I couldn’t wait for this to be released, having heard the blue box set (1976 to 1982) I knew what kind of magic Nick Davis had worked into the old albums I did wonder how Nick could improve on the work of Hugh Padgham and of course his own work on We Can’t Dance and Calling All Stations.
I followed any and every snippet of news possible and I waited eagerly for the release of the box set partly because I had not yet heard Calling All Stations in full until now.
My experience of multi channel surround sound is varied; I mean most of us now have small home theatre systems. But music wise I have only a small collection of multi channel recordings. These are as follows; Pink Floyd Dark Side of The Moon, Jeff Wayne War Of The Worlds, The Blue Genesis box set “all on the SACD Multi channel hybrid format” with these SACD releases I am able to gauge what the format has to offer along with what a professional producer such as Nick Davis has to offer. I must state that when I say that surround sound is more than a Marketing gimmick as believed by others in different circles.
I bought the Box Set on the day of its release which I paid £99.00 for and I think is a little steep and I still think a more customer friendly price tag of £75.00 would have been more ideal especially when there are only four albums within this box set and when you consider it was the most commercial period of time for the band so that they could have lowered the price tag in light of the fact that the huge swelling of fans that liked this period who might have been more inclined to buy a copy.
Contained within the Red Box is the following:
All of the Albums are double’s containing a SACD/CD Hybrid and a DVD which has a DTS 5.1 track on them, The visual extras in my opinion are a worthy bonus and in some respects are improvement on the originals.
The SACD audio is mind blowing when played back on a subsequent system. Nick Davis has earned his pennies deservedly every track is a breath of fresh air without detracting from the original thanks to the help of Tony Banks who over saw 99% of the entire project.
The DVD DTS 5.1 Audio sounds slightly different in this case the bass is more defined but it is still good and worth the money also especially if your system will not play the SACD.
Home By The Sea (parts 1 and 2) as well as Silver Rainbow these songs really came to life with the new mix, Although everyone has heard Home By The Sea (parts 1and 2) as it has become a live Genesis staple for every tour since 1983. But Silver Rainbow becomes even more of a gem with the aid of surround sound.
Invisible Touch, and the Brazilian two tracks which really stand out for me partly as I have heard them both more than any other Genesis song and finally with the aid of the surround sound possibilities sound better than the original release.
Fading Lights, an excellent piece which now got so much better this one rankles the emotions now more than ever.
Calling All Stations, I now know that I made a serious error of judgement back in 1997 when I snubbed this album what the hell was I thinking? Having listened to it properly I feel ashamed that more fans didn’t take up this new chapter of Genesis.
Ray and Nir add something more sinister and darker to this period of Genesis, Ray’s vocals although almost like Peter Gabriel was individual enough for Ray to put his own personal stamp into the proceedings.
The whole album is a fascinating insight into what Genesis would be like post Phil Collins and in my opinion as much as I like Phil and his input into all areas of music, Ray’s time with Genesis gave Genesis a refreshing feel and look something I think it needed.
The Bonus disc had some surprises on it, but it was also disappointing in places as well in that I mean why did it not contain all of the B sides to the CAS singles? Why so short with visual bonus? In regard to the Knebworth 1992 footage that sort of stops part way into Home By The Sea.
Again it seems as though owners of the Video show should return the DVD’s to the shops as all of the promotional videos of this period appear on DVD’s of each album. That bug bear aside there are of course some visual gems never seen before such as the tour rehearsal footage from 1983, the full footage from the Music Managers Forum award that Genesis performed at in 2000, and the making of Land Of Confusion video.
Everything else had been available in the hands of fans that already had bootleg copies of the footage for some time and that in places was in better quality.
The upside to the visual bonus are the new interviews either with Ray Wilson or Tony Banks or Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford and even Nir Z drummer of the CAS album and tour, there are a lot of anecdotes revealed that I have not seen or heard of until now which makes for interesting viewing and which made up for the small amount of visual extra’s.
The booklet was OK in that I mean I had heard of the guy who wrote the inside notes but isn’t there anyone else with more passion on the band rather than some innovative video director, Again I firmly believe this is where the various fan clubs could have proved there worth as an asset to Genesis management instead of being cast aside for a director in this case Jim Yukich who has a history with the band but whom sadly didn’t have much of a good word to say about the Calling All Stations line up or period of history which was rather annoying and in my opinion a biased view for someone tasked with writing the booklet.
Although the photographs that fill most of the booklet have been seen before their was one that was of a completely different angle taken during the filming of the music video for Congo in Malta which showed the line up from the Calling all Stations era that really appealed to me.
Alas the text inside is not as passionate as it could be although it contains stories never before heard, but its still the opinion of a guy once employed by the band and not a true fan or fan club.
I am still enjoying my box set and although the price is a shock to me as it contained one album less than the first “blue” box set yet it was exactly the same retail price of £99 which I thought was a tad greedy but I still bought my box set.
I do think it offers every fan new and old something of value even to audiophiles! Who may have dismissed the Genesis albums of the 80’s as pop music when in fact Genesis fans now have the evidence to back up what they have known all along, Genesis might have veered off into a more poppier world of music but they did it with the same musicianship that they had conquered the 70’s with and in doing so there skills evolved enough for them to be able to write songs that were able to convey their message in a shorted time frame.
One thing you could say is Genesis did pop with a style and innovation rarely matched by its contemporaries.
If you wish to purchase this box set please feel free to click on this link to amazon.co.uk