Emperor & Empress (Highland HL484/485)
Tower Theater, Philadelphia, PA – March 3rd, 1974
Disc 1 (52:18): Watcher Of The Skies, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, “story from Romeo & Juliet,” The Cinema Show, I Know What I Like, Firth Of Fifth
Disc 2 (54:13): The Musical Box, More Fool Me, The Battle of Epping Forest, Supper’s Ready
Genesis began their second US tour for Selling England By The Pound with a show in Passaic, New Jersey on March 1st followed by two at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia. The second Philly show is the only one taped and exists in a very good audience tape which Highland presents on Emperor & Empress. It is a bit thin sounding since it emphasizes the high end. There are cuts at 8:37 in “The Cinema Show,” 8:57 in “The Musical Box,” cut after “The Battle Of Epping Forest” eliminating most of the “Jerusalem Boogie,” and one at 6:06 “Supper’s Ready” just before the beginning of the “Ikhnaton and Itsacon” section.
The taper starts the tape right at the opening of a powerful “Watcher Of The Skies,” the mellotron melody sounding very strong in this recording. It sounds like Phil Collins who greets the audience afterwards saying “Good afternoon.” Peter Gabriel sings in a moronic voice, “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go. Helllllloooooo?” before telling a shortened Britannia story. Gabriel tells the rare “tube story” (as on Live) before “Firth Of Fifth.” This is one of the rare live performances with the keyboard introduction of the studio recording but Banks hits a few bum notes. Gabriel’s flute at the beginning of the instrumental section is played very slow and deliberate before a fantastic build up into Hackett’s guitar solo.
The taper is audible before “The Musical Box” speaking about what a great taper he is (except that he can’t keep his mouth shut). Gabriel introduces the song as one that “cconcerns the ever popular sport of knocking little balls about with mallets.” Of the Nursery Cryme tunes this one fits the new material the best both in musical structure and thematically. It always flirts with danger in being too cute for it’s own good but the heavy metal crashing cords redeem it as a great live piece.
After Phil has is “More Fool Me” interlude (accompanied by Rutherford) the band return for an energetic version of “The Battle Of Epping Forest.” It is so intense that Gabriel forgets the words to a verse near the end and ends up repeating lyrics from a previous verse. The show ends with a twenty-four minute version of their epic “Supper’s Ready.” The Apocalypse in 9/8 section is intense and a looud explosion can be heard in “As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men’s Feet)” to which the audience cheers. There are no encores for this show. The artwork for Emperor & Empress is very attractive. For many of their Genesis titles Highland used D-Structure Artworks Co. for designs and this one uses a nice collage of tour photos. Highland released many shows from this tour but this ranks among the best.