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Genesis – Genesis DVD Archives Vol. 2 – The Gabriel Years 1970-1974 (GEN7274)

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Venue: Italian TV, 1974: Live footage & interviews from 1972 (Rome) & 1974 (Turin)US-TV, “The Midnight Special”, December 20th, 1973: Watcher Of The Skies / The Musical Box (live-studio-performances)French TV, “Melody”, ORTF TV Studios, Paris – February 12th, 1974: I Know What I Like, Supper’s Ready (live-studio-performances)Live in Montreal, April 20th, 1974: Excerpts of Watcher Of The Skies, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, The Cinema Show, I Know What I Like, Firth Of Fifth, The Musical Box, The Battle Of Epping Forest, Supper’s ReadyGerman TV, “Treffpunkte”, 1975: 10-minute documentary about 1970′s concert-impresario Bill Graham including brief snippets of The Slipperman / In The Cage / The Musical Box from a Genesis concert in Los Angeles, January 24th, 1975Review:Genesis DVD Archive Vol. 2 completes the presentation of the better Peter Gabriel-era Genesis video documents. There are five different films included in this volume, four of which are television broadcasts and one is a mysterious film from the Selling England By The Pound tour. None of these has ever seen official release and have circulated for many years. The GEN label, an offshoot of the Penguin label, assembled the best available copies of this material. The first part of the disc is an interview and some concert footage from the Palasport in Turin, Italy, February 3rd, 1974 lasting about ten minutes. It is in black-and-white with “for screening purposes only” superimposed over the picture at the top. There are some great shots of the packed venue, the band playing on stage and an interesting interview where Peter Gabriel explains their inspiration by putting together his shoes and placing it by Michael Rutherford’s head (pictured to the right). The interview is dubbed into Italian and the commentator gushes about how great they are, even better than Yes, King Crimson and Emerson Lake & Palmer. The “Midnight Special” is the their only appearance on American television during Gabriel’s tenure with the band. This video was taped at NBC studios in Burbank, California during their very first visit to the west coast after a three night, six concert engagement at the Roxy Theater in West Hollywood. The artwork lists this as occurring on December 12th, but it was actually December 20th, 1974. The picture quality is very good and clear with some fuzziness due to age. The more well lit portions are much better than the dark but the cameras do capture a fantastic performance of “Watcher Of The Skies”. Of all their television performances contained in the first two volumes this is by far the most effective. The second number is a truncated version of “The Musical Box” that has the flute portion edited going straight to the heavy metal part before Peter comes out of the wings with the old man mask. Genesis’ appearance on the French television show “Melody” occurred about a week after the above Turin interview and is one of the strangest looking productions included in the set. This must be a low generation of the tape since it has never looked better. They play “I Know What I Like”, their current hit, and a full version of “Supper’s Ready” for the more than thirty minute program. The backdrop is a colorful and surreal looking montage of fields and flowers that are very brightly lit. Since the effectiveness of the end of the epic depends upon the light show, the bright lights of the studio detract and make the costumes look a bit silly. The director also didn’t have much faith in the other members of the band since he edits in slow motion close-ups of Gabriel making silly hand gestures during the long instrumental passages. Despite those limitations it is one of the best looking films of the band’s stage show during this period. The Montreal fragment contains generous portions of the show and is the only non-professional film in this set. It is on 8mm and the filmmaker was acquainted with their music since he knows exactly where to point the lens. Most of the shots are of the entire stage but there are some incredible close-ups capturing some dramatic images. The soundtrack is very good quality, sounding as if it were dubbed from a professional source and this could conceivably be a professional production. None of the songs are complete although “Watcher Of The Skies” is mostly present, most of “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight” and “I Know What I Like”. “The Battle Of Epping Forest” is only the opening march and “Supper’s Ready” contains only the end. At the song’s conclusion you can hear someone wondering if there will be an encore as the house lights come on and the audience heads for the exits.The final section of this release is the German television show “Treffpunkte” (translated as “Meeting Place“). It is a ten-minute clip of an interview speaking with Bill Graham as he is trying to catch a flight at the airport. He impatiently speaks about his career. This is intercut with various clips of Genesis performing selections from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway with excellent shots of Gabriel in The Slipperman costume, playing “In The Cage” and the encore “The Musical Box”. There is no consensus about the origin of this footage. Penguin claim it is from January 22nd, 1975 in Hamburg, but they played in that city in April and there is no evidence it was filmed or taped. For a long time it was thought this comes from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 24th, 1975 (which was professionally recorded and was used for the Archive Vol. 1 release).It is now thought to be from the January 22nd, 1975 show at the Community Theater in Berkeley, California. Photographs from that concert show a film crew present whereas there is no evidence the Los Angeles shows were filmed. Some audience shot footage exists from this tour but these are the only fragments from a professional source and it fuels speculation about whether or not the entire concert was filmed. It is unfortunate that the final tour with Peter Gabriel and their most ambitious artistic statement was never filmed for posterity. This release, although not comprehensive does present the best available tapes in the best available quality in an attractive package. The information on the back of the liner notes is almost completely wrong but this review has tried to correct the errors. DVD Archives Vol. 2, along with the first volume, are very much recommended as good collections of this material on silver pressed disc.

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