[Review] Genesis: Live (1973)

Five live songs from the band’s classic five-piece lineup, released to fill the gap between studio albums.

Kronomyth 5.0: Too little, too early.

Yeah, I’m gonna be that guy. The one who complains about one of five surviving albums featuring the classic Genesis quintet. Because supper wasn’t served, England was still under contract and I’m pretty sure I just bought these songs (Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot). Also, I’m kind of a jerk where live albums are concerned, since they tend to tarnish my pristine memories. I suppose it’s ironic that someone with so few long-term memories should be bothered by such a thing.

The original idea behind Genesis Live was to keep the band in the public ear while they worked on their next album, Selling England By The Pound. The ploy succeeded, and Genesis Live became the first Genesis album to reach the UK Top 10, capitalizing on the momentum of Foxtrot. Fast-forward almost a year later, and Genesis Live was finally released in the US, by which point the whole exercise seemed dated and unnecessary. At least to me. Some people prefer these live versions to the originals. Some people also prefer black licorice over red licorice. I can’t confirm that they’re the same people, but I have my suspicions.

The material from Foxtrot, which constitutes 40 percent of this record, sounds almost identical to the studio versions except, you know, not quite so polished. Another 40 percent is dedicated to Nursery Cryme and, I’ll admit, this may be the best version of Musical Box I’ve ever heard. It breathes in this performance. The record closes with a surprising version of The Knife from Trespass that benefits from having Phil Collins and Steve Hackett on hand, although it still sticks close to the original arrangement. And there you have it: five songs from their last three albums, all of which I’d trade for one decent live version of “Supper’s Ready.”

Original elpee version

A1. Watcher of the Skies (8:35)
A2. Get’ Em Out By Friday (9:13)
A3. The Return of the Giant Hogweed (8:17)
B1. Musical Box (10:56)
B2. The Knife (9:50)

All selections written by Genesis.

The Players

Tony Banks (keyboards), Phil Collins (drums), Peter Gabriel (vocals, percussion), Steve Hackett (guitars), Mike Rutherford (bass, pedals). Produced by Bob Burns/Genesis.

The Pictures

Front photography by Bob Gruen.

The Plastic

Released on elpee on July 20, 1973 in the UK (Charisma, CLASS1), Brazil (Charisma, 6369 942), Canada (Charisma, CA-1-1501), Colombia (Charisma, 6302 097), Germany (Charisma, 6499 593) and in May 1974* in the US (Charisma, CAS 1666). Reached #9 on the UK charts and #105 on the US charts. (*First appeared in 5/11/74 issue of Billboard.)

  1. Re-issued on elpee in the UK (Charisma, 9279 530).
  2. Re-issued on elpee in 1977 in Japan (Charisma, RJ-7225).
  3. Re-issued on elpee in 1984 in the UK (CHC-23).
  4. Re-issued on elpee and compact disc in the UK (Charisma, CLASS/CLACD 1).
  5. Re-issued on elpee and compact disc in the US (Atlantic, 81855-1/2).
  6. Re-released on remastered compact disc and cassette on October 18, 1994 in the US (Atlantic, 82676-2/4).

2 thoughts on “[Review] Genesis: Live (1973)

  1. Those Genesis live albums make me question the audience’s tolerance level. When Phil Collins led the group in ’92, was it the prog fans to the left stage of the stage and the pop fans to right? And between songs which he performed, Phil had to run between different sides? While ducking the tomatoes and all? The “Old Medley” from ’92 at least proved that they hadn’t lost touch with their prog roots and wanted to give the old fans the souvenir. Even so, iagine Mick and the boys doing a medley of, say, “Satisfaction/Brown Sugar/Jumpin’ Jack Flash/Sympathy for the Devil/It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll/Honky Tonk Women”, and then spending the rest of the night playing these REALLY hot chestnuts off Undercover, Dirty Work and Steel Wheels. Including a 10-minute groove on “It Must Be Hell” and a guest appearance from Eddie Vedder on “Hold Back”.

  2. Ouch, and Eddie Vedder for the triple burn score. 🙂 I did see that Genesis was playing a few tracks from Selling England on the new tour including “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight,” a song I would actually pay to hear.

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