The title of this book says it all. This is a guide to the live career of Genesis and accompanying solo projects over a period of nearly four decades.
Author Hewitt readily admits at the start that it’s not supposed to be a definitive collection of info and reviews on every show the band and associated artists have performed during the post-Gabriel era, but he has done a fine job in selecting significant gigs and analysing their worth from both quality and fan viewpoints.
Although Hewitt is an avowed fan, this doesn’t cloud his objectivity. Amid the praise, if there’s something to be criticised, then he’ll do it. For instance, he reflects on the oddity of Collins adopting a mock Yorkshire accent to introduce The Cinema Show at one American date in 1976.
Not the band’s entire history, but what is here is excellent.
Starting with the first dates played with Collins upfront, Hewitt has painstakingly chosen gigs which give a fine spread of recordings across each tour. Some of these will be well known to bootleg collectors, but others are more obscure. With every one, Hewitt cites the source of the recording – some more official than others – and reviews not only the performance, but the sound quality and whether tracks are missing, as is sometimes the case with radio broadcasts.
Here too are the post-Genesis careers of Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford (through Mike & The Mechanics), Phil Collins (both solo and with Brand X) and Ray Wilson. And these aren’t simply thrown together as an adjunct to the Genesis chronology, but given equal thought and status. There’s also never any bias towards particular members: it would have been easy to dismiss Wilson as no more than a footnote in the Genesis tale, but he gets a creditable presence. In fact, his time in the band is also collated neatly and objectively.
Hewitt can be forgiven the odd factual slip (when discussing Gabriel’s version of All Day And All Of The Night during his early gigs, he insists on calling it a Motown standard when, of course, it is an original Kinks classic), but what could’ve been a dry and info-heavy tract is given a palatable design – memorabilia like ticket stubs and photos pepper his pages. Doubtless, there will be those who baulk at some of the omissions, inclusions or comments herein, but this isn’t presented as the ultimate bible of Genesis live, but rather a live guide. And as such it works very well.