“Waiting for the big one…” The Genesis 1970- 1975 Box set reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist! I suppose this set of five albums is the one which most Genesis fans have been waiting for the most out of the band’s entire catalogue. The band acquired their status on the basis of the output represented on these albums and every fan has their own personal favourite from this selection - me included!

What we have here then is the “Golden Age” of Genesis and these albums are rightly revered as among the greatest works of the entire Progressive Rock movement. How well have they been served by this remastering project? Well, we shall see.

Before we get to the individual albums however, there is the small matter of the “extras” to have a look at. Like the preceding two sets, this one is accompanied by a plethora of bonus material both audio and visual so, let us have a look at all of this before we get down to the albums individually. Here we have a major problem if you are a longstanding fan of the band such as myself or even a more recent one who has availed themselves of the various “releases” by the likes of EFDVD and GMDVD. All of the archival material contained on this box (with the obvious exception of the newly recorded interviews) has been available to fans for several years now. Items such as the Bataclan and Melody performances from 1973 and 1974 respectively have been among the most sought after by collectors of the band’s visual record.

With there being so much less visual material available from this period, what there is, has been cherished and longed for, for years. It was great to hear therefore, that the vast majority of this material was going to be included on this final set. However, the end result does not always match expectations. Once again, as had previously been the case with the 1976 set, instead of acquiring or leasing the rights to the broadcast masters of this material from the TV companies (expensive yes, but surely justified in the case of a project of this magnitude?) the record company appear to have settled for giving us the self same copies which fans have been circulating amongst themselves for years, and in at least two cases, these appear to my eyes to be INFERIOR to those very copies! Although I admit that in this case, my eyes aren’t what they were, folks! Why this should be the case is anyone’s guess although I strongly suspect that cost has played a major part in that decision. Cost has been a major for the fans too, and asking us to spend upwards of £90 to acquire this material all over again is galling to say the least! Having said all of that, the inclusion of a half way decent copy of the December 1973 “Midnight Special” performance completed my collection of the available footage from this period and the inclusion of the Lamb…slides and montages of still and moving images from the show itself on the extra DVD are a nice touch - still irritating to think that there MUST be more footage from this tour out there somewhere! In fact, there is; as evidenced by the marvellous 76 minute compilation put together by Chris West not to mention the recently surfaced footage from gigs in Berne and Liverpool or the hours’ worth of pro-shot footage reputed to be in Peter’s possession! The extended interviews with the band are interesting even if they stick to the same hymn sheet with regard to their answers, bless ‘em! One observation though has to be the absence of John Mayhew from the interviews. Surely he was available when they were being recorded and it would have been nice for us to hear him have his say on things. Another quibble is the chronological order in which this material appears. Surely the Rock Of The Seventies footage should appear on Nursery Cryme while Bataclan should be situated on Foxtrot and Shepperton/Melody on Selling England… etc which is the correct time period for each of these items. This apparent lack of attention to detail is infuriating to say the least. Yes, I know many people will say “you sad old fart” but the devil is in the detail and all of this could have been avoided if the organisers had paid attention to the fans (or read the Gig Guide/Videography sections to either of my books for instance!). It is sad that there is no proper visual record from either the Trespass or Lamb… eras included but even I do not blame the organisers for refusing to pay the extortionate price that was being asked for the 1970 Roundhouse footage! While we are at it; since when has the copyright date for The Lamb… been 1970?!!

The audio extras had got everyone in a state of euphoria when it was announced that they would include the legendary “Jackson Tape”. The rest of the selection is disappointingly predictable however and there are a lot of omissions not least the German single edit of Watcher which surely deserved inclusion on this set? Although it did appear on the first Genesis Archive set so the case for avoiding repetition could be made there, I suppose but then immediately contradicted by the presence of tracks from the Night Ride session also available previously on the same set! There is also the cock-up in the booklet where the track listing is in the wrong order - picky I know but people are paying a LOT for this project and people have been paid a LOT to put it together as well I suspect! The “Jackson Tape” is a very interesting peek behind the scenes at the band’s formative stages. It is frightening to hear how much of the first three tracks emerged as part of such classics as Fountain Of Salmacis, Musical Box and Lilywhite Lilith. All of which only goes to show how far advanced the band were even at this stage in their career. However, yet another golden opportunity was missed here as well. The remaining BBC sessions have never seen proper circulation despite a two CD promotional compilation being made by Virgin at the time of the second Archive box set, and these would certainly have made a delightful addition to this disc - especially some of the alternate versions of some tracks and rare performances of songs such as Harlequin. Even more irritating when BBC 6 broadcast the band’s final session from September 1972 a few months ago with a marvellous extra in the shape of a previously unheard second “take” of Harold The Barrel! The booklet once again makes for an interesting and amusing read - especially David Baddiel’s comments about becoming a Genesis fan in 1977 - something I can certainly relate to! It was surprising to read comments from the likes of Roger Taylor and Jeremy Clarkson, people whom I certainly did not associate with Genesis! (Trivia Note: The “Top Gear” sessions referred to in my Gig Guide are for a BBC Radio show hosted by John Peel and NOT the present day TV show)

Now we come to the important bit - the music, and there is a hell of a lot of it to re-evaluate as a result of this project so, I will beg your pardon now for the length of what follows but I shall certainly try and do justice to what are five of my favourite albums by the band.

Like the first Archive box set, I shall review the albums in reverse order starting with The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. Now it is already well known that this is my least favoured album from Peter’s tenure with the band. I was never impressed with the so-called “Modern Fairytale” of a New York street kid - not least because I am not from New York! So, with a “hairless heart” already quite hardened towards this album what are my thoughts on it this time round?

Well, my re-appraisal of this epic had already begun after I had seen the re-creation of the now legendary stage show by The Musical Box and that re-appraisal has continued to this day. Musically, the album probably suffered from the worst production values of all of the Gabriel era recordings. Re mastering an album such as this must have been a challenge, if not to say a nightmare even to someone as dedicated to the sonic art as Nick Davis. However, from the outset, the new version takes on a completely different character. The opening salvo of The Lamb… and Broadway Melody Of ‘74 are astonishing! Lush, clean and above all CLEAR, everyone is in evidence in the mix and Steve really shines on the latter while Mike and Phil drive everything along with a rock solid rhythm section. Peter’s vocals too are a delight throughout. Above all the major irritation of the tape machine hum and tape hiss which was always evident on all the previous versions of the album has been banished forever!

By the time we reach In The Cage, it is already patently obvious that this new version of the album is to reach new heights. From Mike’s opening throbbing bass chords and Tony’s paranoid keyboard phrasings, we are dragged into Rael’s nightmare and Gabriel’s angst-ridden vocalisations accompanied by a clearly audible Phil for the first time bring this frightening vision to life.

I have always liked the off-the -wall humour of The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging and once again it is a delight this time too. Tony’s comic keyboard and the choo-choo effects from Phil give the track a nicely Vaudevillian feel. What is evident here for the first time though is the wonderful guitar playing from Steve which augments the whole. Back In NYC too sounds like a brand new track. Mike’s bass playing in particular has a new attack and verve here while Tony continues to deliver the goods. Pete has never sounded so good as he does here - his delivery is simply spectacular.

Hairless Heart too is another delight in which Mike, Tony and Steve share equal honours. It really is a delight to finally get to grips with what Steve was playing on this album and at last his contribution will hopefully be given the credit it deserves. Two more highlights form the album follow. The deliciously tongue-in-cheek tale of our hero’s first sexual encounter; Counting Out Time has lost nothing of its impact. What makes it more enjoyable this time is the added elements not least Phil’s wonderful backing vocals and I doubt if Mike’s bass playing has ever sounded meatier! This, in turn leads to the awesome Carpet Crawlers. Always a favourite and once again it is improved beyond measure here. Peter’s vocal part has a choral quality to it never heard before and it is great to hear Phil’s harmony parts properly too. Tony and Steve augment the track with some impeccable playing and once again, Mike and Phil keep the whole thing together with a rock solid rhythm section. Rounding off the first disc, The Chamber Of 32 Doors is another delight. Once again, there are so many elements that you can’t say were “missing” but are audible for the first time here and again it is Phil and Steve who are the beneficiaries from this new treatment - although Mike too really shines here too.

My problems with The Lamb… really begin with Side Three. I have never been a fan of what I call “noodling” and there is far too much of that on this album as a whole. However, listening to The Waiting Room again I have had to rethink that position somewhat. Not for nothing was this originally titled “Evil Jam” because at times it is an aural nightmare (and I mean that as a compliment!). Why this track has never been used for a horror film is beyond me because it is the perfect accompaniment to some gore-fest or other. Here everyone is allowed to indulge themselves in some seriously free-form playing and each and every member grabs the opportunity with both hands. From the ridiculous to the sublime as we move on to Anyway and some of Tony’s Classical chords and Phil’s understated percussion both of which accompany Peter’s frantic vocals.

