and this performance simply flattens the Nursery Cryme version, with a particular improvement in Hackett and Rutherford's kicking little rhythm parts and riff. Hackett even provides a rather scraily solo. Banks' tone seems to work simply so much better here, and Gabriel's dry, mocking tone and off-the-wall vocals are simply brilliant. Collins' tasteful rolls fit perfectly. Brilliance. Such a good version.

The Musical Box is vamped up by Collins' re-thought drumming and a fantastic Hackett performance, bringing out all the rock in his guitar stylings. A sort of contra-bass (I think) part adds a bit of the unanticipated, and Gabriel's vocals sound almost as fantastic as in the studio one, though he can't quite pull off all the tricks in it live. The emotional climaxes, however, are just as powerful, and this is clearly one of Genesis' best songs. More great stuff.

The Knife is another song rather substantially improved here. Collins is absolutely on fire, with a rhythmic performance replete with inspired fills. I mean, he even turns one of the drum parts into a seriously danceable thing with absolutely no prior warning. Hackett fits the song like a glove, adding his own stylings, aggressive and yet sensitive, to the whole thing. Rutherford's rapid bass runs and Banks' solid organ also fit it very, very well. Gabriel adds a very neat flute solo as well as his idiosyncratic voice, and even if in the initial part of the song he feels a little drowned out, he more than makes up for it with the hilarious vocoder. Seriously, that entertains me every time I hear it. Anyway, another absolutely quality performance.

So, to sum it up, a very, very good live album, and vital even for those who aren't enormous fans of the group, and one on fairly regular rotation chez Orb. Just about every piece has some area of improvement on the studio version and two of them (Get 'Em Out and Hogweed) flatten the studio versions in every respect. Superb stuff.

Rating: Four Stars

Favourite Track: The Knife

Review by lazland
3 stars Going through reviews of the Genesis collection, I come to ...Live, and it is the only LP of the Gabriel era I can give less than four stars to.

This is the band's first official live album, and I feel that it absolutely suffers a little from poor production and the feeling (at the time and confirmed by the band since) that it was rushed out by the record label.

For the very few visitors to this site who are not familiar with the band's work, I would recommend that you save a few extra pounds (or dollars etc.) for the first Archives Boxset, which is a far better representation of the band live - for a start, there is barely any of the actual interaction between Gabriel and the audience/Collins on this, barring the unaccompanied bass pedal solo from Michael Rutherford bit.

You do, though, get a sense of how powerful they were live at this stage, and The Musical Box and The Knife certainlty shout out as far more noisy and driving than the studio equivalents, and they were great in themselves. You also marvel at Hackett on The Knife, which, by this stage, he has made his own.

The Return of the Giant Hogweed is a poor rendition, and deserving of a star knocked off in itself. It sounds disjointed and an effort to complete.

The first two tracks, Watcher of the Skies and Get 'em out by Friday, are enjoyable, but, again, suffer from the weedy and primitive production.

Certainly essential for completists, but to really enjoy this band in all their prog glory, get the Archives.

Review by J-Man
4 stars Genesis Live is the first live album from symphonic progressive rock band Genesis, and is also the only live album with lead singer Peter Gabriel. I find it to be a masterpiece where every song is worthy of five stars, played perfectly, Gabriel sings excellently, and their isn't a single flaw on here. So why am I giving this 4 stars?

The reason why I'm giving this incredible live album four stars is not because of what it has. Everything that's here is perfect. I'm giving it four stars because of what it doesn't have. Everything here is absolutely essential listening, but this isn't any different than the studio versions. Also, this isn't the definitive live album from Genesis because of reasons they could have prevented and reasons beyond their control.

First of all, this is far less superior than Seconds Out simply because this came before Selling England By The Pound, The Lamb, A Trick of the Tail, and Wind and Wuthering, therefore making Seconds Out have a better overall setlist. Obviously, there is nothing Genesis could have done about that (assuming they can't time travel). However, they could have made this a double album including Supper's Ready and some other songs from their first four albums. The cover even has a picture of them performing Supper's Ready with Peter Gabriel's famous "magog" mask!

