Absolute Peak of Genesis?

  • Haha. I remember Tabletop Genesis talking about how when they would do Say It’s Alright Joe, some crowd members would heckle them over that long visual intro. And Phil would be thinking, would you shut the bleep up, I’m trying to perform here. I guess there are some songs which the band is partial to, but not the fans necessarily. And vice versa of course.

    If you haven't heard it already, I can't recommend Groenoordhaal, Leiden 1981-10-03 highly enough. The sound quality is not great, but it's absolutely hilarious. The crowd was full of people who were not particularly fond of the Abacab-era tracks, and they booed them vociferously. At first Phil played it off as a lark, but by the end I think he was rather irked indeed. As if to mollify them, the band played a sublime Firth of Fifth. I have many boots that sound better than this one, but there are few I love more. :P

    The sands of time are eroded by the river of constant change.

  • If you haven't heard it already, I can't recommend Groenoordhaal, Leiden 1981-10-03 highly enough. The sound quality is not great, but it's absolutely hilarious. The crowd was full of people who were not particularly fond of the Abacab-era tracks, and they booed them vociferously. At first Phil played it off as a lark, but by the end I think he was rather irked indeed. As if to mollify them, the band played a sublime Firth of Fifth. I have many boots that sound better than this one, but there are few I love more. :P

    indeed a unique show


    but then again, what defines peak? I don't think it has to be connected with audience response. It can be, but doesn't have to. And of course we all have different perspectives. But I am also sure that musically, based on what they WERE able to do, their peak must have been somewhere between Lamb and Abacab.

  • indeed a unique show


    but then again, what defines peak? I don't think it has to be connected with audience response. It can be, but doesn't have to. And of course we all have different perspectives. But I am also sure that musically, based on what they WERE able to do, their peak must have been somewhere between Lamb and Abacab.

    Well, their commercial peak is IT, the numbers are there and you cannot argue with them.

    Their artistic peak is and will always be subjective, as the term is too vague, as for the live performances. it is always partially subjective, I say partially because obviously there were moments in which they were playing objectively better, also aided by better technology and increased financial means. Touring with a van is legendary and romantic, those gigs are etched forever in the memories of the audience but musically they may be a bit dodgy. To me it's all a highlight from 1970 to 1980, fine, ATTW3 is a a half faux pas IMHO but in the great scheme of things, it doesn't tarnish what they did. Commercially, I'm sure they would have liked to do better, during that period and they would have deserved it. Oddly enough, at least for me their live peak was from 1980 to 1983. Nothing is ever easy with Genesis.

  • indeed a unique show


    but then again, what defines peak? I don't think it has to be connected with audience response. It can be, but doesn't have to. And of course we all have different perspectives. But I am also sure that musically, based on what they WERE able to do, their peak must have been somewhere between Lamb and Abacab.

    I don’t know. I’ve always been fascinated by a band’s tippy top moment. The moment when they are at the height of their powers, and can just command an audience. When of think of Zeppelin for example, I think many people would agree that the Earls Court Arena shows in May of ‘75 were their absolute peak. After that tour, Plant wrecked his car in Greece in August on holiday, and they never were the same. I was trying to pinpoint that moment for Genesis, and all these responses are great. You guys are right, it’s totally subjective. And since Genesis had a much longer career than Zeppelin, it makes it even harder to pinpoint.

  • ... I think many people would agree that the Earls Court Arena shows in May of ‘75 were their absolute peak...

    I think most Zep fans would say the band peaked in 71 or 72.

    Plant's voice was damaged during the 73 tour and after that he couldn't hit or hold some of the same high notes that he once did.

    I'm a huge fan, though, and I think they were great from beginning to end.

  • What I would give to have seen Genesis in that ‘76-83 time frame. Seems like it was incredible. A great time for music overall. I’d take ‘72-73 as well. Some of those shows must have been spectacular.

  • Best guess? I'd say either A Trick Of The Tail or Duke. I'd add the two albums in between but Steve doesn't have many contributions on Wind & Wuthering (though his contributions to Eleventh Earl Of Mar, Blood On The Rooftops & The Unquiet Slumbers / In That Quiet Earth medley are still awesome) and ...And Then There Were Three... mostly has good tracks but I honestly don't like Burning Rope & Say It's Alright Joe.

