Genesis – Long Ago In The Rome Hills (Highland HL 202)

Long Ago In The Rome Hills (Highland HL 202)

Piper Club, Roma, Italia – April 18th, 1972

Happy The Man, Stagnation, The Fountain Of Salmacis, Twilight Alehouse, Phil’s solo, The Musical Box, The Return Of The Giant Hogweed, The Knife, Going Out To Get You

Although Genesis played their first overseas gig in Belgium and made several trips to that country in 1971 and early 1972, they scheduled their first prolonged overseas tour in the first country to truly embrace them.  Twenty-three shows were scheduled in April, 1972 and such were their popularity they played in the biggest venues in their young career and many of the shows were taped from the audience for posterity. 

They played two shows at the Piper  Club in Rome on April 18th and this (it isn’t clear if it’s the early or late show) is one of the most detailed and vivid documents in existence of the early stage show.  This is a full bodied, three dimensional that captures the bass in particular very well.  On some parts there is distortion when the instruments become too loud and is particularly noticeable during “The Fountain Of Salmacis.”  There is also a small cut in “Going Out To Get You” at 1:53. 

Earlier releases of this tape can be found on Live In Roma (Tintagel TICD 009) and Piper Club(PMPCDBL9801), which also has “Bye Bye Johnny” (aka “Can-Utility And The Coastliners”).  But Highland is a slight upgrade over the older releases.  Despite the small cut in the encore this has virtually the complete show. 

The tape cuts in during Gabriel’s introduction to the first song, saying, “It’s about a man who sits in a pond all day and fishes for his food.  In English it’s called ‘Happy The Man’ or questo sicciama ‘felice l’uomo.'”  Both Gabriel and Collins share the vocals on this jolly sounding hand clapper but it ends very abruptly leaving the taste for more. 

“Stagnation,” introduced as being about the aftermath of the bomb, is a small, dramatic epic and is one of the highlights of the show.  A portion of this track was shown on Italian television from this show and it is apparent why.

“Twilight Alehouse” is about a man “who is fond of his drink.”  The second highlight of the show is about “Il primo hermaphradito….strangely enough.”  One of their earliest sublime creations, the audience follow along with the narrative with Collins filling in the breaks with his inventive drumming.  There seems to be some problem with the power afterwards and Collins fills in the time with a three minute drum solo before the issue is addressed and they can continue with “The Musical Box.” 

Hackett’s guitar gets lost during the heavy middle section which is dominated by Bank’s keyboards, and Gabriel gives a passionate old man performance at the end.  In “The Knife” people are audible whistling and singing along and the final song, played seemingly by audience request (one can hear people shouting out the title), is the still unreleased “Going Out To Get You.” 

Long Ago In The Rome Hills is an older Highland title but still one of their finest efforts very much worth having.   

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