While this could have some more songs, and isn't the best live Genesis album, it is an incredible live album that should be owned by any prog fan. If this was 1973, and Seconds Out didn't yet exist this would be worth 5 stars definitely. But it is now 2009, and there is a better Genesis live album. However, this is still a highly recommended live album for any prog fan.

4/5 stars

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Even without the stunning visuals, Genesis' first live album succeeds because it coaxes a rock element out of their sound that is sometimes lacking in the studio work. The two true classics here, "Watcher of the Skies" and "Musical Box", manage to faithfully duplicate the studio versions even as they convey greater urgency than possible in that rarefied environment. "The Knife" is not of the same quality but confirms that Hackett could adapt to Anthony Philips' style. While "Return of the Giant Hogweed" is twee and dispensable in any environment, "Get Em Out by Friday" makes up for it with its interplay between Hackett and Banks, varied vocal passages, and flutes.

It's admittedly difficult to properly represent a group's live presentation with a LP length production, even at this early stage in the band's career, but Genesis "Live" provides an admirable synopsis of early Genesis both in terms of their performance ability and the general quality of their best cuts. Perhaps not essential, but not just for fans either.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "We didn't take Genesis Live seriously at all" [Tony Banks]

And it shows. By the high standards of the band Genesis Live is a misstep.

According to Mike Rutherford the album was management's idea in order to keep product out while the band was working on their next studio album, the classic "Selling England by the Pound." The budget priced album sold quite well and was appreciated by rabid fans, being the only live Gabriel era document to be officially offered until over two decades later. It was recorded in England in February 1973 during the Foxtrot tour. But rarity doesn't equal quality and almost any way you slice this thing up it appears pretty anemic, aside from the pure nostalgia factor many prog fans have for it. From a competitive standpoint, their peers in Yes put them to shame with an epic 3-lp recording allowing a sensible retrospective, amazing artwork, and spirited play. By comparison this recording is far too short, horribly designed, and lackluster. It is the last issue that really presents the problem. The songs simply have nothing new to offer us other than a less dynamic version of the fine studio work. With a dampened, poor production and an uninspired performance by the group, the effect is to lose the very fine stitching that makes the studio work so elegant and appealing. Some of the lovely guitar doubles are missing, beautiful flute parts can barely be heard, the mix itself if often unquantifiably odd somehow. The bass, while well played by Rutherford just has the most awful cold sound. Having compared the two versions recently (studio vs. live) it is amazing how much character and detail seems lost to me here. Still, the material here is hard to argue with and on its strength I can't give the album 2 stars. But certainly this is not the place to start your Genesis adventure. This should be the last Gabriel era release to check out, along with their first Genesis/Revelation album. 5/10, rounded up for the strength of the songwriting only.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Genesis' Live has always ranked at the top of my live album favourites, residing in the pleasant company of King Crimson's USA, Magma's Hhai and a few others.

A live album has no attraction to me unless it reveals either another side of the band or at least rearranges or extends the studio originals. Genesis' Live excels at the first norm. Most of all the songs stay close to the originals, but what this live album reveals is a much more powerful side of Genesis, especially compared to the more polished sound the band would adapt from the next studio album Selling England onwards.

This album is such a powerhouse that it even makes Nursery Crime and Foxtrot sound soft and tame. Collins and Rutherford are very prominent and lay down one of the most solid rhythm section you are likely to find in 1972/1973, rivalling Yes and the live King Crimson of that period. But also Hackett shines; his heavy and always original playing has such a deep and profound sound here. Together with Bank's organs, he makes the heavy parts sound really heavy, The Knife and the finale of Giant Hogweed can bring many early hard rock bands to shame. Gabriel's passionate singing rounds it off; he doesn't hit one wrong note and has enough passion to match the intensity his fellow musicians are laying down here.

