Digesting England (Siréne-126)
University Sports Centre, Montreal, Canada – April 21st, 1974
Disc 1, University Sports Centre, Montreal, Canada – April 21st, 1974: Watcher Of The Skies, mc, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, mc, The Cinema Show, I Know What I Like, mc, Firth Of Fifth, mc, The Musical Box, Horizons
Disc 2: The Battle Of Epping Forest, mc, Suppers’ Ready, outro. Bonus, Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY – December 13th 1972: Watcher Of The Skies, The Musical Box, Get ‘Em Out By Friday
Digesting England compiles two interesting tapes. The majority of the release is the well-circulated Montreal show from April 1974. L’Ange Gabriel (Smilin’ Ears – 7705) was one of the very first Genesis bootlegs on vinyl with the first pressing on green vinyl and pink labels. This was copied on Visage (Sacem GEV20). On compact disc it was issued as Horizons – Part 1 (Golden Stars GSCD1069) and Horizons – Part 2 (Golden Stars GSCD 1070) and Invisible Life on Living Legend (LLRCD 093/094).
Live In Montreal (Swingin’ Pig Records TSP-CD 040-1/2) is the most recent silver appearance of the show, but Sirene utilize a superior source from a reel-t0-reel taped directly off the radio. The older sources were missing the “old Michael” story before “Suppers’ Ready”, but is complete on this release. This show was broadcast over CHOM-FM in Montreal and was and was sent over the telephone lines to the station. The station also broadcast a twenty-minute interview with Peter Gabriel afterwards, but this unfortunately isn’t included.
Given the circumstances this is an excellent recording, certainly the very best from their Selling England By The Pound tour. There are some conversations bleeding through the lines during the quieter sections and the bass is louder than other Genesis recordings.The concert begins with a great version of “Watcher Of The Skies”. Gabriel tells all his stories in (mediocre) French. There is some mic trouble at the beginning of “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight” but the band continue without playing “what’s wrong with my fucking lead game staring Nick the roadie” so common for this tour.
Tony Banks chooses to begin “Firth Of Fifth” with the piano introduction in this show. “The Battle Of Epping Forest” sounds great in this recording with Peter and Phil going back and forth. This is one of the best versions of this song that was dropped after this tour never to reappear again. After “Suppers’ Ready” the outro contains the announcer waiting to see if there is an encore (there is none) and the tape ends.
Bonus tracks come from a recently unearthed audience fragment of Genesis’ second show in the U.S. Charisma Records and WNEW sponsored this show for a Cerebral Palsey fundraiser. DJs Scott Muni and Alison Steele were enthusiastic supporters of Genesis and saw this as an opportunity to bring the band over for their New York debut. They played a warm up gig at Brandeis University in Boston on December 12th.
A tape floated around claiming to be from this date with “Suppers’ Ready”, “Get ‘Em Out By Friday” and “The Musical Box”, but proved to be from Manchester February 25th, 1973.The fragment contains the first three songs performed that evening. The rest of the set including “Suppers’ Ready”, “The Fountain Of Salmacis” (mentioned in the Sounds review), “The Return Of The Giant Hogweed”, and the encore “The Knife” are missing. The tape is very good and clear with significant amounts of hiss and the PA was unbalanced.
Peter Gabriel is low in the mix and Mike Rutherford’s bass is very loud during “Watcher Of The Skies”. “Hello. Welcome from Genesis. We’ve been told that you judge your bands by the number of encores you give them. This is our first encore…” Gabriel says before an intense “The Musical Box”. Overall this is an important Genesis release and Sirene handled this very well by giving it the classy production it deserves.
The Montreal show is presented in the best possible sound quality and we have the debut of the New York show. I don’t know if the entire tape exists or not. Some claim the band professionally recorded it and is at The Farm, one of the many “missing tapes” that have been leaking out over the past couple of years. It will be an event if the entire professionally recorded tape surfaces in the future.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)