Live (1973)

1.Watcher of the Skies 2.Get 'Em Out by Friday 3.The Return of the Giant Hogweed 4.Musical Box 5.The Knife


Iimagine it would have been quite the hoot to catch a Genesis show in the early seventies. These guys were definitely different. Not only was the music very artsy-fartsy, appealing mostly to university kids, but the stage theatrics were quite bizarre as well. Other than the lead singer, the other musicians would all stay seated – sort of in the background all lined up. The singer, a bit of introvert, combated his shyness by wearing bizarre costumes and telling nonsensical stories between the songs.

Fortunately, this album was recorded just as the band was finding their groove, and they sound quite polished and professional. Live albums aren’t for everyone, and I’m sure some doctoring was probably done in the studio before this thing was released. I usually don’t give a rip if a live album gets doctored treatment before it’s unleashed to the public. I’d rather it sound good than be filled with odorous mistakes.

Because of the length of most of the band’s well-known songs, they only have enough space for five tracks on this record, yet those tracks are chosen wisely. No, there is no Supper’s Ready, but that would have taken too much room on the LP and would have shaved this thing to only about three songs. What one could argue is the “best of the rest” is here, though.

The best thing about this record to me is the improvement of The Return of the Giant Hogweed over its studio counterpart. The song doesn’t sound any different in terms of arrangement, but sounds as though the band is much more confident, and the track just has a much stronger punch. The rest of the tracks are all good as well.

Fortunately, Genesis would always release a plethora of live material over their history to the delight of many of their fans. It would take many, many years before it saw the light of day, but the band’s first box set highlighting the Peter Gabriel years is chocked full of early live material as well. If your favorites were missed on this record due to time constraints, it was good to know that more would follow many years later.

A bit of a subdued audience, but it’s obvious they’re enjoying themselves.

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