I was very surprised by the low rating this album has received so far, especially the issues with the production astonish me. Even an inferior vinyl pressing or low bit rate mp3's couldn't possibly hide the adrenaline that was captured to tape. I've known this one from the original vinyl and the definite edition remaster and they both sound absolutely fantastic: detailed, full, organic and powerful, very much like what Änglagard, Anekdoten and Sinkadus recreated in the 90's.

For me this is one of the few live albums in my vaults that I'd call essential. For today's standards it is quite short and I'm a bit disappointed that no other live material has surfaced from this tour, it would have been great to have Seven Stones or The Fountain of Salmacis here as well. The Archive box and the 1977 live album Second's Out are great as well, but none of those matches the fire that burned in this performance. 4.5 stars

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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!

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars Just what the title says it is!

The best song from Foxtrot (Watcher Of The Skies), the best song from Nursery Cryme (The Musical Box) and the best song from Trespass (The Knife) all on the same album! In addition you get another two great songs from the early days of Genesis. What more could you possibly ask for? Well, if there is anything at all to complain about here it has to be that the album is rather short and that it has no songs from the very best Peter Gabriel-era album, Selling England By The Pound. Maybe they should have waited just a little bit before releasing a live album and made it into a double album with a few songs from Selling England By The Pound. Had they done that it would most probably be five stars!

As it stands, Genesis Live is a great representation of early Genesis live. But the later live album Seconds Out is even better that this and stands as the best Genesis live album.

Still, this is clearly highly recommended!

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An intense dynamic performance captured on one excellent album

The year was 1973 and Genesis was required to produce an album with Charisma Labels. The problem was there was no new material so some bright spark came up with the idea of releasing a live album. It was designed to count down time until the subsequent release of the next studio album. Ironically the album would become a masterful interpretation of a live concert experience in the 70s and indeed the only legitimate vinyl release of Gabriel live with Genesis. In this regards the album is an important Genesis release, and essential at the time to contribute to the growing success of the group. The set list represented the recent "Foxtrot" as well as material from "Nursery Cryme" albums and a track from "Trespass". There was material recorded for the 'King Biscuit Flower Hour' syndicated radio show and the band agreed that this material would be sufficient and it would serve as a budget release. How wrong they were; the album is a triumph.

The sound on this album is Genesis at their best, particularly the accomplished organ and mellotron of Banks who is captured in time. Hackett's guitar flourishes are crystal clear and Rutherford is dominant on bass pedals. Collins' percussive work is incredible and consistent. The showmanship of Gabriel is compelling and enchanting, he is absolutely in his element on the live stage.

Overall the album has become a quintessential product, not a throwaway or filler between albums, moreover a highly polished testament to the complexity of the music that Genesis generated in the prog-soaked 70s. The performances on "Watcher of the Skies," "Get 'Em Out By Friday," "Return of the Giant Hogweed," "The Knife, and, "The Musical Box," are excellent compositions, remarkably similar in structure to the studio releases, but distinctly dissimilar in sound, indeed perhaps even better than the original versions.

Gabriel is a theatrical powerhouse performing many facets of his persona and spitting out the lyrics with venom and cynical grandeur. "The Musical Box" is a wonderful full blown exploration of Gabriel-fuelled whimsy and as dark as the studio release. "The Return of the Giant Hogweed," is also dark and ethereal with some amazing virtuoso guitar and keyboards embellished by an off beat percussive rhythm. "The Knife" is the only "Trespass" track and it is a killer with staccato blasts of keyboards and shimmering guitars, that absolutely buries the original version in terms of sheer intensity and dynamism.

The energy of the band is incredible, they were a force to be reckoned with in the 70s and it is all captured on this live release that fits neatly on one CD. It is an absolute tragedy that "Supper's ready" was omitted, due to length issues and the fact that it would cost too much, as this would have been the piece de resistance and may have escalated the album to masterpiece status. However, versions of this track from the 70s have surfaced on box sets so it all is not lost. Overall "Genesis Live" is a delightful rendition of all that made Genesis great in the early 70s; an historical live document of progressive excellence.

