Posts Tagged ‘Genesis’

Foxtrot, 1972

Today “Foxtrot” sounds as unique, dramatic, thrilling and ambitious as ever. It’s where the classic line-up of the band came fully into being; it’s when they realised how much they could do, how far they could go. “It was about creating a film for the ear rather than the eye,” says Steve Hackett. “And it even got to Number 12 in the charts,” Tony Banks laughs. “Of course the next week it went down to Number 27 or something, but it was our first moment  so we felt that we were underway, that we were heading somewhere different. “Foxtrot” was where we first started, in my opinion, to become a significant band.”

Recorded in 1972, almost exactly a year after the Nursery Cryme sessions, “Foxtrot” saw the group take a huge leap forward – both sonically and visually. Having already performed in Europe, Genesis booked dates in the US for the first time, and worked up a suitably ambitious live show – a key development of which was Peter Gabriel’s adopting of stage costumes.

Genesis, Foxtrot era stage masks

While all of its tracks are strong and inventive, Foxtrot is unavoidably dominated by the 23-minute, seven-part suite which graced what used to be side two. Supper’s Ready is one of the towering landmarks of prog, dovetailing short surreal pieces with moving neo-classical reprises and recapitulations, serene flows with shuddering staccato, parochial realism with pulchritudinous dreams. Across this fire from the skies, Peter Gabriel sings of battles between good and evil and love and war, of firemen, farmers, flowers (‘a flower?’), and a frog who was a prince (who was a brick) (which was an egg) (which was a bird). And of 666 and a new Jerusalem. Startling then, it remains a stunning achievement of vision and scale. Roger Taylor of Queen has called it, “at separate times, homely, beautiful, tortured and epic.” ‘We’ve got everything,’ it declares presciently. ‘We’re growing everything…’.While Supper’s Ready is the main course, Foxtrot should however be appreciated as more than just a set of appetisers leading up to it. It’s strange to learn that the album came about in a relatively ramshackle manner: no great master plan had been conceived.

A surprise to the rest of the band, Gabriel donned his wife’s red dress and a fox mask during their performance of Nursery Cryme’s ‘The Musical Box’ at Dublin’s National Stadium, on 28th September 1972. Further costumes were unveiled as the tour progressed (among them an “old man” costume that came into its own during performances of ‘The Musical Box’), while songs from Foxtrot were marked out by some of Gabriel’s most defining on-stage characters, including Batwing (a cape accessorised with wings, adorned during Foxtrot opener ‘Watcher Of The Skies’) and a large flower-headed guise, visualising the reference to Narcissus in Foxtrot’s epic closer, ‘Supper’s Ready’.

Gabriel, Genesis live, Foxtrot

B-sides are a relatively rare commodity for progressive rock bands. They often refused to stoop to the level of those pop proletarians, issuing singles. Additionally, if they had spare song fragments lying around, they could simply incorporate them into epic side-long suites. The track ‘Supper’s Ready’, which closed Genesis‘ 1972 album Foxtrot, was a bunch of shorter songs juxtaposed into one twenty minute piece.

‘Twilight Alehouse’ was recorded during the sessions for Foxtrot, although the band had been playing it live since 1970. It eventually surfaced as the b-side to ‘I Know What I Like in Your Wardrobe’, a single from 1973’s Selling England by the Pound.

Rather than a half-baked idea, it’s a fully formed Genesis song from their prime. It would arguably have been the weakest song on Foxtrot, but only because Foxtrot is a career highlight. ‘Twilight Alehouse’ bears the trademarks from the group’s progressive era – Peter Gabriel’s husky vocals and flute, Phil Collins’ virtuoso drumming, and Tony Banks’ dominant organ. Steve Hackett’s guitar is more prominent than usual, especially in the mellow opening section, where his rhythm playing is mixed louder than usual.

Because it’s a b-side, it’s hard to find information on who wrote the lyrics, which is always an interesting question for early Genesis – Gabriel was generally the strongest lyricist, but it’s not immediately obvious who penned these words. It’s an unusual lyric, almost like a love paean to wine from an alcoholic.

