The story. In 1973, the American King Biscuit Flour Hour recorded a couple of Genesis UK dates, in Leicester and Manchester, for broadcast across the US. These tapes were then earmarked for a double live album, at least by the bands record label, Charisma.
Genesis baulked - for a variety of reasons, they had no desire to preserve their live show on disc, with Phil Collins explaining, "In the studio there is always the temptation to put a lot of extra instruments and sounds into the songs which we couldn't possibly hope to recreate on stage. We'd never do a live album because of this. There would be too much going on to make a good live recording." But Charisma persevered and finally a compromise was arrived at. The double would be slimmed to a single disc, the price was slashed to bargain-bin proportions, and Genesis Live remains one of the original bands best-loved recordings.
But what of the original vision? That, apparently, is what we have here.
With the side-long "Suppers Ready" restored to the running order (albeit in the wrong place), together with all the Gabriel stories and asides that were likewise excised from the official disc, its a faintly alarming experience listening to an album that youve known and loved for 35 years, then hearing all these little bits you know were never there before.
"This is actually our mock social conscience number," explains Gabriel in the lead-up to "Get Em Out By Friday," before wandering into the peculiar tale of a love affair between a butterfly and an Alsatian dog, while roadie Tim takes a well-deserved bow prior to "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed - yes, theyre just little bits, but they throw you off balance regardless.
Ready," meanwhile, is as gargantuan as it ought to be, a phenomenal
performance with a conclusion that can still send shivers down your spine
if you listen closely enough. And one can only wonder what might have
been, had Genesis allowed their label to have its own way. Because this
version of Genesis Live could have rewritten the rule book for
double live albums. -
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