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars By their very nature live albums usually contain previously recorded material therefore they would have to be something really special to earn five stars. Genesis Live could have come into that category if it had been released as a double album, and if it had included ''Supper's Ready''. Live doubles were all the rage back in the day with the likes of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash all releasing their own versions. Of course, both ELP and Yes had to go one better than the others! However after reading a fellow member's review of Genesis Live I appreciate that Genesis' record company was reluctant to take such a risk with a relatively obscure band. Pity. Anyway, Genesis Live contains faithful reproductions of five of the band's greatest songs and even if it's not quite a 5-star release, it is nonetheless an excellent symphonic album.
Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars First of all, all these live versions are better than the originals. Heck, even the production and sound here is better than, say, Nursery Cryme. What Collins and Hackett do on "The Knife" surpasses what Mayhew and Phillips did on Trespass. Here we see the band at a turning point in their career: before they had a hit single("I Know..."), before Banks used a synth, and before they had any kind of impact in the US. As good as the music is here, one of the best things about the album is the strange story in the liner bizarre and yet so prog! Possibly the only song that doesn't quite match the studio one is "Get 'Em Out By Friday". But the superior versions of the '70-'71 songs more than make up for that very, very minor flaw. I don't know for sure if there were any overdubs added, but my audiophile ears cannot detect any. This is one of the best sounding live recordings from the early '70s I have heard.

You rarely get a hint of how good a drummer Collins was from listening to the early studio albums. Here he just smokes! Also, for some reason, Rutherford's bass stands out more than on the early albums, where most of the time you barely notice him. He even has a bass pedal solo on here(not really, you have to listen to this to get the joke). Apparently "Supper's Ready" was also recorded but not used. A shame because this should have been a double or triple album like so many other live releases at the time. One of the great things here is that even though this is a live recording, half the time I can't tell if what I'm hearing is Hackett's guitar or Banks' organ/electric piano! Oh yeah, Gabriel is on this too! I'm more of a music guy and think of vocals as just another instrument, so I apologize for not mentioning much about flower- head. I will mention that you do get a taste of his humour here. As far as his singing goes I don't hear much difference from the studio albums.

If you are just getting into Genesis or are only familiar with the post-Foxtrot albums I would suggest you pick this up before getting any of the pre-SEBTP albums. A solid five stars. There are only a few moments on their studio albums that surpass what you will hear here, IMO.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This was actually the second Genesis album I ever owned! (after I fell under their magical spell with the release of A Trick of the Tail) It really threw me for a loop--nothing I expected: much harsher and less smooth than ATotT--including the voice of one Peter GABRIEL. But it was interesting, complicated, and, as I found out later, the live version of "Watcher in the Skies" is FAR better than the studio one. The masterful theatric mystique and subtlety of "The Musical Box" was apparent to me immediately, as was the power and message of "The Knife" (my favorite. What a difference Steve HACKETT and Phil COLLINS make for that song!) To hear the Knife in its original form (on Trespass) has ever been a disappointment for me (as was my first hearing of Foxtrot's "Watcher") A forgotten gem of live music. Too bad the live version of "Supper's Ready" as played in this concert never made it to this album!
Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I've always had this theory related to U.S. and U.K. bands that basically states that that U.S. bands are generally better entertainers/live performers while the lineups from U.K. are for most part far more superior in the studio album department. Of course, this is far from the truth but I just can't help being reminded of my generalization whenever it happens to occur. This was definitely one of the thoughts that reached my mind when I heard Genesis Live since this live release just isn't as interesting as it would seem to be. But it didn't take me long to acknowledge that my rule of thumb had played a mean trick on me once more!

It's not that Genesis average performance, quite the opposite! Instead it's the very odd set-list that makes this first official live album from the band to be quite lackluster. Luckily we did get almost everything we dreamed of on the Archive - Volume 1: 1967-1975 release, but that doesn't really make this particular package feel any better. The sound quality of the release is definitely below average even for an early '70s release, but what is especially frustrating is the lack of visuals that were an essential part of a Genesis live show. Luckily we did get decent quality tape of the Shepperton Studios concert a few years ago and it more than compensates for this live album.

