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Genesis - Live At Wembley Stadium
Four Nights At Wembley 1987

The record-breaking concerts are released as an almost perfect DVD

On Monday, November 17, 2003 the third official Genesis DVD hit the stores. It is a compilation of four concerts Genesis played at London’s Wembley Stadium at the end of their Invisible Touch tour. Even before the DVD was released fans were divided about it. Some were happy that the film will finally be available on a digital medium, others were shocked that the In The Cage medley, which had already been missing from the video, will be missing from the DVD, too. The DVD therefore has the same track list as the video, plus an animated menu, an interactive tour program, a photo gallery and a tour documentary.

When the DVD was released on the above-mentioned date it was immediately available at all good music highstreet and online shops. You may not be too impressed with the cover artwork because it’s carelessly designed. But when you unpack and open the DVD case the impression changes. There is a ten page booklet that includes credits and photos – just the thing the reviewer missed so much about the Way We Walk DVD. The plastic bit of the case is clear so that one can see the inside cover, too, on which there is a big live shot.

You start the DVD and you are taken immediately into a lovingly designed animated menu that uses Do The Neurotic as a background music. The menu divides into four options:

Concert (begins the show)
Songs (select individual songs)
Audio (choose between Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1 and stereo)
Extras (for the extra bits and photos)

For the purposes of this review the dts 5.1 sound was selected, and it’s a very positive surprise. From the rear speakers you can hear the helicopter hovering over Wembley Stadium taking the aerial view. Then Mama begins, an acoustic triumph! After a moment of drum machine sound the band take the stage, the fans applaud and cheer on every speaker as Phil shows up. The images are very good. Compared to the VHS video it is very clear and free from the “milky” impression that was present on the video. After some four minutes Chester comes in on the drums and the subwoofer has some serious work to do. The sound is crisp, strong, dynamic. Mama is followed by Abacab and a first brief drum duel between Chester and Phil. Then Phil welcomes the audience and it becomes clear that this DVD is a clone of the video version.

Domino and That’s All are performed and they sound better than ever thanks to the dts and the 5.1 sound. Sometimes a song presents whole new dimensions in the digital multi-channel sound, e.g. progressive Brazilian, pop Land of Confusion, a depressive Tonight Tonight Tonight and a wonderfully light Throwing It All Away. Home By The Sea includes the legendary Audience Participation Time, and it’s a pity that that was left off the Way We Walk. A brilliant Home By The Sea is followed by the title song of their then current album Invisible Touch. The fans cheer and applaud when the first chords of the song ring out, and that’s just the beginning: There’s the Drum Duet followed by Los Endos. The drums always come through the front speakers, the cheering audience mostly from the rear speakers. Los Endos is a very strong performance, it’s ending in particular is one of the highlights of this recording. After that there is the Turn It On Again medley and the final credits.

The documentary is a mini film about the making of the Invisible Touch tour. Several members of the band are interviewed and they talk about the tour. There are also a couple of snippets from concerts earlier in the tour, including a very brief bit of the In The Cage medley (incl. Apocalypse in 9/8) that the band played on the American leg of their tour. The insightful documentary runs for some fifteen minutes. It should have been longer, though, but it is the same documentary that was on the 1988 Visible Touch video.

The tour programme is a digital version of the 1987 tour programme. It contains photos, a list of the equipment the band members use and a text about [Genesis former manager] Tony Stratton-Smith who passed away in 1987.

The photo gallery features a selection of fine photos of the stage show and a couple of hilarious group photos.

All in all, this DVD is worth buying despite the missing In The Cage medley. There is little to criticize about technical aspects of the DVD. The images are clear and anamorphic, the sound is available in stereo, dts and Dolby Digital. As with most music DVDs, the dts sound is just a tad more dynamic and louder, and that’s why the reviewer prefers it. The extras are a bit meagre, but that’s acceptable since the DVD is brimful. The Genesis camp have learned to make full use of the DVD medium. While the Way We Walk DVD was suffering from a couple of technical flaws, the Live At Wembley Stadium DVD is a quantum leap in quality. It cannot be called “perfect”, however, because the In The Cage medley was left off.

by Daniel Schwarz
translated by Martin Klinkhardt