Genesis - Spanning the Ages & Withstanding the Test of Time

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Concert Reviews, Artist Feature,   From Issue 647   By: Scott Baker

18th October, 2007     0

It's been 15 years since Michigan has been blessed with a reading from the book of Genesis.

Last touring with Phil Collins at the helm in 1992 (his replacement Ray Wilson, didn't see his version of Genesis make it to the state), it has become reunion time for the stalwarts of theatrical music, bringing one of the most diverse catalogs and varied history to the stage and radio for over the past 35 years.

Real music makers have seen their share of comebacks in the recent years, raring to play (i.e. The Police!), but Genesis may be the most timeless, withholding their generous career of peaks and changes.

On one hand you've got the original early Genesis era with vocalist Peter Gabriel, Collins on drums, and Steve Hackett on guitar with mainstay guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford and keysman Tony Banks. On the other hand you have the most popular Genesis line-up featuring Collins, Banks, Rutherford, and stage-men drummer Chester Thompson and guitarist/bassist Daryl Stuermer. It's not a fine line that long time fans walk, its history, time, and place, when and where. With the latter line-up hitting The Palace of Auburn Hills on Sept. 30 for the Turn It On Again Tour, a different, refreshed and energized version of the band came to perform.

While a lot of Genesis fans jumped aboard during their 'hits' years in the '80s up until the band took their hiatus in 1992, a different beast reared it's head much to the like of long-time fans - all the while broadening the musical knowledge of those who came for radio cuts. The show was not a hit-heavy money making evening, although the band did provide plenty of popular ditties throughout the night. They simply spread them out very well.

With Collins spending a great portion of the evening behind the drum kit, by himself or dueling with Thompson, this wasn't your favorite video guys acting/playing. They took it back to where they came from, igniting musicianship and arrangements that gave an up-dated sound to much of their late '70s and early '80s repertoire, even tossing a few Gabriel-era gems into the mix - in their entirety, rather than the collages they produced during their last few tours.

From the opening segue of the all-instrumental Duke (the beginning of Behind The Lines blending Duke's End) into Turn It On Again (seeing Collins come out to front the band on vocals) this Genesis was not like any other. They were playing for themselves and to the devoted.

Immediately No Son Of Mine harkened back to the last album with Collins, followed by the mega video hit, Land Of Confusion. And just as soon as the hit-friendly fans were on their feet, Genesis launched into In The Cage (from the final Gabriel album with the group, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974), bringing the congregation entirely to their feet.

Wearing their hearts on their sleeve, Cage led into the instrumental Cinema Show, Duke's Travels, and finally with one of Collins' first major vocal masterpieces from early in his career, Afterglow.

Stuermer tore his solos up, highlighting all the spots that fans knew by ear. All the songs (which haven't been played live in a major fashion since the early '80s, at best), segues and instrumentation was done as if the group had time-traveled back to 1977. Although, the currently bald Collins surely didn't have his cave-man beard or long hair to mark the time period; but it sounded pretty damn close  - if not, even better than ever. Seconds out for thirds, for those in the know!

1991 mega ballad Hold On My Heart was a perfect way to wrap up the first portion of the show. Performed with even more girth and poise than they originally penned it, each song was only a stepping-stone and page-turn for the next to come. The show unfolded like a great story.

Early '80s fan-favorite Home By The Sea into Second Home By The Sea was as fun as ever. Banks' playing was intricate, inspired and quite often led the group into intriguing territory. Another evening treat came next when Collins sang from behind the drum set on his first U.S. single, 1978's Follow You Follow Me, which led into the instrumental Firth of Fifth, followed by another Gabriel-era favorite, I Know What I Like.

Wrapping up the section with Mama, Genesis was touching upon every fans nerve at some point. The sound was sensational - as clear as a bell from every aspect of The Palace. And the light show harkened back to 1976's tour staging, where the live smash Seconds Out took its cover art - a diagonal white-light fest with a modern twist including a tremendous curtain behind it all and two side-stage close-up imagers. A grand re-entrance for a band that once had at one time performed in such an arty way, Gabriel was dressing up as if he were performing small-song plays.

Domino was brutal. Just like Throwing It All Away before it from the Invisible Touch album, Domino took attack, updating the time-period complete with Rutherford strumming his Fender Strat as if Pete Townsend wrote the riff, nearly wind-milling himself across the stage.

It's hard to believe that over 20 years have passed since Tonight, Tonight, Tonight hit the radio/stage and it has never sounded more surreal then it did here in 2007. The group had many fans on their feet as they ran Tonight right into Invisible Touch. Collins vocal was delivered poignant, cock-sure and fierce, as if he had just written the lines before the show.

Encoring with I Can't Dance (complete with the dance), the band had the venue in its hand. Yet it was the final song that was targeted for the long-time die-hards. While many made their exit (obviously getting their fill with I Can't Dance) Carpet Crawlers (from The Lamb, Gabriel-era once again) was an intensely moody way to leave, if not the deepest emotion the band dictated all night, noting they wanted to thank those who showed support from the very beginning. Collins made a point of saying that this final song was "What Genesis was all about."

And the music from beginning to end at The Palace wrote a perfect synopsis of Genesis, all the while opening a new chapter for this legendary English group.


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