1983-1998 (Rm) (5CD/5DVD) Box set, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
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This sumptuous box set forms the second stage of the band reissuing all their studio albums. Each album is digitally remastered and comes in a two disc (CD/DVD dual disc) set containing unique bonus material. This stage of the reissues contains Genesis' most successful albums (selling over 40 million on CD alone): Genesis (1983) Invisible Touch (1986) We Can't Dance (1991) Calling All Stations (1997). With each album containing DVD extras, a treasure trove of footage has been plundered to reveal never before seen extras plus brand new interviews specifically recorded for these reissues. The `Genesis' extras contains the never before seen `Mama Tour Rehearsal' footage from 1983. Director Jim Yukich discovered this in his personal archive. The extras on Invisible Touch contain a `Behind The Scenes' of the Land Of Confusion video. This 8-minute, 43-second video was created from the personally filmed footage by Phil Collins and Jim Yukich of the puppeteers and puppets at work, and has never been seen outside of the Genesis family. Also included on the Invisible Touch DVD is the Old Grey Whistle Test , Rock Around The Clock show from 1986. Featuring the rarely seen Tony Banks video `This Is Love' from his solo album `The Fugitive', the programme has not been seen since it's original broadcast.
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Top Customer Reviews
I can take about ten minutes of these discs before my ears just start ringing and I have to shut it off. They've lost a lot of the punch and power the original mixes had. The sound of the SSL console EQ Nick used has a distinct tone. They will ring when overused. You can hear it all over this set. It should be annoying even to those whose ears haven't been trained. There's a lot of poorly chosen EQ that adds a nasal quality to the instruments. The cymbals are harsh and Phil's vocals are nasally and sound like a they're coming through a megaphone. Things sound small and jammed together.
I won't even go into detail about how much better Hugh Padgham's mixes are. Hugh is obviously a better engineer as he made Genesis sound powerful and important. Nick Davis has made them sound like a small transistor radio, albeit a very loud transistor radio.
And what's with all the compression? These heavy mixes are ridiculously inappropriate for this beautiful, emotionally dynamic music. These songs used to have dynamics, loud and soft orchestrations that built the music. Now everything is LOUD! The LOUD! parts are LOUD! and the soft parts are LOUD! That's not detail you're hearing, it's just compression.Read more ›
So at last we have the more compressed, narrower mixes that allow us to hear even the quietest parts relatively loud and upfront. This is the way music is going. Everyone is doing it, so why shouldn't Genesis? Now you can play a Genesis track followed by, say, an Oasis song, and they both sound very similar in terms of the sound - equally loud and compressed - a bit like a radio broadcast. It's so cool.
Another good thing: all the different albums sound much more uniform, less individual or 'of their time' (how dated and uncool they were before). You can set your iPod nano to random play mode, and play something from 'And Then There Were Three' followed by something from 'Abacab', followed by something from 'We Can't Dance', and they could all be from the same album. Surely this has to be a good thing?
This collection of mixes is a 'great leveller'. Whether listening on expensive sound equipment or a cheap midi system, or indeed an iPod, it will sound the same, very nicely flattened out, and not over-punchy or too full of life like before. They're also good if you want 'background music' turned down quiet. The once-quiet bits never get lost now, and the louder bits no longer have too much energy.
I think these new compressed, refreshingly less dynamic stereo mixes are just wonderful. Thank you Nick Davis and Tony Cousins. Thank you very very very very very much. Sincerely.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This 5-CD/5-DVD box set featured the second four titles to be re-released in an exhausting and long Genesis remaster campaign which took place in the last year.
The first inklings that a Genesis catalog overhaul was in the making was the release of the 3-CD Platinum Collection box set in 2005.
The albums in this box set include 1983's self-titled effort a/k/a The Mama Album (see my review of the deluxe edition), 1986's Invisible Touch (see my review of the deluxe edition), 1991's We Can't Dance (see my review of the deluxe edition) and 1997's somewhat weak finale Calling All Stations (see my review of the deluxe edition). Plus a bonus CD/DVD set called Bonus Tracks 1983-1998 which is only available in this box set.