Of course it's impossible to imagine a Genesis show from around that time without a performance of Supper's Ready, but cramming it onto a 45 minute live album would have not really made this album any better. As a stand alone live album a two side vinyl would have never really accomplish any of the goals that a Genesis fan would expect of it no matter which songs were on it. So in conclusion I do enjoy this live-album, since it's a great example of what Genesis stood for in their prime years. Unfortunately it only shows us a few bits here and there, which cannot serve as a substitute for the full picture.

***** star songs: Watcher Of The Skies (8:35)

**** star songs: The Return Of The Giant Hogweed (8:14) The Musical Box (10:56) The Knife (9:48)

*** star songs: Get 'Em Out By Friday (9:14)

Review by Warthur
3 stars A decent Genesis live album with good renditions of a couple of tracks from Foxtrot, a couple from Nursery Cryme, and The Knife from Trespass. The main problem with the album is that it doesn't really add much to the studio renditions of these tracks; in particular, the editing out of Gabriel's stories introducing the songs means that it's in no way an accurate representation of the live Genesis experience at the time of recording. Plus, the early 70s recording quality means that the renditions of the songs aren't quite as clean and crystal-clear as the album versions. Sequence the tracks from the studio albums in the correct order, and record a clip of yourself saying "This is [song title]" in your best Peter Gabriel voice to slot between them, and presto: you already own this album. Fun, but in no way vital.

The remaster from the recent Genesis boxed set of their live albums adds a brace of bonus tracks from the Shrine Auditorium stop on the Lamb Lies Down On Broadway tour. It's a nice sentiment, but I think it's fundamentally misguided. For one thing, it means the album is left with a selection of tracks from two entirely separate concerts years apart, even further diluting the authentic live experience.

Another, greater issue is that if you're really interested in a live recording from the Lamb tour, are you seriously going to be satisfied with just a quarter of the Lamb? Probably not - you want the whole rendition of the thing, and that is in fact what you get on the first two discs of the Genesis Archive boxed set, which includes the Shrine Auditorium show in its entirety.

The maddening thing is that a much-bootlegged early version of the album makes the rounds - with exceptional sound quality because it's sourced from an original test pressing - which is greatly improved. This early configuration of the album would have been a double disc release, with Peter's stories intact and a full rendition of Supper's Ready. Hopefully, someone in the Genesis camp will eventually see sense and put out a "restored version" of Genesis Live which reincorporates this material to properly reflect the live experience - I'd gladly tack on another star for such an issue.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nš 45

In the early of 1973, Genesis allowed the taping of a couple of live radio shows, most of them were taken from their albums up 1972, and where their previous fourth studio album "Foxtrot", released also in the same year, was represented. A few months later, their record label Charisma records, in the mid of 1973, persuaded the band to release a live album, from that same taped performance, as a title to mark time while the group was recording what would be their new fifth studio album "Selling England By The Pound", to be released in 1973. However, the group had no plans to release a live album at that moment, especially because all the band members were somewhat extremely busy preparing their new studio work. Anyway, they agreed with Charisma records and the result was this debut live album.

"Genesis Live" became a cult album for Genesis fans, especially for those who consider that the group ended with Peter Gabriel's departure from the group. "Genesis Live" is the first live album released by Genesis and is also the only official live document from the group with Gabriel still in the line up of the band, until the 1998's release of "Genesis Archive 1967-75". "Genesis Live" was recorded in the "Foxtrot" live tour of 1973, shortly before the band's upcoming new studio album, "Selling England By The Pound" see the light of the day.

"Genesis Live" is a live album composed by only five tracks. The first track "Watcher Of The Skies" and the second track "Get'Em Out By Friday" are both two live versions of two original songs recorded on their third studio album "Foxtrot" released in 1972. The third track "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed" and the fourth track "The Musical Box" are both two live versions of two original songs recorded on their third studio album "Nursery Crime" released in 1971. The fifth track "The Knife" is a live version of an original song recorded on their second studio album "Trespass" released in 1970.

