Watch Genesis (from the Peter Gabriel Era) Perform in a Glorious, 1973 Restored Concert Film

If you’re of a certain vintage—let’s just say old enough to bore millennials to death with nostalgic rants about how MTV used to play music videos, man—then you will remember Peter Gabriel’s visually stunning “Sledgehammer” video from his award-winning 1986 album So. You will have had your heartstrings tugged by his “In Your Eyes” and its pitch-perfect appropriation in Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything. And you will know—though maybe not as well as Patrick Bateman—the sounds and images of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.” This music may not have aged as well as those of us who grew up hearing it (or vice versa), but it left an indelible impression on a generation and defined 80s pop culture as much as Michael Jackson or The Bangles.

But if you are of a slightly earlier vintage, you will remember these fine musicians for an entirely different reason. Before the catchy dance-pop silliness of “Sussudio” and “Big Time,” there was the arty, high-seriousness of Genesis, as fronted in its heyday by Gabriel, with Collins pounding the drums. Though the band persisted well into the 80s and 90s after Gabriel’s 1975 departure, melding funk, soul, and pop in innovative ways as Collins took the lead, die-hard Genesis fans swear by its classic configuration, with its surreal concept albums and stage shows rivaling Wall-era Pink Floyd or Bowie’s Stardust phase. If you’re none too keen on later Genesis, the slick synth-rock hit machine, and if the aforementioned flamboyant productions are your cup of English prog-rock tea, then we have a treat for you.

Just above is a fully restored concert film of a 1973 performance at England’s Shepperton Studios, “perhaps,” writes Dangerous Minds, “the single best representation of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis on film.” Though the concert precedes the band’s Gabriel-era swan song—double concept album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway—it does showcase the strongest material from their two previous records, Foxtrot and the truly excellent Selling England by the Pound. Prominently on display are the eccentricities that sharply divided critics and enamored fans: the odd time-signatures and abrupt tempo changes, virtuosic musicianship, literate, esoteric lyrics, and Gabriel’s theatrical makeup and costuming. The effect of it all is sometimes a bit like Rush in a production of Godspell, and while This is Spinal Tap took a lot of the air out of this sort of thing three decades ago, the film remains an impressive document even if the performances are hard to take entirely seriously at times. See below for a full tracklist:

“Watcher of the Skies” (8:04)
“Dancing with the Moonlit Knight” (9:02)
“I Know What I Like” (5:46)
“The Musical Box” (11:39)
“Supper’s Ready” (23:59)

The story of the film’s restoration is intriguing in its own right. The Shepperton footage was rescued by a small group who pooled resources to buy it in a New York estate sale. Since then, Youtube uploader King Lerch and his confreres have upgraded the original restoration to the HD version you see above.

Related Content:

Peter Gabriel and Genesis Live on Belgian TV in 1972: The Full Show

Watch Pink Floyd Play Live in the Ruins of Pompeii (1972)

David Bowie’s Final Gig as Ziggy Stardust Documented in 1973 Concert Film

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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Comments (13)
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  • Regina DePace says:

    If I close my eyes I am back there. No other band in all of the many concerts I went to in the Philly/Delaware/Maryland area brought the chills and excitement of a Genesis concert!! TIMELESS!! PROGRESSIVE ROCK CLASSIC MASTERPIECES!! GENISIS=GENUISES <3

  • Richard Sintchak says:

    thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Ricardo Emil Klecka says:

    Gracias, All!

  • Andrew Wood says:

    Stunning and wonderful.
    Bravo to the enthusiasts for restoring this film and making it available.
    Nostalgia rocks!

  • Gabble Ratchet says:

    Thank you for making available. Peerless.

  • Jill says:

    Is that Stephen Stills watching from the side of the stage in the first two minutes of the film?

  • Dave says:

    THANK YOU! This made my day!!! I can’t impress enough the power and finesse of this line-up. The 9/8 bit from “Supper’s Ready” is a soundtrack to my life. Banks and Collins are beyond words – GOOD.

    We are lucky to have this archive. This was Genesis at their finest.

    Lastly: Phil Collins was an INCREDIBLE, musical drummer. Often overlooked these days since he’s re-invented himself.

  • golfer1tx says:

    Wonderful production…brings back memories.

  • Cinder says:

    thank you

  • Backdrifter says:

    Just to clarify, the 1-hour film at the top of the page is the restored one and is I think from Drury Lane Theatre Royal, whereas the 29-minute film is the Shepperton Studios one. They only did the one concept album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.

    Thanks for posting these. It shows what an unusual band they were, as you said, morphing from often complex progressive rock, into a catchy pop-rock hit singles band. It’s a shame they are so often derided. And I’d take issue that they were overly serious or that the music hasn’t aged well. Of all the bands usually thought of as the classic 70s proggers, they were much less ponderous and indulgent than e.g. Yes or ELP, and always had a good crop of tuneful 4-minute numbers among the longer pieces.

  • Ian Brooks says:

    I followed Genesis from their humble beginnings. They appeared at Friars ( Bedford ), in fact it was at the community centre Kempston where many famous prog rock bands appeared before reaching worldwide fame. I remember them turning up in a van ( think it was a Bedford van ) & setting up their own equipment.
    As their popularity increased I saw them at the big venues around the country, one being Drury Lane. Mike Oldfields Tubular Bells had just been released & was played prior to Genesis coming on stage, with mime artists doing their thing amongst the audience. Not sure if the film footage of Suppers Ready was at Drury Lane as Peter Gabriel was hoisted very rapidly several feet above the stage just as there was a blinding flash on the stage as in the film & he slowly descended holding the UV tube to end a magical experience I will never forget.
    Thank you to all involved in restoring this film footage, it took me back to those inventive days so sadly lacking today.

  • Wendy Hartnrtf says:

    Where can I buy these concerts

  • Pete says:

    Seen that,inspiring. The musical box is a must see also. Steve Hackett as well
    I must say that suppers ready is my most loved of all . But can’t think of one that is Bad from genesis to revelation to the lamb lies down on Broadway. And the later with Phil Collins taking over. Still a great combination of artists.

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