Prog rock audiences have always been receptive to box sets, especially sets that include an abundance of rare material -- witness the success of the numerous King Crimson sets. When it came time to assemble their own box sets, Genesis chose to follow the path of rarities instead of merely rehashing their old hits. That means, of course, that Genesis Archives, Vol. 1: 1967-1975 is the province of hardcore fans and collectors, not casual listeners, since there is nothing but unreleased material on the four-disc set. The first two discs are devoted to a live performance of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 24, 1975; the third has a selection of live material from the London Rainbow Theatre on October 20, 1973, plus a handful of rare singles and a BBC session; the fourth has alternate mixes, BBC sessions, and demos from 1967-1969. It's a virtual cornucopia of rare material, much of which will be necessary to dedicated fans. However, for some listeners, the set may be frustrating, and not because it contains rarities -- it's because those rarities have been tampered with. Peter Gabriel recut some of his vocals for The Lamb in 1998, claiming that he didn't give his best possible performance because his elaborate costumes were constricting. Steve Hackett followed suit and "brushed up" some guitar lines. This may frustrate some fans who would prefer to have the original tapes preserved, but it may be a minor thing to collectors, who will likely delight in having all these rare recordings -- many of which are quite terrific -- in one place.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2
Track Listing - Disc 3
Track Listing - Disc 4