Each album was painstakingly digitally remastered and remixed by longtime Genesis producer Nick Davis. Plus the albums in the set are double disc sets that features a CD (whereas in territories outside the US and Canada have Hybrid SACDs as Warner Music do not support Hybrid SACDs) and a DVD (which has each album in 5.1 plus interviews with Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Ray Wilson and Nir Z, videos and concert footage/TV documentaries). The discs themselves all look like their original US vinyl album counterparts with the labels (the custom picture labels that each album had).
The bonus CD and DVD on this set is called Bonus Tracks 1983-1998. We have all three B-sides from the Invisible Touch album with "Feeding the Fire", "I'd Rather Be You" and the superb instrumental "Do the Neurotic" (which was left off of the original album in favor of "The Brazilian"). Next is the two studio B-sides from 1991's We Can't Dance which are "On the Shoreline" and "Hearts on Fire" which were all left off of the original CD. There is three B-sides from the Calling All Stations sessions (which should have been on the original album in favor of the three tracks that I didn't like (see review) "Anything Now", "Sign Your Life Away" and "Run Out of Time". I haven't heard the other B-sides left off of CAS which were "Papa He Said", "Banjo Man", "Phret" and "7/8".
The bonus DVD has some extra concert footage from Knebworth 1992 and the Genesis Archive 2 (1976-1992) in addition to the 5.1 mixes.
Plus, the box contains a 48 page case-bound book with essays (written by longtime video director Jim Yukich) about each album and rare photos.
I'm not even going to get into an argument regarding the sound quality. Either you're going to dig the in-your-face sound or you're not. Personally, I dig it. It's nice to have the quieter moments upgraded a bit so that you are not turning it up to hear them only to have your ears rudely blown out by the loud sections. I think it's a much better balance overall.
Having said that, be forewarned that the first two albums here, Genesis and Invisible Touch, are not the same albums sonically. Hugh Padgham was a major force in the eighties, steering bands like Genesis and The Police to a very slick radio-friendly sound. It certainly helped them compete with the eighties sound at the time, but there were sacrifices made to the arrangements to get them there. For those addicted to Hugh's production work, stick with the original CD releases. They don't sound horrible, and maintain the context in which the albums were originally released.
However, if you want to hear some revelations, snag this up.
First off, both Genesis and Invisible Touch are now missing Hugh's almost Phil Spectorish wall of sound. The heavy heavy reverb has been toned down a lot, allowing for a greater clarity of sound and much more delicacy than I thought existed in the material. Some will argue that this deprives the music of some of the power, but I don't think so. I would compare the new mixes to the Naked versions of The Beatles' Let It Be. Hugh was great at providing all sorts of tricks in the studio, but again, at the expense of the original sound. Here, Nick has remixed the tracks with what sounds to me to be a more faithful rendition of the Genesis sound. Some songs will sound different, and I'll admit that Hugh's bag of tricks really worked for Silver Rainbow amongst others, but I can't help but feel that the new mixes are more honest to the original concepts. The ONLY quibble I have is that the harmonic keyboard part at the end of The Brazilian seems to have been mixed out, which part used to send chills down my spine everytime it came up. No idea why it was done that way.
And, in fact, there are sections where Tony Banks' keyboards seem to have been mixed way down from the originals. Interesting, since Tony was the only member to be hands on in the studio during the remixes. This does have the added touch of increasing the presence of the other instruments, and makes them sound more balanced in terms of musical interplay. I was a bit put off the first few listens, as I'm a keyboard man myself and consider Tony Banks to be one of the few real rock keyboard gods, and miss hearing them mixed as powerfully as they were. But the end result is that the albums sound way more like real Genesis instead of being tinkered to compete with other MTV fare at the time.
