Spectrum 1983 (Virtuoso 047/048/049/050)
The Mama tour for Genesis’ eponymous thirteenth album took in seventy-three gigs in the US and Canada and ending with five dates in Birmingham, England in late February 1984. The tour began on November 6th in Normal, Illinois. Genesis played three shows at the Spectrum in Philadelphia on November 25th, 26th, and 27th.
The latter two were recorded by two different companies for radio broadcast and, because of the excellent quality, remain the best known shows of the era. Some of the titles claim some material comes from the first but has since been proven wrong and a tape source has yet to surface.
Spectrum 1983 is an upgraded edition of the famous Three Nights In Philly (sic) release. The sound quality is excellent on both nights with Virtuoso’s well known mastering making the tapes sound very sharp and enjoyable producing what is perhaps the definitive statement of the Genesis Mama tour.
Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA – November 26, 1983
Disc 1 (46:43): Dodo / Lurker, That’s All, Abacab, Mama, Keep It Dark, Home By The Sea, Second Home By The Sea
Disc 2 (47:15): In The Cage / Cinema Show / In That Quiet Earth / Slipperman, Afterglow, drum duet, Los Endos, Turn It On Again, Misunderstanding, Illegal Alien
The second night in Philly is sourced from a radio recording produced by RKO for their Captured Live series and all of the titles come from RKO Captured Live 4LP set. A very good early releases is Mama (Pulse PL-9029) and Three Nights In Philly (Buccaneer Records BUC 051/2) and its reissues.
Only about one hundred minutes were recorded and broadcast. The set is missing “It’s Gonna Get Better,” the “Eleventh Earl Of Mar” medley, “Follow You Follow Me,” and “Carpet Crawlers.” “Abacab,” the two encore numbers “Turn It On Again” and “Misunderstanding” and “Illegal Alien” are out of sequence and most of the stage commentary is edited or omitted altogether.
The tape begins with “Dodo/Lurker,” the opening song for the set. Phil Collins says, “There now follows a new song. A new song from our new record album. It’s a kind of country and western style thing so you can all pitch off your pants and take off your dresses” before “That’s All” inserted into second place by RKO.
“Abacab,” the true second song follows and it seems that RKO wanted to break up the two Abacab songs with one from Genesis so early in the broadcast.
“Mama” was the first single from the new album and on this song they played all of the verses including the final where Collins has to sing some very high notes. Subsequent tours will drop the last verse. Some have pointed out this version to be among the best recordings of the song with Phil in particular throwing himself into the narrative of the piece.
“Keep It Dark” from Abacab is edited in next from later in the set followed by the two new songs, “Home By The Sea” and “Second Home By The Sea.” The latter two are introduced by Phil saying, “we now have access to the other world. We’re going to play you a tune which is all about ghosts and things that go bump in the night.”
The full “contact with the other world” sketch is highly edited in both radio broadcasts.
After the first forty-five minutes, which are dominated by songs from the last two albums, the next half hour contains the older songs including the fourteen minute oldies medley with snippets from “In The Cage,” “Cinema Show,” “In That Quiet Earth” and “Slipperman” before melting into “Afterglow.”
This tour is notable also for the medley played in “Turn It On Again” as the second and final encore. Collins says how happy he is to be playing in his hometown of Philadelphia (a joke at every stop in the tour) and they play bits of “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love,” “The Last Time” and “In The Midnight Hour” among other tunes.
“Misunderstanding,” which is actually the first encore, follows and because of very poor editing the opening notes of the “Turn It On Again” are audible at the very end.
Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA – November 27, 1983
Disc 1 (48:44): Dodo / Lurker, Abacab, That’s All, Mama, Illegal Alien, Home By The Sea, Second Home By The Sea
Disc 2 (51:52): In The Cage / Cinema Show / In That Quiet Earth / Slipperman, Afterglow, Keep It Dark, It’s Gonna Get Better, drum duet, Los Endos, Misunderstanding, Turn It On Again
The source for the November 27th show comes from King Biscuit Flower Hour. The tape is excellent like the previous evening but more emphasis upon the bass. The songs are in their proper sequence but the “Eleventh Earl Of Mar” medley, “Follow You Follow Me” and “Carpet Crawlers” are omitted.
Like all tapes from this archive there is dubbed audience cheering throughout the show. There have been several releases by DIR and “Turn It On Again,” aka “That Damn Medley,” from this show was issued as the b-side of the “Illegal Alien” (Charisma/Virgin AL 1-12) 7″ and appears on the Best Of 1981-1983 (Vertigo 848854-2) compilation.
Unofficial releases include Three Nights In Philly (Buccaneer Records BUC 051/2) with material from other shows and even different tours (“Behind The Lines” and “Dance On A Volcano” are included but were not played on this tour). Some songs are clipped and Buccaneer added more audience cheering.
Other versions include No Reply At All (Seagull Records Seagull CD 038), Home By The Sea / No Replay At All (Pipeline PPL 517/518), Fugitives From Justice (American Concert Series ACS 001) one disc with some material, A Phantastically Phabulous Philly (Coaster Factory) without the bizarre addition of tracks from other gigs, It’s A Shame (ARC 0087) and In The Cage (Trade Service/Rare Recording Collection RRC 004).
The subtleties in the recording enhance the show greatly. A surreal version of “Dodo/Lurker” begins the show followed by “Abacab.” The full “contact with another world” isn’t present but Collins says, “I think we now have contact with the other world. Anyway while we have contact with the other world let’s perform a song for you which all about ghosts and things that go bump in the night.”
Banks makes a few timing errors in “The Cinema Show” solo in the long medley. It is good “It’s Gonna Get Better” wasn’t omitted as it was for the first show. It is one of the more musically interesting and optimistic songs they’ve written.
Daryl Stuermer plays a very Hackett-like solo by the song’s end. In the final encore “Turn It On Again” Collins thanks the crowd for making the past three days “fantastic for us in Genesis.” The medley is the same as the previous night with “Everybody Needs Somebody,” “Satisfaction,” “The Last Time,” “All Of The Day And All Of The Night” and “In The Midnight Hour.” The medley would be expanded by the ending of the tour. Some Genesis collectors claim the second night in Philly to be one of the best Genesis show’s available and it’s hard not to agree.
In Spectrum 1983 Virtuoso produced one of their better Genesis titles.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)