Friday, September 11, 2015

Genesis 9: Seconds Out

At another crossroads, Genesis chose to present their progress in the form of their second live album, and a double to boot. Seconds Out was recorded mostly during the tour for their last album, and occasionally features the sound of two drummers: Chester Thompson, who was brought in to cover the beat while Phil Collins was up front singing, and to play off of him when Phil ran back to his own kit during instrumental sections. (One song, recorded the year before, features the sticks and skins of Bill Bruford, plus Phil.) Already gaining a reputation as an incomparable live band, here they show off the template which, with another adjustment to come, they’d follow for the best part of the next two decades.
The more interesting parts are the songs originally sung by Peter Gabriel, which is most of the album, and Phil handles those characters pretty well. This is evident when the band moves from “Squonk” to what’s labeled here as “The Carpet Crawl”, building from near silence to the glorious crescendo and back again. “Robbery, Assault And Battery” isn’t any less insufferable live, but “Afterglow” makes a surprise appearance at the end of side one. “Firth Of Fifth” does okay without the piano intro, and Hackett covers the flute solo on guitar with some help from Tony, while “I Know What I Like” is twice as long due to an extended coda that touches on other, older songs (like “Stagnation”), and would continue to do so. “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” melds neatly into the “closing section” of “The Musical Box”, providing abridged slices of those epics.
That’s not to say they were already cutting corners on their past. All 24 minutes of “Supper’s Ready” are pretty impressive, Phil navigating the words, melody and voices well, and even joining in on drums for the 9/8 section. “Cinema Show” is also close to the original, but given an abrupt ending. “Dance On A Volcano” culminates in a drum duel, nicely setting up “Los Endos” to bring us full circle to the start. The album fades to the sound of thousands of clapping Parisians being treated to Ethel Merman over the PA.
Seconds Out is successful both at presenting the band’s show, as well as providing something of a “hits” sampler through their more recent work. Steve Hackett left the band before it was released, bringing us one step closer to the Phil Collins we know today.

Genesis Seconds Out (1977)—

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