The band sought a producer who could capture their improving live sound, and to that end had meetings or sessions with Paul Samwell-Smith, John Anthony and Bob Potter. None was quite the right fit so David Hitchcock, whose work with Caravan had impressed, came in, with the more outspoken engineer John Burns.

Steve Hackett was fatigued by the heavy touring schedule and still somewhat intimidated by his fellow band members’ prowess (“these guys are so good”, he’s recalled thinking).

In 2012, having just re-recorded Supper’s Ready and others for his Genesis Revisited II album, he remembers the steps towards Foxtrot more fondly. “There weren’t a lot of days off; we were a hard-working live band,” he says. “Whereas with its predecessor, Nursery Cryme, we’d taken the summer off and written and recorded together as a unit, bonding the team, this time we were on the run, in and out of the studio. I remember flying back from Italy to be in there a day or two ahead of the others, who were travelling by road, just to finish off my guitar parts on the end of Supper’s Ready.”

We generally agreed to a man that we recorded Watcher Of The Skies too fast. To my ears now it sounds like a young band desperate to get the notes right in a race to the finish. Once we’d been playing it live for a while, we relaxed into it and it sounded bigger. The version that ended up on

Genesis Live is more in-the-pocket. That rhythm is almost impossible for any band to play perfectly! It’s full of pitfalls.Yet there’s lots of weird and wonderful stuff; it’s a band at its most creatively eccentric.”

Rehearsals (and writing sessions) in a variety of locations may have coloured the album’s angles and attitudes. Hackett recounts that Foxtrot was worked up in a variety of “drab, functional” places, until they moved (without Gabriel, who added the words later) to the Una Billings School Of Dance in Shepherd’s Bush. “There were girls dancing upstairs, learning their tap-dance and what-have-you. And the sound of that, those rhythms would come down through the ceiling. We were below in what had been a refectory, so you had a counter here and a gobstopper-dispensing machine there. It was all a bit strange, and the atmosphere influenced our subsequent efforts. Much of Supper’s Ready was written in the two weeks there. With the tap-dancing upstairs, you couldn’t be too serious for long, because you’d hear them: clumpety clump clump.

Watcher Of The Skies had grown out of Banks “fooling around” with the Mellotron. “We bought one of the ex-King Crimson Mellotrons,” he notes, “and Robert Fripp insisted it was the one they’d used on In The Court Of The Crimson King. Mind you, he had three, and I’m sure he said that about all of them when he was selling them.”

Hackett too emphasises the importance of that instrument to the album. “I’d kept hammering on that we should get one, saying it’d make our story-telling abilities so much greater. It meant that the band could function as a time machine, with all these various mythologies. The idea was that all the old instruments were there within the Frankenstein that was the Mellotron. It was like an alien orchestra being beamed to you by satellite. And you need to be able to smell the dust from time to time. It had a… cold warmth. I think it’s actually the most influential keyboard instrument in the whole of rock.”

Of course Paul Whitehead’s surrealist sleeve design is as much a part of the Foxtrot “immersion” experience as that pyramid-prism is to The Dark Side Of The Moon. Gabriel certainly dived in, courageously donning his wife’s red dress and a fox-head for stage shows. “It’s interesting how the most cherished albums have the most cherished sleeves,” ponders Hackett. “I think for fans of it there was always that feeling of looking at it and thinking: I’m onto something here that other people don’t necessarily know about. One’s taste becomes tribal: these albums become important bonding elements. Where language leaves off, music begins, and you share a dream.”

Gabriel, Genesis, Foxtrot Era

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This new 3 CD Re-Mastered Box Set Celebrating The Musical sounds of the so called British “UNDERGROUND” Rock Music Of 1968. featuring tracks by Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, Barclay James Harvest, Julie Driscoll, Brain Auger & The Trinity, Spooky Tooth, Traffic, The Move, Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Van Der Graaf Generator, Procul Harum, Genesis, Caravan, Jeff Beck, Pretty Things, The Incredible String Band, Tomorrow.

Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of “Revolution – Underground Sounds of 1968”, a 3CD clamshell boxed set celebrating the so-called “underground” rock music 1968, a year that saw huge changes, both musical and social. 1968 was a pivotal year for creativity in British rock, beginning with some influences of psychedelia still present in work by ground-breaking artists such as Pretty Things, Tomorrow, Incredible String Band, Idle Race, Traffic and The Move, but gradually giving way to styles influenced by jazz, blues, folk and more that would eventually become termed as “progressive”, “folk-rock” and “hard” rock, all of which championed by “underground” figures of the day such as DJ John Peel on his BBC Radio One show Top Gear and by publications such as International Times and Oz.The common thread among all of these artists was an emphasis on experimentation and a desire to push the perceived boundaries of popular music. It was also a year that would see the very first record releases by bands that would go on to achieve success and influence in the 1970s such as Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, Barclay James Harvest, Genesis, Status Quo, Van Der Graaf Generator and Caravan. Aside from featuring better known acts such as Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Procol Harum and Pentangle, this compilation also features lesser known acts.

Revolution Box

The common thread among all of these artists was an emphasis on experimentation and a desire to push the perceived boundaries of popular music. It was also a year that would see the very first record releases by bands that would go on to achieve success and influence in the 1970s such as Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, Barclay James Harvest, Genesis, Status Quo, Van Der Graaf Generator and Caravan. Aside from featuring better known acts such as Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Procol Harum and Pentangle, this compilation also features lesser known acts that produced work of a wide breadth such as Eyes of Blue, Love Sculpture, The Action, Dantalian’s Chariot, Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera, Gun, Second Hand, The Moles and Blonde on Blonde.

This collection celebrates a creative period when rock music was evolving into something altogether more serious, moving away from the single as medium to give way to the dominance of the album. Feed your head with Revolution – Underground Sounds of 1968.

Revolution Box Set

Genesis Revelation WO AC

On January 24th, 1975, Genesis performed at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium during their Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour. The band knew it would be their last tour with front man Peter Gabriel; the audience didn’t. Just a few months later, drummer Phil Collins took over as lead singer, making this L.A. performance surprisingly historic. This recording which includes hit single “The Carpet Crawlers,” marks the last professional recording with then vocalist Peter Gabriel.

Gabriel’s departure threatened Genesis’ very existence as a band. After all, he was more than the front man; he interpreted the band’s proggy flights of fancy in literal and visual ways. Collins, who had sung backup to that point, didn’t have the same flair, but he did have the pipes. He reluctantly became the group’s lead singer, and as Genesis gradually transitioned from artful eccentrics to more reliable pop purveyors, his natural stage presence and ability to sing complex songs while drumming made the transition a smooth one.

Setlist :

0:34 The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway 5:36 Fly On A Windshield 8:41 Broadway Melody Of 1974 10:58 Cuckoo Cocoon 13:31 In The Cage 21:12 The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging 25:48 Back In NYC 32:01 Hairless Heart 34:23 Counting Out Time 38:22 Carpet Crawlers 44:07 The Chamber Of 32 Doors 50:55 Lilywhite Lilith 53:56 The Waiting Room 1:00:10 Anyway 1:04:58 Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist 1:08:43 The Lamia 1:15:56 Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats 1:19:10 Colony Of Slippermen 1:28:00 Ravine 1:29:38 The Light Dies Down On Broadway 1:33:16 Riding The Scree 1:37:49 In The Rapids 1:40:12 It 1:45:50 Watcher Of The Skies 1:54:35 The Musical Box

A double-album sampler of the Charisma label’s 1971-1972 output, “Charisma Disturbance” is a veritable behemoth and no mistake. Just a glance at the participating artists renders further comment all but superfluous  Genesis, Peter Hammill, the Nice, Rare Bird, Van Der Graaf Generator, and the Incredible String Band are more than mere giants of the U.K. underground of the age; they also represent peaks to which British prog has been attempting to return ever since. This album’s unstinting trawl through some of their most adventurous pages — “Return of the Giant Hogweed,” “Killer,” “Sympathy,” and so on — is simply the icing on the hyperbolic cake.

