Genesis – Winterland 1977 (Siréne-257)

 Winterland 1977 (Siréne-257)

Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA – March 25th, 1977

Disc 1: Squonk, One For The Vine, Robbery Assault And Battery, Your Own Special Way, Firth Of Fifth, Carpet Crawlers, … In That Quiet Earth, Afterglow, I Know What I Like 

Disc 2: Eleventh Earl Of Mar, Supper’s Ready, Dance On A Volcano, Drum Duet, Los Endos, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, The Musical Box (closing section)

Bonus DVDR, Shepperton The 16MM Films

Shepperton Film Studios, Borehamwood, England – October 30th & 31st, 1973: Watcher Of The Skies, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, I Know What I Like, The Musical Box, Supper’s Ready

The soundboard recording for Genesis’ March 25th, 1977 at the Winterland in San Francisco surfaced online several months ago and has already made the rounds with Genesis collectors. This new Siréne release is their version of the same soundboard which they surprisingly issued not on CDR, as they have with most of their Genesis releases the past two years, but in a rare silver edition.

A very good complete audience source already exits for this date, although it has never been commercially released. This new soundboard recording is of the same quality as the other Genesis soundboards that Sirene released three years ago. All the instruments are clear and well balanced and the audience sound very far away. The very beginning of “Squonk” is missing from this tape.

Also missing is Phil’s introduction to “Carpet Crawlers,” eliminating his joke about the band planning to play the entire Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. In the past Sirene were content to simply copy releases made by the many progressive rock remaster projects (their Peter Gabriel Cleveland 1977 being the most egregious). They didn’t this time, instead releasing the tape as is.

The Progressive Rock Remaster Project also issued this tape on the CDR title Winds On The Pier (PRRPGS011) and they had the foresight to fill in the gaps of the soundboard with the audience recording for completeness. PRRP also adjusted the balance and enhanced the dynamics of the tape. The tape speed does sound correct on Siréne, but the other works would place the PRRP release above the Siréne.

Winterland 1977 covers the first of two concerts in Winterland during Genesis’ Wind & Wuthering tour. The tour began on February 2 in Boulder, Colorado and ended on April 3 in Seattle. San Francisco falls during the band’s final week in the States. Some have argued this was the turning point in Genesis’ career. It is simple to call the early Genesis with Peter Gabriel “progressive” and the later Genesis lead by Phil Collins to be “pop,” but it isn’t that simple.

The strength of the early albums lies in the interesting narrative basis for the songs. They tried to continue in that vein and had great success on Trick Of A Tail. Wind & Wuthering was a weak follow up because the narrative songs were too obscure (“Eleventh Earl Of Mar” and “One For The Vine” come to mind). Succeeding albums will have the stories, but their hits rested upon more introspective and personal lyrics.

Musically the arrangements are just as interesting as before and Tony Banks goes crazy with the keyboards in these songs. Someone complained these songs are self-indulgent synth-fests, but that is their appeal.

The set list on this release follows the standard running order as is found on all of the U.S. dates beginning with “Squonk,” one of the best songs to start a show. “One For The Vine” follows and has the distinction of being the Wind & Wuthering track with the longest saying power, being included in the set list through to the Duke tour. It is ironic since this is of the coldest tracks recorded by the band. Collins tells the story about Harry the criminal stealing the weekly taking of the Rice A-Roni factory in San Francisco before “Robbery, Assault & Battery” and Mike Rutherford introduces his “Your Own Special Way” which is “racing up the Venezuelan charts.”

Steve Hackett introduces “Firth Of Fifth,” which became one of his two showcases during this tour. His solo his razor sharp in this recording and fantastic to hear as is his second piece “…In That Quiet Earth.” This is one of the catchiest instrumentals in their catalogue and is segued with the majestic “Afterglow.”

Rutherford introduces “Eleventh Earl Of Mar” as a story about a “failed Scottish uprising.” Collins gets into the Romeo & Juliet story from “The Cinema Show” as a long introduction to “Supper’s Ready” including the detail of Juliet removing her “I ♥ Gary Gilmore” T-shirt (I guess Juliet is pro-capital punishment?) Their epic would be rested after this tour and make an appearance in the Three Sides Live set list in 1982. The recording picks up the drum duet between Chester Thompson and Collins in the middle of the finale and the encore, “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” segued with the final part of “The Musical Box” is intact.

As a bonus, Siréne include Shepperton The 16MM Films on DVDR. As the title implies this is sourced form a scratchy but clear enough film. This seems like a strange choice to include since it is four years and three albums earlier. The Seconds Out footage would have been more appropriate. There already have been multiple releases of the Shepperton footage and we all fully expect it to be released officially when the Genesis 1969-1974 box set is released next spring. Winterland 1977 is a good release which could have been better if Siréne followed suite and edited in the audience recording to fix the gaps in the tape. The packaging includes very common photos from the era printed on nice thick glossy paper and is limited to three hundred copies.

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