Is the BBC Broadcasts Box a Genesis Revelation?

What does the career-spanning five-CD live set reveal?

Genesis 1972 press photo (Image: eBay)

Now that their story is officially over, maybe the time is right to look at Genesis in a fresh light. 

As the first major Genesis collection since the band’s 2022 farewell tour, the career-spanning BBC Broadcasts box set offers the ideal opportunity to appreciate them anew. As the first box focusing on previously unreleased material from the band in 23 years, it’s also the kind of set designed to get Genesis obsessives drooling.

True to the title, all the concerts captured here were originally aired on the BBC. Not every era of the band is represented (the biggest hole being the four-man lineup after Peter Gabriel’s departure), but we get juicy chunks of live material from the earliest days up to the end of Genesis’s initial run. 

Genesis BBC Broadcasts, Rhino 2023

Gabriel maniacs get a full disc live tunes from his time with the band, including three songs that never made it onto an album. The 1970 material serves to remind us that once upon a time Genesis was as much a folk-rock band as a prog band, as original guitarist Anthony Phillips’s patterns tumble as deftly as circus acrobats. Along the way we even get the rare treat of hearing keyboard pasha Tony Banks’ voice come to the fore just for a bit. Of course, previously unheard live cuts of sweet-spot tunes like “Get ‘Em out by Friday” and “Watcher of the Skies” with Gabriel up front are pretty much a passage to prog heaven.

BBC Broadcasts may bypass the Hackett/Banks/Rutherford/Collins period, but it goes a long way towards showing what a great live unit the band was even after Hackett split. With touring members Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson on guitar and drums, respectively, we hear some burning versions of tunes from the Hackett-era albums A Trick of the Tail and Wind & Wuthering. 

Recordings from the Duke tour spotlight the power of circa-1980 Genesis whether they were tackling new material like “Behind the Lines” and “Duchess” or giving Gabriel-period tunes like “In the Cage” and “The Knife” a whole new kind of wallop. Mid ‘80s to early ‘90s Genesis is a no-fly zone for prog purists who consider “pop” a dirty word. But the 1987 Wembley concert puts the lie to the notion that the band had become a mere hit machine.

The insides of BBC Broadcasts (Image: Rhino)

Both parts of the haunting “Home by the Sea” show that ‘80s Genesis still had plenty to say, and the Banks-led instrumental “The Brazilian” proves that even some tunes from the Invisible Touch album bore traces of the band’s past. The pop hits are here too, of course, and they are what they were. So, you can skip over “Invisible Touch” if you need to, but in this more organic setting you might just be surprised at the infectious charms of, say, “Throwing It All Away,” especially when you hear the entire Wembley Stadium trading vocal lines back and forth with Phil. (That said, there’s admittedly still not much of a case to be made for the two tracks included from the doomed, Collins-less 1998 tour). 

With a band that covered so many bases over such a long period of time, it’s just about impossible to curate a five-CD set that doesn’t piss everybody off at some point, whether it’s the prog warriors clamoring for more ‘70s material, or the latter-day Genesis fans wanting less.

But as it stands, BBC Broadcasts is a potent reminder of the band’s power to bring their studio classics to life onstage with punch, verve, and precision in equal amounts. 


VIDEO: Genesis “Duchess” 

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Jim Allen

Jim Allen has contributed to print and online outlets including Billboard, NPR Music, MOJO, Uncut,,, Bandcamp Daily,, and many more. He's written liner notes for reissues by everyone from Bob Seger to Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and is a singer/songwriter in the bands Lazy Lions and The Ramblin' Kind as well as a solo artist.

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