"A Fistful of DVDS" The recent DVD issues by Genesis and solo members. Reviews by Alan Hewitt.
The advent of the DVD format and improvements in stereo sound quality (5.1
etc) have led to a re-assessment by most bands/artists of their available visual
back catalogue. Some bands have made this transition an opportunity to reward
their fans with the kind of "bonus" material they have always wanted.
With other bands, this has not been the case, and here I will look at the releases
that the various members of Genesis have contributed to this format thus far.
So far, Phil Collins has contributed the most to the DVD catalogue with two concert DVDs and a BBC documentary to his credit so far....
Live And Loose In Paris - Warner Music Vision 3984 23466-2 90 Minutes (1 Disc)
Phil opened the batting with the release of his Live And Loose In Paris concert from the 1997 Dance Into The Light tour. The VHS version of this was somewhat of a disappointment to fans who had become used to having a complete visual document of previous tours, being a mere 90 minutes of the DITL show! This DVD was expected to redress the balance, however it does not. Multiple camera angles abound and it has been re-mastered to 5.0 stereo but that does not really compensate for the prospective loss of seeing him perform your favourite song among the tracks missing from this DVD. To be fair, the footage was initially shot by a French TV station who only filmed half the gig for TV purposes and so it is not really any fault of the band this time round!
Classic Albums - Face Value - Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD2006 60 Minutes (1 Disc)
If you're a fan of the album, this DVD is the perfect companion
to it. It provides some interesting insights into how the songs on the album
came to be. There are lots of interviews with members of the band and production
team; Tom Tom Washington's comments are worth the price of the DVD alone! There
are some very interesting moments where Phil sits at a mixing desk and literally
breaks down a song into it's instruments; this also reveals a previously unheard
slide guitar part that Eric Clapton recorded for The Roof Is Leaking. Other
footage included is of Phil playing some of the songs on the piano and getting
misty eyed as he relives old memories, and a previously unseen live version
of If Leaving Me Is Easy. Also, Phil finally explains what the lyrics to in
The Air Tonight really mean.
On the minus side, You Know What I Mean, I'm Not Moving and Thunder And Lightning get absolutely no mention.
A Life Less Ordinary - Sanctuary Records SVE3031 95 Minutes (1 Disc)
The BBC took the chance to record a lengthy documentary abut Phil's career last year: A Life Less Ordinary and it has now seen the light of day as an enhanced DVD. The documentary itself did manage to contain some interesting snippets including a tantalising glimpse at some live footage of Flaming Youth as well as the mixed bag of interviews, promo clips etc. The DVD release manages to contain the original documentary plus approximately thirty minutes of additional footage; interviews with friends, musical colleagues and family making it a very interesting look at Phil's career.
Serious Hits Live! - Warner Music Vision 2564 60487-2 184 Minutes (2 Discs)
The most recent DVD issue by Phil is probably the, most satisfying to date. The 1990 But Seriously Tour was captured in all its glory with a complete recording of the open air gig the band performed in Berlin. Seriously Live In Berlin is very much a "warts and all" recording. This was a VHS treat for fans, so what could they add to a DVD version? Well, actually with a show as large scale as this one the addition of multi camera angles; 5.1 stereo as well as the various photo galleries this is certainly the best DVD from Phil's catalogue released so far - excellent stuff!
Genesis themselves, have so far been slow in taking to the DVD format . They started in fine form though….
The Way We Walk Live In Concert - Gut Vision GUTDVD1 (2 Discs)
The Way We Walk Live In Concert took in the band's enormously successful tour in support of the We Can't Dance album. Spanning footage from the six indoor shows at London's Earls Court Arena, the tour which proved to be Phil's swan song with the band and what a way to bow out! Visually as anyone who saw any of these shows can tell you; the band pulled out all the stops and here on the two DVDs of this set they have done the same. There are up to four different camera angles from which to choose from, so if you want to study how Tony plays his arpeggios you can do so from the comfort of your own armchair! There is also an entertaining and informative commentary by the band on each track as well as a photo slide show and a look at the tour programme too. An excellently put together package. One quibble …why not tag on the Way We Walk promotional video EP which was done for the limited laser disc edition? More of that in our conversation with Nick Davis….!
