"The crawlers cover the floor
in the red ochre corridor.
For my second sight of people,
they've more lifeblood than before."
- lyric from Carpet Crawlers
Review By: Rich Rosell
Published: June 09, 2008
Stars: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Daryl Stuermer, Chester Thompson
Director: David Mallet
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 02h:37m:01s
Release Date: June 10, 2008
Note: When In Rome is an exclusive to Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.
Purists might lament the day Peter Gabriel left Genesis as the moment the band truly ceased to be, but their massive success in the years following certainly seems to shoot holes in that argument. Gabriel's prog-rock tilt was replaced by a more accessible sound, and there were a number of big hit records during that time, as Phil Collins more than proved himself a solid, charismatic frontman. In 2007, after a 15-year breakup, Collins, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford—along with longtime "unofficial" members Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson—staged an elaborate Genesis reunion tour, dubbed Turn It On Again (named after a single off of 1980's Duke release).
The three-disc Genesis: When In Rome captures a stop on that tour, recorded July 14, 2007 during a free open-air concert at Rome's Circo Massimo, before a sprawling sea of nearly 500,000 fans. Backed by what is referred to as "the largest screen ever used at a concert," the nearly 210 feet curved video backdrop provides animation, pulsating colors and shapes, as well as shots of the band for the benefit of those folks who were crammed way on the outskirts of the Circo Massimo. The stage setup is visually impressive, and quickly sells the fact that this isn't some spur-of-the-moment rock show; instead it's a throwback to the days of the elaborately staged arena shows that seemed to have become nearly extinct. And in addition to the technical glitz, Collins is the friendly host, comically dogging through the occasional purposely stilted Italian song intro or snapping photos of the crowd.
In my life I've only owned two Genesis releases: Trick of the Tail (1976) and Seconds Out (1977), so I'm not exactly what you would call a diehard. One would have to live in a cave, however, to have remained ignorant of the band's list of successes, especially throughout the 1980s, when they appeared be wielding a golden pop touch. And all those years later, When In Rome shows Collins to still be in possession of a strong voice, as the band moves through an interesting set list, one that's pleasantly devoid of some of their most overplayed hits (ABACAB, Misunderstanding) in favor of older tracks (Los Endos, Ripples), as well as a beautiful show-closer, Carpet Crawlers. It probably shouldn't be a surprise that the 1986 Invisible Touch release gets the most coverage, with five tracks in play here.
Disc 1 (01h:19m:17s)
Turn It On Again
No Son Of Mine
Land Of Confusion
Cage Medley (including In The Cage, excerpts from Cinema Show and Dukes Travels, Afterglow)
Hold On My Heart
Home By The Sea
Follow You, Follow Me/Firth Of Fifth (excerpt)/I Know What I Like
Disc 2 (01h:17m:44s)
Throwing It All Away
Conversations With 2 Stools
Tonight Tonight Tonight (excerpt)/Invisible Touch
I Can't Dance
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A
|Aspect Ratio||1.78:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The concert is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. There's a noticeable softness to some of the edges, but the bright colors and strong black levels really help boost the curb appeal here, and even on a large display there's just little to find fault with.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
|Dolby Digital 5.1||English||Yes|
Audio Transfer Review: Three audio choices available: 2.0 stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, and DTS. It's a tossup for a winner between the 5.1 and DTS, as both deliver a clean, deep bottom, while still providing clear instrument separation. Rear channels get used for audience sounds, giving the effect of being wedged right in the middle of the wall-to-wall crowd.
Audio Transfer Grade: A
Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 23 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 17 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese with remote access
4 Deleted Scenes
Extras Review: My advance review copy didn't arrive with the final street packaging, so I can't comment on the presentation, or whether any insert booklets are included within.
As far as the disc extras—and there's a lot here—things are broken out this way:
In addition to the first 01h:19m:17s of the concert—which is cut into 11 chapters with optional English, French, Spanish, Japanese, or Portuguese subs—a photo gallery of the official Turn It On Again Tour Programme is included.
A block of behind-the-scenes clips are viewable either from the extras menu, or during the concert whenever the Genesis icon appears in the upper left of the screen. The segments are typically related to a particular song, and showcase an assortment of rehearsal and discussions by the band members. The Disc 1 bits are:
How Does Duke's End End? (03m:23s)
We're Gonna Take It Up A Little Bit (02m:44s)
Plugged In. Turned On. On The Edge (01m:33s)
Minimal Confusion (02m:19s)
Tony Changed His Mind (02m:30s)
We Need More Lights (02m:26s)
Counting The Bars To 'Heart' (04m:33s)
Working On Home (01m:49s)
Mike Wants Phil's 'Feel' On Drums (05m:14s)
From 'G' to 'G' on Firth (03m:38s)
Time To Dance (03m:46s)
The remaining 12 chapters and 01h:17m:44s of the concert shows up here (with all the same subtitle options), along with a photo gallery of tour footage.
As with Disc 1, a series of branched behind-the-scenes clips are available either during the concert when the Genesis icon appears, or individually under the extras menu:
Bring The Pitch Down Like Elton (07m:34s)
'Acoustic' Ripples (04m:46s)
'Throwing It All' Down (02m:09s)
Tony Talks About His Inspiration (02m:12s)
The Drum Duet (08m:58s)
Not A Period Piece (03m:21s)
Invisible Key (02m:37s)
Phil, Tony and Mike & Phil & Mike? (02m:39s)
Singing Along (04m:23s)
A set of four deleted scenes (02m:11s) largely covers the band being reminded to write their blurbs for the tour programme, something that Tony Banks seems to put off until the very last moment.
The big bonus magilla on this three-disc set is the Genesis: Come Rain Or Shine (01h:50m:12s) tour documentary, from director Anthony Mathile. Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen in 2.0 surround, this one tracks the mounting of the Turn It On Again tour, from the initial reunion rehearsals in October 2006 on through months leading up to the first concert in Helsinki, including the deluge that occurred during the Switzerland and Poland tour stops. There are rehearsals, stage and lighting design, and all of the assorted millions and millions of details that need to get worked out.
One doesn't need to necessarily be a fan of Genesis to find the immense planning and backstage preparation compelling viewing, and anyone who's ever been to a big rock concert and wondered what was going on during a big budget tour will get an opportunity to see the logistics and manpower required to literally put the show on the road. At nearly two hours in length, there's a lot of material covered as the countdown to the first concert ticks off, and Mathile is given access to all sorts of pre-planning meetings to give viewers a glimpse of how it all comes together.
Extras Grade: A
Note: When In Rome is an exclusive to Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.
I'll admit I'm not really a Genesis freak, but I'm honest enough to confess that I still found this concert enjoyably slick and well-produced, the performances tight, bolstered by a loud, clean DTS mix. The short behind-the-scenes clips sprinkled across discs one and two give a little insight into the whole creative process, but the nearly two-hour Come Rain Or Shine tour documentary on Disc 3 really tips the scales on this set.
© Digitallyobsessed, by Rich Rosell