Review Summary: Despite Gabriel's absence, Seconds Out is an essential Genesis live album, showcasing their classic sound to a full.Seconds Out
was the second official Genesis live album to be released, with only Genesis Live
(1973) before it, which featured their classic line up with Peter Gabriel on vocals. That first live release was very well acclaimed by the critics, and the already gorgeous but short set list was enhanced by a stunning version of 'The Knife'
with maestro Phil Collins on drums (who joined Genesis only after their second album Trespass
). The double album Seconds Out
, released four years later in 1977, is a good mixture of old and (at the time) new, and sounds powerful and energetic. It is Genesis captured at their very best. The sound produced by the band here was both explosive and extremely tight. It has the ability to engage every sense of your listening ability as this Genesis sound is incredibly complex and also superbly orchestrated. Seconds Out is both covering some 'classic line-up era's and their second period as a quartet, consisting of members drummer Phil Collins, bassist Mike Rutherford , keyboardist Tony Banks and guitarist Steve Hackett, who joined the band for album Nursery Cryme
(1971). That era only contains two albums (A Trick of the Tail
and Wind & Wuthering
), following the departure of Gabriel. On these albums, Genesis still continued their classic sound, while later Collins would take over the wheel and steer them in a pop rock direction.
Genesis’ popularity was on the rise in 1977. They played in bigger arenas, their album sales were up, and the band was playing at a very high level. This was the beginning of Collins now-well-known path between drum stool and front centre stage...Two guest drummers were therefore brought in to fill in for Collins while he was out front (one of them being ex-Yes
and King Crimson
drummer Bill Bruford, and Chester Thompson who became their official tour drummer). This offered an excellent opportunity for some interplay between the drummers during instrumental passages, which is exploited to superb effect. These performances feature some of the best drumming ever heard on a progressive album, live or otherwise. Gabriel's fans surely missed his charisma, his theatrical vocals and costumes, but Collins is himself most of the time, doing some theatrical vocals in his own style when the music really needed it.
Collins’ vocals are spot on, and both guest drummers are a very worthy replacement on the drums. Vocally, Collins sounds more soulful and less strained than Gabriel. He managed to make Gabriel’s songs his own, and in many ways, he outdoes Peter's performances. This is especially true in song "I Know What I Like"
, which easily sounds like it would have fit comfortably on A Trick Of The Tail
or Wind & Wuthering
. Critics actually noted that Collins ‘sounded more like Gabriel than Gabriel did’, although the poppy style he became known with is already hinted at. As for the drumming, there is plenty of genuine energy and flourish throughout, a good balance of power and delicacy, as prog rock drumming ought to be. The inclusion of extra percussion adds a lot more to the Genesis sound. Banks' keyboards are excellent and Seconds Out
is really the last Genesis album that really let's him showcase his actual talent, combining complex key work and providing ample orchestration. The virtuoso solos by Banks and Hackett are extremely well executed, and Rutherford plays both guitar and bass with a double-necked. He makes the floor shake throughout the album with his deep bass vibes.
In both aformentioned albums, Banks kept on using the mellotron for a great deal, while the rhythm department was still doing well in intricate, attractive structures. Hackett's extraordinary playing and his ability to add different moods and textures to the Genesis tapestry really shines on Seconds Out
, and he kept on displaying his very unique sound, sometimes in a challenging, daring way, and mostly getting seductive, melodic and offering incredible quality solos. "Firth of Fifth"
for instance (arguably the best guitar part in prog ever), loses none of its magic, although the intro piano part being cut in concert is one major disappointment. The real highlight which makes the album truly essential appears only at the end; set closer ''Dance On A Volcano/Drum Duet/Los Endos''
, which is nothing short of fantastic; It's worth the price of admission on its own.
After Peter Gabriel, Hackett was the second classic Genesis member to leave. He became sick and tired of the band by this time, and was also the first member of the band to record a solo album (Voyage to the Acolyte, 1975, wich started his solo career), even before Gabriel (1977). Hackett had wanted to include a quarter of his own work on Wind & Wuthering, which Collins described as a dumb way to work in a band context. This brought some tension within the band, and it's the reason why the songs under Hackett's credits were sadly not played on Seconds Out
, or in any of their others live albums to come. When Hackett left Genesis, some magic left with him. He left the band while his fellow members were in the studio mixing together Seconds Out
. As a result, Genesis’ next studio album was called ...And Then There Were Three
has a fantastic production, and is considered to be the best live released by the band. It sounds loud, powerful and energetic, exactly the way a live release should sound. The album gets the tough task in Genesis’ discography to introduce a new turn in the band’s development, creating the link between their time as a quartet and the trio they became. A Genesis concert was a powerful thing of beauty and awe in the 70’s, and this release stands out, because it shows how the band unleashed all their enthusiasm and energy to compensate for the loss of Peter Gabriel.
The Carpet Crawlers
Firth of Fifth
I Know What I like
The Cinema Show
Dance on a Volcano