The newly remastered edition of Three Sides Live marks the Blu-ray debut of the concert film by the band Genesis. The shows were recorded in November 1981, while they were touring behind the Abacab album. Three Sides Live was issued on VHS many years ago, but the DVD was previously only available as part of the limited edition The Movie Box 1981-2007. For the Eagle Rock Blu-ray and DVD release, the original 16 mm footage has been fully restored, and looks fantastic.
This was an interesting time for Genesis, as they were transitioning from their progressive rock beginnings to the chart-topping pop group they would soon become. Actually the band were already leaning heavily in the pop direction, as the majority of the 14 songs are from Abacab and the previous Duke. In fact, the first three tracks are from Duke, “Behind the Lines,” “Duchess,” and “Misunderstanding.”
Next up are four songs from the then-new Abacab LP, “Dodo/Lurker,” “Abacab,” “No Reply at All,” and “Who Dunnit?” These are all great songs, and it is a little hard to believe we are already at the mid-point of the concert. But we are, and the band acknowledge their earlier years with Peter Gabriel with a three-song medley of “In the Cage,“ “The Cinema Show,“ and “The Colony of Slippermen.“ This is the high point of the concert for me, especially with the use of the Seconds Out lighting during “In the Cage.“ Older fans will also appreciate the band’s next song, “Afterglow” from Wind & Wuthering.
Many have speculated that “Me & Sarah Jane” is a reference to Doctor Who, as Sarah Jane was a very famous companion of the iconic doctor. Regardless, it is a marvelous tune from Abacab, and is followed by “Man on the Corner,” and finally “Turn It on Again.”
Three Sides Live uses interview segments between songs as “bumpers,” of which the most interesting is a radio interview with Phil Collins on the New York station WMMR. In one piece, Collins is asked by a caller whether he thinks the band will ever work with Gabriel again. Collins gives the usual “No bad blood” reply, but I found it interesting that the group chose to use this little segment as an introduction to “No Reply at All.”
The bonus material consists of seven audio-only songs, also recorded live. Of the seven, three were not played in the film: “One for the Vine,” “Fountain of Salmacis,” and “Follow You, Follow Me.” As mentioned earlier, this Eagle Rock Blu-ray is the first appearance of Three Sides Live on the format. It is also the first time the set has been widely available in years. The original release was in 1982, at the dawn of the home video revolution, and it appeared in both VHS and Betamax versions.
It is certainly a tribute to this band that well over 30 years after these performances, everything holds up as well as it does. With Invisible Touch in 1986, Genesis became one of the biggest bands in the world. Three Sides Live captures them on their way to superstardom, but as fans of the band know, it is the journey that has made Genesis so interesting for so many years. This Blu-ray provides an excellent opportunity to catch them on their way.
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