Charisma Records itself was never less than the consuming passion of one man, founder Tony Stratton Smith, but it is to his unending credit that he neither tried to mold his artists toward any single vision, nor impress upon them the need to shift more product. Several of the artists here would go on to enjoy huge success Genesis, of course, but also Lindisfarne and Clifford T Ward — but “The Money Game,” as one of the album’s highlights calls it, was never the be-all and end-all of the label’s release policy. And so 20 tracks rattle past with an idiosyncrasy and imagination that shares no common ground beyond the Mad Hatter who so aptly dominates the label design itself, and if you don’t discover at least a handful of bands to run out and discover — even all these decades after the fact — then you deserve to listen to track seven for the rest of your life. Altogether now, “Spam spam spam spam, spam spam spam spam.”

Side 1

Sinfonia Of London* Conducted By Joseph Eger Sonata Pian E Forte
John Neville -The Unanswered Question
The Nice -Intermezzo ‘Karelia Suite’
Peter Hammill -German Overalls
Side 2 –

Alan Hull -Money Game
Bell & Arc -She Belongs To Me
Monty Python -Spam Song
Lindisfarne -Lady Eleanor
Bo Hansson -Flight To The Ford
Lindisfarne- Fog On The Tyne
Side 3 –

Capability Brown -No Range
Rare Bird -Sympathy
Audience – I Had A Dream
Clifford T. Ward -Home Thoughts
Van Der Graaf Generator -Killer
Side 4-

Music From Free Creek -Getting Back To Molly
Graham Bell -Too Many People
Jo’Burg Hawk- Dark Side Of The Moon
String Driven Thing -Regent Street Incident
Genesis -Return Of The Giant Hogweed

Levin Gabriel McGuiness

Peter Gabriel has long been a favorite artist of mine.  Peter Gabriel and his band performed for a live appearance at the third Rockpalast-Festival in the Grugahalle in Essen. Gabriel a well-known name in rock music; as co-founder, he was a singer with Genesis until 1975. Then in the three years since his separation from this band, he had received good reviews on two LPs of his own, had some hits and made a successful tour through Europe and the USA. that year,

Reflecting construction worker vests, builder’s gloves and shaven heads count among some of the outer appearances of Peter Gabriel’s band. With ladders as decoration and an appearance from the middle of the audience, he is trying to make his work as a rock musician transparent. After being with the mega undertaking Genesis, Gabriel for the first time questioned everything and did some thinking for himself.

Peter Gabriel was born on February 13th, 1950, in Cobham. In 1965, he played with his friend Tony Banks in the band ‘The Garden Wall’; In order to follow his solo experiments, Peter Gabriel left Genesis in 1975, at the end of their ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’ tour. In 1976, his first solo LP ‘Peter Gabriel’ was finished.

His music videos helped inspire many to get into stop motion and his live music has always reminded me how emotional a performance can get. Here is an early performance from the german “Rockpalast” series.

Peter Gabriel – voc/piano Tony Levin – voc/bass Jerry Marotta – drums/voc Sid McGuiness – guit/voc Larry Fast – keyb Timmy Capello – keyb/sax

Setlist

2:44 On The Air 7:05 Moribund the Burgermeister 12:29 Perspective 16:39 Here Comes the Flood 20:30 White Shadow 25:23 Waiting for the Big One 33:10 Humdrum 37:10 I Don’t Remember 42:35 Solsbury Hill 47:46 Modern Love 53:30 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

As Genesis continued the break through in the mid ’70s, Peter Gabriel abruptly stepped off the musical carousel. His decision was driven, in part, by a desire to care for his ill infant daughter. But more than that, Gabriel wanted to start anew creatively , free of the constrictions of being in a band.

“When I left Genesis, I just wanted to be out of the music business,” Gabriel has said. “I felt like I was just in the machinery. We knew what we were going to be doing in 18 months or two years ahead. I just did not enjoy that.”

Genesis did, of course become much bigger and, at least until Gabriel released a self-titled solo debut album on February. 25th, 1977, Gabriel simply vanished. He spent time with his child, and dove into a years-long studies of art, philosophy, world music and religion.

He said in 1977, “I felt that were were just at the point of breaking through to the big time. I just felt that if I’d stayed, I would have got trapped into roles that I was beginning not to enjoy – both within the band and within myself. It would have been much more difficult to let go, once we’d got some material mountain, if you like. But at that point, it didn’t make much difference. If my lifestyle had changed considerably as a result of success, it would have been more difficult for me to let go of all that and leave the band.”

