1998 must have been a red letter year for true-blue Genesis fans. The five titans of the group, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, Tony Banks, and Michael Rutherford, got together and assembled this awesome four-disc boxset.
The first three discs predominantly contain material taken from live shows (that weren't on Genesis Live
). Part of the third disc and all the fourth disc contain non-album singles, demos, and an assortment of early unreleased songs. There are 52 songs in the collection in total. Indeed, sitting through this album is a project in itself. However, speaking as someone who not only listened to this entire collection, but also wrote a track review for every single one of them, I'll tell you ... I had a blast!
The first thing to note about this collection is that the first two discs contain a live rendition of the entire Rock Opera, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
. Genesis play the material very similarly to how it was played on the studio album, and whilst it's a valid criticism to say that makes it a pointless exercise because the live version is essentially inferior, I personally appreciate it, because I like to marvel that the band were able to capture so many of the delicate textures from the album in a live setting (with that said, there were parts that had to be re-recorded in 1998 due to technical problems with the original recording, notably for the album closer “It” - Gabriel's vocals had aged tremendously! It would've been better if they'd left it as is, but the soul of the original shows is still there on full display). Steve Hackett fans should especially appreciate that he gets to shine a bit more here than he did on the studio cut.
by Reviewer: Don Ignacio
(blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews