(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
Very rarely has a box set by an individual group ever been so heavily anticipated, When Genesis mangaement announced that it was planning on opening their vaults and releasing unreleased material of all of the band's incarnations in three separate phases, the progressive rock world was finally at ease. Genesis, rather a secretive band (limited live material from their most influential period, audio or visual) had ever been released, and reviews and word of mouth could only drive those that were either too young, not interested (at the time) or not even born, completely crazy with the legend Genesis had created during their recording and live career. Genesis Live and Second's Out only whetted prog fans appetites, but in reality, many songs that were omitted and certain tours were completely ignored.
So in case here comes the announcement that Genesis had made it official and the announcement that had been working on the first set, The Genesis Archive 1967-75. Originally the set was being planned out by the remaining members, Tony and Mike with renowned engineer, Nick Davis, but Peter Gabriel, a perfectionist by trade, always self conscious about his singing live, had been notified that the band was planning to release two of the most often bootlegged concerts of Genesis's history on this set, first, a complete (Yeah right!) version of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, but in multi track recording, from the mythical January 24th, 1975, Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, and the second being the infamous October 2oth, 1973, Rainbow Theater recording of the band during the Selling England By The Pound tour, had decided that he was going to re do the vocals for most of the songs on the live recordings, as for the masks and his over zealous exuberance caused his vocals to fade in and out on certain songs. That therein caused the set to be delayed for a year.
The set was progressing with Gabriel recording his part, but Steve Hackett, whom had just released his version of Genesis classics, had wanted to re touch some of the material that he played on, most would be evident during The Lamb tour, in which Steve had severely injured his fret hand, which hampered his playing during the tour.
The Archive now long overdue, many were now getting restless, especially that there was also an announcement that the "classic era" band was working on a song (albeit not in studio together at the same time) must made the waiting unbearable.
The track list had been announced, and the mystery track, later to be a updated version of the classic, "The Carpet Crawlers" would be amongst with a few glaring omissions, "The Battle Of Epping Forest" and "The Cinema Show" from the same "Rainbow" show, a live version of early anthem "The Fountain Of Salamacis", "Can Utilities And The Coast Liners" are amongst those that diehards complained about, but in the long run, the wait had been long enough.
The Genesis Archive 1967-75 finally was released in the summer of 1998, to excellent reviews, and those whom had never heard the band's prowess live or it beginning roots, where now treated to lavish set, of four CDs worth of magnificence, well worth the wait, where most of the live tracks, even with the glaring additions by the 90's incarnations of Peter and Steve actually made the songs sound better live then their studio counterparts.
Many songs were rarely ever played or heard outside of bootleg collectors and diehard Genesis fans, the set featured official releases of long faded classics, "Twilight Alehouse", "Stagnation", "Happy The Man", the infamous "BBC Nightride" sessions "Shepard", "Pacidy", "Let Us Now Make Love" and a tame, but a more soulful version of "Going Out To Get You" (which the classic era band would incorporate into a harsher, electric version during their live repertoire in 1971).
The fourth CD, is usually like From Genesis To Revelation, frowned upon by even the most diehard fans, but the ambitious teenagers that would later become one of the most influential progressive rock bands of the entire genre, are strutting their stuff, with some rather interesting material which despite its juvenilia, is still a wonder and its influence would still be felt all the way to band's "Duke" recording, which would be the last album that Genesis would utilize 12 string guitars within its musical ambience.
For those whom would like to here one the greatest progressive rock bands during their prime or during their infancy, can look no further then this gem, as for the Genesis Archive 1967-75, despite its few omissions, is well worth it, and for those whom do not have the money to shell out for this set, can also download the samples off the Genesis main website.