CD Review of Live Over Europe by Genesis
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Genesis: Live Over Europe

Reviewed by R. David Smola


he ideal Genesis reunion would have included Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett but we have to settle for the And Then There Were Three line-up of Collins, Rutherford and Banks. Longtime Collins and Genesis support musicians, Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson are actually credited as part of Genesis in the album credits. At some point Gabriel needs to come back and give some of the old stuff a spin because there is a huge audience for that. This unit does an excellent job of sifting through the hefty Genesis catalogue to give the audience a healthy dose of the Phil Collins MTV hit machine version while playing a healthy dose of the older progressive material and satiating some of the old farts who have been with them since the beginning.

This double disc set covers 21 songs and over 2 hours of music. The set list is terrific as mandatory tracks like “Land of Confusion” and “Turn It On Again” are joined by inspired progressive rock gems like the 13:30 of “In The Cage” (which included excerpts from “Cinema Show” and “Dukes Travels”) and “Firth of Fifth.” Collins is in fine voice here and appears to still have enough pop in his voice to carry a long show like this one night after night. He seamlessly slips from pop mode for “Invisible Touch” to Gabriel mode for “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe).” The band is such a finely tuned machine it almost sounds to perfect. Banks really leaps off the record as he gets to shine during the older material like on “Los Endos”. Steurmer also gets a chance to shred away, particularly on “Firth of Fifth.” He may not be Hackett, but he holds his own.

They could have probably gotten away with playing just the hits and herds of folks would have been happy while the critics would have hammered them for taking the easy way out. By acknowledging that rich history and playing that progressive stuff with precision and passion, they completely held up to their powerful legacy. They could have just cashed in on their name, but they challenged themselves as musicians. The older material sounds great, and although attention spans have shortened these days, it isn’t a chore listening to it. The only filler on the two disc set is the obligatory drum off contest between Collins and Thompson titled “Conversations with 2 Stools.” If that was left for the live show only and 6 other minutes from their catalogue could have been included, 5 stars would have been in order. Other than that little hiccup, Live Over Europe is an exhilarating set that highlights both acts of their career, the progressive and the hit machine. If only Peter would give it a go with all his crazy theatrics and Hackett could return with his guitar wizardry, well that would be perfect and maybe a little too much to ask.

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