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GENESIS: WHEN IN ROME

Review by Mark Wiechman

Stars:  Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Darryl Steurmer, Chester Thompson
Audio:  Dolby 2.0 and 5.1, DTS, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese subtitles
Video: Color Widescreen 1.33:1
Studio:  WEA DVD
Features:  See Review
Release Date: 
July 8, 2008 

ďAnd I would search everywhere just to hear your call.

Iíve walked upon stranger roads than this one in a world

I used to know before

But now Iíve lost everything

I give to you my soul

The meaning of all that I believed before escapes me

In this world of none, I miss you more!Ē

--Afterglow, by Tony Banks

Film ****

Phil Collins, a fabulous drummer in his own right, could have made comfortable living just playing sessions or backing up other players.  But instead, he emerged as the voice of Genesis when Peter Gabriel left and they went on to mainstream success.  From the haunting Afterglow to their first mainstream hit Follow You, Follow Me, to modern tunes such as We Canít Dance, Collins can be melodic and emotional but less self-indulgent with Rutherford and Banks as his co-conspirators, keeping the snappy British progressive rock genre alive.  And this DVD might have captured them on their last tour ever, and can only be purchased at Wal-Mart and Samís Warehouse.

Much of the Genesis material from the Peter Gabriel era can be challenging for more modern listeners.  They are melodic but dense and lack a pop sheen, but Collins sings them wonderfully and brings some brightness to them especially the gorgeous Ripples.  This concert also features excerpts from I Know What I Like (In your Wardrobe) and Fift of Firth and even Carpet Crawlers in the encore. In recent years the band has blended both styles in their concerts, managing to be artistically serious but catchy at the same time.  This concert was not only a performance of the highest caliber but the DVD production has captured it wonderfully.  It will make a fan of you even if you know little about the bandís history.

The stage show itself is also wondrous, with digital images complimenting the music nicely and all kinds of special light effects which add to the presentation instead of taking away from it.   Thankfully the indexing allows you to skip Philís sad attempts to speak Italian to the audience and go to the songs.  And check out Mike Rutherfordís double-necked bass and guitar.  Where can I get one of those?

Video ****

Most of the concert has a dark murky feel to it contrasting with the big screen close-ups and other visual effects as with most modern concerts, but there are no grain or artifact problems I can see.  You really do feel like you are there with the huge Italian crowd.  Like the recent U2 DVD releases, I wish I had been there.

Audio ****

DTS and Dolby and LOUD!!!  Thank you!! Even just the stereo mix of this show is better than the surround mix for many concerts I have reviewed recently.  Only on Afterglow is there some loss in the mix, which may be unique to the keyboard patches Tony Banks uses, I canít tell.  You can hear the crowd but the band is clear as well, which is a tough balance to achieve.  Every instrument shines in the mix.

Features **

There is occasionally a small ďDukeĒ shaped icon that goes to the menu that pops up at the beginning of each tune and if you click it you get more info about the song, which is nice because so many concert discs interrupt the flow of the concert with these stories whether you want them or not.  But clicking Duke just leads to dull scenes of the band practicing.  And for diehard fans the travelogue and so on might be interesting but not for most viewers.  We have seen bands get ready for concerts before, big deal.  Other Genesis specials are far more interesting. 

Summary:

A well-shot concert special shows that Genesis is far from washed-up or obsolete, they are still loud and proud.

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