The Genesis Story Part Six - Genesis Live. By Peter Morton. Memorabilia TWR Archive.
After the success of Genesis’ debut appearances in America during December 1972, the band returned to the UK to rehearse for another tour of Europe during January 1973. This tour took the band through Germany where they played at the Frankfurt “Best Of British” Festival and on into Italy where Foxtrot had reached the number one slot in their album charts. Italy meant something special to the band as they had already created a large following of loyal fans from their previous two tours there.
At the Reggio Emilia Palasport on January 20th, the band headlined the Charisma Festival, a concert at which at least 10,000 people saw the band perform another outstanding set. The following day, they played to their largest audience to date: an incredible 18,000 people at the Palasport in Rome. The set that they played at this point generally consisted of the following tracks: Watcher of The Skies/Musical Box/Fountain Of Salmacis/Get ‘Em Out By Friday/Supper’s Ready/Return Of The Giant \Hogweed/The Knife.
|During the period from 4th to 24th February, Genesis headlined their first British tour. The support act throughout were String Driven Thing . On February 9th at the Rainbow Theatre in London , Peter wore the bat wings costume for the very first time during Watcher Of The Skies as well as the red box and flower head during Supper’s Ready. The whole effect of this, and the perfection of their music astounded fans and critics alike. The critics were generous of their praise of this and many other gigs during this tour. Perhaps Chris Welch of Melody Maker best summed up their performance at this time… “The reaction to Genesis’ performance at The Rainbow Theatre London on Friday was little short of startling…”|
As the venues and the cult following of the group got larger, it was obvious that Genesis were fast becoming THE band to see in England. Both musically and visually, however, the concerts were still far from perfect. The band were still having technical problems with the sound and often Phil Collins would be left to provide an unrehearsed drum interlude until the problem had been resolved. On this tour Genesis developed a new way of hiding all of their equipment; musical instruments, amps etc by draping a gauze curtain in front of them and using ultra violet light - this effect became known as “the sails”.
On this first headlining tour of the UK, two of the shows were recorded by the American radio station The King Biscuit Flower Hour. These were the shows at Manchester’s Hall on 24th February and the other was recorded at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall the following day.
With the success of a British tour behind them, it was off to America and Canada once more to start a six week tour that began in Rochester NY at the beginning of March and would take them up and down the country including a short series of concerts in Canada concluding with shows in New York NY in mid April. Unfortunately, since their success the previous December, many people outside of that city had not even heard of Genesis or their music but news of the band’s success in Europe had reached certain quarters of America and some of the shows were quite memorable.
Many of the gigs Genesis played in America were quite low key affairs because they had problems getting on as support act to other bigger named bands over there who did not want to be effectively upstaged by a support act. However this didn’t deter them and they achieved great success on their own. Buddah Records who had the distribution rights for the Foxtrot album and completely mis-promoted it in the US which must have come as a great disappointment to the band and Charisma Records in London, as their thoughts at this time must have been aimed at a breakthrough into the American market.
At the end of the American tour, Richard MacPhail, Genesis’ sound engineer and long time friend who had been with the band since its inception, decided to leave. He was replaced by John Burns.
Around this time Charisma released an edited version of Watcher Of The Skies as a single both in America (catalogue number CAR 103) and in Europe on the Philips label (catalogue number 6073 331). The European copy was available in a picture sleeve. The B side on both releases was Willow Farm. It is interesting to note that the single wasn’t released in England.
On 20th June 1973, Genesis Live was released. This LP consisted of a selection of tracks which had originated from the King Biscuit Flower Hour tapes mentioned earlier. Both Genesis and John Burns mixed and edited the LP although Peter Gabriel for one wasn’t too happy about its release. The album certainly caught the band live at their very best and as it was priced as a budget release, it outsold their previous albums.
At this point the band took several months off the road to write new songs which would appear on their new album titled Selling England By The Pound. This new music was rehearsed at a doctor’s house in Chesisngton and at Una Billings’ School of Dance. During this period of writing the band only made very occasional live appearances one of which was at the Olympia Theatre in Paris and one for ORTF (French TV) . On 26th August, the band performed at the Reading Festival on the third and final day of that year’s event. This was to be the last time Genesis fans would see the band perform a set that had remained basically unchanged for almost a year.