Genesis was the album that broke them through to the other side, but certainly isn't representive to me as a definitive Genesis album. The entire first side, Mama, That's All and Home By The Sea are about as good as they gave during the last phase of their career, and it still stuns. The second side contains some real throwaways like Taking It All Too Hard and Just A Job To Do; they're fun, but there's no depth to them. And Illegal Alien still rubs me the wrong way. Part attempt to be sympathetic, whilst at the same time making fun of Mexicans in an offensive manner, just doesn't work for me. But the same can not be said for Silver Rainbow, one of the more inspired songs from this era, and woefully underappreciated both musically and lyrically, and It's Gonna Get Better is just a beautiful song and a perfect closer. The long version is not included here, one of the very few drawbacks to the set.
Invisible Touch is an even odder album, part slick pop arrangements and stunning musical suites. The title track, Anything She Does, In Too Deep and Throwing It All Away are the more disposable pieces, not much depth and seem to have been written with track charting in mind (although the band still denies this approach). But the difference between these four tracks and the rest of the album cannot be overstated. Tonight Tonight Tonight is a powerful track defining the mentality of an addict, which I did not get until hearing it in the context of a really bad breakup for me. It's one of the best things they did, and it's a shame that a full live version of this track is still not forthcoming (Phil singing the middle section live must be heard to be believed, it's so powerful). Land Of Confusion is a wonderfully jaunty "protest" song written by Mike. Domino is where they cut loose with ten minutes of progressive song writing and some truly bizarre lyrics. And The Brazilian is one of the best instrumentals done of all time by anyone. Perfect in its concept and execution, and another great album closer.
We Can't Dance, oddly, sounds a lot more present to me than the original release. I still hate Hold On My Heart, but there are gems on the album that were difficult to notice because of the generic bland original mix. The new mix has a lot more pop to it without interfering with the arrangements themselves. It just sounds more THERE than it has before. Most of the hits were placed near the beginning of the album (I Can't Dance, No Son Of Mine, Jesus He Knows Me), and they are what they are, they're okay. But they're no patch on Driving The Last Spike, Dreaming While You Sleep, The Way Of The World, Living Forever and the (again) perfect album closer Fading Lights. Again, there's a huge difference in attitude between these and other such dreck like Hold On My Heart. Since I Lost You is sincere, but is just bland, and Tell Me Why just doesn't work. But since the album was way overlong to begin with, you can remove the tracks that don't work and you still have a standard-length album that is filled with nothing but great stuff.
Calling All Stations was, and still is, woefully underappreciated. Ray Wilson did an admirable job coming in and interpreting the material already written, and while Nir Zidkyahu isn't Phil, his drumming is impressive and works really well with Tony's sense of syncopation in a lot of the same ways Phil's did. I will always ache at the thought of a second album done with these guys; no doubt it would have been a far more integrated sound than what we get here, but the album is still very very good; I like it far better than We Can't Dance. The sound went back to epic riffs and thought-provoking lyrics instead of Dance's bland keyboard wash and Phil's constant obsession with romantic lyrics (i.e. the next hit). Calling All Stations, Congo, Alien Afternoon, Not About Us, The Dividing Line, There Must Be Some Other Way and One Man's Fool are all superb pieces, and if you're going to focus on Phil's absence, you are doing so at the expense of enjoying one of the better Genesis albums. Take it for what it's worth, and it IS worth quite a lot.
The B-Sides disc is not complete, another flaw, but honestly, the B-sides not included from the Calling All Stations album are not anywhere as good as the rest of this stuff (with the possible exception of Papa He Said). On The Shoreline is a ripper, and this and Hearts On Fire could easily have replaced some of the sappier unnecessary tracks on We Can't Dance. Do The Neurotic is the real leftover gem from Invisible Touch (Tony said that this was sacrificed in favor of The Brazilian, but I would have loved to have had both on the album). I'd Rather Be You and Feeding The Fire are also both strong songs that could have provided a stronger impression than In Too Deep and Throwing It All Away (which sound more like solo Phil than Genesis). And finally, you get three tracks leftover from Calling All Stations that just reiterate how strong the last studio sessions were.
