Calling All Stations Videography
Thankfully this tour was very well documented by official and unofficial material including a plethora of concert recordings of which the following are a sample…
Calling All Stations Electronic Press Kit
Congo (Promotional video)
Telecom Tower Berlin Germany album launch 26.8.97
Kennedy Space Centre Cape Canaveral Fl USA album launch 28.8.97
Shipwrecked (Promotional video)
Sportshall Prague (Closed dress rehearsal) 28.1.98
Spodek Arena Katowice Poland (Polish TV) 31.1.98
Sportovinhala Prague Czech Republic (Czech TV) 2.2.98
Stadthalle Vienna Austria (Austrian TV) 15.2.98
Palasport Casalecchio Bologna Italy (Private Film) 17.2.98
Palasport Rome Italy (Private Film) 18.2.98
Filaforum Milan Italy (Private Film) 19.2.98
Not About Us (Promotional video)
Earls Court Arena London England (Private Film) 27.2.98
The Night Fly VH1 interview 4.3.98
M E N Arena Manchester (Private Film) 6.3.98
Vorst National Brussels Belgium (Private Film) 10.3.98
Olympiahalle Munich Germany (Private Film) 27.3.98
In addition to the above, there were also a variety of interview and studio performances in several territories during the course of the band’s promotional duties in support of the album.
The shows did manage to showcase both sides of the band’s catalogue and the majority of the newer tracks slotted neatly into the show with no problem at all. Visually, the band’s stage show featured the usual array of Vari Lites along with the Jumotron screens which they had premiered at their previous gigs back in 1992. However, this time there was one thing which didn’t quite gel. The screens, which in 1992 had both operated separately or moved to combine creating a spectacular backdrop to the stage, were static and separated from each other. This resulted in several frustrating instances where the imagery was ruined, none more so than during the performance of Calling All Stations itself. Hard economics were the cause of the decision to separate the screens apparently but that niggle aside, the stage show was as effective as ever with tracks such as Mama and Home By The Sea benefiting enormously from Ray’s voice, and from my viewpoint I think his performance of these tracks actually outshone Phil’s!
The tour ran from February until the beginning of April with the last gig of the tour proper taking place at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki Finland on 5th April, another gig which TWR was fortunate to attend. The shows, including those which TWR attended (twelve in all including the Bray rehearsal) were all well attended and well received which should have given the band scope to reassess their situation. Reviews, as usual were mixed with some particularly scathing ones for some of the UK gigs but others were equally complimentary, and deservedly so, the band (and Ray in particular) did an admirable job and with a further two headlining festival appearances at Germany’s annual Rock in park and Rock in Ring Festivals in the summer, all seemed to bode well for the band.
The years also saw the release of the long dreamt of Genesis Archive 1967 -75 set which finally saw the light of day on 22nd June 1998. Comprising four discs, three of which drew mainly upon live performances including two discs dedicated to the Lamb… tour and the third, from the band’s legendary performance at the Rainbow Theatre alongside the handful of B sides from the period. The fourth disc was dedicated to material from the 1967-70 period with a handful of the previously unheard tracks from this period finally being available for fans to hear.
Accompanied by an in depth booklet with essays by Tony Banks and several people associated with the band during these formative years, this release should have been the crowning glory of what had been a tumultuous and eventful couple of years. However, all was not as it seemed with this release. Once it became known that not only was the Lamb.. Recording not quite as “live” as we had been led to believe, but also parts of the Rainbow had also been “revisited” by Peter, Steve and Tony, fans registered their disapproval on the various Internet forums which were beginning to spring up around this time. The reasons for this were outlined in an interview which producer Nick Davis gave to TWR a few years later and which you can read elsewhere on the site.
Publicity for this set included a two disc interview and a photo shoot at Heathrow Airport at which all the major players in this part of the band’s career were present (apart from John Mayhew whose whereabouts were not known at this time) and also shortly afterwards a reunion dinner at which Tony is reported to have uttered the immortal line… “Well, we managed to sack the lot of you!” Whether this is apocryphal or not, by the end of 1998, the band’s profile was riding high again and it continued to do so into 1999 with the release on 25th October of the Turn It On Again - The Hits compilation which rounded up most of the remixes and other tracks from the post Gabriel period in one nifty package.
Once again, the rumour mill went into overdrive when it became known that the final track on this compilation was to be a reworking of the classic Carpet Crawlers featuring Peter, Phil AND Ray along with Tony Mike and Steve. Stories circulated that the classic five man line up had reunited in the studio to work on this version. The truth was, as usual, much more prosaic. This track had, in fact, been completed back in 1997 where it was intended as an adjunct to the Genesis Archive 1967-75 project. It had been shelved for evident commercial (and possibly political) reasons at that time. Nor had the band ever reunited in the studio. Instead their contributions were sent via download to producer Trevor Horn who then reassembled them. In the course of this “reassembly” not only was the track shorn of Ray’s contribution, but also of most of Steve’s guitar part as Steve told TWR in his “To Remix Or Not To Remix” interview later in 2000. The track was subsequently tagged on to this album as little more than a cynical marketing ploy to lure existing fans to purchase the tracks all over again. The track was issued as a one track only single in German and also as a radio promo here in the UK but it failed to make any impression either on the charts or radio.
Ironically enough, given his omission from this project when it came time for VH1 to put together their special on the Archive set, they chose Ray Wilson as narrator. The Archive set also threw up what would what would perhaps, have been the ultimate item for fans of the early era. At the time of the first Archive set, a two disc compilation was made of all of the available session recordings the band had made for the BBC in the period from 1969 -72. I say available because at the time of its compilation, two sessions were missing which resulted in a lo fi bootleg of one of them being used for completeness, and so were several tracks from those which were extant. The missing sessions (ironically the first and last that the band ever did for the BBC) were subsequently found safe and sound and the former - the infamous “Jackson Tape” was eventually released on the band’s box set reissues in 2008. The latter remains unreleased officially although a few years ago it was rediscovered in the BBC archives and rebroadcast on Radio Six with an additional unheard track, a second take of Harold The Barrel. All of this material thankfully has been in circulation among collectors for some time now. The resulting BBC Sessions compilation (see illustration) was finally pressed up as a promotional item in very small numbers (predominantly for band members and possibly a handful for radio play) at the time of the subsequent release of the second Archive set in 2000. Several tracks from these sessions had tantalisingly been released on the Archive set but the rest, sadly, remain unheard in official form and are likely to remain so..
The second box set mentioned above which continued the story from 1976 up to 1992 was finally released on 6th November 2000. Sadly, the BBC session set was not released to accompany it and in fact, unbeknownst to fans, the band had effectively imploded although no official announcement of its demise was ever made. Fans waiting for any kind of activity from Genesis had to wait a further six years. But that, of course, is another story…