“It’s a funny thing, but when I was the singer, everybody thought I created everything and wrote all of it,” said Gabriel  “Of course, when I left the band, they were way more successful without me. Everybody then assumed, ‘Ah, okay, he did nothing.’”

In truth, he’d never stopped composing. It just took a while for Gabriel to develop any patience with the business side of things again. This time, he pledged to do things differently. Even as “Peter Gabriel” made its way into stores , he was flouting industry convention even refusing, for instance, to release an advance single.

“I kept on with songwriting,” said Gabriel “I knew I wanted to do that, but I really wasn’t that interested in performing again. Then, once the songs came out, I realized that to get them done in a way I liked, I’d have to start recording again. I got back into the recording thing, and started enjoying it. And here, I’m back again.”

Musically, the nervy, lean Peter Gabriel – a Bob Ezrin production which featured King Crimsons Robert Fripp and Tony Levin; Larry Fast; and Steve Hunter of the Alice Cooper band, couldn’t have been a bolder step away from the lengthy prog excursions that had come before. “Well, I tried to do a lot of things to separate me from Genesis,” he admitted . “Sometimes you’d see people leave bands and do watered-down versions of what the band had done. I was determined not to do that. I was keen to get a new audience.” It’s a purposefully eclectic, anything-flies approach to songcraft, venturing from hard-hitting rock (“Modern Love”) to quirky art-rock (the vastly underrated “Moribund The Burgermeister”) to pastoral folk-pop (the lovely “Solsbury Hill,” which serves as a thinly veiled kiss-off to his former band) to, umm, barbershop quartet crooning (“Excuse Me”). No other Gabriel album is quite so gleefully absurd. Unfortunately, the album’s second half is tedious and overwrought, particularly the crawling blues of “Waiting For The Big One” and the thickly orchestrated “Here Comes the Flood” (which later appeared with a more subtle, stark arrangement on Robert Fripp’s 1979 album, Exposure). Overall, Car is a fascinating — if frustrating — first chapter.

Still, the album offered little in the way of narrative insight into his time away, other than the ageless “Solsbury Hill” – an autobiographical turn dealing with Gabriel’s split with Genesis. That too was part of the atmosphere of thrilling risk that surrounded this project. He was, quite simply, unbound – even lyrically. “Climbing up on Solsbury Hill/ I could see the city light/ Wind was blowing, time stood still/ Eagle flew out of the night.” Doesn’t matter if you’ve never been within 500 miles of Somerset with those 28 opening syllables, you’re right there with Gabriel, sharing in his moment of revelation. It’s the first and only time the song’s titular location is mentioned, but the mental image it invokes is burned in your mind

Part of the reason the song’s unusual time signature works is because it’s all in the guitars — that gorgeous spider web of an acoustic riff (played by Lou Reed and Alice Cooper guitarist Steve Hunter) circling the song’s perimeter and providing its pristine, immediately recognizable framework. But if the guitars are undoubtedly the blood pumping through “Solsbury Hill,” it still all stems from the beating heart of the drum thump,

The story of “Solsbury Hill”  of personal epiphany, of hard decision-making, and of breaking free — was unsurprisingly interpreted to be inspired by Gabriel’s split from his old group, and the singer-songwriter has explained, “It’s about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get, or what you are for what you might be. It’s about letting go.” It makes sense, and it certainly enriches the song to know just why Gabriel was worried about his friends thinking he “was a nut,” for making the risky choice to leave his best-selling group to go his own way.

“I just write down images that interest me. I’ve got an idea of what I’m trying to say, but there’s one part in “Humdrum” which I wasn’t clear about. You know, the words sounded nice when written down. I bought a dictionary, and that’s got hundreds of words. All I’ve got to do now is find out how to put them in the right order.”

“In Genesis, we were all putting in material in a polished band arrangement, whereas now I’m trying, as a writer, to arrange things differently, In a group, it was a compromise. You’d hand over your idea to a band interpretation, but now if I hear some things in my head, it’s possible just to try them and see how they work.”

