Lamb Master In Los Angeles
Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA – January 24th, 1975
Disc 1 (64:12): Introduction Rael Story (Part 1), The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Fly On a Windshield, Broadway Melody Of 1974, Cuckoo Cocoon, In The Cage, The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging, Introduction Rael Story (Part 2), Back In N.Y.C., Hairless Heart, Counting Out Time, The Carpet Crawlers, The Chamber Of 32 Doors, Introduction Rael Story(Part 3), Lilywhite Lilith, The Waiting Room, Anyway
Disc 2 (62:39): Introduction Rael Story (Part 4), Here Comes The Supernatural Anesthetist, The Lamia, Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats, The Colony Of Slippermen, Ravine, The Light Dies Down On Broadway, Riding The Scree, In The Rapids, It, Watcher Of The Skies, The Musical Box
When Genesis’ Los Angeles Lamb show surfaced on Wolfgang Vault many year ago, it ended years of complaints and consternation over the fate of one of the band’s most famous shows. Much of the show was released officially in 1998 but missing the encores and with overdubs in the vocals, guitar and, some argue, in the organ as well.
The Lamb Rock Opera (Vintage Masters Premium Series VM-008A/B) was a tremendous release when first issued in 2007. Lamb Master In Los Angeles is a very nice upgrade. The sound is more lively and Virtuoso addressed the minor imperfections on the tape such as the reel noise and the small cuts in the second half.
The band sound nervous but hit a good stride with “In The Cage”, one of their favorite stage numbers that stayed in the set-list for the next twenty years (give or take a tour or two). “At this particular point in the story our hero Rael is moving underground in an almost perfect reconstruction of the streets of New York City. And with his childhood memories he begins to think about his first romantic adventures….” before speaking about the erogenous zones before “Back In N.Y.C.” Many have pointed out the performance of “Back In N.Y.C.” as being quite poor, but Gabriel spits out the lyrics with particular venom.
“Hairless Heart” is one of the big Steve Hackett numbers, one he plays even now on his solo tours, but this version sounds slightly tentative and is obvious why Hackett chose to re-record his part for the official release. “Carpet Crawlers” is an all-time classic rendition with Tony Banks delivering a particularly poignant version of the latter.
In the third Rael story Gabriel picks up the narrative, speaking about the hero being lead by Lilywhite Lilith into a cave and Rael seeing the bright light filling the room. In general, travelogue instrumentals are difficult to pull off given the high probability of being too obscure.
But “The Waiting Room” works very well in this place between the straight recitative of “Lilywhite Lilith” and the introspective “Anyway.” “Mr. Phil Collins on my radiant left” he says afterwards. Gabriel’s final Rael story is as obscure as the narrative of the piece, speaking about “windscreen wipers.”
“Here Comes The Supernatural Anesthetist” is the beginning of the finale and features Gabriel sharing vocals with Collins augmented by Hackett’s delicate melodies. Two firecrackers go off near the beginning of “The Lamia”, which is an eight minute long piece which reiterates musical themes from earlier in the work in a hazy, dreamy fantasia. “The Colony Of Slippermen: The Arrival” elicits two cheers from the audience.
The first is when Gabriel arrives onstage wearing the costume, and the second is when the genitalia become deflated. The vocals during this piece are louder than the others, probably because he had to hold the mike close to his mouth in the enormous costume. “The Light Dies Down On Broadway” is a reprise of the title song but in a slower, sadder key until the work ends with the up-tempo closer “It.”
This isn’t the best version since Collins drops his sticks in the middle of the piece. Genesis rewards the Los Angeles audience with two encores, “Watcher Of The Skies” and “The Musical Box.” Some have called the latter one of the best versions of the classic and it is certainly very good. Bits of “The Colony Of Slipperman” and “The Musical Box” surfaced a couple years ago on a German television show which confirms this concert was also professionally filmed.
Virtuoso have released several very good Lamb shows in the past couple of years, but this may be their best achievement. This is the best sounding release of the famous show and is worth having.