Both Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist and The Lamia are great examples of the contrasting elements within the band’s work. The former is a glorious guitar romp in which both Mike and Steve let rip with some ferocious licks before the deceptively serene and almost classically austere Lamia take over. Tony’s intro and Peter’s vocals belie the drama that is soon to unfold. Once again, it is the guitar parts which are a revelation here with an undercurrent of menace being conjured up - and Phil’s vocals augment Peter’s audibly for the first time too!

Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats is another wonderful track. Originally called “Victory At Sea” the repeated guitar and keyboard phrases do bring an image of a vast seascape to mind. This is very much the lull before the storm however as Rael comes face to face with the consequences of his own actions when confronted with the grotesque leprous Slipperman and the tale unfolds in a typically darkly humorous manner. The clever use of effects and harmonics and harmony vocals on this track is finally revealed here and it is delightful. Once again, Raven is every bit as dramatic as it is live and the kudos here must go to Phil whose percussion really gives Tony a solid platform to work against.

Ravine is another marvellous aural image and sonically cleaned up and restored to its true glory is another underrated track. We are then into the home straight. The Light Dies Down On Broadway recapitulates the opening themes of the album but this time the band almost sound like The Beach Boys here - the harmonies are wonderful! Steve and Tony trade phrasings off each other while Mike and Phil are the glue that holds it all together.

The jaunty rhythmic start to Riding The Scree belies the inherent drama that is being played out here but the tone soon changes as Tony’s anguished keyboards scream out and Peter’s vocals carry just the right amount of anguish . The pace slackens slightly at the beginning of In The Rapids which features some delightful acoustic work by both Mike and Steve which contrast nicely with Peter’s smokey vocals but the calm doesn’t last for long as It drags us all kicking and screaming to the finishing post. The entire band kick in here to bring the story to a fittingly dramatic climax.

So there you have it. Without doubt the longest review I have ever written for The Lamb… which of itself is indicative of how much this new version has going for it. No review would ever do justice to how much is going on in this album but the great thing about this new version is that now you can actually HEAR it all! Musically, The Lamb features both the very best and the very worst of Genesis and although it will never be my favourite album from this period, this version will certainly be visiting my CD player more frequently than any previous one and that is praise indeed!

Taking a little trip back (with Father Tiresias perhaps?) or a “little further westwards agriculturally speaking” even, we reach Selling England By The Pound, without doubt my favourite album from this period. Right from the start it is obvious that substantial work has gone into this version too. The production is pristine and immediately you notice things that were always there but buried in the mix. Dancing With The Moonlit Knight is laden with guitar effects from both Mike and Steve and Peter’s attempt at a “West Country” accent is clear to see (or hear). Phil takes the attack to his drums while Tony overlays the whole with yet more impeccable keyboards.

The whirr of the “Cosmic Lawnmower” leads us nicely into I Know What I Like and what a delight it is, too. At last it is possible to separate Steve from Tony as they both emulate each other’s parts. Phil and Peter’s harmony vocals are also clear and distinct and it is here that you begin to realise why Phil had no problems stepping into Peter’s vocal shoes the result here is truly glorious!

Firth Of Fifth, always a treasure in the Genesis catalogue benefits enormously from the widening of the mix on this version. Tony’s introduction is crystal clear and when the rest of the band join in the results are simply breathtaking. Mike’s bass almost shakes the speakers off the wall and Phil underpins it all with some tasty but economical percussion. I love Peter’s flute playing on this one too, his attempts have always sounded clumsy and to a certain extent muddy before now but not so here. James Galway he may not be but a good effort nonetheless. Steve too shines through here craftily imitating Tony’s keyboard part before he takes his own glorious solo which remains to this day one of the crown jewels of the band’s career.

More Fool Me has always been an underrated song. I don’t know why because it is a delightful little number. Maybe because its romanticism isn’t couched in terms of Greek myths perhaps? Whatever the reason, I think fans will be pleased with the end result. I don’t think Phil’s vocals have ever sounded quite so pure while the guitar playing is another treat.

The Battle Of Epping Forest is one of those tracks you either like or loathe. It is certainly ambitious both vocally and musically but the end result has always fallen between two stools. There is no doubt that all of the players are giving their all but once again, there is simply too much going on to allow you to concentrate. The new mix makes this even more difficult by revealing even more detail and I really love the sound of Tony’s piano mimicking an old “Joanna” in an East end pub perhaps? Steve’s coughing guitar phrasings are audible for the first time too Once again though, the revelation is in the interplay between Phil and Peter’s vocal parts .

