Maple Leaf Lamb (Virtuoso 028/029)
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, ON – December 16th, 1974
Disc 1 (65:12): 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, Rael story part 1, Back In N.Y.C., Hairless Heart, Counting Out Time, Carpet Crawlers, The Chamber Of 32 Doors, Rael story part 2, Lilywhite Lilith, The Waiting Room, Anyway, Lamia, Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats
Disc 2 (33:40): The Colony Of Slippermen, Ravine, The Light Dies Down On Broadway, Riding The Scree, In The Rapids, It, The Musical Box, Watcher Of The Skies
Maple Leaf Lamb contains an excellent and atmospheric soundboard recording from the Toronto show on the Lamb tour. The audience sound very far away and the keyboards tend to dominate the mix in favor of the guitar (which is unfortunately normal for Genesis), but the vocals and drums are very clear and there is really nice detail in the performance. There are two big cuts in “Anyway” leaving only a fifty-eight second fragment and eliminating “The Supernatural Anesthethist” and a cut in “Lamia’ which eliminates all but the final verse and guitar solo. The other major cut in the tape is most of the first encore “The Musical Box” leaving only the final fifty-four seconds. These cuts are very strange and raises the question of what the sound engineers were doing during the performance? Nevertheless it is a bonus to have what we do have since the sound is great.
Western New York and eastern Ontario, between Buffalo and Toronto, has been a stronghold for Genesis fandom since the early days of the band and is a love that has never waned. Most of the shows on the tour were booked in theaters, but such is the devotion that when Genesis played Toronto they were booked in one of the biggest arenas of the entire tour. The bigger arena probably had an effect on the playing at the beginning of the show since they get off to a very sluggish start. “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway,” which normally starts as a fanfare for the piece, sounds more like a tentative dirge lacking in energy and excitement. Steve Hackett has a nice performance in “Fly On A Windshield.” Steam is picked up for “Cuckoo Cocoon.” Some say that Tony Banks flubs his solo in “In The Cage” but he plays it fine. He does apply a deep echo however giving a vague feeling to the song. Phil Collins plays this in arena rock mode eschewing any kind of subtlety.
Gabriel’s first Rael story is a straightforward summary of the narrative in the up coming numbers. “Back In N.Y.C.” sounds weak but Hackett, who is the star of this show, really shines on “Hairless Heart,” playing with both passion and restraint. The “Carpet Crawlers,” with Bank’s chromatic keyboard theme is always one of the highlights of the show and is one of Genesis’ most glorious creations. They play it to perfection in Toronto. Gabriel continues the narration in the second Rael story “The Chamber Of 32 Doors.” He makes a humorous observation when, in describing Rael’s transformation into the Slipperman, he says, “and this neat little affair concludes by Rael eating what is left of their bodies. Which in turn turns him into an ugly, lumpy, bumpy, humpy species of humanity. Not totally dissimilar to Mr. Phil Collins here on my left.”
“The Waiting Room,” between Hackett’s squealing guitar and Gabriel’s flute, has a very strong early King Crimson sound to it before Banks comes in with the melody. “The Colony Of Slippermen” is the opportunity for Gabriel to ham it up in the costume, but the show loses momentum about this time too as the show limps through “The Light Dies Down On Broadway.” It is a shame most of “The Musical Box” is missing because, judging by the final minute, it sounds like a great version. Also very good is the second encore “Watcher Of The Skies.” Collins in particular punctuates the doom laden mellotrons with creative drumming bring a new dimension to the piece. Maple Leaf Lambis packaged in a double slimline jewel case with excellent artwork. The colorful picture on the front of the Lamia pyramid is gorgeous to see. Overall, despite the missing pieces of the show, this is another very good Lamb soundboard to have.