The extras are a kick in the pants; the interviews are great insights into the albums and the musicians' state of mind in retrospect, as is the lengthy in-the-studio reveal for We Can't Dance, done at the time the album was being produced. The added concert footage is not complete, but very good nonetheless. The 5.1 remixes are also done reverentially and with great skill, and help open up the sound if you've got the time and focus to just immerse yourself in hearing the albums this way.
Nice job all around. And, as time goes by, I find myself more drawn towards the new interpretations of Genesis and Invisible Touch than the originals. It does take some getting used to, but it's worth it to hear them play the albums as a band.
In this case, there are at least 2 songs missing, "Phret" and "7/8". They were 2 instrumental tracks found on the Shipwrecked CD No.2 and are both worth having. There are also live acoustic tracks not found on this set as well. No Son of Mine, Lovers Leap (from Suppers Ready), and Turn it on Again were released on Shipwrecked No.1 and are not found here anywhere.
Nowhere here does it mention the longer version of It's Gonna Get Better which includes a whole other verse. That's on the Mama CD which has 3 tracks on the 5 inch CD and 2 tracks on the 3 inch CD. On the 5 inch CD it has a longer version of Mama as well.
Papa He Said and Banjo Man are studio tracks released on Congo CD No.1. The Dividing Line has a live version from Cape Canaveral of Turn it On Again (same recording actually as on Shipwrecked No.1) when they announced the new line-up with Ray Wilson and the new tour to follow, (which never did).
Dancing with the Moonlit Knight (live) can be found on Not About Us No.2 with Ray Wilson singing lead. I think they didn't want to over do Ray Wilson's lead vocals on this set. Personally, I think he sounded very much more like Gabriel than Collins did. This same CD also covers live Follow You Follow Me and Not About Us. You won't find these tracks anywhere near this set or the Genesis Archives set. They do however, place the studio recordings of Anything Now, Sign Your Life Away and Run Out Of Time from the Not About Us CD No.1 on this set.
I am not complaining as they did a great job cleaning up tracks on the first set released. The DVDs are a nice addition as are the corresponding videos (which are already on the Genesis Collection of videos). Having the rare video stuff though is great fun. The 5.1 mixes are oustanding, so I expect this new set to match the first set's exquisite sound quality. My complaint is how they say it's complete but it isn't really complete.
Then again, why am I complaining? I already have these tracks! It's really more of a warning to those who are thinking they are getting everything buying these sets. You virtually are getting everything, but you aren't actually getting everything. Maybe some would say, you are getting everything that matters? I just would like completeness for completeness' sake.
Overall though, this set is a great collection of music and it won't disappoint! Really, it won't. The essential tracks are here anyway and only a couple rare tracks are missing. And they aren't the most amazing things you ever heard or anything, they are just a few more tracks recorded by Genesis in some form or another.
Now, we all can buy this set and get ready for their next set which carries remixes of their first set of albums with lead singer Peter Gabriel. That certainly won't disappoint, unless they forget a few tracks there as well. The disappointment will be limited though just as it is here.
This box set covers the band's 1983 to 1997 LP's, plus one additional disc of non-album/B-side tracks. Contained within each album is an additional DVD, where nearly every band member talks about their triumphs -- and lows -- into making each album very grandiose and spectacular. In the 1970's, Genesis were much more progressive rock and theatrical. After Peter Gabriel was gone, Phil Collins took over as both the front person and drummer extraordinaire. Furthermore, there was a vast sea change concerning Genesis' overall sound -- both lyrically and sonically.
By 1981, Phil would launch his own solo career with his mega smashes -- "In The Air Tonight", "I Don't Care Anymore", "You Can't Hurry Love", and "Sussudio." His own sound was different: much more Motown, pop sheen, darker storytelling, plus some straight ahead rock (in the latter vein of Stevie Nicks, no less). In 1983, Genesis completely revamped their sound and went more mainstream.
