By the time 1973 roled around, Genesis had gained notoriety for being one of the wildest live acts around - not in the way artists like Alice Cooper or The Stooges were wild, with both fake and real self-mutilation, but wild in just how bizarre and "arty" they were - Peter Gabriel wore a dress, danced like a freaky animal, and the rest of the band just looked like strange British guys with long, girly hair, playing their instruments flawlessly, and more-or-less standing still while Gabriel was as flamboyant as Robin Hood.
So when Genesis Live
was released, the cult following the band was gaining had reason to be excited. The album features excellent recordings of five of the band's best songs, and it features all epics, and at that point, epics were what Genesis did best. The band is playing in their homeland of England, and they are in top form. These recordings have everything that make a live album special - there's a ton of energy, some of the songs sound even better than on the studio albums ("The Knife" comes to mind), and the music even reaches a point where it sounds raw
, which is not only a rarity for progressive rock, but an extreme rarity for prog live recordings. While many other bands of the time got very sloppy on stage, like ELP and sometimes even Led Zeppelin, Genesis was basically an artrock MC5 - they sounded powerful, they sounded aggressive (by prog standards), and they played the songs with a passion that wasn't present in a band like ELP.
This album is one of the best progressive live albums out there, because the songs stay true to the original while still expanding on them, and there is an energy and rawness present here that was lacking from some of the more "professional"-sounding bands of the time. Unfortunately, this is quite an overlooked record, but Genesis fans and prog fans alike should certainly enjoy it.