Despite my affection for early Genesis albums, I've never really gotten into their live albums. 'What's the point?' I'd think, 'they did their songs perfectly in the studio, and it's not like there were any major virtuosos in the group'. On the other hand, I was thinking those things before I even bothered listening to them.
My more ignorant previous self did have a point, as really, the only people who need to acquire this live album would be bona fide Genesis eggheads, and they certainly won't need to read my thoughts about it first. Though perhaps they'd part more readily with their cash after I advise them that this album is a total hoot.
Whilst there are no major virtuosos in Genesis, they were capable of jamming, and they perform material differently live than in the studio, in a way I'm sure fans would lap up. For instance, the guitar solo in the final third of “The Knife” is surprisingly blistering for Genesis! I'd even say the entire song is harder and edgier than its studio counterpart, and a marked improvement. The highlights of this album though are “Get 'Em Out By Friday” and “The Musical Box”, but those were pretty much perfect masterpieces to begin with and it shouldn't be a surprise that they sound great live. “The Knife” live on the other hand, might surprise you.
Peter Gabriel's vocal performances sound remarkably bold and confident. He was known for wearing elaborate costumes during their concerts, and making it seem like they were in woodland fairy plays. I would've felt like a complete idiot dressed like that, but such nonsense seemed to empower Peter Gabriel! He was having so much fun at the time that he even cracked a joke at the beginning of “The Musical Box”. That's surprising, as I didn't figure Gabriel to be the sort of person who usually cracks jokes.
by Reviewer: Don Ignacio
(blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews