DVD review: GENESIS – Three Sides Live

Genesis - Three Sides Live DVD

Eagle Rock [Release date 03.11.14]

Appallingly imbalanced as the recent BBC documentary was, it did reveal one thing – that Genesis weren’t a band of happy campers – more a group of individuals where individual expression and experimentation was suppressed by megalomanic dictatorship within the ranks.  The lingering resentment is still visible and it’s quite remarkable how together, and individually, that they created such a sustained canon of work.  But then perhaps those inner tensions were the fuel for their combined creative force.

With a DVD release imminent (although I’m not sure who’d want to buy it) and the 3 CD R-Kive box set (good value at the price) on the shelves for the Christmas market you wonder who’s behind the latest marketing strategy.  Yes, the stock markets may be on the verge of freefall, but can the band members really be this desperate to prop up their pension funds?

The release of this 3 Sides Live DVD is another case in point.  The album – a live double with side 4 originally comprising of studio work – was a big seller back in 1982 with the complementary VHS released concert film catching the band primarily on the 1981 North American leg of their Ababcab tour.  Majoring on material from that album and Duke, it captured the band in their transition from prog to pop and up until now hasn’t been available on dvd other than as part of the 2009 limited edition Movie Box.

Good/ great as the performance is, and despite the claims that the 16mm footage has been ‘fully restored’, it’s an opportunity missed.  The major flaw in the original release was the decision to disrupt the ‘flow’ of the concert footage by interspersing behind the scenes footage and interviews between each track.  Now that may be just about OK for a singular watch, but is completely spoils regular re-watching.

With today’s technology it would have been nice to have the option to play the concert footage unbroken.  But no, and as a ‘bonus’ you get ‘audio only’ full-length versions of seven tracks including 4 not included on the film.

But unless you’re a 5.1 buff, I’m not sure of the point of the inclusion of audio only content – could they not have thrown a few extra quid at it and included the audio only content on CD, or at the very least provided some sort of complementary visuals?

In summary, great band, great tour, flawed product.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

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