One of my favourite progressive rock live albums is Seconds Out by Genesis. It was recorded in 1976 and 1977 in Paris on the tours for A Trick Of The Tail and Wind and Wuthering.
I must admit to an element of bias in favour of this rather than Genesis Live.
I was first introduced to Genesis through a review of A Trick Of The Tail in a weekly music paper called Sounds and bought both Wind and Wuthering and Seconds Out as soon as I saw them. I also saw Genesis live in Stafford in 1976 or 1977.
This means I never had any trouble with the move from Peter Gabriel to Phil Collins as the lead singer and have a mixed opinion of the Gabriel era Genesis.
For some reason the Trespass and Nursery Cryme studio albums have made little impact with me and I believe The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway is both overblown, over-complicated and over-rated.
Genesis Seconds Out Overall Rating – 28/30
A very well balanced set list of Genesis when they were a progressive rock band rather than a pop group.
- Squonk – 6:39 (from the album A Trick Of The Tail)
- The Carpet Crawlers – 5:27 (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway)
- Robbery, Assault and Battery – 6:02 (A Trick Of The Tail)
- Afterglow – 4:29 (Wind & Wuthering)
- Firth of Fifth – 8:56 (Selling England By The Pound)
- I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) – 8:45 (Selling England By The Pound)
- The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway – 4:59 (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway)
- The Musical Box (Closing Section) – 3:18 (Nursery Cryme)
- Supper’s Ready – 24:33 (Foxtrot)
- The Cinema Show – 10:58 (Selling England By The Pound)
- Dance on a Volcano – 5:09 (A Trick Of The Tail)
- Los Endos – 6:20 (A Trick Of The Tail)
Four tracks from A Trick Of The Tail, three from Selling England By the Pound and the full length version of Supper’s Ready make a very attractive set list.
Personally I’d have preferred any other A Trick Of The Tail track than Robbery, Assault & Battery but at least they picked the two most accessible tracks from The Lamb. In The Cage is also a rousing tune and you can understand why it stayed in their set list for a long time – it’s on Three Sides Live.
I wish they could have squeezed another couple of tracks from Wind & Wuthering. I’d pick One For The Vice and Eleventh Earl Of Mar as they didn’t perform one of my favourite Genesis songs, Blood On The Rooftops on the tour.
It would be lovely if Genesis dug into their archives and added on the other songs that were performed live in 1976 and 1977.
Performance rating – 10/10
If you think prog rock doesn’t rock, you need to hear Seconds Out as the sound is powered by two drummers when Phil Collins isn’t at the front singing. (first Bill Brufford and then Chester Thompson took over the main drumming duties).
Although in a transition phase following the departure of Gabriel, the group delivers a storming performance of great songs with more ooommph than the studio versions.
Collins does a great job on vocals and sounds uncannily like Gabriel in places while imposing his own personality on songs like Robbery, Assault & Battery. This was recorded before his image was marred by his very successful solo career. It may have made him heaps of money but it ruined his credibility.
And what about Supper’s Ready, a big miss from the first Genesis Live album?
It’s immense. Powerful. Dramatic. Intense.
Any Gabriel/Genesis fans should be thrilled with the performance on Seconds Out.
Firth of Forth and Cinema Show are also thrilling treats which hook you in and don’t let you go until the final bar. All three can be considered better than the studio versions and that’s really saying something.
Dance On the Volcano and Los Endos were good on the A Trick Of The Tail album but are a great climactic ending live as the instrumental motifs repeat like a jazz-fusion group and then the double drummers power the way to the end
Just as with Genesis Live, I find that in this album the songs are played with more gusto and depth than in the studio versions.
Here are a few songs that Genesis performed live in 1976 and 1977.
Firth Of Fifth
Dance On A Volcano
Atmosphere & Authenticity – 9/10
The original sound quality is superb on this live album although I’ve read bad things about some of the CD versions. Mine sounds great.
The only niggle I have is that Steve Hackett’s guitar is mixed low and is allegedly one of the reasons why he chose to leave the group before the next studio album.
Losing a lead singer is a big shock for a group. Losing a lead singer as good and charismatic as Peter Gabriel could have been fatal.
While I dock one point for it not being the original vocalist on many of these classic songs, I commend Phil Collins for the great job he did in 1976 to 77, even if I blame him for ruining Genesis later on.
The crowd is responsive and cheer in places where little is happening aurally so you know that the great light and laser show has reached a climax. I don’t mind surprise cheering in a live album although I know some can be irritated.
I’d have liked the album to have been in the original set list order and to have been extended with the missing songs as the different CD versions were released.
The full set list for the Trick Of The Tail tour was as follows: Dance on a Volcano, Lamb Stew Medley (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway / Fly on a Windshield / The Carpet Crawlers), The Cinema Show, Robbery, Assault and Battery, White Mountain, Firth of Fifth, Entangled, Squonk, Supper’s Ready, I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe), Los Endos and the encore was a medley of It and Watcher of the Skies
The full set list for the Wind & Wuthering tour was as follows: Squonk – One For The Vine – Robbery, Assault And Battery – Inside and Out – Firth Of Fifth – The Carpet Crawlers – In That Quiet Earth / Afterglow – I Know What I Like – Eleventh Earl Of Mar – Supper’s Ready – Dance On A Volcano/Los Endos – (encore) The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway/The Musical Box (closing section).
Total Rating For Genesis Seconds Out – 28/30
I originally had doubts on whether progressive rock converts well into live albums but this is terrific.
I am in no doubt that this is the best Genesis live album. The set list guarantees it although they could make it better by putting back the missing tracks. I’d buy it again as soon as I saw it.
I have no doubts that this is one of the greatest live albums ever released. My total score of 28 out of 30 feels about right but, if it was remastered to boost Hackett’s guitar and extra songs were added, it would easily deserve to equal the highest mark I’ve ever awarded an album, 29/30.
This Live Album vs A Genesis Compilation Album vs The Studio Albums
If you only want one album to represent Genesis the progressive rock band, then I recommend Seconds Out. It’s a much better representation than the selection of tracks on the various compilations.
If you want to dig deeper, get Foxtrot, Selling England By The Pound and A Trick Of The Tail as well.
I prefer the sound of Genesis live rather than in the studio. Genesis Live is a very good summary of their early career. The 1973 Rainbow concert is also very good and features a version of Supper’s Ready with Peter Gabriel.
What Others Say About Seconds Out By Genesis
It’s not just me who loves this album.
In the greatest live album ever lists, it has been featured as:
- Planet Rock – 10th
- IGN – 11th
- Classic Rock – 32nd
Over at Amazon, there are many five star reviews.
Throughout this blog, you will see references to readers polls where I ask you to vote for the best live albums. Seconds Out and Yessongs are running away with the best prog rock live album.
Buying Seconds Out by Genesis
To help you to find the album quickly and easily, I’ve given you the following links::
What Do You Think About Seconds Out
Do you agree with me that this is an outstanding live album?
Or do you think it’s over-rated, either because you prefer the Gabriel era or the later poppier Genesis?
As well as Live from 1973, Three Sides Live is also good. Even more interesting is Archives1967 to 1975 which includes a live version of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and some of the songs from the legendary Rainbow Theatre concert which has a Peter Gabriel version of Supper’s Ready.
Please let me know by leaving a comment.
What Are The Best Live Albums Ever?
You can help me to find the best live albums by taking part in the readers polls
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.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Click on the links to vote and you can see the results.