This was live album #3 for these guys, and the first to be released from their pop period. So why am I not jumping-out-of-my-bones excited about this?
I shall answer that by expressing my sincerest regret that the band didn't save releasing their next live album until after 1983's Genesis
had been released - that album has some of the greatest 80's popsongs ever written, and if this live album had more songs from that and fewer songs from Duke
), then it would likely have gone from just 'hmm' to 'whoahhh!'.
Nonetheless, we can't rewrite history. And of course I can't blame Genesis, because they might not have been aware that an album like Genesis
was cooking in their brains at the time. And I can't complain too much, as listening to songs from Duke
can be quite enjoyable when they're interspersed with other songs from their catalog.
They open the album nicely with a rousing rendition of “Turn it On Again”. I might never have noticed it before, but that song was already reminiscent of Abacab
thanks to its pulsating synth-bass, which lends it a greater sense of urgency.
I'll say it ... Phil Collins is an excellent singer - I'll never understand people's arguments that he wasn't. He has a nice soulful texture to his voice, and he's able to reach a wide range of notes (naturally, he suffers in comparison to Peter Gabriel who also had the ability to playact).
Most importantly, Collins sounds like he's having the time of his life singing these songs. I can picture the huge smile he must've had on his face as he was boisterously singing “Abacab”, which was probably the best popsong they'd released up to that point. Tony Banks and Michael Rutherford also had a chance to shine there, frequently taking a few moments to improvise with their synthesizer and guitar respectively. They typically solo melodically, and never come across too much like they were showing off.
by Reviewer: Don Ignacio
(blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews