Hallam Tapes (Highland HL509/510)
The City Hall, Sheffield, England – April 17th, 1980
Disc 1 (65:07): Deep In The Motherlode, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight (intro), Carpet Crawlers, Squonk, One For The Vine, one short story, Behind The Lines, Duchess, Guide Vocal, Turn It On Again, Duke’s Travels, Duke’s End
Disc 2 (71:29): Say It’s Alright Joe, The Lady Lies, Ripples, band introduction, In The Cage, Afterglow, Follow You Follow Me, Dance On A Volcano, Los Endos, I Know What I Like
Since Genesis focused upon international markets in 1978 after the release of …And Then There Were Three…, they promised an extensive tour of England for their next album. They played a more than forty dates in intimate venues and agreed to several radio broadcasts. The more popular are the Lyceum Theater in London gigs in May but the April 17th Hallam radio broadcast is another excellent source for this tour. Although it is not as clear and powerful as the May 7th Lyceum tape and it contains hints of static from its transmission, Sheffield is complete including Collins’ stories and introductions between songs.
Hallam broadcast the show twice and Nottingham’s Trent FM once (with “Say It’s Alright Joe” omitted and the other songs out of proper sequence). The Trent broadcast is the source for Steeltown Revelation (Discurious DIS 215 A) with the aforementioned problems and running at a slow speed. Hallam Tapes on Highland comes from a low generation tape, runs at the proper speed, and includes the missing track and is in the proper sequence.
A very passionate “Deep In The Motherlode” begins the set with Collins punctuating the narrative. The opening to “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight” serves as an introduction to “Carpet Crawlers” which would only be played on the UK tour. In the US “Dancing” would serve as an introduction to “Squonk.” Early on in the set Mike Rutherford’s pants ripped and, since no smoke machines were allowed, the roadies walked onstage smoking cigarettes instead.
“It’s been a while since we played here innit? Tonight we’re gonna be here for quite a while so make yourself comfortable” Collins says before before “One For The Vine.” This song was a constant in the setlist since 1977 but would be retired after this tour.
Collins spends several minutes telling the Albert story before the Duke suite. This is the longest continuous narrative they played onstage since The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and would be the last time they attempted such a piece. A heckler interrupts Collins early on and he quips, “yeah, I remember my first beer too” and while Collins lists the number of books Albert wrote someone in the audience shouts out “Albatross,” from the Monty Python skit, and at which Collins laughs.
Originally the first three songs, “Turn It On Again” and the final two were supposed to form a side long suite on the album. However that idea was scrapped when it was thought it would be too weak for an official release. So the live recordings give a glimpse into how the piece was supposed to fit together although conceptually it is still difficult to fathom. The obscurity lies in the ambiguity of the speaker who says, “I am the one who guided you this far” which pops up first in “Guide Vocal” and again in the middle of “Duke’s Travels.” Nevertheless the piece is a magnificent nod to their progressive rock roots of the early seventies. Of particular note is the energetic workout of the frenetic “Duke’s Travels” which shifts between nineteenth pastoral and technological twenith century melodies concluded with a Steve Hackett sounding guitar break.
Two mini-dramas, “Say It’s Alright Joe” and “The Lady Lies” begin the second half of the show. “In The Cage” forms a short medley with “Afterglow” and the show ends with “Dance On A Volcano,” the drum duet and “Los Endos” with “I Know What I Like” as the only encore of the evening. Hallam Tapes is one of the best latter day Highland Genesis releases. The artwork is a clever variation of the Duke cover and the CDs themselves are gorgeous looking picture discs with the Albert design on the cover. Highland put a lot of effort into the presentation of their Genesis titles and this turns out to be one of the most pretty and is the definitive version on silver of the Sheffield radio broadcast.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)