DVD review: GENESIS – Sum Of The Parts

Genesis - Sum Of The Parts

Eagle Vision [Release date: 17.11.14]

It’s difficult to know who this documentary was made for.  Early Genesis fans would feel short changed.  Later ones wouldn’t learn that much.  If you then factor in several lesser known talking heads and a miserable looking Tony Banks, what else is left?

It is well known that soon after the airing on prime-time BBC, Steve Hackett took to Twitter to denounce the production.  And rightly so.  No-one has done more for the early Genesis canon than Steve, and I’m not just talking about the last two years ‘Genesis Revisited/Extended’.  Throughout his career he has always paid homage to the early repertoire and done it full justice.

Of all the members, Tony Banks doesn’t come out well in this very poor overview.  When I interviewed Steve Hackett shortly before that TV broadcast he stated that Genesis was both competitive and that jealousy inevitably existed.  When the “famous five” got back together for this film, did anyone compliment Steve on his recent achievements – either on or off camera?  Er, no.

Now.  The talking heads.  I cannot understand why the film makers featured Angie Greaves, one time a DJ on Choice FM the UK’s first black music radio station in the 1990s when Genesis had their later run of hits.

Similarly, Kate Mossman from the New Statesman comes across as the female clone of David Fricke who crops up all too frequently in this sort of arena.  She was, nevertheless, not as convincing.  And, with great respect, who is Chris Roberts and Mark Billingham and what are their credentials?

All were pressed into action repeatedly, along with the pub landlord Al Murray for heaven’s sake, but there must have been more suitable (and recognisable) contributors?  (Bob Harris, biographers Alan Hewitt, Armando Gallo and Robin Platts, later vocalist Ray Wilson and where was Malcolm Dome, dammit?!).  And Jonathan King may have given the band their name and their first recording opportunity but the inclusion of this one-time jailed and fallen pop svengali was debatable to say the least.

This film offers no new insights, sidelines a crucial early band member who deserves better (and Anthony Phillips is only briefly seen and early drummers aren’t featured at all) and is therefore a missed opportunity.  The band members’ solo careers get a skirting mention (with nothing about Hackett or even Phillips who has had a respectable and productive solo career and is on the verge of extensive reissue)  Thirty minutes of “extra” footage fails to restore any balance.

You wonder why the BBC commissioned this, accepted it and, moreover, put it out on prime-time Saturday night TV.  It’s barely suitable for late-night BBC 4.  Given the investment of time for the “famous five” and the novelty of their reunion,  what a complete and utter waste of resources.  **

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

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