Yes I really am going to review an album that is nearly 6 years old. I missed it at release and only just discovered it on iTunes recently.
I was a big Genesis fan back in the 1980s at the time when Phil Collins had successfully replaced Peter Gabriel as lead singer. The band was in transition from a progressive rock outfit (you know 15 minute songs with long guitar and keyboard instrumental sections) that occasional wrote great pop songs – to a pop group that occasional wrote popier progressive rock songs.
Whilst purists might disagree with my analysis of that transition it’s what appeared to me was happening. I saw Genesis live at Roundhay Park in Leeds in 1987, which was the tour for their very successful and, some would say, most commercially accessible album “Invisible Touch”.
They recorded this album (and the accompanying DVD “When in Rome”) on a reunion tour 20 years later. Even though they had to play the songs in a lower key to compensate for Phil Collins older, less powerful, voice, the result is a band at the height of their powers. It’s amazing that these guys are in their 60s delivering such a powerful and polished performance. The DVD presents one concert in its entirely and the CD gives us the same set list but with recordings from different venues across Europe.
This is a perfect mix of their later pop hits and their earlier rock songs peppered with seamlessly constructed medleys and instrumentals.
Behind the Lines/Duke’s End – a rousing instrumental opening introducing us to the powerful sound of both Phil Collins and Chester Thompson behind their drum kits.
Turn It On Again – a crowd pleasing hit song. I believe this tour was actually called the “Turn it On Again Tour”.
No Son Of Mine – one of Genesis’s most recent songs and one to sing along to.
Land Of Confusion – I remember the video to this track featuring Spitting Image puppets. Nice to see them reappear in the concert footage on the DVD.
In The Cage/Cinema Show/Duke’s Travels – Since the early 1980s Genesis have included what has become known as the “In The Cage Medley” in their set list. This features a strong rhythm section with Mike Rutherford and the two drummers – an impressive montage which, as always, merges into the next song.
Afterglow – and amazing ballad which Collins nails vocally.
Hold On My Heart – a bit of a bland ballad from the pop era. Not a highlight for me.
Home By The Sea – this is one of those later Genesis tracks which skilfully merges pop and Prog together. The catchy sing along first half gives way to the thunderous drumming in the instrumental section. On the DVD the images of ghosts and lonely haunted houses bring this song about the supernatural alive.
Follow You Follow Me – a beautiful rendition of this famous single.
Firth Of Fifth (Excerpt) – Another amazing instrumental with Tony Banks keyboard mastery and Daryl Stuermer demonstrating his lead guitar ability. This is probably the sort of track that people hate progressive rock for – but the guitar solo is awesome.
I Know What I Like – one of Genesis’s earliest chart hits. “Me I’m just a lawn mower. You can tell me by the way I walk”.
Mama – a very scary song to listen to.
Ripples – in my opinion one of the best ballads ever recorded and this version is stunning. But just what are the “blue girls” referred to in the lyrics?
Throwing It All Away – audience participation as Collins rips off Freddie Mercury’s Ay-ho from Live Aid.
Domino – Like “Home by the Sea” a song of two halves part ballad part thunderous rocker.
Conversations With 2 Stools – many people cringe at the thought of a drum duet. Here Collins and Thompson start out on electronic drum pads and build up the layers until they are battering hell of their respective drum kits.
Los Endos – usually the closing song of the concert this time Los Endos is not the end.
Tonight, Tonight, Tonight (Excerpt) – Another of the band’s more famous pop songs.
Invisible Touch – their most commercial single and a great up temp finish to the main act.
I Can’t Dance – perhaps a strange choice of song for the encore but the crowd in the DVD seem to love it.
Carpet Crawlers – it might seem strange to close with a ballad – especially one from the 1970s Peter Gabriel era – but this is haunting, atmospheric and Collins nails the vocals.
This album is a show case of nearly three decades of Genesis music taking in pop and rock in equal measure. If like me you were a fan and missed this one, you will love this trip down memory lane. If you are new to Genesis want an accessible way into their back catalogue, this is a good place to jump on.
Your turn: Are you a Genesis fan. What do you think of this review of Genesis live over Europe 2007? What are your memories of their music and their concerts. Share your thoughts. Click below where it says “Leave a Comment”.