The Video Show [DVD]

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In the beginning ... Genesis developed into one of the standard bearers of progressive rock. The British band's steady, calculated move to a more accessible mainstream pop/rock outfit was shrewd and yielded tons of gold -- platinum, actually. 2005's outstanding DVD The Video Show compiles 32 videos spanning 1976 to 1999 -- virtually Genesis' entire career. (The Video Show should be considered a companion to the three-CD set Platinum Collection, which has identical cover art and was also released in 2005.) The playlist runs almost entirely in reverse chronological order, taking the viewer on a trip back through time. Many of the videos obviously had big budgets worthy of Genesis' stature and sales, but several of them -- especially the older ones -- are basic-yet-effective soundstage "performance" videos. Fifteen clips come from 1983's Genesis, 1986's Invisible Touch, and 1991's We Can't Dance -- the MTV-saturating, arena- and stadium-filling superstar prime of vocalist/drummer Phil Collins, guitarist/bass guitarist Mike Rutherford, and keyboardist Tony Banks. (Some videos also include longtime touring guitarist/bass guitarist Daryl Stuermer and drummer Chester Thompson). One revolutionary video worthy of time-capsule inclusion is "Land of Confusion." The famous Spitting Image puppets are used in this scathing satire of the Reagan-and-Thatcher era, Cold War politics, and the threat of global nuclear war. Other stylish selections include "No Son of Mine," "Tonight Tonight Tonight," "That's All," and "Mama." The band's cheeky humor is evident in "I Can't Dance," "Jesus He Knows Me," "Invisible Touch," "Illegal Alien," and "Anything She Does," which features famed comic Benny Hill. The best latter-era soundstage videos include "Home by the Sea/Second Home by the Sea," "Abacab," "No Reply at All," and "Turn it on Again." The only television appearance included on this DVD is "Paperlate," recorded on the BBC's Top of the Pops on May 27, 1982. Perhaps the most fascinating videos are the three primitive clips from 1976's A Trick of the Tail (with the lineup of Collins, Rutherford, Banks, and guitarist Steve Hackett) including "A Trick of the Tail," "Ripples," and "Robbery, Assault and Battery." The latter is particularly notable since it's mostly a concept video based on the song's lyrics; remember, this was five years before MTV's launch. 1997's ill-fated Calling All Stations, with Collins' replacement, vocalist Ray Wilson, is represented by "Congo," "Shipwrecked," and "Not About Us." The only video featuring the classic early lineup of Collins, Rutherford, Banks, Hackett, and vocalist Peter Gabriel is "The Carpet Crawlers 1999," and it's a bit of a letdown. The song itself is a re-recording of a popular track from 1974's The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway used as the hook to get longtime fans to buy 1999's Turn it on Again: The Hits. The abstract video only features fleeting glimpses of the band members in old footage. The Video Show includes photos and full credits, and overall it's absolutely essential for Genesis fans.

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