  • Best guess? I'd say either A Trick Of The Tail or Duke. I'd add the two albums in between but Steve doesn't have many contributions on Wind & Wuthering (though his contributions to Eleventh Earl Of Mar, Blood On The Rooftops & The Unquiet Slumbers / In That Quiet Earth medley are still awesome) and ...And Then There Were Three... mostly has good tracks but I honestly don't like Burning Rope & Say It's Alright Joe.

    I love Burning Rope. Might be my favorite track on the album. That or Undertow.

  • From where I'm sitting, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway was the zenith of Genesis' greatness just like I see Yes's greatest peak at Close to the Edge.


    I think by the time they had hit Lamb, they had gone where no man had gone before. Foxtrot and Selling England are insanely mesmerizing and the musicianship is at a ridiculous level! Same with Nursery Cryme.


    When they delved into Lamb, they explored territory they had never hit before. It wasn't the charming pastoral themes and very English-sounding Genesis, but something more experimental, dark at times, a very motley and charming yet disturbing album. Lamb encapsulates everything that is good and breathtaking about Genesis for me. It has the humor in Counting out Time, the weirdness in Colony of Slippermen and mystery and awe in Anyway and Chamber of 32 Doors and Carpet Crawlers. It has this absolute badass punk sound in the opening track and Back in NYC. It has an unprecedented almost Kashmir blaring rocking sound in Fly on a Windshield. The album is a tapestry of perfection.


    After this album, I very very much enjoy Wind & Wuthering as well as Trick o Tail, but for me after Peter departed, something wasn't there that I absolutely adored....the mysterious traveler! That element of mysticism, the unknown, the crackle in the voice, the weird mixture of beauty and angst.


    And then there were Three, Duke, all that stuff for me was a massive downturn. I'm not one of those guys who hates Genesis in their more pop era, but for me songs like Duchess and Duke's Travels lose me. I think "Turn it On Again" is the best song on Duke by a mile, but in comparison to the glory of the mid 1970's, doesn't hold a candle. I listen to the pop era of Genesis regularly, especially songs like Abacab, etc. but for me the grandeur of who they were, the peak was the Peter era and the Lamb.


    It's so sad they parted ways.....


    Their history is so different from that of Yes, my other favorite band. There was no going back like there was with Yes. Yes was profoundly progressive like mad, then broke up, went pop in the 1980's with 90125, etc. but they then went back to their roots with albums like Magnification and Fly From Here, etc. Even Union was proggy at times. Yes went full circle back to their prog roots and in concert today they showcase almost none of the 80's pop.


    Genesis is the opposite. They haven't returned to the prog days, just a medley of songs and bits and pieces amidst a primarily pop sound.


    Sorry for my lack of brevity


    Lamb----the heights of perfection

  • I love Burning Rope. Might be my favorite track on the album. That or Undertow.

    Well, I’ve grown to love Burning Rope a bit more, I can appreciate it now. I still like most of the other songs better but I have no problem with Burning Rope now.


    Can’t say the same for Say It’s Alright Joe. Worst track on the album IMO. Could’ve easily been replaced by one of the b-sides or something. Don’t like it and will probably never get a chance from me.

  • Well, I’ve grown to love Burning Rope a bit more, I can appreciate it now. I still like most of the other songs better but I have no problem with Burning Rope now.


    Can’t say the same for Say It’s Alright Joe. Worst track on the album IMO. Could’ve easily been replaced by one of the b-sides or something. Don’t like it and will probably never get a chance from me.

    I’m right there with you. Can’t get into Say It’s Alright Joe. If I’m listening to the album all the way through I won’t skip it, but it does nothing for me.

  • I’m right there with you. Can’t get into Say It’s Alright Joe. If I’m listening to the album all the way through I won’t skip it, but it does nothing for me.

    I can see why people aren't that fond of it, but it has grown on me significantly over the years. To the point it's quite possibly my 3rd favourite on the album after Burning Rope and DITM.