In relation to the track selections chosen to be included on "Genesis Live", I'm going to write some lines about them. I'm going to analyse the album's tracks following the chronological order of the songs and not the order which they were presented on the album. "The Knife" is an excellent choice because is the best song recorded on "Trespass" and is also, in my humble opinion, the first masterpiece made by the band. Compared with the original studio version, we can say that it's a killer track, because is much more aggressive than the original version. It's the track with a more significant rearranging, probably due to the new band members' participation. Steve Hackett and Phil Collins played the song, replacing Anthony Philips and John Mayhew, respectively. This track is without any doubt, one of the highest moments on the album and represents a great closing to it. "The Musical Box" is another great choice because is one of the best themes composed by the band and is also my second favourite song on "Nursery Crime", after "The Fountain Of Salmacis". This is also one of the Genesis' songs most played live by the group and by their band members when they are playing as solo artists. "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed" is also a very good choice and is my third favourite song on "Nursery Crime", although isn't as good as "The Fountain Of Salmacis" and "The Musical Box" are. However, this live version is also very interesting as always they are. "Watcher Of The Skies" is also another great choice because is one of the best songs of the group, and this live version is, in my humble opinion, better than the original version. It's also one of the favourite songs from the band and it's also one of the songs most played live by the group and their band members, when they play as a solo artists. "Get'Em Out By Friday" sounds even more theatrical here than it does on the original version. It's really fascinating listen to Peter reinventing his vocalizations in such a clever manner. He overdoes the pronunciation a bit and obviously he gets a lot of fun to himself doing it.

Conclusion: As I wrote before, "Genesis Live" isn't properly an original album recorded live by the band but a series of live tapings taken from a couple of live shows for a broadcast in America as part of the King Biscuit Flower Hour. Therefore, "Genesis Live" don't have the consistency of a true live album. On the other hand, despite the group and their record label are conditioned to the existing live tapes, I believe that they could have replaced "Get'Em Out By Friday", which is my less favourite song on this album, by other song. The original King Biscuit broadcast included their great epic, the most famous and the best song made by Genesis, "Supper's Ready". Anyway, "Genesis Live" remains, without any doubt, a very interesting and important live document from the band, especially because it's one of the rare pieces of music where we can listen to Gabriel singing live in Genesis. However, I'm not able to rate "Genesis Live" as a masterpiece. So, for the reasons explained before by me, I've rated this album with only 4 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by patrickq
3 stars It seems a quaint idea, that a live album would be made up of the most appealing forty-five minutes of a two-and-a-half hour concert. Today we often think of an ideal 'live album' as a maximally faithful reproduction of a single concert. But I guess that in the past, albums and singles marketed as 'live' were sometimes just studio recordings with audience sounds dubbed in later. In the case of jazz and classical recordings, there might not have been any meaningful distinction between 'live' and 'studio' versions of a given piece. But as time went by, the distinction became more important in rock music, such that record-buyers were willing to purchase a 'live' version of a studio recording they already owned. It seems that by 1973, there was enough value added in the recording here on Genesis Live to justify a commercial release (for which the record company was rewarded with a top-ten hit in the UK).

Genesis Live is comprised of two songs which originally appeared on Nursery Cryme (1971), two from Foxtrot (1972), and one from Trespass (1970). None of the versions here diverges significantly from its studio versions, although 'The Knife,' the oldest song on Genesis Live and the only one originally recorded by a different lineup of the band, has some noticeable changes, and 'The Knife,' along with the two Foxtrot songs ('Watcher of the Skies' and 'Get 'em Out By Friday') is extended from its studio version.

