Well, it had to finally happen didnt it? Because the studio albums had all been re-mastered by Nick Davis the official live albums the band had released over the years would finally receive the same treatment.
They’re was much talk about what if any would be the extra’s? to give the more than casual buyer the temptation to shell out for the live boxset which is priced at the same as some of the studio boxsets.
Whilst the box set was being advertised it was quite unclear as to whether or not the Rainbow performance from 1973 was either in Stereo or in 5.1 Surround sound but I am happy to announce that it is in fact in both of these audio formats.
Apart from the fantastic full length Rainbow show which includes Peter’s verbal quips and full length stories in 5.1 although the stories and the set has been reduced for the Stereo version there is little much else for the more than average buyer to dig deep for.
The sound is of the high standard that I and perhaps the buyers of the Studio boxsets had come to expect from Nick Davis and his knowledge of all things surround sound, this of course brings such gems as Genesis Live into the realms of clarity and excitement that one could only have dreamed off when listening to the 1994 remaster of the same live album.
Sadly the bonus songs taken from the Shrine 1975 performance of the Lamb Lies Down On Broadway do not really fit on here and should have been on an extra disc in the booklet in my opinion.
Also why not put out the FULL Lamb show any way? This I felt was a bit mean of the band and or record company.
The next album in the box set was non other than Seconds Out with all those myths about who was louder in the mix etc finally put to rest as Nick Davis has cleaned the whole lot up and given a live feel to an already live sounding album.
The only downside in my opinion was given that most Genesis fans now know that this wasn’t the full set list for the tour why was there no inclusion of extra tracks performed during the 1976 and 1977 tours? As a bonus!
Sadly the “And Then There Were Three” and “DUKE” tours were never released officially as live albums so they do not appear in the box set, and it appears as though no one considered including them in any way this time either.
Moving on to Three Sides Live one of my favourite live albums by the band, sadly this had only received a remastering into stereo sound which I think is a real opportunity missed, Although an explanation as to why this has only appeared in Stereo appears in the bonus Booklet explaining that there will be or is a 5.1 mix of the album on DVD.
Well it still seemed quite mean to me as to why the band had not added on a whole raft of bonus songs from the 1981 Abacab tour and even the Encore tour which was a tour to support the Three Sides Live Album, songs like Dance On a Volcano or Supper’s Ready or even Whodunnit? Would have been a bonus…..
Sadly the MAMA tour and Invisible touch tour were never released officially as live albums so they do not appear in this box set and no one thought to include them this time either, well except for three songs from the Invisible touch tour.
Moving onto the We Cant Dance tour which was originally represented by the Shorts and Longs albums, well these have been re ordered into the set list for the tour with the annoying inclusion of the three songs from the Invisible touch tour which I personally could have done without as I am aware that MAMA was performed on the We Cant Dance tour a few times so why the need for MAMA from the Invisible touch tour is beyond me.
They do sound better in stereo than the original releases but again I feel as though it was a missed opportunity again.
From what I have learned the general train of thought is that due to the Way We Walk DVD which covered the tour quite well with the bands appearance at Earls Court already being in 5.1 Dolby digital to release the Way We Walk long/shorts in surround sound would be silly when there is going to be a re-released Way We Walk DVD with DTS surround sound so it wouldn’t make a surround sound version of the Shorts and Longs financially viable in this case.
Which then leaves a gaping hole where something from the Calling All Stations tour should have appeared after all Ray Wilson and Nir Z were official members of the group and I feel that they’re time with the band should have been represented officially here.
Then there is a purposeful space in the box set to slot your own copy of Live Over Europe which is a very good live album in its own right and it didn’t need remastering although it would have been nice to have had a 5.1 surround sound version of it I know it would be hard to swallow for those fans and me included who own the When In Rome DVD were we can all hear the band in perfect surround sound.
The bonus disc is where the only real bonus is to be found, Yes it is the full show and yes it has been released in pieces before on the Archive one box set 1967 to 1975 (remember that one?) here Nick Davis has gone back in and given the listener a far superior listening experience than I could imagine was possible back in 1998 complete with the Battle Of Epping Forrest with its collage of ideas and characters which are brought to life in this live version, as well as a full length Musical Box and the story of Cynthia that precedes it amongst other verbal gems and stories from Peter.
The album artwork is a joy complete with near accurate record labels on the discs, I am sure my vinyl copy of Genesis live had the Charisma Mad Hatter logo on it and not the pink scroll Charisma logo on it. Although I am certain that the Record Label that appeared on Seconds Out is the same as it was on my vinyl copy with the stage scene and lighting.
Songs that could have made it in my opinion as a Bonus live disc but might have sounded disjointed
Your Own Special Way (recorded in Sydney in 1986 with the orchestra)
Eleventh Earl Of Mar
Inside and Out
Say Its Alright Joe
The Knife (with Phil singing)
The In The Cage Medley from Invisible Touch Tour
Calling All Stations
Not About Us
Carpet Crawlers (from the 1998 Calling All Stations tour).
1) The albums and bonus material that are in 5.1 DTS surround sound.
2) The artwork.
3) The interview that appears as a story in the Booklet.
4) You get a Peter Gabriel era Supper’s Ready in Surround Sound.
1) The price! Did it really have to cost £85?
2) The lack of other bonus material.
3) The lack of visual interviews from the band.
4) The lack of material from the Calling All Stations tour.
5) The albums that are in Stereo only sound.
6) The lack of imagination when it came to finding someone to write notes for the booklet because I do not like Phillip Dodds writing style.
Aside from the negatives the box set is good purchase but I would warn those who are expecting the same level of commitment given to the previous box sets to be careful because you will not find any band interviews anywhere in the live box set which is a real loss in the sense that it comes across as though the members of the band were not interested.
After all of that I must say positively that the Box set is worth buying for Genesis Live, Seconds Out and the bonus Rainbow show which are finally in glorious 5.1 surround sound.
Thanks again must go to Nick Davis for his sterling work on the Genesis back catalogue
For more information about Genesis please visit there official website genesis-music.com