    Not sure I can say why exactly. I think it has a nice melody, and I love the section at the end of the verses "Ooh, Build myself a tower" etc. And I think the faster sections are excellent.


    I think it's quite a soulful song (for Genesis!). Though I can absolutely see why it wasn't a great choice for playing live.

  • My only complaint about Genesis is that they have a very well-defined three periods of the band. You have the early days where they were trying to figure out who they were, the second phase where they were the five guys doing prog rock at an insanely glorious, wonderful level that I adore, then you have the departure of Hackett and they go pop(ish).


    I know I've said this before, what bugs me is that by the 1980's, the past seemed to lose esteem in the hearts of the band. They'd throw in a medley and bits and pieces of this and that from the golden age, but in general it was pop and hits.


    Usually that isn't the way things progress. You have the ping-pong effect with bands like Yes where they were prog for over a decade and then went pop, but they played plenty of prog at their shows even in the pop era, then they went prog again and the pop is only a seasoning on the shows. Jon Anderson came and went a bit. Then you have bands like Marillion where the lead singer leaves and they go a bit more mainstream but stick with a lot of prog stuff in their shows. Then you have bands like Rush (God bless them) who stayed together 100% all the way through without quarrelsome drama.


    When I hear the band talk about Foxtrot or Selling England or Lamb, etc. it always seems more negative. I think part of it is the humble nature of the guys being openly self-critical, but it usually feels negative and not as nostalgic and happy as it should be. When they talk about the "hits" as Tony calls them, it's usually overwhelmingly positive.


    I just wish they had been more well-rounded from 1980 onward, so to speak. I adore them. And I'm not a hater of their pop stuff. I know some people see Invisible Touch as pure blasphemous sludge. I don't at all. I just wish there had been more of a balance through the years and at least a return to their roots occasionally.

  • I've never bought into the idea "they went pop". I always thought they retained the same musical integrity and sensibilities, they just applied them differently. Pop bands don't do stuff like Dodo, Mama, Home By The Sea, Domino, The Brazilian or Fading Lights. That those songs sat alongside No Reply, Keep It Dark, That's All, Throwing and Jesus makes them the very definition of well-rounded.


    No band worth their salt should ever get nostalgic for their past. I never thought Genesis lost any esteem for their older material, and I've never picked up on any negative feeling from them regarding it, in fact they've generally spoken with some pride about it. But at the same time, like any creative band wanting to move ever forward their focus was on the now.


    The reasons why such a band would naturally prefer to weight gigs to their newer material have been picked over ad infinitum. I do think it's a shame though that even the best newer stuff, such as the stupendous Duchess, would get ruthlessly ditched early on.


    I occasionally hear dismay voiced regarding Banks's comment "I like having hits". Let's not forget this band started as schoolkids raised on 60s pop, and wanting to be a collective who wrote hits for other people. TB was just voicing his pleasure at having achieved the hits part of that, and quite right too.


    Comparisons with other prog bands are meaningless. Those bands are those bands, and Genesis aren't. Their being in the same broad category doesn't place some sort of standardised expectation on them all to act in a certain way. I'm not a huge prog fan but what I do like is underpinned by pleasure in the breadth of the genre from the darker scarier extremes of Crimson and VDGG to the brighter sunnier touches of Yes and Genesis via the thoughtful metal of Rush. It's a mistake to think of them all as a line-up of athletes you expect to run in the same direction on neighbouring tracks and hop, skip and jump in the same manner.

    Abandon all reason

  • I like pretty much everything in this take on the big topic of How Genesis Sold Out. My go to argument is that they were trying to do exactly the same thing with IKWIL as they were with That's All: write a hit song. I love that they pushed on as much as they did, I'm not sure they'd have had the staying power they have without doing so. It may be cheesy to say, but there's nothing much more progressive than moving with the times and updating their sound to stay relevant across three decades. (And for the record Art Vandaley I'm not saying you said they sold out and I do detect some bashfulness when they talk about the older material).

