Review Summary: imperfect but crucial for fans
I'll give them 5 stars for finally releasing this material, but there are some flaws with this collection that bump it down to a 4.5 rating.
On the plus side:
Prior to this release, the only official live set from the Gabriel-era Genesis was "Genesis Live", a 1 LP album covering material up to "Foxtrot". The glaring omission was "Supper's Ready". Fans like myself, who consider the stuff with Gabriel to be infinitely superior, had to settle for "Seconds Out" (more like "Sloppy Seconds"), with Phil Collins singing the vocals. Phil Collins did a mostly decent job at covering them, but it wasn't the real deal! This box set corrects this.
The performances are all very good, and they include some of Peter Gabriel's stories in between. There is no repetition with "Genesis Live", so they are very complementary and fans will want both.
The collection includes two songs previously not on any album, "Twilight Alehouse" and "Happy the Man". "Happy the Man" doesn't thrill me, but "Twilight Alehouse" is great, and apparently an early concert favorite.
On the minus side:
Disk 4 is mostly material dating from before "Trespass", before Genesis really found their "classic" style. I am not a fan of their first album "From Genesis to Revelations". To me this CD is of interest only as a curiosity. It is very interesting, for instance, that Peter Gabriel already had that distinctive raspy quality to his voice in 1967, when he was 17 years old! Some of the material is decent, some is rather weak. Still, I won't be playing this disk very often.
Another partial downer is that Gabriel and Hackett re-recorded some of their parts on the live "Lamb..." on the first two disks. In some spots it's quite obvious because, as with any singer, Peter Gabriel's voice changed in the 23 years since. Still this is nitpicking really. It's great to have the complete live performance.
One further bit of nitpicking on the choice of material. I really don't mean to bash on Phil Collins, but do we really need a live version of "More Fool Me"? This song really was filler material. Meanwhile two glaring omissions from the collection are "Cinema Show", and especially "Fountain of Salmacis".
Despite some imperfections, serious fans of the "real" Genesis need this collection. Neophytes should get the 4 classic studio albums, "Nursery Cryme", "Foxtrot", "Selling England by the Pound", and "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" first, and then get this box set plus "Genesis Live". After that they should also get "Trespass" and "Trick of the Tale", which are not as good, but still very worthwhile. Skip the rest, in my (perhaps not so) humble opinion.
One complaint I have is that the booklet, while it has great photos and is fun to read, is very flimsy and is begining to fall apart after one reading. Boo!