"I’ll say it’s alright Joe" - A review of the Genesis 76-81 box set SACD and DVD by John Wilkinson.
Now I did actually think of ending this review right there, but Alan wouldn’t let me get away with that so here goes.
After what seems like an eternity of waiting and after obtaining the taster for the re-mixes which The Platinum Collection was, I finally got my hands on the long awaited box set which chronicles the Genesis albums (remember when we all called them that) from A Trick Of The Tail to Abacab. This was the so called “mid period” of the band which saw them progress from “Prog” supergroup to a much more streamlined and commercial prospect.
As most people are aware, the music has all been remixed for 5.1 and also SACD and what a difference Nick Davis has made to the sound of the songs we all (think) we know and love. The best description that I have heard of the difference between these remixes and the “normal” CD’s which we have probably all had for years is that when you hear the new mixes, it is like hearing the music after listening to it all you life with cotton wool in your ears……YES it is THAT good.
Nick has brought out the passion and drive and most of all BALLS that Genesis always had live, but never quite captured on their recorded work. He has brought out otherwise well buried instrumental parts such as Steve’s ghostly guitar at the start of “Eleventh Earl Of Mar” and Mike’s stunning bass work in “Los Endos” The bottom end (bass to non muso’s) has been greatly enhanced to give an impression of what the bass sounded like when these songs were recorded. Listen to the bass pedals on “Dance On A Volcano” for a stunning example.
The drums are captured in all their glory after always sounding a little “woolly” until ironically Abacab. For example “Many Too Many” I thought that perhaps Phil had re-recorded (in the same way the Peter did for Archive 1) the drums on this song. They just sound so CLEAR. Likewise “Down And Out” shows off just what a stunning drummer Phil is, with every tom and fill captured.
The vocals sound like Phil is standing in your living room and singing to YOU. Take “Blood On The Rooftops”, and just close your eyes and Steve is sat on your favourite armchair with Phil on your window ledge.
There are things brought out in these re-mixes which I have never heard before and I have been listening for 30 years now. Backing vocals in Whodunnit? YEAH that’s new isn’t it……?
Of course not everyone has a 5.1 system so how do the SACD’s stack up?
Well not as good obviously, but still the things that I have mentioned are still there in force, and you can play them in the car as well….
The extras are great with a welcome DVD / SACD of all the Bsides which as we all know were never just fillers to encourage people to buy the singles. Try calling “Inside And Out” a filler and you will probably get some very harsh stares from Genesis fans. One song I must point out which has benefited from the re-mix is “The Day The Light Went Out” which is just amazing.
The DVD extras vary from the amazing 76 Genesis In Concert film in PERFECT quality (thank you Mr Smith) to a slightly blurry (but still great to have) Three Dates With Genesis Nationwide special which aired in 1978. Not everyone will have access to this so kudos to the band and their management for putting them on there. Also well worth a mention are the 2007 interviews and the 1980 BBC 45 minute “Duke” tour footage.
The price of the box set is very reasonable in my opinion with 12 disks for around £90 (cheaper if you shop around but I couldn’t wait) The booklet that goes with them is ok but nothing we haven’t seen before to be honest.
In summary I must say that I am totally blown away by the whole package. Silly little details like the DVD’s and SACD’s are all styled to look like the old vinyl albums which is great to me as it brings back so many memories. If this is going to be the standard of all the 5.1 and SACD box sets, then this old Genesis nutter will be well pleased. And so in the words of the “Duke” album publicity…
“It was well worth the wait.”