Atco, 1973

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


It's amazing what difference a day makes. Yesterday, as I saw down to listen to this album for the first time, the prog-rock stylings of Genesis nearly put me to sleep. However today, after completing three final exams in one day, not only has my mood considerably brightened, but so has my opinion of this album.

Despite the progressive nature of early Genesis, I am continuously surprised by how "tight" this group really was. At this point in time, the strongest incarnation of the band was set, and honing their skills with each passing album. The hard, edgier sound contained on Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot are in full force; in fact most of the songs on Live better their studio counterparts.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The opening to "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed" alone makes Live worth listening to. Tony Banks and Hackett just rip into the track with a stinging guitar and organ intro, before Collins joins in and Mike Rutherford lays down an incredibly funky beat. It isn't a stretch to think that a band like Zeppelin could have recorded this, it rocks that hard. The "The Knife" and " The Musical Box" reaffirm this as well. If you thought the version of "The Knife" on Trespass was good, Live's take blows it away. Between the driving force of the keyboards that rein everything in as well as keep the beat, to the absolutely blistering guitar solo from Hackett, you are going to want to play this one over and over and over…

Each track featured on Live is invested with a great deal of energy and effort, which is so important for prog rock, especially when we are talking about live album. It's no secret the doldrums can set in during such a performance; the weighty material of group such as Genesis, Yes, Floyd, etc allows for it. Walking hand in hand with the actual musicianship of the group is Peter Gabriel, owner of one of the more unique voices in rock history. It is his ability to shift between characters, shade parts of his voice, and generally convey the often times abstract and sometimes absurd lyrics Genesis had a penchant for. This he does with great aplomb, (see "…Hogweed").

There is one problem I have with Live: IT'S TOO SHORT!! A live album should rarely be shorter than an hour, i.e. at least half the normal running time for a concert! Live runs 46 minutes. This easily could have been a double album, I imagine. While I have never been to a Genesis concert, I bet they lasted more than 45 minutes, and Live should have followed suit. One could make the argument though that this album is much more effective with the shortened length, but from the way the band sounded this night, I could stand to have heard another hour.

Minor quibbles aside, Live is a one of those rare occurrences: a good live album. The musicians are on fire, Gabriel is in fine voice, and this is some of the better prog rock you are going to hear. The scary part is, it could have been better.

Rating: B+

User Rating: A-



© 2005 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atco, and is used for informational purposes only.