"'Seconds Out' was a much better record than 'Genesis Live' because we took it seriously as a live album," recalls Tony Banks in the 2006 Oral History "Chapter & Verse". In fact, that first live document, released in 1973, was a child of the strategy of Genesis' label Charisma. And that was: Release a short, inexpensive live album to keep fans interested in the group up to their next studio work, and then send them on tour again with the live record. So two birds could be killed with one stone. Despite this somewhat windy business conduct, "Live" was qualitatively anything but a quick fix. The band around the theatrical frontman Peter Gabriel had deliberately focused on their more aggressive side, which opened up a new audience for them. In addition the singer had written a fascinating surreal short story, which Charisma printed on the backcover of the LP. But it was a single album, and five songs hardly represented a complete concert even with a progressive rock band.
So four years later Genesis clearly had bigger plans with 'Seconds Out'. On the one hand, Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett wanted to show where they stood almost three years after their popular singer left the band as a quartet; at the same time, they wanted to draw a line under the Gabriel era - not by ignoring the old songs and exclusively putting newer ones on the record. Rather, they played the "classics", which only had between three and six years on their back, in a new guise, refined with the vocals of their current lead singer Phil Collins.
Collins continued to play drums in the studio, but on stage he was first replaced by Bill Bruford, from the "Wind & Wuthering" tour onwards by the former Weather Report and Zappa musician Chester Thompson. Of course, he couldn't let it all go live either: At the shows a second drumset was ready, where Collins sat down again and again to play dramatic duels with Thompson - a sensational novelty at Genesis shows, especially in the furious finale "Los Endos".
Profit for old and new fans
In this way the group did it all right somehow: The old fans were happy about live versions of songs like "Firth Of Fifth" or "Supper's Ready", of which there were no official recordings, while the constantly growing crowd of new followers found out where the roots of the band lay. This is probably one of the reasons why the selection of newer songs is comparatively modest: The still four tracks of the first post-Gabriel album "A Trick Of The Tail" are contrasted by "Afterglow", a single one of the current album "Wind & Wuthering". Dave Bowler and Bryan Dray, authors of the standard work "Genesis. A Biography", see the reason for this in the greatly improved recording technique, which gave the old pieces a new shine. The temptation to present the restored sound was too great: "Songs like 'The Cinema Show' sounded worlds better than the first recordings on the original LPs, which was a consequence of the meanwhile better technology
Mike Rutherford confirmed this at the beginning of the nineties and explained at the same time that the band had also become much better: "Many of the older recordings were very bad. We simply produced better versions live." Whether this is true is a matter of opinion, but in fact Genesis went to a lot of trouble to make something very special out of her new live document.