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Genesis Songbook

Review by James Anthony


Click here for DVD details at a glance

In high school there was always a double split in music arguments between disco-boogiers, heavy metal fans and those of us who liked high-brow arty rock.

The first mob were ignored as ignoramuses (and lacking any musical taste whatsoever) while the second lot we could semi agree with on Deep Purple and Led Zepplin.

Within the arty school there was also a semi-split between Yes and the most-excellent Genesis. When the word split is used it was more a solo protest - Genesis having only one vocal supporter (me).

The love affair with Genesis began with Trick of the Tail, moved on to Wind and Wuthering and then backwards to pick up the old anthology of albums (ancient word for CDs). God knows how many hours were spent listening to the group.

Watching Genesis Songbook on DVD brought the memories flooding back. The early days with Peter Gabriel and his theatrical poetic style, moving on to the Phil Collins era, then post Steve Hackett, then post Phil Collins.

The 100-minute documentary is a really good mixture of old footage from concerts and recent interviews with the main band members, management and fans.

Despite being a very close group of musicians who would usually write their songs together, or incorporate small pieces of each others' music into long lyrical album tracks, Genesis did have the occasional internal flare up.

Genesis Songbook doesn't avoid the issues - like Peter Gabriel wanting to be the only lyrics writer - and the interviews with both he and the band members are matter of fact and without rancour.

Lead guitar man Steve Hackett also left the band after a couple of excellent albums without Gabriel, because he felt the group was moving away from it romantic music style into a more commercial vein.

The rise of Phil Collins, the drummer with the band, into its lead singer is covered well as are the most recent albums, which provided the group with a succession of big hits in America.

Collins is good to hear interviewed, as are Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks. Both of the latter have delightful public-school accents.

If there is a moan it would be about the fact you are tantalised with small offerings of their songs, but you don't get to see the full thing. All I can do is hope that somewhere over the horizon a Genesis concert will get the DVD treatment. "I Know What I Like and I Like What I Know....."

While Songbook is a must for Genesis fans, it will interest anyone with a serious taste for rock music.

Rating: 85%

Continued: DVD details at a glance >

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