Foxtrot

Many Genesis fans cite 1972’s “Supper’s Ready” is the ultimate example of the band’s ambition, a sprawling 23-minute epic divided into seven sections. It namechecks figures from the bible, ancient history, greek mythology and British political life, and was once described by Peter Gabriel as “the ultimate cosmic battle for Armageddon between good and evil in which man is destroyed, but the deaths of countless thousands atone for mankind, reborn no longer as Homo Sapiens.” It’s complicated. “Supper’s Ready” is a song by the band Genesis. The original recorded version appeared on their 1972 album “Foxtrot”, and the band performed the song regularly on stage for several years. Peter Gabriel summed up “Supper’s Ready” as “a personal journey which ends up walking through scenes from Revelation in the Bible….I’ll leave it at that”. He was also quoted in the book “I know What I like”as saying that the song was influenced by an experience his wife had of sleeping in a purple room, and the nightmares it gave her. The song as been reported as the band’s “undisputed masterpiece”

So why would anyone choose to spend months making an illustrated video to accompany the song? Nathaniel Barlam knows the answer. An artist and architect based in New York City, he works for a company that specialises in designing complex façade systems for skyscrapers and other large projects, but in his spare time he play drums… and works on illustrating songs. Nathan’s video for Supper’s Ready may just be the ultimate expression of his ambition.

Nursery Cryme 1971

Genesis before touring their new album, found themselves looking once more for a drummer – and also a new guitarist. After seeing their advert in Melody Maker, Phil Collins travelled to Peter Gabriel’s parents’ house to audition for the role of drummer, snagging the gig by virtue of his playing and singing skills, and having a personality that fitted the band.

A brief stint as a four-piece followed, before the group found an advert that prospective guitarist in Steve Hackett  who had himself placed in Melody Maker, seeking a band that was “determined to drive beyond existing stagnant music forms”. Duly hired, Hackett joined the new-look Genesis on the road in early 1971, before the group settled in to record their third LP, Nursery Cryme, in August. Genesis transitional Nursery Cryme served more as a signpost for future breakthroughs than a stand-alone accomplishment. The album actually became the bands first U.K. Top 40 album, but that was only after it became clear how important the then-recent additions to the band.

They brought a wealth of new musical ideas and energy to the group, which had released two largely ignored albums before Nursery Cryme arrived on November. 12th, 1971.

“Something definitely changed when Phil joined the band,” singer Peter Gabriel has said. “He was a real drummer – something I had never been too convinced of with [previous members] Chris Stewart and John Mayhew.”

For his part, Hackett eventually found a creative spark as a guitar-playing collaborator especially with keyboardist Tony Banks. “I will say, being in the band with Steve, who is also very masterful with the guitar and could get lots of different sounds with it, the combination of the two of us produced some combinations that were kind of unusual,

Genesis circa Nursery Cryme

Genesis In Pictures: 1970-1975

If you’re of a certain vintage then you will remember Peter Gabriel’s visually stunning Sledgehammer video from his award-winning 1986 album So. You will have had your heart strings tugged by his In Your Eyes and its pitch-perfect appropriation in Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything. 

But if you are of a slightly earlier vintage, you will remember these fine musicians for an entirely different reasons. The high-seriousness of Genesis, as fronted in its heyday by Gabriel, with Collins pounding the drums. Though the band persisted well into the 80s and 90s after Gabriel’s 1975 departure, and as Collins took the lead, die-hard Genesis fans swear by its classic configuration, with its surreal concept albums and stage shows rivaling Wall-era Pink Floyd or Bowie’s Stardust phase. If you’re none too keen on later Genesis, but recall the aforementioned flamboyant productions of English prog-rock tea, then here is a treat for you.

