"All in a Scouser's Night" - Genesis live at the Empire Theatre Liverpool 9th January 1977. Review by Ted Sayers.
Looking back just over 29 years, I get the feeling that time has altered my recollection of this gig. I know I am looking at it (figuratively speaking) through rose-tinted spectacles, but it was the first live show I ever attended and it remains one of the best in those 29 years of concert going. Still, I was an easily impressed teenager with little concept of what to expect when I purchased my £2.16 ticket just prior to Christmas 1976. At that point, A Trick Of The Tail had found its way into my heart and was on almost constant rotation on my turntable.
The band were doing two shows at the Empire Theatre that evening; the first being at 5pm; this was the show I attended. In early 1977 I was familiar with about half of the band's back catalogue; but being a poor teenager; I only had around five of their albums. Two of these were A Trick Of The Tail and Wind & Wuthering, so I felt that it was a safe bet that most of the gig would be drawn from those, and indeed I was correct but at that point in time I had never heard Supper's Ready. By the end of the evening; I had promised myself that I would find out the name of that really long song and make it my next purchase. Foxtrot was duly acquired within the following month; albeit at the cost of a parental loan.
Two shows in one evening is surely a tiring and having played two gigs on two consecutive days both prior to; and after the Liverpool shows - a punishing schedule to say the least. To do two shows in one evening meant that they had to run like clockwork and to time. The second gig was due to begin at 9pm and it lasted around two hours and ten minutes; so kicking off the first one late got the whole evening off to a bad start. This meant that the second show was cut slightly - All In A Mouse's Night wasn't played.
The band already had a reputation for a spectacular stage show by 1977 but it was around this time that they developed the curtain of light effect during Afterglow. There was also a beautiful rainbow effect during All In A Mouse's Night. One of the strangest sights occurred during the Willow Farm section of Supper's Ready when two huge green tubes were quickly inflated and billowed upwards around twenty feet either side of the stage.
This was of course, Phil's second tour as the front man and by this point he had grown in confidence and the between songs chat was blooming. On the Trick Of The Tail tour some of the other band members were introducing songs but it was cut down to a minimum on the Wind & Wuthering tour.
Then there was the change in drummer in Chester Thompson. By the time of the Liverpool shows, Chester had only played a handful of gigs along with the rehearsals but his performance was effortless. Even at that early stage, he seemed to slot in very easily and his long alliance with Genesis was surely set.
It would be personally very difficult to pick out a highlight of the gig; as the whole show seemed to be perfectly paced; from the opening chords of Squonk; through the Vaudevillian I Know What I Like to the final pleadings of The Musical Box. A gig I would truly love to relive.
In retrospect, the tour turned out to be somewhat transitional with Steve's departure before the year was out and then the ensuing regrouping (if you will pardon the pun) that took place during the latter part of 1977. Then there was the band's second live album in Seconds Out that was culled from the Wind & Wuthering tour. Despite that the year was an undoubted success as they were consistently voted best of category both individually and as a group in the various polls by the music press at the end of the year. The review of Seconds Out in NME was published alongside a review of The Rolling Stones' live album; Love You Live. The headline for The Stones album read: "Loathe You Live" whereas it was Seconds Out that garnered the epithet: "Love You Live" and all of this was right in the midst of the Punk era too!