Much has been made of the exclusion of 'Supper's Ready' from this album, and justifiably so. A live version of 'Supper's Ready,' which was recorded and post-produced for radio airplay on the King Biscuit Flower Hour, would have taken up an entire half of Genesis Live, which was probably a factor in its exclusion. This could possibly have been a blessing in disguise, as an incredible version of 'Supper's Ready' was eventually included on Genesis's next live album, Seconds Out - - it seems possible that this wouldn't have happened if the song had already appeared on Genesis Live.

The sound quality of the album is adequate; it seems believable that it was assembled to be heard once on the radio, rather than to be enjoyed repeatedly by audiophiles. Seconds Out, whose postproduction was overseen by the band, is noticeably better (I have the 1994 'Definitive Edition Remasters' of each of these titles - - neither of which is the definitive edition anymore, of course).

The performances on Genesis Live are very good. This is the only live album released before Phil Collins became the band's lead singer, thus abandoning the drumkit during concerts. Genesis's 1970s studio albums have always sounded clinical to me, and those performances - - especially the instrumental performances - - sound detached from each other. This isn't true of Genesis Live, though, so the album's postproduction shortcomings are balanced by the fact that the performances are a little better than their studio counterparts.

But that doesn't make Genesis Live essential. Since the album includes only five of the nineteen songs from Trespass, Nursery Cryme, and Foxtrot, it's not going to replace them. And, in my opinion at least, these songs don't represent the best forty-seven minutes of the albums which preceded Genesis Live; I'd have preferred to have 'Supper's Ready' replace 'Return of the Giant Hogweed,' 'Get 'em Out By Friday' and 'The Knife' - - if that could work.

So Genesis Live is a nice collection, but not quite a four-star album. Definitely recommended for fans, and for those who want to get some exposure to Gabriel-era Genesis.

Latest members reviews

3 stars 'Genesis Live' is the first live album from Genesis. When I listen to a live album from any band, I want it to feel like I am there at the concert. I don't like when live albums contain an incomplete concert; I want to hear the whole concert as if I was there. Live albums should be mixed in a way th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2941626) | Posted by Magog2112 | Friday, July 21, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great album, recomended to people interested on live albums. This album has only five songs, but these songs are some of the best early genesis songs and that's one of the reasons that I enjoyed it. Another reason is the powerful sound of drums and bass (especially bass). Maybe Peter Gabriel's vo ... (read more)

Report this review (#2743515) | Posted by CosmeFulanito | Wednesday, May 11, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Below their potential. This live album features the dream line-up of Genesis with Gabriel and Hackett on-board however omitting the most essential compositions from 1973 onwards and also ignoring the long Genesis hymn "Supper's ready". I think it was unwise timing and maybe other constraints ... (read more)

Report this review (#2441747) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, August 27, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Being one of the most representative emblems of progressive rock and with enough study material available and already very well, incidentally by then (it was published until Foxtrot), it is curious that they didnīt find it interesting to publish a double album in alive, and they have been limite ... (read more)

Report this review (#2411498) | Posted by Hector Enrique | Tuesday, June 9, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "One of the most exciting and pivotal live albums in progrock history!" Of course Genesis Live (the 1973 UK Foxtrot tour) should have been a double LP, including Supper's Ready, the 'epic of all epics'. Also because the front cover picture showcases Genesis pe ... (read more)

Report this review (#2009531) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Saturday, August 25, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Great Early Live Genesis Release The only official live recording of the band featuring Peter Gabriel and the best of all the live recordings in my opinion. It wasn't until the release of the Live Archives that we get to listen to the other Peter Gabriel live recordings including the live 197 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1820706) | Posted by iluvmarillion | Thursday, November 9, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Greatest Hits Live, solid. Recorded before 'Selling England', this live album sees Genesis play their (to that point) best tunes on stage (excepting Suppers Ready, but that would appear on a later live album), and do a good job at them. The arrangements stick pretty closely to the studio versions ... (read more)

Report this review (#1696063) | Posted by Walkscore | Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permanlink

