Seconds Out


Atlantic, 1976

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


A live album is supposed to offer something new to familiar songs. Longer solos, different structure, more power, a stripped-down approach -- all are hallmarks of truly great live albums. Unfortunately, this is not one of them.

The songs represented are mostly from A Trick Of The Tail, with only one is taken from the album this set is in support of, Wind & Wuthering, and a few others taken from the band's back catalog. Two new musicians fill in on guitar and drums to help out Steve Hackett and replace Phil Collins, respectively, since Collins was now the band's singer.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The songs are performed well, though without the muscle of Genesis Live or the theatrics that Peter Gabriel brought. But since Genesis preferred to perform the songs mostly as written (as they were songwriters first and performers second), there is little here that adds anything to the superior studio versions. 

There is really no need to hear these takes on "Squonk," "Robbery, Assault and Battery," "Los Endos" and "Dance on a Volcano." "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" and "The Carpet Crawl(ers)" are also here; only the latter is equal to the original. Also, although it marked the first time the song was put on a legitimate live offering, "Supper's Ready" is a fairly standard rendition of a fan favorite, with not much new to offer.

There are a few spots on the album where Collins sounds lost, and a few where he really shines through, such as "Carpet Crawl" and "Firth of Fifth." And although "Fifth" and "Cinema Show" lose some of their power when done live, they are still two of the best and most emotional songs in the Genesis catalog and warrant listening.

A few surprises pop up here and there, such as a drum duet between Collins and Chester Thompson at the beginning of "Los Endos" and a really cool version of "I Know What I Like," with a drawn-out middle incorporating parts of "Stagnation" from 1970's Trespass, an album Collins didn't even appear on. Oddly, the closing section of "The Musical Box" is here, but it fails to hold a candle to the Genesis Live, where did the rest of the song go?

Again, Seconds Out isn't bad, but it clearly showed the end of an era for a progressive band that had just lost a lead singer and was about to lose Steve Hackett before turning pop. It marks the end of an era but is hardly essential listening except for fans.

Rating: B-

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