"Transmission Improbable" - Flaming Youth Hilversum TV Studios 10th November 1969. Review by Alan Hewitt.
Ah, just when you think that nothing can take you by surprise something like this pops through the letterbox! I remember being surprised by the Flaming Youth footage which was used all too briefly as part of the A Life Less Ordinary documentary by the BBC and hoping that there was more of it out there but never really expecting any of it to end up in the TWR archives. Never say never though, because here it is!
There appear to be no less than three potential Flaming Youth TV appearances still in existence and I am happy to say that on close inspection the recording here is NOT the one which the BBC used. Thanks to information from Jon Dann at the BBC however, I am confident that the recording now in my possession is from a performance which the band gave for Dutch TV at the Hilversum Studios on 10th November 1969 a mere few weeks after the Ark Two launch at London's Planetarium (which was also recorded allegedly). What we have here is a typically Sixties broadcast, wild camera angles and irritating use of projections and backdrops. The broadcast is prefaced by an amazing selection of promotional photographs of the band too, most of which I had never seen published previously.
However, there is more than enough actual footage of the band themselves to make this an extremely enjoyable look at this band. As you might expect, everyone looks frighteningly young - well Phil was only 19 when this broadcast was made. Even here however, he looks amazingly confident behind the kit and the rest of the band are equally at home here and look relaxed and enjoying themselves too.
The broadcast features six songs: Earthglow, Weightless; Changes; Space Child; and From Now On (Immortal Invisible) all of which sound remarkably competent if typically Sixties in style and performance. The version we have here is monochrome but I strongly suspect that there is a colour version of this material available somewhere too. Not that that spoils the enjoyment of this astonishing survival from the archives but its very survival begs more questions than it provides answers. For instance, do any of the European countries have other previously unsuspected (and uncatalogued) material from this period including the elusive Disco Two performance from Genesis? Either way, this film is an incredible find and one which fans of early Genesis and Phil Collins completists will thoroughly enjoy.