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Genesis - "Live" (1973)

Play Me My Song, here it comes again


The 1973 classic Genesis Live has always been a pleasure to critics and fans. 36 years later it is re-released with five bonus tracks and a new mix in stereo and 5.1 surround sound.


„Good evening”. – “At last!”, many fans of the early days must have thought. At last we can enjoy the band on a live album and experience a bit of the special atmosphere of a Genesis concert. This is what it must have been like when the LP, produced by Genesis and John Burns (it was his first production!), hit the record stores in 1973. And it would remain the only official live document of the Gabriel-era of the band for a long time. Five songs from the Foxtrot tour made it to the album. Though technology was far less advanced then the songs really came alive on the live album. Straighter, rougher, simply live. It is the first time that Genesis document their mission statement: to sound really good live. The outcome certainly helped to attract more and more music lovers to later Genesis shows.


bild1Crucial elements of the overall impression are Phil collins’ crisp drums that did not stand out quite as clean and well-defined on the studio albums, and the big guitars that could not be heard anymore on Seconds Out and Three Sides Live. We have to say, though, that it is only with the 5.1 mixes that Genesis Live has got the sound it deserved. 


Watcher Of The Skies

The perfect opener for a Genesis concert. The intro has your hairs stand on end, and even in the new mix you hear the nostalgia in the recording. As the hi-hats come in Watcher Of The Skies enjoys an even bigger build-up than the studio version. Peter Gabriel’s boisterous voice stands out in the center.


Get'em Out By Friday

Phil Collins’ drums drive this song ahead. The aggression so frequent in Gabriel’s singing gives way to a similarly distinctive melancholy. A real Gabriel song that is more down-to-earth and straightforward than the studio version. Genesis show how well-attuned to each other they were as a band at the time both in the brute and the subtle bits.


bild2The Return Of The Giant Hogweed

One of the early favourites in live shows. All the violence the LP production is missing come out in the live version. Genesis perform with a precision that does not hide a jot from the rough power of those days. The keyboards drive this song on. A real wake-up call after Get ‘Em Out By Friday.


The Musical Box

While Tony Banks played the central role throughout the whole career of Genesis the band celebrate this epic as a guitar piece. Peter Gabriel frequently said in interviews that he would like to do something like The Who. The guitar part after the quiet beginning explodes and leaves the studio version standing energy-wise.


genesis liveThe Knife

Loud cheers can be heard as Peter Gabriel announces this song. No wonder: The Knife was the big song. Genesis mix the precision of their studio work with the energy levels of a jumbo jet. The bass thunders loudly, the drums smash into the listener’s ears. Phil Collins holds the song together with his impetuous but very precise playing. Steve Hackett plays a brilliant solo before The Knife ascends to an explosive finale, the highpoint of the record. (Not least because Supper’s Ready is missing even in the new 5.1 mix).


Genesis Live is legendary as the first official live document of the Gabriel era even today and despite the new mix. Despite the cover band The Musical Box and despite all the audio and video recordings that have been released from that era since then this era of Genesis is the time all Genesis fans (and particularly the latecomers) would have wished to experience. Even if you enjoy all music Genesis – Genesis Live is the stepping stone into discovering the creative years of the band.


2009: Genesis Live with new stereo and 5.1 surround mix

The first live album was updated for the Live boxset. Nick Davis created not only a new stereo mix but also a surround mix. There are also five bonus tracks that were recorded during the Lamb tour in the Shrine Auditorium, which was also the source of the full concert recording in the Archive 1967-1975 boxset. These are the bonustracks:

Back in N.Y.C.
Fly on a Windshield
Broadway Melody of 1974
Anyway
The Chamber of 32 Doors

We wonder not only about the selection of songs (what are Lamb songs doing on a 1973 live album, anyway?) but also about the peculiar order of the tracks. These are, however, our only complaints, for the new mix sounds much stronger and fresher than the 1994 remaster CD. Further subtleties can be discovered in the surround sound on the DVD, though the surround mix was done in the tasteful way suited for a live album. There can be no doubt that the new version of Genesis Live is the definitive edition soundwise – but the peculiar bundle takes away a bit from the cult factor.


by Matthis Haug (album) and Christian Gerhardts (2009 remaster), English by Martin Klinkhardt



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