"The scattered pages of a book..." - The Genesis Songbook, Channel 5, April 29, 2001. Review by David Matthews.
After much publicity, the long awaited new Genesis video was premiered on Channel 5 TV at the strange time of 11-35 am on Sunday, April 29. Having read all of the articles and knowing that the same team that did the classic album series had produced the video, my expectations were high.
It opened promisingly with a glimpse of the band rehearsing for the acoustic set that was to tribute Tony Smith's achievements. Phil Collins looking more like a respectable businessman rather than one of rocks greatest drummers. But that was where this video stopped, rather than an in depth look at a variety of Genesis songs through the eyes of those who wrote them, it slipped into the comfortable format of a potted history of the band glancing some of the tracks as it went.
Brief glimpses of early black and white footage were interspersed with live footage, some of which had been used on a previous "History of Genesis" video, and then linked with brief comments by members of the band past and, dare we say it, present.
It was interesting to see the members and hear what they had to say about their time within the band. More interestingly though, it was what they didn't say which was more interesting. Peter's comments regarding writing a book by committee, a not so subtle dig at the rest of the band over their involvement in the "Lamb" project. Steve's reasons for leaving slipped into the extended chord from his guitar. Ray Wilson was also very polite about the way the band seemed to fizzle out following the "Calling All Stations" album. I do think that Tony Smith's comments hit home that the band did not give it time for the new band to settle down before pulling the plug.
This program revealed little new for the long time fan. To its credit, there were interesting interviews with Alan Hewitt, Chris Welch and the long lost drummer Jonathan Silver. It was also very nice seeing Anthony Phillips looking so relaxed. The acoustic version of "Afterglow" was wonderful, if only we could have heard more. The format of 60 minutes did not do justice to the amount of material that could be reviewed and may have been the main reason for its ultimate failure. Why was so much skipped? What happened to Abacab?
For the recent fan, this program and subsequent video/DVD release will be a must as it captures a little bit of the history and power that was Genesis. For those who have been their for a long time, I fear that you may be disappointed.
David Matthews, April 30, 2001 - Genesis Fan since 1973