Just above is a fully restored concert film of a 1973 performance at England’s Shepperton Studios, “perhaps,” the single best representation of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis on film.” Though the concert precedes the band’s Gabriel-era swan song—double concept album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway—it does showcase the strongest material from their two previous records, Foxtrot and the truly excellent Selling England by the Pound. Prominently on display are the eccentricities that sharply divided critics and enamored fans: the odd time-signatures and abrupt tempo changes, virtuosic musicianship, literate, esoteric lyrics, and Gabriel’s theatrical makeup and costuming. The effect of it all is sometimes a bit like Rush in a production of Godspell, and while This is Spinal Taptook a lot of the air out of this sort of thing three decades ago, the film remains an impressive document even if the performances are hard to take entirely seriously at times.

tracklist:

“Watcher of the Skies” (8:04)
“Dancing with the Moonlit Knight” (9:02)
“I Know What I Like” (5:46)
“The Musical Box” (11:39)
“Supper’s Ready” (23:59)

The story of this film’s restoration is intriguing in its own right. The Shepperton footage was rescued by a small group who pooled resources to buy it in a New York estate sale. Since then, Youtube uploader King Lerch and his confreres have upgraded the original restoration to the HD version you see above. Read more about the impressive project here, and see a much more stripped-down Gabriel-era Genesis below in a not-so-HD television concert from 1972. And for a full history of the mercurial Genesis, be sure to check out this comprehensive 1991 documentary.

Shepperton Studios, UK: 30/31 October 1973

Watcher of the Skies (0:00)
Dancing with the Moonlit Knight (8:36)
I Know What I Like (17:40)
The Musical Box (24:00)
Supper’s Ready (37:10)

It was 40 years ago that Genesis performed in this studio and 10 years ago that I did our first transfer of this 16mm film in PAL format (720×576). The results of this effort along with the generosity at meeksgenesis, SAB for the audio work, RH for the artwork, and a host of others well documented, created a masterpiece that has been used countless times after on TV, bootlegs, “review” DVDs, and even the official Genesis boxed sets. Who would have thought that our work would go so far? Well, I am here to try to push the envelope a little further…I give you Shepperton HD.

The definition we are presented with here is amazing HD (1440×1080), and a beautifully low contrast image. If you thought it was impossible to see more detail than the DVD we created 10 years back, your eyes will feast on this. Cymbal grooves, wood grain, each string on a 12-string guitar…it’s all here. Of course in addition to even more film grain, we can see new imperfections like hairs and dust. But I noticed that most of these imperfections switch as the camera view switches, and then switch back when the angle switches back. This means is that these are as a result of the original film recording/creation/editing, and are permanently on the print I have and cannot be removed. I did “clean” some of these digitally, but this is an inexact process and I estimate I was able to remove only about 30% of these imperfections.

Because of the amazing video transfer, I felt that the audio was a not a good match in quality. This 16mm film uses “optical” audio, printed down the side of the film like waveforms. This is common for 16mm and fine for dialogue, but not good for music. And unfortunately, there is no great machine to get a better audio transfer, and no great audio source has been discovered even after all these years. So I decided to resync it. Of course there are stories before some songs that could not be redubbed, so they are there in their original form. But I estimate that I was able to achieve about a 90% match for the entire film. I used various soundboards and radio shows, switched and layered and cheated and fine tuned to get it as close as possible. Thanks to Willem for help reviewing my work and suggesting alternate audio sources, and to Dave Raphael for some amazing original artwork as well as suggestions on the film itself.

Here’s a rare treat for fans of early 70s progressive rock: Peter Gabriel and Genesis together at the beginning of the band’s classic period, performing live on the Belgian TV show Pop Shop in March of 1972. The half-hour film captures the group a little more than a year after Phil Collins and Steve Hackett joined, and before Gabriel started dressing up in outlandish costumes. The lineup includes Gabriel on flute, tambourine and lead vocals, Collins on drums and backing vocals, Hackett on lead guitar, Tony Banks on keyboards and rhythm guitar, and Michael Rutherford on bass and rhythm guitar.

Here’s the setlist:

  1. “The Fountain of Salmacis”
  2. “Twilight Alehouse”
  3. “The Musical Box”
  4. “The Return of the Giant Hogweed”

The songs are all from the 1971 album Nursery Cryme  except “Twilight Alehouse,” which the group had been performing live since 1970 but wouldn’t release on an album until 1998, when the song was included in the boxed set Genesis Archive 1967-75. Peter Gabriel co-founded Genesis in 1967 and left the band in 1975. Phil Collins then took over on lead vocals.