A Bedtime Must (Godfather Records GR654/655)
The Palazzo Della Sport, Reggio Emilia, Italia – January 20th 1973
Disc 1 (40:53): Watcher Of The Skies, Story of Henry and Cynthia, The Musical Box, Fountain Of Salmacis, Story of Two Ladies, Get ‘Em Out By Friday
Disc 2 (47:37): Inspiration Story, Supper’s Ready, A Humorous Story, The Return Of The Giant Hogweed, The Knife
Of all the British bands in the seventies, Genesis and the other Charisma label progressive rock bands were most popular in Italy. In 1971 for example, Van der Graaf’s Pawn Hearts had reached number one in the charts and Nursery Cryme by Genesis hit number four. Tony Stratton-Smith, who ran the record label, sought to encourage this devotion and success with various tour packages dubbed. Genesis toured Italy two times in 1972, effectively stealing the show from label mates Van der Graaf and Lindsfarne.
After Foxtrot was released, Genesis played only two shows in Italy in January 1973. The two concerts, billed as “The Charisma Festival,” were booked for the Palasport in Rome on January 19th and at the Palazzo Dello Sport in Reggio Emila on the 20th. In Rome, Genesis headlined their biggest concert ever, playing in front of 18,000 people.
A Bedtime Must documents the second show. Godfather utilize the second, very good to excellent and complete audience recording. It begins right at the mellotron introduction to “Watcher Of The Skies” and precedes without any major cuts for the duration of the ninety minute performance.
Genesis had already established a concert pattern during this time by playing songs drawn mostly from their latest two albums. Material from Trespass and From Genesis To Revelation and their singles like “Twilight Alehouse” and “Happy The Man” were effectively ignored with only “The Knife” making an appearance as an encore.
Genesis played before 10,000 people in this show, and were joined on the bill by Peter Hammill, Lindisfarne and Capability Brown.
The show starts off without comment except for the magisterial strains of “Watcher Of The Skies.” It remains to this day one of Genesis’ most compelling live pieces. The visual impact of the staring eyes and Peter Gabriel’s bat wings were disconcerting enough, but the song’s obscure and apocalyptic narrative are especially jarring.
Two songs from Nursery Cryme follow, “The Musical Box” and “The Fountain Of Salmacis” follow.
“Two old ladies get shifted out by a man who has plenty of money and plenty of houses” is Gabriel’s short introduction to the protagonists for the Foxtrot rarity “Get ‘Em Out By Friday.” It’s a song that didn’t last long in the set and was never played afterwards. The melody is weak and the narrative is absurd and fails to have much impact.
“Supper’s Ready,” by contrast, is the centerpiece of the set. Gabriel doesn’t have a long story for its introduction, but makes a joke a Phil Collins’ expense. This is the first time it was played in Italy and is a startling display of dynamics and contrasts. The dark “Apocalypse in 9/8” section is followed by a bright, airy melody played on guitar by Steve Hackett which sounds unique to this particular performance.
“The Return Of The Giant Hogweed” is introduced as “a film of horror starring Christopher Lee and Vincent Price” and effectively closes the set. “The Knife” is the only encore, featuring Gabriel using the mic stand as a bayonet at the song’s instrumental conclusion.
A Bedtime Must is thus far the only silver pressed edition of this great concert. Godfather use their tri-fold gatefold sleeve packaging with effective artwork on the cover and liner notes lifted from Paul Russell’s bood Play Me My Song. Given the rarity of Genesis silvers and rarity of good sounding tapes from before the Selling England By The Pound era, this is a tremendous release by Godfather.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)