Genesis Live is the first live album from Genesis featuring charismatic lead singer Peter Gabriel from the Foxtrot tour in 1973.
Genesis Live Overall Rating – 24/30
Set List Rating – 7/10
My favourite studio albums by Genesis are Foxtrot, Selling England By The Pound, A Trick Of The Tail and Wind & Wuthering so it’s no surprise that I prefer the more comprehensive set list from Seconds Out. However I feel that this is often underrated because it’s never been extended. When Yes and ELP released triple vinyl albums at around the same time, this single LP looked meagre.
What we get on this album is…
- Watcher of the Skies – 8:34 (from the Foxtrot album)
- Get ‘Em Out by Friday – 9:14 (Foxtrot)
- The Return of the Giant Hogweed – 8:14 (Nursery Cryme)
- The Musical Box – 10:56 (Nursery Cryme)
- The Knife – 9:47 (Trespass)
No complaints with these Genesis prog anthems included but why hasn’t Genesis Live been extended like many other classic albums from the 70s.
The obvious missing item is THE undisputed classic progressive rock song from Genesis… Supper’s Ready but there are other great tracks that could have been included.
The Phil Collins version of Supper’s Ready is surprisingly excellent on Seconds Out but we can’t be denied the Gabriel version without having to spend a fortune on a box set, can we?
Other songs were also played on the tour although this hard to read article on the Foxtrot tour makes it clear that the sets were invariably short.
Performance Rating – 9/10
Five long songs highlight Genesis as a much more powerful and aggressive progressive rock band than the studio albums show.
To be honest, I’ve always found Trespass and Nursery Cryme a bit wimpy when I listen to them and consequently they’ve made little impression on me.
But Genesis Live rocks with great relish!
Yes it’s a bit pompous but isn’t that what prog rock’s all about.
The songs are fairly faithful to the studio versions but they have more energy and more impact. It’s easy to prefer these tracks to the pristine songs on the main albums.
If you have a leaning for prog rock, then I think you’ll be thrilled with what you hear on this album as each song is complex, varied and well played. The contrast but the loud and quite sections works well and is better emphasised live than in the studio.
The Knife at the end is as close to heavy rock as Genesis got. It nicely rounds off the concert and album.
Here are some videos of Genesis performing living in concert in 1972 or 1973.
Atmosphere & Authenticity Rating – 8/10
On the big plus side this is the real Genesis with all the key band members – Peter Gabriel (vocals), Steve Hackett (guitar), Mike Rutherford (bass), Tony Banks (keyboards) and Phil Collins (drums).
But Genesis live with Gabriel was about more than the sound. He put on a show with his dressing up in silly costumes (take another look at the album cover) and told funny stories between songs which are missing from the album.
The only humour you get is the throwaway comment “That was an unaccompanied bass solo by Michael Rutherford”.
Total Rating For Genesis Live – 24/30
Unlike many live performances by progressive rock groups, you can listen to this live album and think “Genesis loved playing live.”
It wasn’t a chore or a necessary evil to promote the latest album… the band loved the reaction it got from a live audience.
And it makes a very good live album which is held back from being a classic by the stinginess of the set list and the missing stories to entertain the crowd. Please Genesis, lets get this out of the attic and give it the upgraded release it needs… perhaps for the 40th Anniversary Edition of Genesis Live.
This Live Album vs The Studio Albums vs A Genesis Compilation Album
If you only want few Genesis albums, how essential is Genesis Live?
First I can rule out a compilation album. The idea makes me shudder at the thought of trying to combine Supper’s Ready with Invisible Touch.
I believe Genesis have recorded three essential studio albums – Foxtrot, Selling England By The Pound and A Trick Of The Tail.
I also think that Seconds Out did an excellent job of summarising these three albums although I may quibble about some missing songs (please extend Seconds Out) and there is the Peter Gabriel issue.
Three Sides Live does a very good job of supplementing Seconds Out with the highlights from the next three studio albums and filling in some holes from their prog rock phase.
If you prefer Genesis as a prog band, then Genesis Live toughens up their early prog anthems. There is also the issue of the Rainbow concert from 1973 which is a popular bootleg and Genesis have included in their box sets of this period.
What Others Say About Genesis Live
I believe that it is the set list that keeps this album away from the lists of the greatest live albums.
Only Classic Rock featured it at number 43 in the lists that I’ve seen while Seconds Out appears more regularly.
Below you will see that I have a poll and ask you to vote for the best live album by prog rock groups. This album is doing very well.
I think that’s a shame and I’m pleased to see plenty of 5 star reviews on Amazon.com and very few dissenting views other than for the stingy quantity of the tracks.
Buying Genesis Live
To help you to find the album quickly and easily, I’ve given you the following links::
What Do You Think About Live by Genesis?
Do you agree with me that this is a great album or do you think that it is over-rated?
What do you particularly like about it?
What extra songs would you have liked to have seen on a Foxtrot tour album?
Is This The Best Genesis Live Album?
You can help me to find the best live albums by taking part in my readers polls
What Are The Best Live Albums Ever?
Because there are so many great progressive rock live albums I have split the poll into two and you may find some of your favourites in the second division. Albums will be promoted when they get enough votes.
You may also want to vote in the best classic rock live album poll,