German Replies (Virtuoso 017/018)
Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany – October 30th, 1981
Disc 1: Behind The Lines, Duchess, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Dodo / Lurker, Abacab, Carpet Crawlers, Me And Sarah Jane, Misunderstanding, No Reply At All, Firth Of Fifth
Disc 2: MC, Man On The Corner, Who Dunnit?, In The Cage/Cinema Show/Slippermen, Afterglow, Turn It On Again, Dance On A Volcano, Drum Duet, Los Endos, I Know What I Like
Some Genesis collectors have used extended hyperbole when describing the Frankfurt 1981 soundboard with one enthusiastic writing calling this “literally the best Genesis bootleg ever!” Hyperbole aside, having a complete soundboard in near perfect sound quality has been a highly desired recording for many fans, and with German Replieshas finally surfaced. A very good audience recording already circulates for this show, but this recording is a crystal clear and well balanced soundboard recording being a tremendous upgrade. There is a minor amount of distortion in the bass in louder passages, but it is hardly noticeable and does not detract from the music in the slightest. This tape surfaced very recently and already there are two other titles from fan produced remaster projects: Live At Frankfurt (GASP 012) and Live In Frankfurt Am Main (TM Productions GEN811030TM).
Genesis begin the show with several numbers from the preceding album as was their custom. “Behind The Lines” and “Duchess” recall the Duke suite played the preceding year. These two segue nicely into “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.” “Guten Abend Frankfurt! Anybody from England? Good evening to all those from England. Anybody from America? Hi y’all. Well tonight I’m gonna be talking German, spielen German. So I shall translate in English as well.” Collins proceeds to say in horrible German that they will play old song and new songs including the next song “from the newen LP.” The first of the new songs is the nihilistic “Dodo / Lurker” suite. This is certainly one of the darkest and most mysterious songs written by Genesis and ends with the riddle: “Clothes of brass and hear of brown. Seldom need to breathe, dont need no wings to fly. And a heart of stone, And a fear of fire and water…who am I?” The best answer to the riddle is a submarine which follows from the lyrics emphasizing images of the sea.
A long version of “Abacab” follows and the band really start to cook by the end, getting into the synthesized chaos filling the Festhalle. “Carpet Crawlers” is the second of three tunes from their opera The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. In many ways Collins improves on the song but it is a shame they never play the narrative beginning of the tune but rather pick up at the first verse. “Me And Sarah Jane” from the new album follows and in turn is followed by “Misunderstanding.” It is interesting they play the two in this sequence since the former serves as a sequel the latter. The protagonist in “Misunderstanding” is standing in the rain and is stood up by the object of his affections, while the subject of “Me And Sarah Jane” is still standing in the rain yet invents his imaginary girlfriend. Perhaps the meaning of the Duke track is thus changed to imply that Sarah Jane stood up the protagonist? (Or maybe I’m just reading too much into Genesis lyrics?)
The second disc begins with Collin’s long introduction for “Man On The Corner.” When he says “In American that is, ‘everybody thinks he’s a bit stupid'” a drunk American hurls obscenities towards Phil. He tries to elaborate by saying, “this man that stands on the corner, everybody thinks is a fool.” The guy is even more hostile and Collins quips “yea, I remember my first beer too.” That doesn’t help so he pushes the drunk to the extreme by saying, “yes, all English people are completely stupid.” He cuts the story short and introduces the song, “dis heist ‘Man On The Corner.'” Both Led Zeppelin in 1980 and Queen in 1982 also had problems at this venue.
After “Who Dunnit?” Phil introduces the band and mentions Rutherford, who played drums on the track, as the “other drummer” and Chester Thompson as “the REAL drummer.” “Turn It On Again” is played straight as on the previous tour and wouldn’t be expanded as a medley until later. The set closes with the Trick Of A Tail numbers “Dance On A Volcano” and “Los Endos” with a drum duet between Collins and Thompson in the middle. “I Know What I Like” complete with the “Stagnation” reference serves as the encore for the evening. This tape received rave reviews from Genesis collectors and they are all justified. It is a blessing to have such a phenomenal sounding soundboard from the Abacab tour in circulation and even better that Virtuoso chose to press it on silver for commercial release. They use photos from the tour on the artwork and printed German Replies in two hundred copies.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)