Genesis – 1976 to 1982 (Boxset Review)

I couldn’t wait for this to be released, having first heard that the entire Genesis back catalogue of albums was going to be remixed and remastered in 2003.

I followed any and every snippet of news that appeared on the Official forum along with every comment Nick Davis made in terms of answering questions either in interviews or in the form of answers to questions on his section of the Genesis Official forum.

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; Peter Gabriel UP, Jeff Wayne War Of The Worlds “both on the SACD Multi channel hybrid format” and the Beatles Love album “which is on DVD A” So with these works I am able to gauge what the formats have to offer along with what a professional producer such as Nick Davis has to offer. Believe me when I say that surround sound is more than a Marketing gimmick as someone moaned to me about the whole idea of surround sound as though it was a jaded salesman who thought of it to push sales.

Surround sound is of course the next innovation in the way music is presented to the listener at home, It is in some cases through careful mastering able to bring out elements never before heard on the original recordings.

I bought the Box Set on the day of its release which I paid £99.00 for and I think it is a little steep price wise to ask of the casual fan of Genesis who may already have gone out about and bought the original albums on at least two formats previously, Although I think a more customer friendly price tag of £75.00 would have been more ideal.

Of course I am more than grateful that Genesis have effectively taken a gamble with these releases a gamble which no other group or artist have yet dared to copy. A gamble in my opinion which I think will pave the way for other artists to venture into.

Contained within the Blue Box is the following:

  • A Trick Of The Tail
  • Wind and Wuthering
  • Then There Were Three
  • Duke
  • Abacab

Bonus Disc

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 In Concert footage from 1976 appears far more clearly and colourful that when compared to the bootleg I have of the same concert, if you add to that the fact that Nick has done something to the sound of it then you begin to understand that it has been upgraded but within budgetary constraints.

The visuals from 1977 are marked bootlegs this assumes that they were sourced from such material hence the quality; I was not disappointed just confused at the decision to use them.

The visual bonus from 1978 was a bit of a let down due to the poor condition of the master tape which appears as a warning before the piece starts, although there is an improvement in the audio of this piece, But could the Genesis management not of sought a better copy from the BBC?.

The Lyceum footage from 1980 is very nice but so painfully short…

The Abacab album has no visual extras sadly, but only the reissue interview which of course is of interest to even the most avid fan.

The bonus disc is only graced by the promo video to Paperlate which appeared on the Video Show compilation just three years ago which is a little sad surely there is more in the archives than just this?.

The upside to the visual bonus are the new interviews either with Steve Hackett or Tony Banks or Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford, there are a lot of anecdotes revealed that I have not seen or heard of until now which makes for interesting viewing.

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 but is still good and worth the money especially if your system will not play the SACD.

The Bonus disc had some surprises on it, I had never heard Me and Virgil or Match of the Day so I was pleased with there inclusion on this set.

A different view of Box set 1976 to 1982 ( image courtesy of Virgin/Emi Records )

The booklet was OK in that I mean I had never heard of the guy who wrote the inside notes isn’t there anyone else with more knowledge and passion on the band rather than some journalist? Considering there are at least three unofficial/official fan clubs with a wealth of knowledge.

The booklet contains photos taken by Robert Ellis and others; the booklet opens to reveal Genesis stood outside the Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park London circa January 1977.

Alas the text inside is not as informative as it could be and it lacks the passion a fan would have put into the project, Sadly this makes for a sterile read and it fails to inject any enthuisasm into the booklet.

Although I am still enjoying my box set and the price is a shock to some which I fear may have an effect on sales along with the lack of understanding of what Surround Sound can offer.
I think it offers every fan new and old something of value even to audiophiles! and to those who have bought the albums previously you will gain a new appreciation for the quality of music that Genesis released in this time frame.

To purchase a copy of this box set please click on the link to