Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Genesis: Sum of the Parts (2014)

Tell me why, Genesis.

Tell me why the documentaries I've watched about your band's history are tantalizing, and frustrating, at the same time.

Sum of the Parts [Blu-ray] proclaims it's the first to tell the progressive rock band's history from start to finish.

Well, no.

Genesis - The Genesis Songbook, from 2001, did much the same. That doc also included the band's last album, Calling All Stations, the 1998 release featuring Ray Wilson on vocals after Phil Collins departed the group two years earlier. Here, that disc isn't mentioned at all. Why? Not even with the bonus interviews? Do Banks and Rutherford regret not trying again with Wilson? There are some good cuts on that disc, including the title track, Congo and Shipwrecked.

The Genesis Songbook offered contemporary performances of Afterglow, Follow You, Follow Me and and a partial version of No Son of Mine with Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Collins. Plus, Steve Hackett played his beautiful Horizons. What a treat!

Here, the members of the band's classic lineup, the above four with Peter Gabriel, just talk. Collins sings a bit during an interview. That's it. There's snippets of concert footage, but no full cuts. Disappointing. Why not a song from each era as bonus content - the Gabriel era, Collins era with Hackett, Collins and Wilson?

Review on American Amazon site makes a very good point. Solo albums by Banks, which did little commercially, get covered, but not Hackett's material. Hackett has released a steady stream of discs since he left the band. He's still recording and touring.

Even with those complaints, Genesis: Sum of the Parts is good viewing. Diehard fans should be able to pick up some new details about the band. I know I did.

It's interesting to see some of the conflicts between these great musicians. They include Hackett starting to set aside material for a solo career when he could see his role in the band diminishing, Banks acknowledging he made noise to ensure his songs made it on albums (he doesn't seem sorry about his actions, suggesting perhaps listeners can be grateful about what they do hear on those albums leading up to Hackett's departure).

There's also some very funny lines from the band.

For example:

Rutherford on playing the double neck guitar: "It was bloody heavy."

It's also odd that the five members weren't quizzed on a possible reunion. The word was Gabriel wasn't interested in 2007 when Banks, Collins and Rutherford played Europe and North America in 2007. Only Collins gets asked about the prospect and his answer comes in the bonus interviews. There's some long silences and Collins appears a little uncomfortable. But, sorry Genesis fans, he's not interested. Collins wants to spend time with his two young sons instead. He also notes he can't play drums as well as he could because of a health issue. "I don't know if I'm interested enough," he said. "It's not on my agenda."

Need a contemporary Genesis fix? I recommend picking up Steve Hackett: Live at the Royal Albert Hall . It's a wonderful nod to his time with the band.

Genesis, what a great band. But I wish fans could see one documentary that would really, really pack a punch.

RATING: 7.5/10

FUN FACTS: Director John Eddington also helmed Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here.

Phil Collins fans, rejoice. The Genesis frontman announced in late 2015 that he is coming out of retirement. Deluxe editions of some of his albums, including his Face Value (Deluxe Edition)(2CD) debut, are coming out in 2016.

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