Genesis – Seconds Out (2019 vs. 1977)

With the live album Seconds Out, Genesis set a last monument to the prog rock of the early years. Now the sound of the double album has been reworked at Abbey Road Studios using Half Speed Master. With success?

Genesis Seconds Out AR Front
Genesis – Seconds Out (Virgin 2019)
Genesis Seconds Out CH Front
Genesis – Seconds Out (Charisma 1977)

A little background on Genesis – Seconds Out

When Peter Gabriel left Genesis in 1975, Phil Collins took over as lead singer. It was no surprise that Collins, the drummer, would be vocally up to the task. After all, he had already “doubled” Peter Gabriel’s vocals on previous albums and in concerts. It was rather unclear how he would do as a performer in Gabriel’s footsteps. After all, Gabriel had dominated the show with all kinds of costumes and acting interludes.

Collins decided to go her own way and did without the mummery. Instead, the cover of Seconds Out already hints at where the journey was to go in the future. Costumes and theatre were replaced by a more elaborate and impressive light show from tour to tour.

Seconds Out documents recordings from the tours for A Trick Of The Tail (February 1976) and Wind And Wuthering (December 1976), the first two post-Gabriel albums. Stylistically, these works were still close to Gabriel-era prog rock. On the following albums as a trio, Genesis took a new, and ultimately more successful course with poppier songs.
On this live album, the song selection still seems like a unified whole. Collins interprets the complex songs from the Gabriel era, such as Firth of Fifth, The Musical Box or the 22-minute epic Supper’s Ready, convincingly. For the last time, Steve Hackett can be heard here on guitar, who had already left at the time of the album’s release (and mixing). On the other hand, Chester Thompson is heard for the first time on drums, who was to provide the task as a faithful live drummer in the following decades. And for the only time on record with Genesis, King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford can be heard on those songs that can be heard here from the tour of A Trick of The Tail.

What else stands out about the two versions of Seconds Out?

The best master tape is of no use if the quality control overlooks mistakes during pressing. Our first 2010 copy, for example, produced loud cracks in several places where no scratch was visible. Instead, there were visible bright spots in other places that also produced loud noise. A second copy of this pressing, on the other hand, was flawless.

And a side note, so to speak, from the band’s engine room. The suspicion is obvious that former band members had bad cards after their temporary break. Because even in the author credits on the labels, ex-member Gabriel is completely missing, Steve Hackett is only mentioned on two songs. The error was corrected on later editions.

How is Seconds Out equipped?

The first edition came with a four-page insert containing tour photos and information about the Rad Crew. In the reissue, the motifs of the insert decorate the inside covers.

Wie gut klingen die beiden Pressungen von Seconds Out von 1977 und 2019?

For a live record, Seconds Out has always sounded pretty good. This is also due to the fact that Genesis stuck quite closely to the elaborate arrangements in concerts. The only weak point of the mix: guitarist Steve Hacket can often be heard too far in the background. Was it because he had already left the band at that point?

And how does the audiophile re-release of 2019 sound? Miles Showell used half-speed mastering for the reissue, which already has clear advantages in terms of principle. Here it is reflected in greater dynamics and clearer highs. The sound image sometimes seems as if someone has pulled away a curtain. Especially the voices and the drums benefit from this greater clarity. This becomes particularly clear when Collins sits down with Chester Thompson on the drums for a drum battle.

How do the level and frequency response of the 1977 and 2019 pressings differ?

Waveform diagram for Squonk
Waveform diagram for Squonk

The new edition of Seconds Out (below) was compressed more during remastering than the original from 1977. Clearly visible in the regions with the green arrows. Quieter passages or passages that have been slightly cut back are reproduced louder on the 2019 version than on the 1977 pressing. It is somewhat inexplicable why this is not the case throughout the entire piece. In the area of the yellow arrow, for example, the 1977 version surprisingly plays a tad louder than the 2019.

Frequency Spectrogram for Squonk
Frequency Spectrogram for Squonk

The frequency spectrogram shows another change due to the remastering. Seconds Out from 2019 has considerably more bass, fundamental and lower mids. This can be seen in the much larger orange areas in the lower graph. The frequency range below the line at around 350 hertz has been significantly boosted in the 2019 version.

Which pressing of Genesis – Seconds Out is better?

Seconds Out has benefited sonically from remastering and half-speed mastering by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. Especially in the loud, complex passages, the individual instruments separate better from each other. Voice and drums get more contours. Only the pressing errors of our first edition marred the pleasure. On a second copy, there were no more errors.

