"Seconds Out", the second live album for the band after 1973's "Genesis Live", was recorded over several years. The earliest recording was "Cinema Show", which was recorded before they had found a permanent road replacement for Collins behind the drum set. The found an ample substitute in Yes drummer Bill Bruford. Keen ears can detect his style on the track; the rest of the album uses eventual road drummer Chester Thompson. "Cinema Show" is an excellent example of the change Collins would bring to the older material, as he likes to use his voice as an instrument. He leads into several lyrics with an "ooohhh" sound, something you wouldn't generally hear from Gabriel, who tended to be more concerned with precision. This is not a huge difference, but it is a mark of Collins' style. Many fans of Gabriel dislike this from Collins; personally I feel it simply gives it a little bit of a different feel.
The big track here for Genesis fans is the epic "Supper's Ready", a 26-minute progressive rock standard. The song is divided into seven pieces, each featuring a drastic change in tone from the last. The band proves here that they are excellent live musicians. Time signatures change, melodies change, and throughout it all, they remain precise and energetic. The song proves that the band misses Gabriel, but is completely capable of carrying on without him.
Several newer tracks are used here as well, including "Dance on a Volcano", "Squonk" and "Los Endos", which closes the album. These songs feature musical and lyrical themes that are closer to the band's prog roots than the pop/rock direction they would begin to take. Part of the reason fir this is the presence of guitarist Steve Hackett. Hackett quit the band just as mixing began. Collins once joked that they simply mixed him out of it, but his atmospheric style can be heard throughout the album. A favorite track of Hacketts is "Los Endos", and instrumental piece which, in trademark Genesis fashion, allows each member to have their spotlight moment; be it Tony Banks on the keyboard, Hackett and Mike Rutherford on guitar or Collins/Thompson sharing duty on drums, the song lets them take their turns before dramatically joining together.
"Seconds Out" was an important album for Genesis, as it told the world that they despite the loss of Gabriel, and eventually Hackett, they were still masters at writing music, incredibly talented musicians, that they had created a new sound that they were proud of, and that they could play the old songs with a flair of their own. The song selection is excellent, the players are in top form, and Collins was just beginning to come into his own vocally. This is a milestone for the band that still holds up as a performance. Highly recommended for fans; casual fans may be put off by the lack of their hits, but there is a lot here to discover.