Seconds Out (1977)

Disc One: 1.Squonk 2.The Carpet Crawl 3.Robbery, Assault & Battery 4.Afterglow 5.Firth of Fifth 6.I Know What I Like 7.The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway 8.The Musical Box (Closing Section) Disc Two: 9.Supper's Ready 10.The Cinema Show 11.Dance on a Volcano 12.Los Endos


I admit that I am a bit biased in favor of this album. I did not become a Genesis fan until the Abacab album. Heck, I never even heard of them before that. Let me state that I was pretty young at the time, I was still in Junior High School back in 1981, which means I was only 10 years old when this album came out. Most kids in my fourth grade class never heard of these guys either. Genesis simply wasn’t played on top 40 radio stations on our AM transistor radios.

So after I became a fan in the early 80s (which was before the masses ‘joined the bandwagon’, he said ever so smugly), there became a point where I had enough money and decided to try one of this band’s ‘older’ records. Since “greatest hits” albums weren’t quite in abundance as they would be years later (and this band hadn’t had any hits), this record seemed a good choice in terms of obtaining a collection of songs scattered from several different earlier albums.

Well, the rest, for me, is history. I simply loved everything on this album, and it caused me to buy up the remainder of the band’s collection with a little more sense of urgency then had I not ever heard this thing. The band’s typical audience had progressed from “small theater” to “arena”, so the feel on this record is significantly different from their first live album Genesis Live. In fact, it’s very similar in feel to 1982’s Three Sides Live. The main difference between this one and Three Sides Live is that guitarist Steve Hackett was still in the band. Although, I confess, since I’m not a musician, this doesn’t seem to be to jarring of a difference to my ears.

I remember some idiot rock critic from some idiotic rock magazine (I think it was the idiotic Rolling Stone) claim that this record was somewhat lackluster because the tracks here sound identical to their studio counterparts. The idiot obviously never listened to this record. Oh sure, there’s always a fine line between keeping a live song somewhat grounded in its original format, and being a bit more energetic and expansive, but all songs on this album manage to make the transition perfectly without sounding overblown.

They also manage to cherry pick a great selection of tracks from their catalog. The only thing duplicated from their first live album is a portion from The Musical Box. Only the “closing section” is featured here, which is just fine. They also manage to devote the entire side 3 to Supper’s Ready, a song they couldn’t include on the first live album due to the time constraints of what was a single album.

If you could pick one word to describe a Genesis show during the Peter Gabriel years that differentiated them from other bands, that word could be costumes. After Phil Collins became the front man, that one word could now be changed to drums. One of the many dilemmas that the band faced when they finally decided that Collins would now be the singer was “How do we play live now?” Collins, not surprisingly, didn’t really want to sing live. His suggestion was pull in an outsider to handle the lead vocals for the live performances. Well, um……no, that would not have worked. Instead, they bring in back up drummer Chester Thompson. HOWEVER, Collins manages to jump back and forth quite regularly on most of the songs. It’s clear he’s not ready to give up the drums during live shows, and the best parts of this record come when there are two guys banging on the skins instead of one. This would become a staple from this point on in the band’s history. If you loved colorful drumming, it was hard not to get into this band, at the very least during their live shows.

I guess I should also mention that there is one song here from the prior (1976) tour, and for that tour, Bill Bruford was actually the backup drummer. That idea actual sounded better than it ever actually worked. Sure, Bruford was great in Yes and King Crimson, but he was a bit too unpredictable when he was simply supposed to be replicating another drummer’s parts. Chester Thompson was a far better choice and even sort of became an ‘official’ member of live Genesis.

Genesis was always a very high energy live act, and the masses should be thankful that there is a plethora of officially released live material out there. This one remains one of the best.

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