Big Jim Must Be Mad! (Siréne-027)
Palais des Sports, Dijon, France – June 3rd, 1978
Disc 1: Eleventh Earl of Mar, In The Cage, Burning Rope, Ripples, Deep In The Motherlode, Fountain of Salmacis, Ballad of Big, One For The Vine
Disc 2: Squonk, Say It’s Alright Joe, The Lady Lies, The Cinema Show, Afterglow, Follow You Follow Me, Dance On A Volcano/Drum Duet, Los Endos, I Know What I Like
A cache of soundboard recordings has begun circulating around the Genesis community. They are more likely than not related to the announcement several years back that many recordings were found at The Farm and the tacit agreement by management to release some “archive” recordings. Sirene have released already A Living New Story and The Brazilian ’77 in excellent editions. Big Jim, from Genesis’ 1978 And Then There Were Three tour, is the latest.
This era is one of the most misunderstood for Genesis. The common thought is that the band was striving for a more “pop” sound in response to the punk movement. Even keyboardist Tony Banks made that statement in Mojo magazine in the spring of 2001. It is largely a myth, however. This album and tour are a continuation of the previous two with their big hit “Follow You Follow Me” having thematic links to “Your Own Special Way” and even 1973’s “More Fool Me.” The set list still relies upon the progressive rock standards with the great surprise of the “Fountain of Salmacis”.
The quality of the soundboard is excellent with Phil’s vocals up front. It is a bit sterile with the crowd sounding quite far away. There are fade-outs between tracks. As far as I can tell no dialogue has been lost so we are treated to Phil’s horrible attempts at speaking French. The performance is what we can expect from Genesis: note-for-note perfection. The newer tracks from And Then fit very well in the set list, and the “Dance On A Volcano/Drum Duet/Los Endos” has always been a favorite way to end a show. I would recommend this disc as another quality Sirene release.
August 30, 2004 addendum: I was asked by a collector in France about this release. Some copies of this tape circulating are mastered too high with some speed problems. I can say that this Sirene title runs at the correct speed and contains no high-end distortion. Another reason to track down Big Jim Must Be Mad!