“Live Not Memorex Part Two - Genesis 1981 - 2007 - The Movie Box“. Reviewed by Alan Hewitt.
Well, despite my comments about this item in the previous edition of TWR, Santa obviously ignored my comments and this was waiting in my Christmas stocking on Christmas Day - yes, yours truly had obviously been a good boy this year!
Perhaps without exception, I had my gravest reservations about this set more so than any of the others and with good reason. After all, like so many other long-time Genesis fans, I had already invested in the original VHS versions of all of the contents of this box (When In Rome excepted) and then the subsequent DVD re-issues of some of them so, I was understandably reluctant to do so again unless there was sufficient incentive to do so. Reading the reviews in the music press really didn’t fill me with any great excitement either, to be honest, but here are my thoughts on this latest offering.
I had high hopes when this project was originally mentioned, that perhaps at long last we might be able to have some of the additional footage that was filmed from some of these gigs - especially the shows from the Three Sides Live recording mainly because the original footage for both of the shows recorded (Nassau and New York I believe?) was still extant in the band’s own archive. Well, at least it was when I was there researching the Genesis Songbook project back in 2000. Failing that, then at least the concert would be uninterrupted by the interviews which would have made an ideal “extra” at the end. I had no such expectations for the Mama Tour and Invisible Touch tour films though, because all of the extant footage had been used in the final product - medleys omitted for technical and running time reasons originally.
So, in the case of the Three Sides Live and Mama Tour films what was the incentive for my investment in them this time? Well, in the case of the former, it has to be said that there is absolutely nothing new which this version brings to the table apart from its very existence on DVD for the first time. Sadly, the remaining footage I mentioned above has either been lost since 2000 or omitted for other, unknown reasons, who knows?! This is obviously a major disappointment to me at least.
Moving swiftly on to The Mama Tour film which, like its predecessor, is making its DVD debut here. At least this time the missing footage is only missing because it was NEVER filmed in the first place! Yes, difficult to believe but true, but the decision not to film several tracks from these gigs (namely: Dodo/Lurker, the Eleventh Earl Of Mar Medley, Carpet Crawlers and the drum duet) was taken in order to comply with the restrictions on running time for commercial VHS releases at the time. This of course, makes watching this DVD an irritating experience for those of us who “were there” so to speak but at least the band can’t be blamed for that one! However, all is not lost as at least one gem has finally appeared in the shape of Phil’s “documentary” about the making of the “Genesis” album itself which is fascinating and also highly amusing viewing and which certainly gives a wonderful insight into the recording process - and dietary requirements of a recording band!
Sadly, neither of the two succeeding films offer the fan anything new in terms of visual material, being fundamentally exactly the same as their original DVD counterparts which once again, begs the question; why re-issue them at all? Sorry guys, but 5.1 remixing is NOT a sufficient incentive here! And of course, there is the almost obligatory cock-up in the booklet with half the song credits missing - well they are in my copy, at least and there really is no excuse for this, given that the booklet is merely a reprint of that which accompanied the original DVD release! Yes, I know that this really is nit-picking, but this kind of sloppiness is indicative of how poorly the band’s archive has been treated in general over the years.
So, this finally brings us to the “bonus” disc to this box. Here we have “Genesis Behind The Music Remastered” which is fundamentally the VH1 documentary on the band from 1999 which fans have had in their collections for years, replete with all of the original errors (original publishing contract signed in January 1967 for one!) There is very little additional material added to this to justify the “remastered” title - if that had genuinely been the case, then perhaps the mistakes might have been replaced by the correct information during the narration for starters! The booklet is quite informative though but it has to be said that the selection of photographs which illustrate it are at best, poor which is disappointing given the vast archive of images that the band must have at their disposal.
So, there you have it. Probably the last throw of the dice for Genesis (or EMI more likely) commercially. For most long standing fans, this box will be a major disappointment. Newer fans will probably be grateful merely to have these items in their DVD collections at last, and fair enough, but in view of the fact that such a project as this entire remastering effort is really aimed at the fans who have stood by the band for years, this offering really closes the book of Genesis in a very disappointing manner.