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    Boxset IV

    Genesis LIVE - 1973-2007

    The live albums in one box - bonus material included


    Genesis live – not just the band, but many critics and many fans felt that the strength of the band lay on the stage rather than in the studio. Though this may have changed a bit throughout the band’s long history Genesis have always been an excellent live band, whether they played clubs, theatres, arenas, stadium or such incredibly large places as Hockenheimring and the Circo Massimo. The live album set became a possibility when the first boxset 1976-1982 turned out to be a success. Now that the live box set has appeared it offers lots of material – for discussion: about the content, the technology, design, sound and bonus material.

    Get ready for a long text about a story that perhaps was destined to be like this but still is a story of many missed opportunities.


    Content

    The 1973-2007 live box set contains:


    Genesis Live (Stereo/5.1 CD/DVD):

    Watcher Of The Skies
    Get 'Em Out By Friday
    The Return Of The Giant Hogweed
    The Musical Box
    The Knife
    Back in N.Y.C.*
    Fly on a Windshield*
    Broadway Melody of 1974*
    Anyway*
    The Chamber of 32 Doors*

    * bonus tracks from The Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles - 24/01/75


    Seconds Out (Stereo/5.1 2CD/DVD):

    Squonk
    Carpet Crawlers
    Robbery, Assault & Battery
    Afterglow
    Firth Of Fifth
    I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
    The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
    The Musical Box (closing section)
    Supper's Ready
    The Cinema Show
    Dance On A Volcano
    Los Endos



    Three Sides Live (Stereo only 2CD)

    Turn It On Again
    Dodo
    Abacab
    Behind The Lines
    Duchess
    Me And Sarah Jane
    Follow You Follow Me
    Misunderstanding
    In The Cage (Medley: Cinema Show / The Colony of Slippermen)
    Afterglow
    One For The Vine
    Fountain Of Salmacis
    It / Watcher Of The Skies


    The Way We Walk (Stereo only 2CD)

    Land Of Confusion
    No Son Of Mine
    Driving the Last Spike
    Old Medley (Dance on a Volcano/The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway/The Musical Box/Firth of Fifth/I Know What I Like)
    Throwing It All Away
    Fading Lights
    Jesus He Knows Me
    Home By The Sea / Second Home By The Sea
    Hold On My Heart
    Domino
    The Drum Thing
    I Can't Dance
    Tonight, Tonight, Tonight
    Invisible Touch
    Turn It On Again
    Mama
    That's All
    In Too Deep


    Live At The Rainbow 1973 (Stereo/5.1 CD/DVD)

    Watcher Of The Skies*

    Dancing with the Moonlit Knight
    The Cinema Show
    I Know What I Like(In Your Wardrobe)
    Firth of Fifth

    The Musical Box*
    More Fool Me
    The Battle of Epping Forest
    Supper's Ready

    * on DVD only


    There is also a free slot for the Live Over Europe 2CD set.


    Technology:

    Since 2004 the magic word for the ultimate sound experience in the Genesis camp is “Super-Audio CD”. Peter Gabriel started it all in 2003, Genesis soon wanted to follow, but it took until 2007 before the first set with SACD-hybrid/DVD double disc sets appeared. It was followed by two more boxsets in this format – lavishly equipped with SACD stereo, SACD surround, CD stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts 5.1 sound. You could not really as for anything more.

    Whether surround sound makes sense for live albums is a question everybody has to answer for themselves. But before we come to the question of surround or stereo or both we need to note that there are no SACDs in this boxset anymore. The Super Audio CD has faded away in recent years and it is doubtful whether it still has a future.

    So this tradition ends here. No high-resolution SACD sound, but at least there is dts on the bonus DVDs – which brings us to the next topic: There are no bonus DVDs for all albums. The Way We Walk and Three Sides Live are available in stereo only, and so is Live Over Europe because it is the 2CD set that you can buy on its own and place in the box set. Only Seconds Out, Genesis Live and the bonus CD Live At The Rainbow 1973 are treated to a bonus DVD and can be enjoyed in surround sound.


    Design:

    Genesis LiveIt is a well-known fact that you can complain about everything and be contented with nothing. The same goes for the design of the Live boxset. Since the previous Genesis box sets seem to have used up the whole set of colours available at EMI (green, blue and red), this box was “painted” in a selection of dark greys. So far, so good. But it was decided that this box had to differ even more from the others, and so the relevant album covers do not shine through the Genesis logos – the logos are simply white with a black border. The powers that be apparently decided that a special box does not have to fit to the rest of the series... So let us open the lid and find out whether the prints of the individual CDs have been reproduced with similar passion…

    Genesis Live has the original artwork in a regular plastic jewel case. The booklet contains Peter’s weird story that was originally on the back of the sleeve and information on the tracks – that is not a lot, but the 1973 original did not have anything else either. It might have been an option to extend the booklet from four pages to eight and include photos from the period and a couple of words from a band member as a bonus, but … oh, well. The CD and DVD both carry the Charisma “pink scroll” label that looks really good.