  • I like pretty much everything in this take on the big topic of How Genesis Sold Out. My go to argument is that they were trying to do exactly the same thing with IKWIL as they were with That's All: write a hit song. I love that they pushed on as much as they did, I'm not sure they'd have had the staying power they have without doing so. It may be cheesy to say, but there's nothing much more progressive than moving with the times and updating their sound to stay relevant across three decades. (And for the record Art Vandaley I'm not saying you said they sold out and I do detect some bashfulness when they talk about the older material).

    Not sure about the bashfulness bit but if it's there it's probably not too different from a person looking at an old photo and thinking, jeez I had that hair and those clothes?!


    I read an interview in which Banks spoke with obvious pride about Supper's Ready and Duchess as two of the best things they ever did. I loved that comment about two very different songs from two very distinct phases of their work. I also like Rutherford's comment that writing a catchy 3-minute hit single is harder than joining bits together to make a 10-minute prog-out.

    Abandon all reason

  • Not sure about the bashfulness bit but if it's there it's probably not too different from a person looking at an old photo and thinking, jeez I had that hair and those clothes?!

    Yeah, there may be a cultural element of being self-deprecating too. Didn't Phil say he'd have left Genesis in a heartbeat if Led Zeppelin (or something) had asked him to join? I may be misremembering and it's somewhat tangential to the topic at hand. I also remember him comparing Genesis to another big band - I think it was U2 - and saying that they (Genesis) just didn't have that confidence. He said something along the lines of "man, if we were just a little bit better we'd be great!". He was making a wisecrack I guess, and it's certainly not specifically casting their older material in any kind of negative light, but they do from time to time seem a little chastened by all the the flack they came in for over the years. Which was totally unjustified in my eyes! And maybe it's just Phil.

    I read an interview in which Banks spoke with obvious pride about Supper's Ready and Duchess as two of the best things they ever did.

    Rightfully so.

  • Live I have to go with the Mama Tour. They found the balance between the more intimate, intense flavor of their early shows with the more accessible, arena friendly vibe driven by their burgeoning commercial success. Phil, as I mentioned in another thread, was at his peak vocally. Whenever I go for a live version of "Mama," the "In the Cage" medley, or "Home by the Sea" among others, it's usually from this tour (and it usually is 11/27/83 in Philly).


    Studio, I'd say every album from Foxtrot through Abacab is remarkably rock solid and consistent. The Phil-Peter debate aside, every album in this run is fantastic. If you judge by sheer consistency, their studio pinnacle is 1972-81 for me.

  • Live I have to go with the Mama Tour. They found the balance between the more intimate, intense flavor of their early shows with the more accessible, arena friendly vibe driven by their burgeoning commercial success. Phil, as I mentioned in another thread, was at his peak vocally. Whenever I go for a live version of "Mama," the "In the Cage" medley, or "Home by the Sea" among others, it's usually from this tour (and it usually is 11/27/83 in Philly).


    Studio, I'd say every album from Foxtrot through Abacab is remarkably rock solid and consistent. The Phil-Peter debate aside, every album in this run is fantastic. If you judge by sheer consistency, their studio pinnacle is 1972-81 for me.

    A lot of fans overlook Trespass, I can see why, it's outdated and so very ''green'' but the material is imo very strong and the album is quite even, it'd make no sense of course to play any of those songs today and I'm not saying I wouldn't like that but they are 51 years old and very much period songs. I'd personally struggle to put albums like ATTW3 and Abacab in the same category, many songs on those albums are quite forgettable imo and have in fact been forgotten, even by the band.

  • A lot of fans overlook Trespass, I can see why, it's outdated and so very ''green'' but the material is imo very strong and the album is quite even, it'd make no sense of course to play any of those songs today and I'm not saying I wouldn't like that but they are 51 years old and very much period songs. I'd personally struggle to put albums like ATTW3 and Abacab in the same category, many songs on those albums are quite forgettable imo and have in fact been forgotten, even by the band.

    I agree. Love Trespass. From the acapela opening to the closing notes of The Knife, just excellent. Yes the drumming would much improve going from Mayhew to Collins; although I don’t find anything particularly weak about Mayhew’s drumming on this album. I’m always impressed that a group of 20 year olds, could write music this well. It’s quite amazing.