The Genesis Songbook - Eagle Vision EREDV176 100 Minutes (1 Disc)
The Genesis Songbook appeared in 2001 originally as a TV documentary/commercial video and the story of my involvement in that project has already been documented in TWR. An interesting project and one for which the expectations for DVD were high. The DVD version includes almost an extra thirty minutes of interviews; performances and other material although not to the depth that was expected. The glaring omission of any mention (by the band or anyone else for that matter) of the Abacab album has not been rectified either and I cannot tell you why. I can remember being asked about the album during my interview and indeed, footage of both Abacab and No Reply At All and Man On The Corner were sought after for the project. Despite this disappointment, the new acoustic performances of Afterglow and Turn It On Again are worth the admission price alone!
Genesis Live At Wembley Stadium (Promotional copy no catalogue details 1 Disc)
Genesis Live At Wembley is the latest addition to the Genesis catalogue and at time of writing this, I only have a promotional unlabelled disc. That does not detract from the quality of the contents however. Many fans have bemoaned the omission of the In The Cage medley from the video, and they will not be please to hear that it has not been restored here either although if you read our interview with Nick Davis later in this edition, you will realise why this was the case. Re-mastered from the original footage and in full 5.1 stereo the film certainly re-captures what it was like to be at these gigs. Visually it is superb and the sound is stunning. Not much in the way of "extras" only the documentary lifted from the "Visible Touch" video and a photo montage and copy of the tour programme, nonetheless for anyone who was at the gigs I am sure this will bring some nice memories back and for those of you who didn’t see the tour… now you can see what you missed!
Peter Gabriel has never been backward when it comes to investing in new technology not only in terms of studio recording equipment or visual technology, and his live shows have always been equally entertaining from the visual as well as the musical standpoint.
Secret World Live - Real World 7243 491281 94 105 Minutes (1 Disc)
Secret World Live was Peter's first foray into this new area. Originally issued as a VHS video back in the mid 1990's after the completion of the enormously successful tour of that name. The DVD edition, it has to be said, is something of a disappointment. Visually the footage has the appearance of not being transferred properly from the original source material and is distinctly darker in places even than its VHS original. Sound quality is excellent however, and the extras including the interviews and the sneak peek at Peter's newest DVD make it worthwhile.
Growing Up Live - Real World 5050466-8596-2-4 (1 Disc)
This, of course, brings us nicely to the recently issued Growing Up Live release. I have already gone on record as saying that I am not a big fan of Peter's newest material, and that is true. However, this release scores immensely over its predecessor on a variety of important points. Visually the footage is crisp; and the theatrical extravaganza that was the show is captured superbly well both in terms of sound and vision. The bonus additions have been put together with care too and contain enough material to keep you occupied for ages - excellent stuff!
Steve Hackett has readily embraced the new technology and has been spoiling his fans with DVD releases for a few years now.
The Tokyo Tapes - Camino Records CAMDVD15 (1 Disc)
The Tokyo Tapes was Steve's first foray into the DVD arena, capturing the glorious performance of the Genesis Revisted line-up including stunning performances of many of Steve's finest moments and classics from the Genesis catalogue and some damn fine renditions of classics by King Crimson and John Wetton. The rehearsal footage and interview also made a nice touch to an excellent package.
Somewhere In South America… Live In Buenos Aires - Camino Records CAMDV29 (1 DVD Disc 2 Audio Discs)
Somewhere In South America….Live In Buenos Aires captured Steve's first electric tour in almost ten years. The original VHS footage of this gig was disappointing in terms of picture quality down to conversion from one VHS format to another I suppose. That has been rectified for the DVD and the picture is clean and crisp. Sound is also excellent and the additional rehearsal footage and the fact that the package also comes complete with a two CD set of the audio concert makes this an essential addition to any Hackett collection.
Steve Hackett - Horizons - Classic Rock Legends CRL015 (1 Disc)
Steve Hackett - Horizons is a spin-off from the Central TV "Bedrock " series which has now been licensed to the Classic Rock Legends label. The original concert took place in 1990 and featured a one-off line playing some of Steve's finest solo material and some a couple of classic Genesis tracks and some as yet unreleased material too. Sadly the DVD does not utilise all of the broadcast footage and that is shame. However, as a souvenir of that unique line-up this is a must!
Hungarian Horizons - Camino Records CAMDV31 (1 DVD Disc - 2 Audio Discs)
Hungarian Horizons is Steve's latest DVD offering, capturing a special acoustic performance by Steve accompanied by keyboard player Roger King, and Steve's brother John on flute. Bonuses include rehearsal and interview footage and once again, the package comes complete with the two CD audio soundtrack to the gig another nice addition.
So far there have been no DVD releases by Mike & The Mechanics although I am sure that at some point a DVD video compilation will be put together…now if you REALLY want to please the fans, Mike; how about the release of the Sandton Towers live concert from 1995??!