Then we come to that “contentious little number” as Steve referred to it recently; After The Ordeal. Steve’s love of the Classical romantics shines through here and the duet between him and Tony is pure delight and for once Steve is dominant in the mix!

The lurid tale of what went on at The Cinema Show is next. Sounding like a harpsichord, Tony’s “pin” piano is a deceptively calm introduction gradually augmented by Mike, Steve and Phil before Peter’s vocal emerges once again in harmony with Phil - clearly in evidence this time round. Once again, Steve shines with some delightfully whimsical phrases underpinning Tony’s keyboards which motors along throughout. Mike proves he is no slouch on acoustic guitar here either and this is probably the closest to a hark-back to the days of his work with Ant that we shall ever hear.

And rounding the album off , that homage to British supermarkets of olde: Aisle Of Plenty. A strange track and one which doesn’t really fit the overall tenor of the album until you remember the album title of course! A wonderfully understated finale with every note crystal clear for our delectation.

As my favourite album, Selling… was always going to be the one I would focus in on the most and I have not been disappointed. There is a wealth of detail here which has lain unsuspected until the band and Nick Davis have been able to widen the dynamics of the recording to bring them into the light. As such, I can honestly say that listening to this album gave me almost as much excitement as it did first time round all those many years ago!

Foxtrot is an album that fascinates and frustrates by turns. So much creativity is packed into its forty or so minutes and yet the original production hampered it enormously. This was an album that I was anticipating enormously.

Opening with Watcher Of The Skies, I was not disappointed. Tony’s orchestral arpeggio introduction is crisp and clean augmented by both Phil’s percussion and Steve’s morse code guitar parts. Peter’s vocals too have been improved greatly and no longer sound as if he was singing with a mouth full of molasses!

Time Table has always been an underrated song and a favourite of mine and it is presented here almost as a brand new one. A lament for the passage of time, fortunately the passage of time has done nothing to dim my liking for this song. Once again, the surprise here is in the vocals, where Peter and Phil blend almost unrecognisably together. Mike’s bass playing always too low in the mix before, is another pleasant surprise and he underpins the song rather than overpowering it while Steve indulges his love of unusual sounds to augment Tony’s richly lyrical keyboard parts.

Get ‘Em Out By Friday, continues the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta style begun by Harold The Barrel. A latter day fable about the perils of Capitalism, it is performed with tongues firmly in cheek by one and all. Once again, it is Mike and Phil whose rhythm section drives everything along while Steve and Tony provide an almost orchestral soundscape for Peter to deliver another impeccable vocal performance.

Can Utility And The Coastliners re-tells the story of King Canute - a wry look at the influence of flatterers and hangers on. It is marvellous to be able to hear BOTH Mike and Steve acoustically on this one before Steve switches to electric guitar to give a more dramatic edge to the tale. Once again, Phil and Peter’s vocals are blended to perfection and Phil’s drumming on this one is remarkable.

Horizons - well, what needs saying about this one? Well, plenty actually. The production on this track is simply awesome. Every note shimmers like stained glass and yes, Phil was right; there should always be applause at the end of it!

And so we come to Supper’s Ready, the yardstick by which the band have been judged ever since it was written. An epic tale of the struggle between good and evil which has come to symbolise the extravagance of the “Progressive Rock” movement. Once again, the most noticeable thing initially is the presence of the harmony vocals this time featuring Mike and Tony as well as Phil. If nothing else, this is a dramatic improvement on anything that has gone before but there is so much more going on here. Mike and Steve’s acoustic playing is crisp and clean while Phil rattles the traps like his very life depends on it. Steve has a further treat for us as he lets rip with some ferocious electric playing too and all of it plainly audible this time round. If nothing else, this one track re-iterates what fans have always known; when Genesis were in “Go” mode there was no one to touch them!

Next we come to Nursery Cryme, another album which like Foxtrot has not been well served by its initial production values which is a pity because it contains several of Genesis’ most revered tracks.

The Musical Box opens things up and once again, the first thing you notice is the vocals; especially Phil’s where he entwines his vocals with Peter’s making the two indistinguishable at times. The sound quality is impeccable, no tape hiss or hum on this one, folks! Steve’s imitation of a musical box itself is plain to hear while Tony’s church organ chords echo as if they are being played in a cathedral. The ensemble playing here is absolutely superb and all the parts are done justice in this magnificent rendition.

