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i/o Peter Gabriel new album
Phil Collins Recording Compendium
Brand X Special: An Urorthodox History

Genesis Extra Tracks 1983 – 1998

SACD/DVD tracks:

On The Shoreline
Hearts On Fire
Do The Neurotic
Feeding The Fire
I'd Rather Be You
Anything Now
Sign Your Life Away
Run Out Of Time

Full album in Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts surround
Reissues interviews 2007
Archive #2 1976-1992 - EPK 2000 (18:57)
Knebworth 1992 - live (41:01)
MMF Awards Ceremony 2000 - live (10:xx)


AWhen Genesis announced a reunion tour at their London press conference on 07/11/2006 the big surprise was something else: The band’s complete back catalogue would be released in 5.1 mixes in the blocks. The first set, which covers the years from 1976 to 1982, came out in early 2007. The Gabriel-era albums in the third set will probably be released in November 2008. The second set came out in September 2007 and covers the era from 1983 to 1998 when Genesis were commercially most successful.

The second boxset demanded that difficult decision again: Shall I buy some of the albums, or all of them? Or perhaps the boxset, which offers not only the neat box but also a bonus SACD/DVD combination that has more content than its predecessor. Let us take a closer look at it:

The first thing that catches the eyes is the generous amount of video footage. The reissue interviews are, admittedly, rather short (some three minutes per person). Tony, Mike and Phil talk briefly about the new mixes. Tony spent the most time on the mixes and enjoyed doing them most, nothing new there. Mike reason for his non-involvement is interesting, though: He does not like working with the old stuff because it gives him the impression that he is living too much in the past. It also seems as if Phil was kind of forcing himself to say something positive about the new 5.1 mixes. He does not try to hide the fact that he has not spent a lot of attention on the new mixes.

The second bonus video is the EPK (Electronic Press Kit) for the Archive #2 (1976-1992). This is an 18-minute commercial from 2000 in which the band comments on the tracks from the second archive set. It does not seem like a lame commercial, though, and it has a interesting statements by the band. Phil explains surprisingly that he thinks the I Can’t Dance remix was almost better than the original.

Video #3 gives the fan a 40-minute cut from the 1992 Knebworth concert (erroneously labeled as 1993). It is not revealed why we are given only 40 minutes, but at least the choice of songs is a good one: The Old Medley the band put together especially for the We Can’t Dance tour, Home By The Sea (though in an act of cruelty they amputated Second Home By The Sea) and the complete Domino. Video and audio qualities are okay. The band seem to enjoy themselves more (because of the open-air feeling?) than on the official cut from Earls Court.

The final bonus video may well be the gem of the extra material. In 2000, Tony Smith was honoured with a MMF award, and Phil Collins played a mini gig for him with Tony and Mike as Genesis. They played semi-acoustic versions of Invisible Touch, Follow You Follow Me, I Can’t Dance and Turn It On Again at the MMF Awards ceremony. It was a bit unusual to hear Genesis without drums (Daryl, however, was there and played with them), but some songs, Invisible Touch in particular, sounded very good in this minimalistic shape. The moments before and after the performance were noteworthy, too. First Phil gave a speech about Tony Smith, and later there was a group photo with Peter Gabriel who looked surprised and slightly out of place. At the end this group shot freezes and slowly fades out. A secret message to the fans?

But these videos are in the bonus area for a reason. The Genesis boxsets are less about video footage than about music, after all. After the initial surprise at how much we are given disappointment spreads upon reading what songs we are given. Only eight songs have made it to the bonus disc. On The Shoreline, then a hot contender for We Can’t Dance, is certainly one of the strongest pieces in the selection. Hearts On Fire on the other hand was justly left off the album. As Jim Yukich puts it in the booklet: „It felt like the singer from Illegal Alien was making a comeback singing a Ricky Martin song.“ But everything is forgotten when Do The Neurotic, The Brazilian’s big brother, begins. This is where Tony Banks shows his skills as a composer (You may know the piece or at least parts of it as the menu music of the Wembley DVD). Other songs included are Feeding The Fire (the Land Of Confusion flip-side) and I’d Rather Be You. Irrelevant music. It is obvious why these songs were only B-sides. But the box set is not about quality but about completeness.

The final three songs were recorded in the Calling All Stations sessions and have come out on the Not About Us maxi-CD. Run Out Of Time is actually half a minute longer and treated to a less heartless fade-out. It would have been a good song for the album either way, and Ray Wilson expresses the same opinion on his reissue interview for the Calling All Stations DVD.

The bonus discs offer much material that is not in every fan’s collection yet. The discs are played in a stylish premium booklet that offer 48 pages of more or less famous band photos and illustrations. Jim Yukich, director of several Genesis videos has also written a couple of line about the band and the music, e.g. which songs he had video ideas for and which song he was asked to do then.

It has to be stressed, though, that a handful of songs from the Calling All Stations era were NOT included. Banjo Man and Papa He Said are missing, and the question remains why these songs were not included. There is enough place for them. So these songs are not Genesis at their best – but when they went to such lengths to make the first box complete it now seems again as if the band felt reluctant to pay so much attention to the Calling All Stations period. Pity. 

The new mixes

The B-sides were mixed lovingly and can be enjoyed in 5.1. Why should we listen to songs that are not quit premium in such a high-quality sound? It is because the tiny nuances in the mix become noticeable. Indeed, all eight songs benefit from the open surround sound. Do The Neurotic is certainly a highlight where Nick Davis has not been squeamish about the effects from the rear speakers. These chaotic noises in a chaotic mix fit the song, though; it is quite neurotic…. Nick Davis has apparently been less conservative with the effects in the B-sides. On The Shoreline surrounds the listener with improvised howling guitars and the elephant sample right from the beginning, before the song really gets going. Mike’s chords come in less dominant from behind, as do the backing vocals. Run Out Of Time also grows in the surround mix. When Ray’s voice and Tony’s ethereal chords waft in from the rear speakers it becomes impossible to withstand this mood.

Even if you are not a huge friend of these eight songs, they are worth listening to in 5.1 – perhaps you will come to like one or two of the B-sides better.

by Simon Rosenberg

translated by Martin Klinkhardt