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"When In Rome 2007" - The gigantic final concert on 3 DVDs

And suddenly it’s over. A hype that left many cold, but stirred, excited and pulled many more with it. Genesis were back – it came so suddenly, though everybody kind of reckoned they would. Everybody knew it, and everybody knew it better 
Whatever was mentioned, whatever was rumoured to perhaps be included in the set list, someone would always declare it junk, it made people emotional, it was never good, rarely satisfactory. Genesis divide their fans like no other band. The man whose musical abilities brought Genesis to where they are today, the man without whom prog gems like Selling England and The Lamb would have remained irrelevant, yes, the very man who brought Genesis and himself to a level where they would fill the largest stadiums (or didn’t he?) – this man’s name is Phil Collins, and he is the best-feared man amongst Genesis fans. It is all his fault. Except for him Genesis would still be recording albums like Foxtrot (version 34.0) and everything would be peachy… what a load of manure.
Back to reality: It is this man who fulfilled the fans a dream: Please, Genesis, play live, just one more time. And since Peter did not feel like it they came with the popular line-up, without a new album, without the need to promote a product, without any pressure … well, almost. 

They had been gone for ten years, maybe for fifteen. During that break Genesis were the unhippest band on earth. Nobody took them seriously, nobody talked about them, nobody appreciated their life’s work, well, almost nobody. Suddenly it all changed. Peter Gabriel started using the G-word again, Steve Hackett’s eyes would light up when the spoke of his time with Genesis and the core repeated over and over again that anything was possible. That even a stadium tour was possible in the end made even Tony Banks wary. They felt unsure, booked half their shows in Germany because the Germans would go anyway. They even came in droves when the singer was called Ray Wilson. But suddenly the Brits wanted to see Genesis again. So did the Spanish and the Portuguese, but they weren’t allowed. 22 times Turn It On Again, 22 times the same set, 22 times retro, 22 times a rare cross-section of music from all the band’s periods … but the 22nd show became something very special.
Nobody in their right minds can complain about the set list on the DVD. It is one-hundred percent of the show they played.  Nothing else was played on tour. Genesis were consistent in their set list and remained consistent on this DVD. 500.000 people came to see Genesis on the final show of their European tour. That is half the people that live in Cologne – or everybody in Dresden. Never before or after did more people attend a single Genesis show. Its familiar set list:

Duke's Intro
Turn It On Again
No Son Of Mine
Land Of Confusion
In The Cage -
- The Cinema Show
- Duke's Travels
Hold On My Heart
Home By The Sea
Follow You, Follow Me
Firth Of Fifth (instr.)
I Know What I Like
Throwing It All Away
Conversation With Two Stools
Los Endos
Tonight Tonight Tonight
Invisible Touch

I Can't Dance
Carpet Crawlers

Mentioning highlights and weaknesses seems rather futile after a tour that has been covered this well. The internet brought the fans together and enabled an unprecedented exchange of information.

The DVD set itself comes in a digipak with a cardboard cover. The bonus DVD, Come Rain Or Shine is added in an extra card sleeve. The two show DVDs are placed in newly-designed trays that may have had many people scratch their heads in confusion. Those who wanted to take the DVDs out quickly risked damaging them severely. The matte cardboard may have its advantages, but the overall construction of the box is unsatisfactory. If you want to push back the set into the (narrow) box you run the risk of damaging the digipak cover. That was certainly not thought through. 
The team were far more diligent about the audio/video bit. The camera angles used for film are among the aspects of a live DVD people complain about most. There is nothing to complain about the When In Rome 2007 film, except that there is no multi-angle option which would permit viewers to watch the whole stage all the time (or any other angle they wanted). The dts sound is perfect, loud and clear. In normal 5.1 the volume seems to waver occasionally.
Most songs are presented very well with a fine mixture of close-ups and shots from a distance and excellent live sound.  The audience are a bit strange because it was mixed in a slightly peculiar way. Of course with an audience this large not all who came are real Genesis fans. Phil’s Italian introductions did fall flat, as it were, perhaps because, as he later claimed jokingly, most people in the audience had come over from Germany. There may be some truth to that. If you look at the inner cover of the DVD you may notice an it tour T-shirt in the front row. During the show you can also spot the odd user of the it forum.
Genesis hyped themselves and set up a live comeback few people thought would have been possible. In Germany they achieved something special: For the first time a DVD topped the album charts. Only Pink Floyd’s P.U.L.S.E. had managed to do that before them.
The most impressive thing the band achieved on this tour is that they played a 20-minute In The Cage medley in front of 50.000 (or 500.000 in Rome), got lost in endless instrumentals, played songs that are longer than ten minutes, started drum duets on bar stools, announced the (Los) End(os) of the show with a fulminant effusion of music but without any vocals and then said good-bye with a ballad that was anything but a hit.

In the end they gave their fans the opportunity to show their children what a great band Genesis are, what fantastic songs they wrote – and that there is not a single band in 2007 that can compare to them.

Thank you!

Have you done your bonus material homework?

What a release! The amount of material is most impressive: A concert film of more than 150 minutes, another two hours worth of the very entertaining tour documentary Come Rain Or Shine … and then the guys go and add bonus material on top of that! A little bit for every song they play, a gallery with the tour programme and lots more.
The bonus material consists mainly of snippets that did not fit into Come Rain Or Shine but was too funny or insightful to be left out altogether. It was filmed in New York, Lausanne and Brussels during the rehearsals and the development of the stage show. We find Mike, Phil and Tony frequently discussing musical questions; usually they think about transitions and chord progressions between songs. That is very exciting for musicians and provides surprising revelations when Tony explains: “We change keys from G … to G. That’s always particularly difficult.”
We see them joking around and pulling each other’s leg. The bonus snippets also stress that they take a lively interest in the visual part of the show, e.g. when they discuss whether Phil should be lifted in front of the screens for Domino again (they try it, and Phil looks rather diminutive. Tony: “We tried to find a taller singer…”) or whether they want to have fireworks for Mama (the pyrotechnicians have already left for the weekend. Mike: “Then we’ll have them come back, look at it … and then tell them that we don’t want it.”) A particularly funny moment occurs as Patrick Woodroffe outlines just what exactly he wants to show on the screens for No Son Of Mine.
These brief impressions show that this thing that later looks like such an effortless perfect show is actually a lot of hard work that does not even work at the first try.  Consider, for example, the high speed version of Turn It On Again or how the concentrate on counting the “hold on”s in the coda of Hold On My Heart. Finally some minor questions are answered (yes, Phil’s shouts during the drum duet indicate a change of rhythm) and asked (by Tony: “Phil, how do you manage to always catch the tambourine right at the final beat of I Know What I like?”).
Then there are excerpts from the Cinema Show rehearsals, a wonderful acoustic version of Ripples, questions about the fireworks and then… and then… and then… but see for yourselves. It will be instructive and funny and give you the impression of really being there, even more so than on Come Rain Or Shine. One feels with them when their teacher Tony Smith asks the embarrassed pupils Tony, Mike and Phil for their homework.

Depending on the order in which you watch the three When In Rome DVDs you will enjoy the bonus material on the show DVDs as an appetizer for Come Rain Or Shine or as a sweet reprise. Whichever order you choose, it will always be worth it to press the Albert during the concert film…

by Christian Gerhardts (concert film) and Martin Klinkhardt (translation and bonus material)
graphics, layout and screen shot column by Helmut Janisch

| Come Rain Or Shine - review of the Turn It On Again Tour documentary
| Afterglow - commentary about the Genesis comeback