“When In Rome” - The new live DVD by Genesis reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

With so many of the gaps in the band’s visual story now effectively filled by the efforts of collectors worldwide, it is re-assuring to see that the band themselves have more than taken care of us with regard to the “Turn It On Again” tour of 2007. The story of that tour has already been told through the pages of previous editions of TWR.

A new Genesis live DVD is always the subject of excitement and that is certainly the case here. The 2007 shows were among the best the at I have ever seen the band perform with a set list that few if any fans could find fault with. Visually too, the band really pulled out all the stops although given the size of the places they were playing on this “selection of shows” a massive visual spectacle had to be the order of the day anyway. Even so, Tony’s comment; “So, this is what you get for ten million quid” really hits home how BIG an investment this show had been. Opting to record the final gig of the European leg for the DVD the band really couldn’t have chosen a more spectacular setting for it. The Circus Maximus in Rome, home to the kind of chariot races you would find in Ben Hur, was ideal for a spectacle that was certainly as broad in scope as that famous epic!

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Free programme distributed at the gig
The gig itself was staged in front of an estimated audience of half a million people which is a staggering figure for any band. Of course, the nay sayers will be quick to point out that the gig was a free show but even so, such a massive audience can’t have been made up entirely of freeloaders! Either way, once again the show itself is the star as the band gave the fans a magnificent trip down Memory Lane. There really was something for everyone here and presented accompanied by some magnificent visuals too. The new visual effects for In The Cage and Home By the Sea were quite simply stunning. Those for Follow You Follow Me which incorporated moving image references to the band’s albums were wonderfully thought out and the visual photo montage that accompanied I Know What I Like were equally impressive.

The visuals are always an adjunct to the music, however and it was here that Genesis proved their calibre with a show that was a musical resume of almost every album in their impressive repertoire. In fact, I think the band really took the highlights of just about every show from 1973 onwards and wove them together in a magical musical tapestry that covered just about every base. Highlights? Simply too many really although of course, it was marvellous to hear I Know What I Like, In The Cage , Follow You Follow Me; Ripples and the magnificent Afterglow once more and yes, it still has the effect on yours truly now as it did all those years ago! Once again, the band’s humour was evident and they were plainly enjoying themselves but the reference to the creation of the now famous drum duet preceding Los Endos when Phil and Chester began it duelling over a stool was a joy to behold. For once the promised “Extras” were worth more than a cursory glance too with every song being accompanied by a section which featured various extracts from the rehearsals for the gig in New York, Lausanne or Brussels all of which added enormously to an appreciation of the hard work which went in to putting this tour together. The band are relaxed and comfortable and once again, their sense of humour is well to the fore making the extras every bit as enjoyable as the main feature, so to speak.

The concert was not the only treat on this package though, oh no! Accompanying the two discs over which the concert was spread was a third disc featuring the “Come Rain Or Shine” documentary which had been the subject of the cinematic premiere mentioned elsewhere in this edition. This really set new standards for music documentaries all round. Setting the scene with a countdown style look at the rehearsals in the enormous Hall 5 of the Flanders Expo in Brussels, there was plenty of background information for those who love to know how a show such as this is put together. Once again, the band’s sense of humour was much in evidence none more so than in the ongoing “saga” of trying to find the right stool for Phil and Chester to perform the drum duet intro on which saw Danny Gillen and Steve Jones testing out a variety of them in the Belgian equivalent of B & Q! Then of course, there was Tony’s wry remark when confronted during one of the discussions about the new stage set up for the tour with the possibility of spending parts of the show suspended in a gigantic funicular; “You do know I suffer from terrible vertigo, don’t you?” which soon saw that idea being consigned to the also-ran bin! The expressions on the set designer’s faces were absolutely priceless!
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Free programme distributed at the gig (back cover)

Throughout the documentary you are given the kind of access to the preparations for a tour that are normally kept out of the public’s view and some of it makes for amusing watching for us. Pity poor old Brian Turner who is brought in as “Button Pusher” for the lighting cues… his is a job fraught with problems as we see but as we all know, he got it right on the night - EVERY night! It was even more bizarre to see my own mug and that of our web master; Stuart on the documentary with a snippet of the 2006 press conference announcing the tour - hope that doesn’t spoil your viewing pleasure too much! The documentary certainly brought home to me the sheer amount of effort and dedication that goes into staging a spectacle like this and you have to feel a certain degree of admiration for the road crew who literally put the show up “Come Rain Or Shine”! My only quibble and it is a typically anorakish one at that, is the consistent errors in the labelling of the extracts of vintage footage which are used in the documentary! This is irritating because there really is NO excuse for them, really. With over five hours’ worth of material to watch, this is by far the longest tour souvenir I have ever seen and (minor quibble apart) worth the price of admission - excellent stuff all round!