The Oval ’72 (Ayanami-232)
The Oval, Kennington, London, England – September 30th, 1972
MC 1, The Knife, MC 2, The Fountain Of Salmacis, MC 3, Get’em Out By Friday, MC 4, Watcher Of The Skies, MC 5, The Musical Box, MC 6, The Return Of The Giant Hogweed
The Oval ’72 presents a document from a very interesting point in the career of Genesis. Two days before at a show in Dublin Peter Gabriel, in an effort to gain more press attention for the band, donned a red dress and wolf’s head for the finale of “The Musical Box.” The stunt worked with notice from Melody Maker and New Musical Express. This show on September 30th was organized by the former as the Melody Maker Poll Awards Concert. Genesis were voted “Brightest Hope No. 6” and were on the bill with Focus, the Jack Bruce Band, Wishbone Ash, and headliners Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The concert took place outside on a cricket pitch with the stage set up in front of the grandstand opposite the pavilion.
Different versions of this tape floated around before the show could be presented in its complete form. One tape had all of the songs except for “The Musical Box,” while another was more fragmented but contained Peter Gabriel’s between song stories. Genesis collectors edited the various tapes together and the result can be heard on this Ayanami release. The editing job is phenomenal with scarcely a hint of it being there. The sound quality is good and clear. It sounds as if the taper were standing in front of the speaker producing a compressed feeling to the sound. However the music and vocals are detailed enough to really capture the atmosphere of the event.
The tape picks up with Gabriel saying, “We want to start off with a little Latin American dance number…it’s called ‘The Knife.'” As they did at Reading the previous month, they start the set off with their usual encore. This wasn’t a Genesis crowd and the aggressive track from Trespass makes a better first impression than anything from Nursery Cryme which make up the bulk of the set. “This is the story of wht the Gods did when they were exceedingly bored and the sun was shining. The tale of the creation of the first hermaphrodite. Consisting of course one part male and one part female who were named Hermaphroditus. They were burned all together their bodies having been melted down to a lump of liquid flesh. This is most exciting.” The subtleties seem lost on the audience.
“We’re out of tune?” someone on stage asks before “Get ‘Em Out By Friday.” Gabriel then says, “I came here by tube today and rushed down the stairs in Piccadilly Circus. The whole place was completely deserted. There was not a person to be seen anywhere. So as I was about to purchase my ticket I noticed a bird, this pigeon flying around and around and around and around, obviously not able to find the Sharpsbury exit. I said, ‘Hello little bird,’ and the pigeon dropped dead. This concerns the fate of two old ladies from Islington. It’s called ‘Get ‘Em Out By Friday.’ For those of you who like dancing it’s called foxtrot.” This is the first of the two new songs from Foxtrot which would be released a week after this event on October 7th.
“This one concerns a large shiny gentleman who sits in the sky. He’s revealed himself in this twentieth century to us mortals here on earth by giving us his real and incredibly beautiful identity. This is of course the great god Coca-Cola. This is a song written entirely for him. It’s called ‘Watcher Of The Skies.'” The second new song, this is the common set opener, but even in the middle of the set in the afternoon contains a primordial power and the audience eat it up. After a classic “The Musical Box,” there is a tape in the cut at the very end of the announcements and the beginning of “Hogweed” eliminating the point when Gabriel usually yells out the title while Banks plays the introduction. The Oval ’72 is available on professional CDR instead of silver, but is one of these essential releases that is worth chekcking out.