Music Blu-ray Review: Genesis - Three Sides Live

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Eagle Vision has done Genesis fans a very nice favor, just in time for the gift-giving season, with the Blu-ray release of the 1981 documentary/concert film Three Sides Live. The video presentation is a restoration made from the original 16mm film elements, while the audio is offered as a DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless surround mix (or a simpler, albeit very good, LPCM 2.0 stereo track). This is pre-superstardom Genesis, and of course the post-Peter Gabriel edition of the band. The feature runs about 85 minutes and probably would’ve been more effective had it presented a full, unedited concert. But alas, songs are incomplete, cutting away to admittedly interesting, often amusing interview footage.

The radio show segment that finds Phil Collins fielding calls directly from listeners is a particularly fun, off-the-cuff segment. Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford join Collins for some straightforward, unpretentious discussions about their music. The live performances are energetic, highly spirited affairs. Again, seeing as this was prior to their commercial breakthroughs with the self-titled album (1983) and Invisible Touch (1986), casual fans will immediately recognize hits like “Misunderstanding,” “Abacab,” “No Reply at All,” and the show-closing “Turn it On Again.” But strong performances of Abacab album cuts “Me & Sarah Jane” and “Man on the Corner” are also standouts.

Bonus material includes audio-only versions of seven live songs, presented in their complete, unedited form. Some of the songs are part of the main feature (“Behind the Line,” “Duchess,” Me & Sarah Jane,” “Man on the Corner”) and some are not (“One for the Vine,” “Fountain of Salmacis,” “Follow You Follow Me”). In total, this audio material runs 47 minutes. While it’s an undeniably great addition, the audio (which plays over an image of the Three Sides Live logo with some basic stage light animation behind it) will yield varying mileage based on how often you simply listen to a Blu-ray disc (as opposed to a CD). Still, it adds significant value to the package as the songs sound great in 5.1 surround. Liner notes are printed on the inside cover as there is no booklet.

Again, the visual presentation is strong, but the real upgrade here is the presence of lossless audio. The surround mix emphasizes the inter-musician dynamics of the band, with excellent separation between the elements. Three Sides Live is much more accessible now thanks to this release, having been previously available on DVD only as part of the Genesis Movie Box 1981-2007.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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