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Music DVD Review: Genesis – When In Rome 2007

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Back in 2005 rumors began spreading of a possible Genesis reunion featuring the quintessential lineup of Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, and Phil Collins. The band members discussed performing The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway live for a limited run of shows that would be recorded and filmed. Could it finally happen?

Unfortunately this reunion never came to fruition, but instead the …And Then There Were Three lineup of Collins, Rutherford, and Banks, along with long time touring members Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson, came together for the first time in 15-years to embark on what was billed as the Turn It On Again World Tour of 2007.

When In Rome was filmed on July 14, 2007 during a free open-air concert at Rome's Circo Massimo, before an enormous crowd of nearly 500,000 people. I think it is safe to say that the Genesis fan base remains firmly in tact – no matter what lineup they are presenting. I never thought that Genesis would be able to one-up the elaborate stage show that they rolled out during their 1992 We Can't Dance Tour, which was so eloquently captured on their The Way We Walk concert DVD, but they did – and then some.

The concert kicks off in fine fashion with "Duke's Intro," a combination of "Behind The Lines" and "Duke's End." This strong opening number immediately gives you hope that this would not just be another Invisible Touch/We Can't Dance love affair like the last one was, although they were still heavily favored. "Turn It On Again," another Duke standout, follows the ambitious opener, and then Collins takes a few minutes to address the crowd – in Italian. Reading from some notes he had written down and rehearsed, Collins comes off as charming the first time around, but it soon turns annoying the next few times he bogs down the proceedings with his butchered Italian.

The stage setup for this tour was monstrous to say the least. The band is surrounded by a massive 210 foot wide curved video backdrop that provides animation and graphics throughout the show. The shape of the stage is kind of odd looking, it reminded me of a giant sperm whale, but it works well once you see the whole affect. Numerous lighting towers are strategically placed all over the stage, and they offer up one of the brightest and most colorful light shows I have ever witnessed.

This getup alone would make most other band's jealous, but also positioned behind the stage are several more lighting towers that dwarf the ones on stage by a magnitude of about five. It made Pink Floyd's Pulse tour look small in scale. One of the most impressive parts of the show came early on when they played the Peter Gabriel era classic "In The Cage," which also featured excerpts of "Cinema Show" and "Duke's Travels." It sounded so good that I actually got a little choked up with emotion. The 30 foot tall, 3-D man running at you on the screen, and then exploding out of the cage, looked pretty damn cool too.

Other than the "Cage" medley, the musical highlight of the show for me had to be the chill inducing performance of "Afterglow," from the bands overlooked Wind and Wuthering album. I have read many complaints about Phil Collins diminished vocal abilities, and the fact that some of the songs had to be played in a lower key to compensate – he even jokes about it during one of the extra features called "Bring the pitch down like Elton," but this performance certainly proves that he can still be an amazing vocalist. He sings his ass off on this one.

Whether you are a fan of the Peter Gabriel era of Genesis, the post-Gabriel era, or both eras, like myself, this setlist should satisfy all customers. You've got some really great older stuff, such as "I Know What I Like," "Firth Of Fifth," and "Carpet Crawlers," some excellent mid-period cuts, like "Los Endos," "Ripples," "Follow You Follow Me," and all of the Duke stuff, along with the best of the later stuff, like "Home By The Sea," "Mama," and "No Son Of Mine." My biggest complaint is that there was nothing from Abacab played, which is the album that first got me into the band during my high school years.

The production quality of this DVD was remarkable, especially the audio mixes. Included are DTS 5.1 surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, and Dolby stereo. Both of the 5.1 surround mixes sounded extraordinary, with hardly a difference between the two. The bass was booming, the instruments were clearly defined, and the live concert experience was presented wonderfully via the rear surrounds.

The widescreen video presentation looked suburb, and showed only a hint of softness during some of the long shots. Legendary music video director David Mallet does a excellent job at presenting the immense scope of this concert, while also capturing the wonderful intimacy of some of the performances.

Special features include the fascinating two-hour documentary, "Come Rain Or Shine," which takes you behind-the-scenes during the months leading up to the tour, starting with the initial rehearsals in 2006, and on up to the opening night in Helsinki, Finland. Several short behind-the-scenes video clips are also included, which can be accessed via your remote control at the beginning of each song performance. A tour program gallery, photo gallery, and some deleted scenes are also included.

When In Rome certainly presents a much more satisfying setlist than The Way We Walk DVD did. It was nice to see the guys finally embracing more of their older material this time around. The DVD is sold exclusively at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club at a very reasonable price.

01. Duke's Intro
02. Turn It On Again
03. No Son Of Mine
04. Land Of Confusion
05. In The Cage (including excerpts from In The Cage, Cinema Show and Duke's
Travels)
06. Afterglow
07. Hold On My Heart
08. Home By The Sea
09. Follow You Follow Me
10. Firth Of Fifth (excerpt)
11. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
12. Mama
13. Ripples
14. Throwing It All Away
15. Domino
16. Conversations With 2 Stools
17. Los Endos
18. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight (excerpt)
19. Invisible Touch
20. I Can't Dance
21. Carpet Crawlers

Ratings:
Performance 9/10
Production 10/10

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About Paul Roy

  • http://www.kitotoole.com Kit O’Toole

    I’m glad to see that Genesis played some of the older stuff instead of simply the hits. I too liked the “Abacab” album, and don’t know why they tend to ignore it in concerts. However, they did play some “Abacab” stuff on their early 80s album “Three Sides Live,” which I believe is now out of print. That should be remastered and reissued.

  • Paul Roy

    Kit, I didn’t realize the remastered version of Three Sides Live was out of print. I picked up my copy back in the 90’s.

  • Adrian from Argentina

    I had the great luck to see this terrific band playing in Washington DC during this last tour, and let me tell you it was the best concert I ever seemed.
    This DVD really captures this feeling. The video quality is amazing, since it was filmed in HD. The sound is another fantastic chapter in this production. It will blown your home theater away!!
    Don’t miss to have it in your collection. It’s a real gem.

  • Darek Haupt

    I saw this concert today on the Palladia HD channel ( #209 comcast ) I am a long time Genesis fan who was lucky enough to see the “Lamb lies down ” in NYC in 1971. With all the new audio and video technology, when I saw the concert listed as airing in 10 minutes, I could not wait. I have every Genesis, Gabriel, Rutherford CD in existence. I was very emotional during “the Cage” when Phil and Chester, two of the best drummers on the planet, played together so in sync that was insane. I will cherish ownership of this DVD.If you are fortunate to have an awesome 5.1 system, you will be blown away. TURN IT UP!