January 3rd, 2006
To start off the new year, I’m posting a show by one of my favorite bands of all-time, Genesis. I’ve been a fan since 1982(ish) when I was a wee lad of 10 years and delving into my older brother’s tape collection. Truth be told, there were many tapes that I listened to quite a bit but there was one that really caught my attention. On one side there was an odd mixture of songs from Blackout by The Scorpions and Freeze Frame by the J. Geils Band. On the other was the then most-recent effort by Genesis, Abacab. It’s hard to explain what it was about that album that caught my ears but I can tell you that I played it so much that I ruined the tape. It wasn’t a cheapie bit of media; it was a TDK SA90 – chromium dioxide. Those were the days when I was a latchkey kid and no one was around for a good hour or more when I got home from school so I had time to crank up music on my dad’s rather nice stereo system. One day I got home, threw the tape in, and found, much to my dismay that there was a whole chunk in the middle of it that was fucked up. The music from the other side of the tape was barely audible in a muffled haze of hiss. Somehow the music swapped sides. Looking back, I suspect that, since my dad played mostly vinyl, the heads of the tape deck had become magnatized from my constant use and that this was responsible for the anomaly.
Time wore on and the band’s album Genesis was released. “Mama” and “That’s All” were on the radio so I recorded them with a cheapie tape recorder. Then in 1984, one of the radio stations in Chicago (which I was still living in) started promoting a multi-hour Genesis retrospective. Upon hearing the first promo for it, I secured a few tapes and the use of my brother’s boom box for that night. I remember very well lying in my bed next to the radio recording it – being careful to edit out the commercials and not lose a nanosecond of the show. It was really neat to learn the history of the band and hear an endless barage of songs that were completely unfamiliar to me. Outside, the sun had almost set when I had my eureka moment. The program had just described Peter Gabriel’s departure from the band and how Phil Collins became lead singer when “Squonk” started playing. BAM! It hit me like a ton of bricks. The bluesy guitar, the drum fills which took the song through its twists and turns – the song was just so fucking cool that I knew what my purpose in life was. I just *had* to get my mom to take me to the Rolling Stone record store at the Harlem-Irving Plaza so I could get every single album by the band. It was imperative – no matter how many lawns I had to mow or how much I had to beg. In all seriousness, it was like a junkie going through withdrawl. I HAD to have more!
I eventually did make my way to Rolling Stone and got the album with “Squonk” – A Trick of the Tail – and listened to the record constantly. The seventh grade rolled around and I befriended one of my new classmates, Pete. He was addicted to music as well but was into Dire Straits, ZZ Top, et al. One day we arranged a trade. I got Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits and lent him A Trick of the Tail. Handing him the record, I told him, “Just sit down and listen to this. It will blow your mind!”
The weekend came and went and on Monday morning I asked Pete what he thought of it. He couldn’t contain himself as he ranted and raved about how much he loved it. From then on, he became my partner in crime and we spent countless hours collecting the entire Genesis catalogue and listening to their music. Going to the record store was like a pilgrimage. We’d return to his house, lock ourselves in his room, and listen to the record we’d just purchased in silent devotion. It was a liturgy.
With the every Genesis album to be had between us, we started delving into the solo albums of members past & present and, much to the chagrin of our wallets, to bootleg collecting. We’d hop on bus after bus to travel around town and hit various record stores that sold bootlegs. Up and down Clark Street we went. Out to Gurnee. To the Old Orchard Shopping Center which held record conventions. Just anywhere we could get our grubby little hands on Genesis shows. Plus we would each buy a copy of Goldmine magazine and scan the classifieds in the back for traders.
One of the first Genesis bootlegs we got was called Live From the Mouth of the Monster. Here’s the album cover:
It was recorded on 13 October 1978 at the Uptown Theater in our hometown of Chicago. The concert was broadcast on the radio by WXRT so the boot was of excellent quality. And it is this show that I’m featuring this week.
At this point in the band’s history, they were down to a trio with Peter Gabriel having left in 1975 and guitarist Steve Hackett the previous year.
Tony Banks – keyboards
Phil Collins – vocals, percussion
Mike Rutherford – bass, guitar
Chester Thompson had been recruited the previous year to man the drum stool for live performances freeing Collins to sing. Thompson had played with Frank Zappa and Weather Report, amongst others, before joining Genesis, and he added a certain swing to the music that was missing from the studio recordings. During instrumental passages, Collins would get behind the drums as well and this made for some powerful and dynamic performances. With guitarist Steve Hackett gone, the band needed someone to fill his shoes for concerts and Miilwaukee native Daryl Stuermer got the nod. He’d played with Jean-Luc Ponty, et al before being recruited by the band.
As I said above, this show is from 13 October 1978 when Genesis were out promoting their latest album, …and then there were three… with its hit single, “Follow You Follow Me”. They’d performed in Chicago once already that year towards the beginning of the tour on 6 April at the Chicago Stadium. This was where the Blackhawks (Chicago’s professional hockey team) played and the band was none too pleased with the sound there. And so they returned six months later to perform in a smaller, more cozy venue, the Uptown Theater.
I pulled this show from my collection (of a few hundred by the band) because I’ve been listening to …and then there were three… lately in addition to the high quality of the recording. (The band did play 3 nights in Milwaukee in 1978 but the lone recording from that stand is an audience recording.) I’ve posted about an hour’s worth of material here from the two and a half hour long show. I wanted to include a goodly amount from …and then there were three… and some choice older material. I have also included the introductions to the songs, one of which is very naughty and involves Romeo & Juliet at a drive-in movie theater…
Dancing With The Moonlit Knight/The Musical Box (Closing Section)
Deep In The Motherlode
The Lady Lies
The Cinema Show/…In That Quiet Earth