2 stars For me this became the good reason to hear the different rendition of The Knife. More powerful drumming and harder sounding guitar on that one. The rest of the tracks are plain copies of the original tunes. Surely, they had to put at least several minutes of Supper's Ready performing, along wi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1065821) | Posted by Woon | Thursday, October 24, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In the case of live records it's sometimes hard to rate a record. Some bands give extended jams alive, others just play their songs really tight and some play stuff alive which was never released on studio record. Genesis Live is a performance with no jams or new material, but the band plays tig ... (read more)

Report this review (#682708) | Posted by the philosopher | Sunday, March 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Having been blown away by SEPTB in 1975 I needed to hear more. But growing in the outer suburbs of Melbourne (Australia) in the 70's choices were limited. Of course the likes of Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and The Who and even occasionally Yes (Roundabout or Your Move) sometimes hit ... (read more)

Report this review (#344515) | Posted by KeepItDark | Monday, December 6, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a top notch album from a top notch prog band. I think the only thing I didn't like about it was that they didn't make it a 2 record set. Everything is working here and the band is very together. They are not the most technical band in the world, but they play to the uttermost of their p ... (read more)

Report this review (#278212) | Posted by Keetian | Friday, April 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Good...... sort of Nasty cheap art-work, a not satisfactory sound and there are far better recordings out there from that era. But this is the only official live album, bar Archives I, from the Gabriel era. Which is a shame. This is also the only official live album from the pre-Selling Engla ... (read more)

Report this review (#214353) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, May 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album's cover immediately drawed my attention at the record store.I had to listen to it right away.And so as the sleeve of an old vinil copy was opened,I was mind-blowed by the sinister story Peter wrote for this live album.To read it while hearing the opening song's mellotron introduction ... (read more)

Report this review (#201364) | Posted by Gustavo Froes | Sunday, February 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars In 1973, Genesis released their fourth studio album, Foxtrot. This album featured their epic masterpiece Supper's Ready. The band would hit the road in 1973 to promote the album. This tour would mark two firsts in Genesis history. The first being the start of Peter Gabriel's use of bizarre costume ... (read more)

Report this review (#176021) | Posted by Jozef | Thursday, July 3, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When 6th Formers raid their Mum's wardrobe If Arthur Brown was of a litigious bent, and not the splendidly self-effacing man we know and love, I am sure the legal profession would be rubbing their collective hands in anticipatory relish were Messrs Gabriel and Cooper sitting in the dock awaitin ... (read more)

Report this review (#169982) | Posted by ExittheLemming | Monday, May 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I love Genesis, and I love this live album. But I don't give it the 5 stars because of one song, The Return Of The Giant Hogweed, which I don't like (and which is in a bad version here, according to Tony Banks). Only 5 songs, including the wonderful The Musical Box and the little overrated (but ... (read more)

Report this review (#163743) | Posted by Zardoz | Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I love this album. Except for The Knife I like all of these songs better here than on the originals, especially The Musical Box. In comparison, both TMB and Hogweed sound rather flat on Nursery Cryme. Genesis really knew how to play live; and in my opinion the best live bands are those that c ... (read more)

Report this review (#163189) | Posted by kabright | Tuesday, March 4, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars One of the worst most dissapointing and pointles live album i ever heard and wasted money on, they made the songs longer slower and more boring then the studio versions in every way thers no action, eccept for the opening Watcher of the skies which is atleast on par and a litle rawer then the st ... (read more)

Report this review (#161839) | Posted by Zargus | Friday, February 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Released by Genesis in 1973, this live album contains tracks from their Trespass,Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot albums. The album contains a range of excellently played versions from the studio albums and would earn itself a 5 star rating f it weren't for a few small factors. The first factor is the qu ... (read more)

Report this review (#156418) | Posted by cynthiasmallet | Sunday, December 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The live album that is sometimes forgotten by those that only remember Seconds Out and Three Sides Live. But sacre bleu! This 1973 release was the only official live Genesis recording featuring Peter Gabriel until Archive #1 was released many years later. This recording captures the band at a time ... (read more)

Report this review (#130292) | Posted by Nigel66 | Thursday, July 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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