Violent Dreams (Highland HL103#G17)
Imperial College, London, England – November 18th, 1972
(74:53): Watcher Of The Skies, The Musical Box, Get ‘Em Out By Friday, Supper’s Ready, Return Of The Giant Hogweed, The Knife
Even around the time of Foxtrot’s October 6th release, Genesis’ fourth studio album, they were playing many gigs around England increasing their popularity for their unique stage show. The tape for the November 18th show at Imperial College in London is important because it contains the first known live performance of the epic “Supper’s Ready,” their most ambitious song to date and the centerpiece of the new material. The tape first surfaced on vinyl on Live In London which is missing (ironically enough) “Supper’s Ready” and “The Knife.” The complete show appears on the compact disc release Imperial College ’72 (Night Sun 001) and Highland use the same tape source in improved sound quality. Because they are playing in a small venue the taper was able to capture a very clear recording which tends to emphasize Hackett and Rutherford over Banks with Gabriel’s vocals in the middle. There is a small cut after “Get ‘Em Out By Friday,” at 20:47 in “Supper’s Ready” and a small cut after. The taper paused the tape three times after “Return Of The Giant Hogweed” while waiting for the encore. Since the cuts are quite small this is virtually the entire performance.
The tape begins with a small amount of clapping as the band take the stage. Banks tunes the keyboards and Rutherford his bass a bit before Gabriel announces that they’ll “rattle off in the usual manner.” The opening song to Foxtrot “Watcher Of The Skies” is played. This was first played live the previous summer in a slightly different arrangement but is now performed close to the studio version.
Before “The Musical Box” Gabriel tells a long story with nothing to do with the actual song, saying, “Uncle Henry. Everybody’s uncle Henry managed to pluck enough courage to buy himself a dirty magazine. And he hurried home with his dirty magazine under his dirty raincoat till he returned to his dirty house where he leaped up the dirty stairs and and lopped the dirty bathroom door behind him. As he was turning over the pages of the dirty magazine, he noticed it was having a most peculiar effect on his dirty body. Or to be more specific his hair was moving from a dirty normal position to dirty erect position. ‘What the hell can I do with my hair standing on end’ thought uncle Henry. ‘I certainly can’t leave the house looking like this.’ So he went down the dirty stairs into the dirty kitchen where he made himself a dirty cup of tea. Then he picked up the dirty pussy on the floor and put it on his dirty lap and began to stroke it very slowly, and dirty. Nine weeks later…he came home from dirty work and there was an awful mess on the dirty floor. There was hundreds and hundreds of dirty little kittens running about the place. ‘Alas, my dirty little sphinxes.’ It’s a give away. They all have uncle Henry’s face. So he picked them all up one by one by their tail and put them into a very clean porcelain white bowl slid into a clean white carrier bag and brought them to the bottom of the dirty river. When he came back he had a plate of gorgeously wonderful Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Must emphasis Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.”
The Nursery Cryme song has been in the setlist for more than a year and has developed into their most dramatic and theatrical stage piece. Gabriel emphasizes and stretches out the line “And the nurse will tell you liessssssssssss / Of a kingdom beyond the skiesssssss.” The fast closing section sounds extremely weighting in this recording with pounding chords underneath Gabriel’s “NOW…NOW…NOW.” Genesis follow with another new song from Foxtrot“Get ‘Em Out By Friday.” Hackett’s guitar sears through the other instruments in the middle section, but this song would have a short life in the set list and very few live recordings exists.
The big piece of in the show is “Supper’s Ready,” introduced by Gabriel as “inspired by a shout from the opposite block of flats.” There is a short tuning before they start the song and it sounds close to the studio arrangements. There is a slight hesitation at parts and the ending will develop as they become more confident in the song. The set ends with “Return Of The Giant Hogweed” and when they come back on stage Gabriel says, “It is request time. What is it?” There are almost unison shouts of “Knife” although one girl shouts out “Salmacis.” A wild version of “The Knife,” where the instruments pretty much drown out the vocals, follows and the show closes. This is one of the more important Foxtrot era documents in circulation. It’s no wonder why Highland chose to issue this tape early on in their catalogue. Violent Dreams is packaged in a standard jewel case with a reversible front insert (the band on the blue side, a double exposure photo of Gabriel in the “old man” mask from “The Musical Box” on the black side).