Wot Gorilla Lilith? (Highland HL329/330)
Rainbow Theater, London, England – January 1st, 1977
Disc 1 (72:04): Eleventh Earl Of Mar, Carpet Crawlers, Firth Of Fifth, Your Own Special Way, Robbery Assault & Battery, In That Quiet Earth, Afterglow, Lilywhite Lilith / The Waiting Room (intro), Wot Gorilla?, One For The Vine, Squonk
Disc 2 (56:47): All In A Mouse’s Night, Supper’s Ready, I Know What I Like, Dance On A Volcano. Bonus tracks, Paris – June 13th, 1977: Inside And Out, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway / The Musical Box
Six months after their last Trick Of A Tail show and in recording the follow up, Genesis began the new year with three shows in the newly reopened Rainbow Theater in London. Wot Gorilla Lilith? is an audience recording of the first of the three on New Year’s Day. This is the first show with new stage drummer Chester Thompson and the debut live performances of the songs from Wind & Wuthering which was released the previous week. The sound quality on this title is good but distant with noticeable echo surrounding the music. There are cuts at 2:09 in “Afterglow” (where the taper paused the cassette recorder to check on the tape), at 8:03 on “One For The Vine,” at 8:02 in “Supper’s Ready,” cuts after the songs in the latter half of the set, and fades ninety seconds into “Dance On A Volcano.”
A lower generation tape surface subsequent to Highland’s release that sounds better and has the complete drum duet and “Los Endos” but is still missing the encore “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” and the ending of “The Musical Box.”
This show represents a first draft at crafting a setlist for their new stage show. Opening the show is the first track off of the new album “Eleventh Earl Of Mar.” Although it is an effective opener and would serve that purpose in future tours, it would be pushed to much later in the show after the Rainbow dates. Steve Hackett introduces “Fourth Of Fifth” and it would also be played later in the set as the tour wore on. “Your Own Special Way,” which was the first single and intended to be their biggest hit, follows.
Mike Rutherford speaks before “In That Quiet Earth” saying “Happy New Year by the way. It’s nice to be back at the Rainbow again. We played her about five years ago…and it’s the first time we did sort of a visual presentation. And I remember there was absolute chaos. And we were ready five minutes before the door opened…and five years later things haven’t changed.” And continues by saying that he will “dedicate this song to Heathcliffe, for those of you who read Wuthering Heights.” It is the first of several instrumentals in the song.
Collins describes “Lilywhite Lilith,” saying “Once upon a time there was a punk who was more punkish that Rat Scabies. More punkish than Johnny Rotten…he was named Rael. This little piece we’re gonna play you about Rael tells of Rael’s first encounter with his blind punkess. It’s a mean little ditty called ‘Lilywhite Lilith.'” There is a short delay with one of the guitars and Collins quips, “for £3,000 it has to be working, right?” It follows seamlessly into “The Waiting Room” and ends with “Wot Gorilla?” from the new album. This is the only known time “Lilywhite Lilith” was played with Collins on vocals and the only time ever for “Wot Gorilla?” as far as we know. It can’t be determined if they played it the following night since there is no complete recording, but they were definitely dropped for the third Rainbow show.
Collins introduces Thompson before “One For The Vine” who celebrates by bashing the hell out of the disco beat in the fast middle section of the piece. Rutherford then talks about “Squonk,” saying it is about “little creature…who is afraid to go outside because he is so horrible ugly…and changed it a pool of tears.” It would be restored to the opening of the show withing the week.
Before the final song “Dance On A Volcano” Collins thanks everyone for coming and continues “this is the beginning of the tour for us. We’re gonna ramble on. I must say we’ll be doing something in England apart from the tour sometime in August” referring to the Earls Court shows in June. Overall it is an interesting show with several rarities and is one of the essential tapes for the collection. Highland include three of the six songs from the June 13th Paris fragment as a bonus to “complete” the show. “Inside And Out” was added to the set in palace of “Your Own Special Way” and the common encores “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” (where Collins’ mic cuts out in the second verse) and the closing section to “The Musical Box.” Wot Gorilla Lilith? is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with dramatic photos of the tour and effective use of the Wind & Wuthering banner. Although it was good for its time the interest and import of the show really needs a definitive release.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)