Title list

Side 1

  • Squonk
  • Carpet Crawlers
  • Robbery Assault And Battery
  • Afterglow

Side 2

  • Firth Of Fith
  • I Know What I Like
  • The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
  • The Musical Boc (Closing Section)

Side 3

  • Supper’s Ready

Side 4

  • The Cinema Show
  • Dance On A Volcano
  • Los Endos
Lightshow instead of costumes - the cover of Seconds Out ...
Lightshow instead of costumes – the cover of Seconds Out …
Abbey Road was given an OBI-like strip.
Abbey Road was given an OBI-like strip.
On tour for A Trick Of The Tail, Bill Bruford (bottom left corner) helped out on drums.
On tour for A Trick Of The Tail, Bill Bruford (bottom left corner) helped out on drums.
Steve Hackett (right row, middle photo) …
Steve Hackett (right row, middle photo) …
The new edition received a redesigned logo.
The new edition received a redesigned logo.
Genesis - Seconds Out side 2
Genesis – Seconds Out side 2
Genesis - Seconds Out side 3
Genesis – Seconds Out side 3
Genesis - Seconds Out side 4
Genesis – Seconds Out side 4
The new edition received printed inner sleeves...
The new edition received printed inner sleeves…
... with pictures of the road crew and typical ...
… with pictures of the road crew and typical …
... scenes from set-up and dismantling or life ...
… scenes from set-up and dismantling or life …
... on tour.
… on tour.
The reissue from Abbey Road comes with a certificate confirming that it was mastered with Half Speed Mastering.
The reissue from Abbey Road comes with a certificate confirming that it was mastered with Half Speed Mastering.
... reflects the show focus in the post-Gabriel era.
… reflects the show focus in the post-Gabriel era.
Charisma comes in a classic gatefold cover.
Charisma comes in a classic gatefold cover.
From the tour for Wind And Wuthering, Chester Thompson (left row, centre) drummed for Phil Collins (centre).
From the tour for Wind And Wuthering, Chester Thompson (left row, centre) drummed for Phil Collins (centre).
… had already left when Seconds Out appeared.
… had already left when Seconds Out appeared.
The original was released with the typical Mad Hatter label
The original was released with the typical Mad Hatter label
Separation pains? With the writer credits ...
Separation pains? With the writer credits …
... on the labels of the 1977 version, ...
… on the labels of the 1977 version, …
... Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett were simply "forgotten".
… Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett were simply “forgotten”.
The original had the same motifs ...
The original had the same motifs …
... on two insert sheets.
… on two insert sheets.
Genesis Seconds Out Charisma, Inner sleeve
Genesis Seconds Out Charisma, Inner sleeve
Genesis Seconds Out Charisma, Inner sleeve
Genesis Seconds Out Charisma, Inner sleeve
ArtistGenesis
TitleSeconds Out
LabelVirgin, UMC, CharismaCharisma/Phonogram
Released20191977
Catalogue numberVirgin – ARHSDLP003Charisma 6641 697
Format2×12“2×12“
Revolutions/minute33 1/333 1/3
TypeAlbumAlbum
CoverGatefoldGatefold
Add-onsOBI, Certificate Half Speed Mastering2 inlays, printed on both sides Tour photos and info on the road crew
Mastered by   Miles Showell, Nick DavisNot specified
Pressing plantNot specifiedNot specified
Matrix-RunoutBJ61290-01 A1 X1 7746464 MILES.ABBEY ROAD 1/2 SPEED.ROOM 30 BJ61290-01 B1 7746464 X1 MILES.ABBEY ROAD 1/2 SPEED.ROOM 30 BJ61290-02 C1 v^ 7746465 MILES.ABBEY ROAD 1/2 SPEED.ROOM 30 BJ61290-02 D1 v^ 7746465 MILES.ABBEY ROAD 1/2 SPEED.ROOM 3010 AA6360162 1Y 320 10 AA6360162 2Y 320 10 AA9199264 1Y 320 10 AA9199264 2Y 320
Edition/Limitation
Consecutive number
Country of manufactureUKGermany

One comment

  1. Thank you very much for this review. I’ve been enjoying Seconds Out since the mid eighties when I discovered Genesis as a teenager.
    The half-speed remastered edition came as a blessing as it allowed me to listen more of Bill Bruford’s percussion in Cinema Show. I mean, the whole half-speed remastered edition in my view is a significant improvement, but nowhere is it as visible as in Cinema Show during the instrumental bit and in the closing drum off.

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