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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