For Absent Friends presents us with our first chance to assess Steve’s song writing skills. A beautifully crafted elegy for time gone by. Phil’s vocals come as no surprise to us now of course, but I wonder what fans made of it back in 1971? Here they are simply beautiful augmented by some simple acoustic playing by Steve - a delightful song made even more enjoyable by the clarity.

The Return Of The Giant Hogweed. Well only Genesis could tell a story of an ornamental garden plant’s revenge on mankind and get away with it! Mike’s dirty bass is dominant throughout the proceedings here and it enhances Gabriel’s rasping vocals greatly. Tony and Steve continue to trade licks with each other while Phil’s percussion is tastefully played. It is here that Steve really shines too, his guitar playing is awesome and he dominates the musical landscape very much like a rampaging hogweed!

Seven Stones is a strange track. I have no idea what the song is actually about and don’t really care either, funnily enough. It has the feel of a hymn to it to me and even more so here where once again Phil and Peter manage to turn themselves into a miniature choir while Tony conjures up images of the chapel with his keyboard parts.

Harold The Barrel owes more to the noble art of English Music Hall and the works of Gilbert & Sullivan than to Progressive Rock really. Mike and Phil drive the track along with some delightful playing and Steve seems to be having great fun colouring the increasingly bizarre story with some equally bizarre guitar sounds while Tony and Mike augment the picture with some impeccable playing.

Harlequin harks back to the bucolic influences that coloured the Trespass album. Nonetheless, it is a delightful example of Genesis’ blending of acoustic and electric elements and here you can clearly define the differences in styles between Mike and Steve. The harmonies, featuring Tony as well here, I suspect are wonderful too and it is great to hear all of these elements which had previously been obscured from view.

The Fountain Of Salmacis closes the album in dramatic style. Re-telling the ancient story of Hermaphroditus, the band let rip with their entire arsenal of musical ammunition here. Harmony vocals, soaring keyboards, tasty and tight percussion and some searing guitar phrases all brought to bear on this classic and a great way to round off the album.

So, back to where it all began for Genesis as a proper band - Trespass. Always a favourite album of mine even though it more than any of the others has suffered from appalling production values. No such problems here though, I am glad to say!

Looking For Someone, is almost a brand new track here. There is so much aural detail here to take in that it is difficult to do so without repeated listens. What comes across immediately is just how inventive the band were even at this early stage of their career. Mike’s bass parts aren’t your usual fare and Ant’s playing is uniquely his own. Fair play to John Mayhew too, his drumming here has more verve and attack than previously heard while Peter’s Jazz man vocals are crystal clear and Tony’s organ parts underpin the whole.

White Mountain, has always been among my favourite tracks. This wonderful re-telling of the classic Jack London story “White Fang” lends itself ideally to Genesis’ storytelling style. Once again, Ant’s guitar really stands out contrasting light against the dark of Mike’s thundering bass. Tony and John musically portray the travels of One Eye with a rhythmic dance pattern while Peter narrates the story in his inimitable fashion.

Visions Of Angels, a paean to unrequited love, is perhaps Ant’s finest moment with Genesis. Combining the acoustic playing of both Mike and Ant always results in a glorious sound and nowhere more so than here. Tony’s organ almost sounds like an interloper in someone’s personal reverie while Peter delivers the first of many impassioned vocal performances.

The post apocalyptic vision of Stagnation, precedes its lengthier successor; Supper’s Ready by a couple of years and there are so many lyrical reference points to the latter here that it is impossible to view this track as anything less than a blueprint for what would follow. Musically however, the emphasis is firmly on the acoustic side of Genesis, and it is here that the music and lyrics offer a delicious counterpoint to each other - the sweet and sour if you like (pardon the pun once more!). Mike and Ant give us a truly wonderful sample of their combined playing which I personally could listen to forever. Tony does his best to give us a cod- Keith Emmerson sound on his organ matching the anguished howls from Peter as he delivers an increasingly frantic vocal coda over John’s thudding drum parts - and at last we get to hear the distortion effects of that legendary home made Leslie cabinet of John’s here too!

Dusk is another acoustic delight in which Mike and Ant really bring home the bacon. The harmony vocals are truly glorious here too. Peter’s voice has a purity here which, like Phil’s later on is lost with overuse but here it shimmers like spun gold.

