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Tuesday, 18th September 2018

By Michael Topper


There's no way around it: the first Genesis Archives box is an essential purchase for any fan of the Gabriel era. It contains the live material that fans have been clamoring for for years, and in absolutely stunning sound quality compared to the boots of those shows. Yes, there are a few minor quibbles (and they are minor, despite what some reviews on this page would have you believe). But overall, there is enough here to appease even the most nitpicky fanatic.

First, there is the 'holy grail': a complete (sans one song) live performance of "The Lamb" from the Shrine in '75. The sound quality is amazing, and the performance certainly does not sound too slow or sluggish to these ears. Although the Wembley performance from later that year is superior (with a double-length version of "The Waiting Room"), only about half of that show is available, so the Shrine is all we have for complete, soundboard-quality performances of "The Lamb". The main controversy comes from Gabriel's vocals, about 2/3 of which were re-recorded in the 90s; while I can sympathize with purists who would have liked to have heard all of the original vocals, it is also great to hear the fortysomething Gabriel finally revisit this period, and his voice is in finer form than ever (he even reverts to some of his old vocal phrasings, for authenticity's sake). Perhaps it is strange for some fans to hear the '95 Gabriel on "The Carpet Crawlers" juxtaposed next to the '75 one in "The Chamber Of 32 Doors", but the difference is less jarring than one might imagine. Hackett also re-recorded a few of his solos ("Fly", "Lamia"), and these sound terrific, too (although again I do sympathize with those who would like to have heard the originals).

The third disc needlessly edits "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" and omits a live version of "The Cinema Show", but is great otherwise; the live "Supper" also features about 1/3 re-recorded vocals and a re-recorded guitar solo, with much the same results as on the "Lamb" material (that is to say, quite good). The other live versions are superb, and it's nice to have clean CD versions of the excellent B-sides "Twilight Alehouse" and the Cat Stevens-ish "Happy The Man". The single version of "Watcher" is interesting, it sounds like a different take.

Finally, the last disc collects BBC sessions and demos from the group's earliest years. Yes, it's formative, and yes, you probably won't listen to it more than a few times. But it's fascinating anyway to trace the group's development and this is an "Archives" box after all, isn't it? The BBC versions of "The Shepherd", "Pacidy" and "Let Us Now Make Love" are the best here, and bridge the gap between the first and second albums. Oh yes, there is also a delightful (if somewhat fragile) booklet that comes with it, featuring multiple essays, photos and memories from the time. My only real complaint is that they edited "Dancing" and did not include a live "Cinema Show"--the re-recorded vocals work fine. I was most surprised by how excellent the sound quality was on everything. Definitely worth getting, as the 1970-75 era was the peak of the band's career from an artistic perspective.

Disc: 1
 1. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
 2. Fly On A Windshield
 3. Broadway Melody Of 1974
 4. Cuckoo Cocoon
 5. In The Cage
 6. The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging
 7. Back In N.Y.C.
 8. Hairless Heart
 9. Counting Out Time
 10. Carpet Crawlers
 11. The Chamber Of 32 Doors
Disc: 2
 1. Lilywhite Lilith
 2. The Waiting Room
 3. Anyway
 4. Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist
 5. The Lamia
 6. Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats
 7. The Colony Of Slippermen (Arrival. A Visit To The Doktor, Raven)
 8. Ravine
 9. The Light Dies Down On Broadway
 10. Riding The Scree
 11. In The Rapids
 12. It

Disc: 3
 1. Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
 2. Firth Of Fifth
 3. More Fool Me
 4. Suppers Ready
 5. I Know What I Like
 6. Stagnation
 7. Twilight Alehouse
 8. Happy The Man
 9. Watcher Of The Skies (Remix)


Disc: 4
 1. In The Wilderness
 2. Shepherd
 3. Pacidy
 4. Let Us Now Make Love
 5. Going Out To Get You
 6. Dusk
 7. Build Me A Mountain
 8. Image Blown Out
 9. One Day
 10. Where The Sour Turns To Sweet
 11. In The Beginning
 12. The Magic Of Time
 13. Hey!
 14. Hidden In The World Of Dawn
 15. Sea Bee
 16. The Mystery Of The Flannan Isle Lighthouse
 17. Hair On The Arms And Legs
 18. She Is Beautiful
 19. Try A Little Sadness
 20. Patricia

 

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