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Genesis - The Video Show

A little bit of retro Ė Video Show collection gives you sweet nostalgia



Strange days have found us. For years, fansí wishes have been consistently disregarded. Now, all of a sudden a flood of interesting releases from the archives of Genesis and their surroundings sweeps over us. Thereís hardly any new material from the main protagonists and whether there will ever be a new Genesis release at all is hidden in the world of dawn in a parallel universe. One more reason to take another look at feats and failures of the past.
 
After the Genesis Songbook and the live DVDs The Way We Walk and Live At Wembley Stadium we are now presented with a collection of music videos Genesis made between 1976 and 1999, and lo and behold, itís almost complete. To top a fine thing, EMI also releases the 3CD The Platinum Collection. Both came on sale on November 29, 2004, and both provide issues for debate.


The Video Show DVD is interesting for two reasons. First of all the new media was used to polish the sound quality of the songs. The Video Show shows many a classic in a new light. Another advantage is the fact that the old video material has finally become available in good quality on DVD, so that it replaces the old VHS tapes fans have of the videos. Plus the last video collection was released some sixteen years ago.


bilderThe DVD comes in a fine digipak showcasing the covers that the original single releases had. Some of these are real rarities such as the Follow You Follow Me single cover which is twice as exotic because it is probably fake. The digipak comes in a cardboard cover that makes a simple but nice design.
The menus are littered with symbols and characters of the last 34 years of Genesis. You can check out writing credits for every track. As for sound quality, you can, of course, choose between dts, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. The screen format is usually 4:3, except for more recent material such as Congo which comes in 16:9.

The order of the tracks makes us frown for the first time. The DVD kicks off strongly with No Son Of Mine and ends even stronger with The Carpet Crawlers 1999, but there is no logical order in between. All albums that have videos available are worked through, beginning with the more recent progressing to older releases. So far, so good. But after the A Trick Of The Tail videos, however, we find the Calling All Stations videos. Once more we get the impression that the Wilson era is marginalized thematically and historically.

The very first Genesis video ever is, sadly, not included in this collection: I Know What I Like didnít make it past the critical eyes and ears of Peter Gabriel, so the band decided to leave it for quality reasons. The rest of the collection has a good visual quality throughout. Some gradations are, of course, to be expected. Age, however, cannot be the reason that Thatís All looks a bit grainy while  Ripples is a visual treat.

At some time in 1983 Genesis decided to take the video genre more serious and themselves less so. While the videos for Keep It Dark and Robbery, Assault And Battery look clumsy and embarrassing (but reached cult status for it), Mama or Illegal Alien showcase new artistic energy. Some people assert that, as the quality of the videos rose, the quality of the music sunk in proportion. It cannot be denied that a big part of the success the Invisible Touch album had came from the well-made videos. The same goes for We Canít Dance with the I Canít Dance video in heavy rotation on MTV. Genesis truly left their mark in this genre. They were never creative in the peculiar way Peter Gabriel was, but they just did everything that was thrown at them, no matter how silly. The videos, and partly also Phil Collins, made the serious Charterhouse boys something of a comedy troupe continuously taking the mickey at themselves. Illegal Alien, Invisible Touch, Anything She Does, I Canít Dance and Jesus He Knows Me are a real good laugh and illustrate that Phil Collins is a good and Tony Banks a less accomplished actor. But who cares? Even the died-in-the-wool fans of Genesis in the 70s must have laughed at those videos. When Ray Wilson entered the band, Genesis returned to a more serious way, but remained on an elevated level. Shipwrecked and Congo are little masterpieces of their respective directors. The Carpet Crawlers 1999 video remains a mystery. VH-1 broadcast the video a couple of years ago, but the DVD has a different version. Peterís verse that was cut from the original video edit is back in, but Philís verse is left out completely. Still, this video with all its images from 30 years of band history is the perfect ending for this DVD, regardless of chronology. At the end of the day it may even be said to be a good finale for the whole band if they really donít want to get together again

What is a music video without sound? Now this is a completely different story. Land Of Confusion, one of the masterpieces for which the band received their only (!) Grammy, is very pale in 5.1. Worse still, those background sound effects that are essential for the video cannot be heard at all on any of the three audio tracks. Other songs such as No Son Of Mine have a more three-dimensional and clearer sound and Keep It Dark delights with its sound effects. Nick Davis didnít overdo it, but we would have wished for a bit more, most of all with the too-soft The Carpet Crawlers 1999. The brass instruments surprise you from the rear in No Reply At All, as does the drum sound in Tonight Tonight Tonight. If you didnít know there was a piano in Not About Us, you can find out here. Note the funky keyboard sounds in the final verse of Jesus He Knows Me. This video, however has the only big mess-up in the sound department. As usual, the main vocals come through the center speaker. That makes sense and is authentic, for who can sing in two voices at one time? But Philís Ďtv preacherí announcement comes through the center speaker as well and messes up the cue for the vocals, which only come through with the second to third word.

coverThings become the more enjoyable the older the songs are. Their new mixes sound remarkably fresh and even Many Too Many sounds delightful. Youíll want to listen closely to the A Trick Of The Tail tracks, the more so since they will be released as SACD in 2005.
The 5.1 mixes really bring out Steves guitar much stronger than it appears on CD. The guitars are the real winner in the surround mix, while some keyboard effects reappear that were previously hidden in the sound mush. The drums leave you wondering. Now the new mixes are brilliant, now you get the impression that the drums were remixed somewhat careles and that they lost much of their power compared to the stereo mix. But as we all know, truth is in the ear of the listener. If you take it that way, the surround mixes are a fascinating comeback of some almost forgotten songs. There even is the ĎTop of the Popsí video for Paperlate. Can you ask for more? One is tempted to contradict Genesis when they sing that ďripples never come backĒ. This sure sounds otherwise.
 
The DVD leaves you with a plethora of impressions and thoughts. Again and again you find yourself believing or hoping that that wasnít all. Even if The Carpet Crawlers 1999 would make a worthy finale. Whatever will or wonít be is something the DVD wonít tell. But it gives you a lot of entertainment and wonderful memories from the time when everything was so exciting Ö and everybody cries for more.

by Christian Gerhardts, November 2004
translated by Martin Klinkhardt, December 2004


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