(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
In its initial stages, Genesis, when their management announced that there were going to be a series of Archives sets released of live material, unreleased tracks, and demos, almost every fan of progressive rock was in jubilation to the point of ecstasy. With the release of the first archives set, many were more than satisfied, as the band released a plethora of gems dating to demos eventually that would become From Genesis To Revelation all the way to the magical live recordings of the band's progressive era opus, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.
The band was had decided after a couple of years of debating, that was to be three box sets, the first persisting of the Gabriel years, the second to span from the Trick Of The Tail to the Duke era and the last to span from the band's pop styled era, Abacab to Phil's last album as a member of Genesis, We Can't Dance. But due to what the band's management sited as lack of material, and not having exclusive rights to certain concert footage from the 1976/1977 tours, (or the band's dissatisfaction the in material of that era) the plans were scrapped, and eventually The Phil Collins era, or the Genesis Archives #2 1976-1992 came into fruition.
Upon the release of the boxset's track list, the Genesis Archives #2 came under a lot of criticism, as for very little material was released from the 1976 tour featuring Bill Bruford on Drums or Hackett's last tour within the band. Other points of criticism, was the band's inclusion of four dance tracks, which did not bode well with even the most casual of Genesis fans.
So with all that going against the band, the Genesis Archives #2 was released, and many did not give the set the glowing reviews that the first one received, But despite the curious decision to leave out some noted tracks of interest to many Genesis fans that never heard them, the band decided to leave out studio tracks, "Match Of The Day" from the Wind And Wuthering sessions, (later of the hard to find, Spot The Pigeon EP) the very non Genesis sounding "Me And Virgil", the original long fifteen minute version of "Abacab" (From the abundance of out-takes from the Abacab sessions).
To make matters worse, the band released a "work in progress" version of their latter day era, the anthemic "Mama". This was not supposed to be released as a point of sounding great, but it was to released as a showing to how the band came to producing and creating a song. To true fans and musicians, the version of "Mama (Work In Progress)" is priceless, as for not to many bands would ever put what might sound like crap to a record buying public that was used to hearing radio staples like "Invisible Touch", "That's All" etc. from Genesis. That in my opinion is a bold and strong move and probably one of the true highlights of the boxset.
With all that said, the Genesis Archives #2 is not a bad set at all, in matter of fact the material that made it on to the boxset, is rather enjoyable and as for the live material, you get to hear the songs as they were played in concert, and not with the studio enhancements that to the trained ear were obvious on Second's Out, Three Sides Live and both The Way We Walk discs.
For those that missed out on buying this set are in for a real treat from the band, but be warned that if you are fan of Phil era Genesis or a fan of Hackett be prepared for a let down, due its lack thereof, as for unlike the first boxset, which had four disc worth of music, (most unheard by even most die-hards), the second Archivesset had only three discs.