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Ray Wilson The Weight Of Man Interview
Surrender Of Silence
The Last Domino? Tour

Your Own Special Mix

The 5.1  teaser - the Turn it On Again The Tour DVD promo

It was no surprise when Genesis announced a reunion tour at their London press conference on November 7, 2006. There had been speculations about a new album, but the biggest surprise was that they (finally) announced the release of their complete (studio) back catalogue in 5.1 sound. This had been announced before, at least for some of the albums, but the promo that was given out in London made this announcement sound far more reliable than any previous statements. The promo DVD has the peculiar title Turn It On Again – The Tour printed on its card sleeve, but it certainly does not contain a selection of the upcoming set list. It is a teaser for the upcoming first set of SACDs comprising the studio albums from 1976 – 1982. Another promo came out in late February and early March and contains a selection of stereo mixes on CD; a review of this is also available.

SACD promoThe promo at hand is not a real SACD teaser because the music comes not on SACD but on DVD. This is not a big issue; the DVD has both a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a dts 5.1 soundtrack, and particularly the latter format gives you a good glimpse at the quality of the upcoming SACD. Fans who want to hear this definitely need a 5.1 sound system, and this promo DVD alone is reason enough to buy one.

The tracklist
Behind The Lines
Dodo / Lurker
One For The Vine
Your Own Special Way
Turn It On Again
Follow You Follow Me
Many Too Many
Los Endos

Surround mixes are mainly a matter of personal preference. There are a many different ways in which they are produced. Strong mixes trust on focusing the lead vocals on the center box (e.g. the Billy Joel SACDs The Stranger and 52nd Street), others use the rear speaker mainly or only for echo effects, while still others are full of all kinds of sound gimmicks. One advantage of surround mixes is that they bring out many details that would previously be hidden to the listener. A good example for this is the acoustic guitar on Toto’s Africa: You can hear it clearly on the SACD, but not at all on the normal audio CD.

The DVD promo begins with Behind The Lines. The Definitive Edition Remaster was a major improvement over the original, but this one is just perfect. The mix is extremely powerful and a good preparation for what is to come. Nick Davis’ mixes are somewhere between unobtrusive surround sound and moderate effects that are used wherever it makes sense. For example, Nick uses the rear speakers in Dodo for the percussion, and partly for the vocals too – but these switch back to the center speaker all of a sudden in the middle of the song. Such an effect really has an impact. The old stereo mix of Dodo is nothing compared to the new 5.1version, and Dodo has definitely won the most of all the songs on this promo DVD.
Your Own Special Way uses a gentler approach. It is, after all, a ballad so that big effects would be out of place on this song. It is interesting to note that Mike Rutherford sings backing vocals at the end, as Nick confirmed in an interview. The same goes for Many too Many and Follow You Follow Me; both have gained a lot from the remix, but neither of them have the best reputation among the hardcore Genesis fans. Their surround mixes sound very open, well-balanced and precise. Never before did the piano sound as “real” for Many Too Many than on this disc.
Entangled is another song that belongs in this category. Its surround mix shows that Genesis still worked in a very different way on A Trick Of The Tail than on And Then There Were Three. Entangled is a gem that simply sparkles so much more in a surround sound environment.
One For The Vine is somewhere between Dodo and the ballads. No surprise here, since the song, like Fading Lights, contains both Dodo-like rock elements and balladesque moments. One For The Vine is great fun in surround. Small sound effects stand out which one would not have heard on the stereo. Turn It On Again is improved, but not spectacular – like Behind The Lines.
Abacab is enormously interesting, for the version included in the DVD sampler is not identical with the one on the SACD version. The value of the promo as a collectible will therefore certainly rise.
The DVD ends in style with Los Endos. As far as the selection of songs is concerned, many fans will consider this the highlight. The surround mix reveals less than you would have expected, but it is a definite improvement over all previous versions.

It would be easy to add superlatives here. Purists will complain that the original mixes are lost. Indeed they are. Nick Davis’ new mixes, stereo and surround, are based on the old master tracks and completely replace the old stero mixes. If you listen closely you will realize (as on the Platinum Collection) that nothing was adulterated but that the original job was done better – mainly because the sound engineer had more time and superior technology.
The DVD sampler whets the appetite for more, for much more. Fans of the surround sound can hardly wait anymore as it is, and rightly so: Never did Genesis sound better, never did the music have more oomph, more energy, more space, more details. And do not forget: Nothing was added anywhere. Everything is based on what Genesis recorded at the time. How deep you want to get into this is, of course, your own business. Nick Davis’ work (he himself is a Genesis fan) is remarkably precise.
If the SACDs live up to what this new promo promises we may hear the old records in a new way and perhaps even experience them again as if we heard them for the very first time again.
Genesis fans will think hard about buying themselves a 5.1 surround sound system. We heartily recommend it, even if it was just for this promo. Detailed information about the technology and what you have to look out for can be found in our tech special.

by Christian Gerhardts
translated by Martin Klinkhardt