Civic Plaza Assembly Hall (Satellite 6 SAT0108-A/B)
Civic Plaza Assembly Hall, Phoenix, AZ – January 28th, 1975
Disc 1 (66:55): The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Fly On A Windshield, Broadway Melody of 1974, Cuckoo Cocoon, In The Cage, The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging, Rael’s story, Back in N.Y.C., Hairless Heart, Counting Out Time, The Carpet Crawlers, The Chamber of 32 Doors, Rael’s story, Lillywhite Lilith, The Waiting Room pt. 1 (cut), The Waiting Room pt. 2, Anyway, The Supernatural Anaesthetist
Disc 2 (47:33): (cuts in) The Lamia, Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats, Colony of Slippermen, Ravine, The Light Dies Down on Broadway, Riding the Scree, In the Rapids, It, The Musical Box
Phoenix has three tape sources. An audience tape has been in circulation for many years which is good but distant and distortion in the lower frequencies. The second two tape sources surfaced. One is an outside audience mic (OAM) by the road crew which is very good quality but runs a bit slow. Finally there is an almost complete very good to excellent sound quality soundboard recording. It is the third tape source used by the new label Satellite 6 on this release.
On the whole the tape is well balanced except for times when Peter Gabriel’s mic cuts out by the second half. The first four seconds of the show are missing, there is a tape flip at 4:11 in “The Waiting Room,” and Gabriel’s story before “The Musical Box” is missing. The engineers who made the tape knew what they were doing by raising the different instruments higher in the mix when there is a solo or emphasis. At times Banks’ keyboards dominate the mix, at others Hackett on guitars and still Phil Collins’ drums.
The double album rock opera was released on November 29th, 1974 and Genesis spent the greater part of three months touring in the US before bring the show to Europe. Phoenix occurs four days after the popular Los Angeles show and is in the final week of shows.
An article from the March, 1975 Circus magazine contained an article written before the tour.
“Blue denim delinquent: American rock audiences at first had been inclined to heckle Peter’s subtly atmospheric monologues, chattering during the quieter mood-building instrumental passages. After three carefully planned tours, however, even the most skeptical concert-goers were entranced by Genesis’ dramatic representation of ‘The Musical Box’ and Peter’s breathtaking flight through the air at the climax of ‘Supper’s Ready.’ Now The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (on Atco) had replaced those old favorites, and even Peter’s image had changed drastically. He had cropped his long locks and combed them over his bald streak.
“His sleek black jumpsuit had given way to sneakers and bluejeans. Though the band had given their all to provide a totally entertaining reenactment of some of their most imaginative songs ever, the insistent question remained. Aside from the success of their first few concerts with The Lamb, could Genesis convince the world’s largest rock audience to take an extended trip into an unfamiliar fantasy world?
“Back in his Manhattan hotel room, Peter admitted to Circus Magazine that Genesis had had their doubts about presenting the entirety of their recent double album as the basis for the most important tour of their career. ‘We were quite worried about introducing the whole of The Lamb to audiences all at once. This new show is very experimental for us,’ Gabriel acknowledged, biting into a banana. ‘In the past we’ve tried to introduce new material in twenty-five minute segments, phasing it in with the better known songs gradually.
“It’s also been difficult achieving a balance between the musical performance and the triple-screen slide presentation that helps the listener to visualize Real’s story more easily. The slides are a much stronger element than ever before, and to a certain extent, they’re an additional risk. They shift attention away from my performance somewhat, although now that I’ve worked with them onstage, I think they do provide an interest-point when the going gets a little heavier lyrically.'”
The opening “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” sounds a bit tentative, but “Fly On A Windshield” sounds incredible. Even though the audience sounds far away in this recording, several shouts are audible at the very beginning of “In The Cage.” The first Rael story, about the main character buying the book about finding erogenous zones, is very straightforward and lacking in the wit that would be obvious in later shows.
“Back In N.Y.C.” is very strong, but “Counting Out Time” sounds very interesting with the contrast between Banks’ goofy percussion and Hackett’s violent guitar lines. The tension is thankfully released with a gentle version of “The Carpet Crawlers.” In the second Rael story Gabriel gets into impromptu rhyming by saying, “Those of you familiar with the affliction of drummers will know perhaps that the only way these lumps and bumps can be successfully removed is by the severing of the sexual organs. Performed in the colony of Slippermen by the notorious Dr. Diper the reformed sniper who for a very small fee will guarantee to remove your very own windscreen wiper.”
The second half of the show begins with “Lillywhite Lilith.” Both Gabriel and Collins sing along which only makes sense since this was the first song Collins wrote with the band when he joined in 1971. During the surreal “The Waiting Room” Steve Hackett plays a bit of the fast guitar riff of “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight.”
The beginning of “The Lamia” is cut but the track is still over eight minutes long. The vocals are a bit obscured in “The Colony Of Slipperman” since Gabriel was wearing the bulky suit, and he also messes up the lyrics to “The Light Dies Down On Broadway.” He forgets to sing “The gate is fading now, but open wide, But John is drowning, I must decide Between the freedom I had in the rat-race, Or to stay forever in this forsaken place” and sings the second verse again: “Subway sounds, the sounds of complaint The smell of acid on his gun of paint. As it carves out anger in a blood-red band, Destroyed tomorrow by an unknown hand.”
Some shows on The Lamb tour had two encores, but all three Phoenix recordings reveal that only one, “The Musical Box,” was played. Gabriel’s story is cut out but a but of dialogue is present when the tape cuts in: “…take two. This is a trip we learnt in…ah, how to build suspense. It stars the occasional part of Nick the roadie.” Obviously there was a malfunction with the equipment and Gabriel resurrects the Nick the roadie sketch from the Selling England By The Pound tour.
The encore set in the Lamb shows always sound like a celebration by the band for getting through their rock opera and some of the best versions of the classics can be found on these tapes. This version of “The Musical Box” is better than most any other version played in Italy three years before. It is a great ending to a great show.
Civic Plaza Assembly Hall is one of the first titles released on the Satellite 6 label and comes packaged in a digipack with several photos from the tour and the back stage pass to this show on the back. It is a great production and worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)