And so we come to The Knife, very much the odd man out in this selection. Raunchy and rocky, it takes Genesis into territory which they were seldom to explore again. Tony’s organ leads the pack here augmented by Mike and Ant who bring a sharpness and attack to the performance. Peter is obviously in his element and delivers a perfectly observed but cynically tinged lyric. John’s percussion has always been underrated and here at least , he has a better chance to shine. Yes, he follows rather than leads the proceedings here but he underpins the whole with some fine playing and the track rounds off the album in fine style.

The bonus disc is always going to be the most contentious item on collections such as these. With most of the material potentially available for this set already in circulation courtesy of the first Genesis Archive box, what was going to be the main attraction of this set? Well, the obvious answer to that was the inclusion of the previously unreleased “Genesis Plays Jackson” recordings. To some extent , their presence has overshadowed the rest of the material on offer here. Both Happy The Man and Twilight Alehouse benefit from the remastering treatment and are enjoyable as examples of the ephemera of Genesis.

Shepherd, Pacidy; Let Us Now Make Love and Going Out To Get You are all too familiar from their previous incarnation on the Genesis Archive 1967-75 set and to my ears do not differ from those versions maybe due to the fact that they were monaural recordings in the first place. Nice to have but….

Genesis Plays Jackson has always been a legendary recording ever since Tony Banks first revealed its existence to TWR back in the early 1990’s when the first Archive set was still a blip on the horizon. So, now that the material is available does it actually justify the anticipation that surrounds it? Well, to be honest, no it doesn’t. Provocation opens the set and it is surprising how the opening section survived to emerge as Fountain Of Salmacis while later on echoes of The Knife are clearly to be heard. Gabriel’s vocals are harder edged than they are on the Trespass album but he is obviously making things up as he goes along and indeed, this entire set is more of a jam session than anything else. Ant’s rhythm guitar playing is quite a surprise too.

Frustration is more interesting. Musically this is pretty much Anyway/Lilywhite Lilith writ large. Lyrically too, there are echoes of those later tracks and Tony’s keyboard playing is almost an exact representation of what would become the classic Lamb… track. Peter’s time spent with Cat Stevens is also evident on his flute playing while in the later part, Tony is obviously trying his Keith Emerson impressions.

Manipulation once again is Musical Box or F# as we know it. Predominantly featuring Ant and Mike’s wonderful twelve string work augmented by Tony’s organ which given later comments by Steve DOES actually sound remarkably like a musical box! Put this and the version on Ant’s Archive Collection 2 set together and you pretty much have the outline of the later classic . Once again, as on so many of the albums, the harmony vocals are a nice surprise too.

Resignation ends the four pieces that comprise the suite and although it is stated that this one was never used anywhere, there are shades of In Hiding at the outset . Ant and Tony bounce ideas off each other almost like two warships firing salvoes but the ending is all too abrupt indicative of the essentially nature of what after all is only a demo recording. Nonetheless, the set is an interesting glimpse at the formative days of the band and another gem for the collectors among the Genesis faithful.

My negative comments with regard to the content of this set have already been made but with regard to this final disc, must be re-iterated. This disc really represented a final opportunity for the band to tie up all of the loose ends from this period. I am sure I am not the only fan wondering why the remaining BBC sessions from 1971 -72 were not included on this disc instead of the Night Ride material which we already have? Yes, the length of the material might have meant extending the disc or perhaps placing sessions as bonus audio material on the respective albums. Surely this could have been done without any great hardship?

So, there you have it. Almost certainly the longest review I have ever written. It had to be, this whole series of releases has generated so much to talk about but without doubt, the most serious re-evaluation of the band and the individual players in it will be done after hearing this final set. The quibbles such as they are, are over details, as you would expect from an anorak such as myself. Yes, they could have been avoided but they were never going to be sufficient to spoil my enjoyment of this set. Reputations can be made or destroyed by projects such as this, depending on how well the sonic work has been done. Thankfully, there are only enhancements to emerge from this set - and indeed the two which preceded it! Musically, there is so much extra breadth and depth to the music and the inventiveness of all of the musicians is finally there for us all to hear - whatever period box you are listening to! I can only liken it once again to a restorer working on a classic painting and uncovering layer upon layer of extra detail during the cleaning process. Bear in mind too that I am only listening to the STEREO mixes here! If I can say that about this set then anyone with a 5.1 system must really be in hog heaven! The music is what really matters and on such a solid base as this, Genesis’ reputation as the most creative of bands from this era is firmly secured and for that, the band and above all Nick Davis deserve our gratitude.

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