Genesis Archive, Vol. 1: 1967-1975


Atlantic, 1998

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Now THIS is what a box set should be. Live and rare performances, unreleased tracks, demos and intricate liner notes that cater to lifelong fans and newbies alike make up any box set worth its salt, which this is.

For fans of Peter Gabriel-led Genesis, this set is a dream come true. Featuring an entire live performance of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, other live selections from the band's history, and an entire disc of early demos and outtakes, anyone who wants to know why Genesis was among the most respected progressive rock bands need only listen to this.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The set is divided into four CDs and runs in reverse chronological order. The first two discs are live recreations of Lamb that are pretty close to the studio versions (a long complaint of mine with Genesis live releases). Gabriel talks a little between songs, and it's clear the audience and band enjoy the music, but if you didn't like the original album, this won't change your mind. Also, for release of this set, Gabriel went back and re-recorded some of his vocal parts (Steve Hackett did the same with some guitar lines), claiming the costumes he wore in the original 1975 live show were too constricting. The difference is hardly noticeable, but a bit frustrating all the same that it was tampered with.

Disc 3 is the best here, with the first-ever live performances featuring Peter Gabriel of "Firth Of Fifth," "Supper's Ready," "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" and "I Know What I Like." All are Genesis classics, but hearing Gabriel sing them and the original band play them is wonderful. The rest of the CD is given to some unreleased tracks -- the B-side "Happy The Man," an unnecessary remix of "Watcher Of The Skies" and the jaw-dropping "Twilight Alehouse," which should have been on an album long before now.

Disc 4 is understandably weak, as it features a lot of demos from the band's very early days before Hackett or Phil Collins ever showed up. Many of the songs feature just a piano, flute and Gabriel singing. It's the sound of a band finding its feet, and some of the highlights are indicative of where Genesis would head -- songs such as "Going Out To Get You," an early "Dusk" and "Where the Sour Turns to Sweet" are among the best.

Fans will take delight in the booklet, with many interviews and a history of the band as told by those close to it, plus Peter Gabriel's press release explaining why he left in 1975.

Genesis fans expect nothing less than perfection from a box set, and this one delivers. 

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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