Knebworth Show (Highland HL078/79#G12)
Knebworth, Stevenage, England – June 24th, 1978
Disc 1 (45:18): Squonk, Burning Rope, Ripples, The Fountain Of Salmacis, One For The Vine
Disc 2 (41:39): Deep In The Motherlode, The Lady Lies, Afterglow, Follow You Follow Me, Dance On A Volcano, Los Endos, I Know What I Like
Genesis played ninety-eight gigs between March and December 1978 on the “Mirrors” tour in support of And Then There Were Three…including their first trip to Japan late in the year. They played only one show in England the entire year, on June 24th at the Knebworth festival. Before 150,000 they played on a large bill that also included Jefferson Starship (minus Grace Slick who was just fired by the band), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Devo (whom the audience hated and pelted them with beer cans), Brand X, Atlanta Rhythm Section, and Roy Harper who was added at the last minute and who, some suggest, stole the show. The BBC recorded the show on the Island Record mobile studio and a week later on July 1st broadcast twelve songs from the show in quadraphonic sound on the fifth anniversary of Alan Freeman’s “Saturday Afternoon Show.”
The BBC broadcast is the source for the many and various releases of this show including Memories Of A Giant (The Swingin’ Pig — TSP 003) with “Burning Rope,” “Ripples,” “The Fountain Of Salmacis,” “The Lady Lies” and “Afterglow,” Knebworth (no label) with “Follow You Follow Me,” “Dance On A Volcano,” “Los Endos,” “I Know What I Like,” “Ripples,” “The Fountain Of Salmacis,” and “Deep In The Motherlode.” The complete broadcast appears on Super Golden Radio Shows No. 34 (SGRS — 34). Highland is the same radio broadcast with the same edited songs but in much improved sound quality. With the BBC edit “Eleventh Earl Of Mar” and “In The Cage” at the beginning of the show are missing with “Burning Rope” played third. “Squonk” was played after “One For The Vine” but is moved up to first in the broadcast. “Deep In The Motherlode” was played before “One For The Vine” in the show but is moved to after for the broadcast and “The Cinema Show” is missing with an awkward edit at the beginning of “Afterglow” in which it segued with. According to the BBC records the three missing songs don’t exist in their archives and are probably lost forever.
“Squonk” was selected to begin the broadcast probably because it is a heavy, shorter number replacing the longer “Eleventh Earl Of Mar.” “Burning Rope” is introduced as a new song written by Tony Banks sounding like a musical sequel to “One For The Vine.” “Ripples” is “very very sad. All about growing old and the passing of time, time which stops for no man.”
“The Fountain Of Salmacis” is introduced played “for all the people who were with us back in 72, 1973, they know who you are. This one’s all about the very first hermaphrodite…the hermaphrodite is someone what is male and female at the same time in the same pair of trousers.” (Hearing this show rebroadcast over New York radio, this was the first time I heard Genesis and the first time I learned what a hermaphrodite was). This is the oldest song in the set list and one of only two dating from the Gabriel era for the radio. It is followed by the terminally dull “One For The Vine,” the one song from Wind & Wuthering with the longest life in the setlist.
The latter half of the tape is occupied with many of the newer songs. “Deep In The Motherlode” is referred to as a song about the American gold rush and is followed by “The Lady Lies.” This is one of the newer songs where Phil has fun with his dramatic overacting on the stage, leading the vast crowd through hand jestures in reaction to the characters in the song. It is reminiscent of “Robbery Assault & Battery” from previous tours and would be continued with other mini-dramas in the future. “Afterglow” was played with a segue from “The Cinema Show” but the BBC edited out the first leaving only the second. The emphasis upon the latter three albums is clear. The show ends with the encore “I Know What I Like” including the tambourine solo and the “Stagnation” reference. It is a good show but it’s shame the entire set wasn’t broadcast. A complete very good sounding audience tape does exist but has never been pressed. Knebworth Show is an early Highland release which is hard to come by now but is worth seeking out.