    Genesis Seconds OutSeconds Out comes as a little book with slots for the CD/DVDs and with a little faux-pas: The “G” of “Genesis” is situated exactly on the bend of the book because the whole cover motive was not centered but place too far to the left. This looks bad when you open the book and it could have been avoided, dear Mr Peyton from EMI! The 28 page booklet contains all photos that were in the original LP artwork and all the information about the tracks. It also has an essay in which the British comedian Al Murray talks about his love for Genesis in general and this album in particular. This is quite entertaining, but since the whole box set has no band interviews at all a couple of words by messieurs Banks & Co. might have been a better idea. CD and DVD follow the original release in that their labels show live photos. If you find fumbling the CDs in and out of the booklet annoying you may want to buy some empty 3CD boxes the size of a normal jewel case that facilitate the handling and avoids scratches.

    Genesis Three Sides LiveThree Sides Live comes in another regular jewel box with a booklet that has the original artwork and photos. The information provided about the songs are a bit dodgy. It claims that Bill Bruford played the drums for Slippermen in the Cage medley. Steve Hackett on the other hand is not mentioned as the guitarist on It / Watcher Of The Skies though this recording is from 1976. Well, perhaps nobody ever realized before that Steve went home that gig before the encores. Did this booklet have to be as minimalistic? Was there no time for a comment? Are there no photos from the tour? The CD (no DVD, remember?) follows the design of the original UK LP release. Three Sides Live in block letters instead of handwriting looks peculiar, but it is authentic. And another thing – Three Sides Live was released only in the UK with four sides of live music (like the present version). Some export copies had a bright orange sticker that covered the word “Three” and read “Four” instead. If you want to be absolutely authentic you may want to create this sticker for yourself…

    Genesis The Way We Walk LiveChris Peyton had some more room for his creativity on The Way We Walk because he had to create one new cover design from two individual similar, but essentially different cover designs. The black and white characters from The Shorts made it to the front of the new product while their colourful competitors from The Longs only qualified for the back. Since EMI loves to leave away colours the new logo is now neither golden nor purple but grey. The 8-page booklet (so they can do it!) does not contain all the photos from both booklets – they would have had to use 12 pages, and that would probably have blown the budget. Thus only minimal information without any extras. Even the info about the three bonus tracks only reveals that they were not recorded on the We Can’t Dance tour. Fans do not care whether the recordings are from 1983, 1986, 1987, right? Or were they taken from the Calling All Stations tour 1998 to make up for the fact that that tour is not presented at all in this nearly definitive Genesis live set? Well, it is a good thing that we are not presented everything on a silver platter, and a nice touch of the record company to motivate us to participate in life and use search engines and fan websites o track down the information. The design of the CD labels: Yes, you can do it like that, and the original was not much to write home about either.
    The gap in the box is wide enough so that the double live album Live Over Europe (2007) fits in nicely. That is all we have to say about that. But the idea is a stroke of genius. Why did not they do it for Three Sides Live and The Way We Walk? The box could have been sold at a much lower price – and still offer the same collector’s value for the fans.

    Genesis Live Boxset Bonus CDThe bonus CD/DVD set Live At The Rainbow 1973 comes, as the bonus sets in the other box sets did, in a thick booklet designed like the box itself, that is, in this case, grey in grey. As soon as you open the booklet you realize why everything else had to be so grey: All the colours were saved for this. On the double pages that hold the CD and the DVD there are countless Genesis concert tickets, tour passes and posters. With a good magnifying glass you will be able to spot the odd rarity. The discs are hard to notice, though, because their label follows this design. Nothing to moan about here. Thank you, Chris!

    Many photos in the booklet give us brief run-through of what Genesis have done on stages all over the world from the early 70s to 2007. That is okay for a booklet of this size. On 18 of the 60 pages Philip Dodd (Google knows who he is – I did not until five minutes ago) talks about his visit at The Farm when this box set was nearing completion. He also writes about the Genesis live albums and the tours on which they were recorded. In between he quotes Tony, Mike, Steve, Phil and Nick Davis, and these quotes provide additional, often very interesting insights on some live songs and shows. They also try to explain to the fans why some recordings many had fervently hoped for were left out and others added instead. The upshot of this is disappointing, though, because Tony and Nick feel that “everything worth releasing” has now been released and that fans will be happy. In thinking so they ignore the enormous gap between the amount of material available and the amount that actually left the vault at The Farm and made it to the stores as well as the equally large gap between what the members of the band consider good recordings and what fans would like to hear besides that. The information about the CD and DVD tracks complete the booklet with rudimentary data. If you want to know which day the concert at the Rainbow took place in 1973 EMI and Tony Smith Personal Management have given you a nice task so that you do not sit around in front of your speakers all day and get entertained by Genesis “live”.

    The design of the box is okay, there is neither sloppy work nor big flaws. But while the artwork is well done and deserves the praise one would like to know why some of the things were designed so carelessly. This is supposed to be a box for fans who already have everything else and know everything the band has ever done, and one would expect more from it. There used to be a commercial with a fitting punchline: “Perhaps they should have asked someone who really knows their stuff.”

     

     

    by Helmut Janisch (design) and Christian Gerhardts (the rest)

    English by Martin Klinkhardt


    The set has come out in Germany on 18/09/09, in Europe on 21/09/09 and in North America on 29/09/09. Media formats: CD / DVD (DVD only for some CDs) – no SACD!

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