“Willow Farm” in Rainbow (Highland HL501/502)
Rainbow Theater, London, England – October 20th, 1973
Disc 1 (56:11): Watcher Of The Skies, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, I Know What I Like, Firth Of Fifth, More Fool Me, The Battle Of Epping Forest, The Cinema Show
Disc 2 (49:37): Supper’s Ready. Bonus track: ORTF TV, Paris, France – July 6th, 1973: Supper’s Ready
“Willow Farm” In Rainbow contains one of the best recorded and most popular Genesis recordings from the Peter Gabriel era. The October 20th show at the Rainbow Theater was recorded by their record company Charisma a week after the release of Selling England By The Pound and was distributed to radio stations to promote the coming tour. It received its first broadcast on the new commercial station Capital Radio in England and also several broadcasts in the US over the years. The most notable is on WXRT in Chicago which is the source of many titles.
On vinyl it was released on In Concert 1973 (Music Of Distinction MOD 1006) and The Great Lost Live Album Vol. 1 (G48) and The Great Lost Live Album Vol.2 (G50). Both have the show except for “The Cinema Show” in excellent quality rumored to be from Charisma’s tapes. This vinyl release was transferred onto compact disc and released on Welcome To Epping Forest (Rus Foley RFCD 8) and also on Watchers Of The Skies (Great Dane Records GDR CD 9018). The sound is excellent but again missing “The Cinema Show.” The missing track can be found on Live Supper (Chapter One CO 25111) and Live At The Rainbow Theatre (Black Panther BP097).
Regarding official releases, Genesis Archive 1967-75 has “Dancing With the Moonlit Knight,” “Firth of Fifth,” “More Fool Me,” “Supper’s Ready” and “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” on disc three.
Highland has excellent sound quality. “The Cinema Show,” while still with great sound, is obviously edited in from a different source. There is evidence of its vinyl source since pops and clicks can sometimes be heard in quieter moments. This can be considered a needle drop of the older vinyl that preserves the dynamics and warmth of that format. In order to fill out the second disc, Highland include the bonus track “Supper’s Ready” from a telecast on ORTF television in France. This also is in excellent but slightly hiss sound quality with the very beginning cut off.
Obviously the Rainbow show is the focus and this is one of the best Selling England By The Pound performances, reveling in a rare intensity. “Watcher Of The Skies” start the show off. There is a cut in the tape afterwards eliminating some dialogue. Audible is Gabriel responding to a heckler, saying: “wrong” before he tells the story for the next song: “We’d now like to take you into the English channel where it’s cold and wet and the lady sits in the middle wearing this strange garment…the voice of Britain” before playing “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight.”
“I Know What I Like” sounds very primitive compared to how the song will evolved with the reference to “Stagnation” and a long tambourine solo. This was the first single and their biggest hit to date yet in a generally superlative performance this song sounds weak and peters out at the end. “Firth Of Fifth” lacks the keyboard introduction from the studio recording but begins right at the first verse of the song.
Phil Collins jokes about his painter’s overalls before taking his spot for “More Fool Me.” Only he and Rutherford are onstage during the performance which sounds pretty but out of place with the other material. The closes with their epic “Supper’s Ready,” the only other non-Selling England song broadcast. Peter and Phil play the Michael’s story before “Supper’s Ready.” Collins misses his cue however. Other than that this is an excellent live version of the song. “Willow Farm” in Rainbow is a very good release by Highland who are trying to produce the definitive version of this famous show.