Their 1983 self-titled LP proved just how much muscle they had gained -- and what a tour de force they were! In fact, this album alone is worth listening to -- front to back -- because, melodically, it's just so completely diverse. For example, take the opener "Mama": Phil is angry, vein-popping, and defiant. But, on the flip side, his voice is much softer on the mega smash "That's All." (Great guitar solo outro by Mike Rutherford!!)
Then there's the coupling of "Home By The Sea/Second Home By The Sea", which the lyrics remind me SO much of that Eagles song "Hotel California" -- i.e. you can enter, but you can never, EVER leave!! "Illegal Alien" is one of the band's more fun and less serious songs to enjoy. "Taking It All Too Hard" and "It's Gonna Get Better" teeter on balladry but were also surefire hits to hardcore Genesis fans.
In 1986, the next LP was "Invisible Touch." This is where I honestly first heard of the band -- i.e. when I was just 10 years old. I remember hearing the album on both cassette tape and vinyl. The title track and "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" both showcase Phil Collins' immense talent with his drums/drum programming. "Land Of Confusion" was another mega smash/mega win for Genesis (however, I prefer the MUCH superior live version from 2007's "Live In Europe"), and the accompanying video showed their dark, political, yet humorous side with clay puppets (and naturally, who would've thought of such a brilliant, yet political concept -- except Genesis themselves??). Oh Superman, where IS he now, folks??
"In Too Deep" and "Throwing It All Away" were among the other mega hits on the "Invisible Touch" album. But the coup de grace goes to my 2 personal favorites: the much faster "Anything She Does" (AWESOME keyboard work by Tony Banks!!), and the 10 minute medley of "Domino/In The Glow Of The Night." The album closer is entirely instrumental and brings out Mike Rutherford's darker, angrier, and moodier electric guitar side of things. :)
It would be a 5 year hiatus before Genesis regrouped with 1991's "We Can't Dance." They matured very gracefully, and hits kept on piling up: "I Can't Dance", "Never A Time", "Hold On My Heart", and my very favorite fast song, "Jesus He Knows Me." And of course, what Genesis record would be complete without another 10 minute dark, storytelling opus: "Driving The Last Spike", where Phil Collins sings about slavery. But the big shocker is the angry "No Son Of Mine", where a son rebels against his argumentative parents by running away. However, when he comes back to try and settle things with his father, he quickly disowns his son by throwing him away like yesterday's trash. OUCH!! :( Finally, Phil tackles war and famine on "Tell Me Why."
During the 1990's, Phil's solo career stayed well intact, and he continued to branch out even further on his musical talents. On 1993's "Both Sides Of The Story", Phil completely performed every single instrument on his own, which was quite a vast and demanding undertaking -- but it still paid off. However, he seemed rather tired of juggling between both his solo career and the band's, so he eventually left.
But Tony and Mike soon found a replacement for him -- Ray Wilson. Ray's voice was just as strong and terrifying as Phil's was, and he showcased it rather well on the title track, "Calling All Stations"; he seems to reflect on his overall life and why it is going so sour, resulting in not getting everything that he wants. The other minor hits from the 1997 LP were "Congo" and "Not About Us." But the album didn't quite get the same respect as it should have, and the band eventually disbanded shortly after.
I would like to especially note 3 of the non-album tracks that I really enjoyed: the very fast instrumental "Do The Neurotic", the bouncy, catchy "I'd Rather Be You", and the powerful, forceful Ray Wilson-led "Anything Now".
Sadly, Phil's own career slowed down in the 2000's, and his last recording was 2010's "Going Back." It hearkens back to the Motown era, but his ailing health took a huge toll on his drumming, and he could no longer perform the way that he once did. But Peter, Phil, Mike, Tony and even Ray continue to hold such a wonderful, long-lasting legacy for the 4 decades that Genesis existed. This box set is a real treat for fellow music fans. :)
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