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Fan review: A night with Genesis




Genesis is about to wrap up their North American reunion tour. Sadly, the band didn't make it anywhere near the southern half the United States, so I missed them ... or did I?

Thanks to Stuck in the 80s loyalist Mark Kenneally, who attended one of the Chicago shows, we have an in-depth review of their show. So sit back, queue up all the Genesis on your iTunes and enjoy his novella (Click the link at the bottom to read the second half):

"On Oct. 4, Genesis played the last of a three-night stand at the United Center in Chicago, with a 2 hour and 40 minute set of songs. I went to the show accompanied by my 25-year-old brother; this was his first Genesis concert. It was my sixth time seeing the band, but my first show since 1986.

The stage was massive, taking up almost a quarter of the arena. Behind the stage there was a huge half-oval LED video screen surrounded with lights, and long arms of lights over the main stage. Oval shaped video screens were on each side, and a silver curtain backdrop was behind it all. When the lights went down, a map of the world appeared on the LED screen, then zoomed in on North America, and pinpointed Chicago.

As soon as the band launched into "Behind The Lines" from the "Duke" album, we knew it was not just going to be a greatest hits show. Phil Collins and Chester Thompson attacked their drums ferociously, and side man, guitarist Daryl Stuermer, played like a man possessed.

They segued into another instrumental called "Duke's End", before they moved into the familiar opening of "Turn It On Again." Phil came out from behind the drums and attacked the his vocal duties just as fiercely as his drums.

"Turn It On Again" was done without the medley of 60's songs that the band used to add to it in the 80's and 90's, and it was much better. Phil greeted the crowd afterward and spoke about doing songs that were old and not so old.

[AP photo]

After doing two hits, "No Son Of Mine" and "Land Of Confusion" (with the Spitting Image puppets of them being shown on the LED screen behind them), they launched into another old medley of "In The Cage/ Cinema Show/ Duke's Travels" and finally "Afterglow"; Phil and Chester double drumming through most it. By the end of the medley the stage was enveloped in smoke and bright pink and white light.

Tony Banks, the keyboard player, was a stoic as ever, but never missed a note. His hands, lightning quick, being shown on the side video screens often. Mike Rutherford, the guitarist/ bassist, started kind of immobile, but about four songs in he started to get more animated. For a bunch of guys in their upper 50's they had a lot of energy.

The only low point of the show was next. They did the song "Hold On My Heart" from the "We Can't Dance" album, and many people decided to take their bathroom break at that point. My brother's favorite song, "Home By The Sea" followed, with more double drumming by Phil and Chester.

The first real surprise was Phil putting on a headset microphone and staying behind the drums for the song "Follow You Follow Me." This proved to be a real crowd favorite, with animated versions of characters from their album covers being shown on the LED screen. Chester played shakers on the song, letting Phil do the main drumming.

With both men behind their drums again the band launched into an instrumental version of "Firth Of Fifth" from the Peter Gabriel Era. This segued into a full version of the classic "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)". Phil played with the crowd during this song, making them cheer and shout "HEY" on cue.

He also did his (not seen since the early 80's) tamborine 'Tarantella' dance, with video of him doing it in the 70's playing almost in sync with him. To me, this was the highlight of the show.

A very creepy version of "Mama" followed, with the stage washed in deep red light, and an eerie video of a woman, all in red tones playing on the screen. Collins milked the "HA-HA...HA" part for all it was worth, sticking his face into a yellow spotlight from below.

Afterward Phil said they had to apologize for how filthy that song was, and that they would do a sweet song about where virgins play. They launched into a beautiful version of the song "Ripples" from the "Trick Of The Tail" album.

The old fans, like myself, were delighted by this choice of song. Any question about Collins' vocal abilities deminishing were answered by this song.

They played some songs from the "Invisible Touch" album next. Phil got the audience to do a call and response with him during "Throwing It All Away."

He then got them involved in his explanation of the domino principle, as an introduction to the song "Domino." Both songs were done well, but not as exciting as some that came before them.

Phil and Chester then went to the center of the stage and faced each other, drum sticks in hand, with two barstools between them. They started their drum duet playing the barstools, both the seats and the metal legs. The audience was going crazy for this. They slowly moved to their drum kits without missing a beat. Eventually they were playing their drums full bore.

When the duet ended the band launched seamlessly into the classic instrumental "Los Endos."  The musicianship on this song was mind numbing. This song had usually been a set ended in the past, but broke tradition and played a few hits afterward.

A shortened version of the song "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" was next. They segued into the set closer "Invisible Touch." The crowd loved this one. Afterward the band vacated the stage for short time, as the crowd screamed for more. The band returned and did a very tongue in cheek version of "I Can't Dance" for the first encore. Phil really hammed this one up. Mike and Daryl did the famous walk in line behind Phil, going from side to side on the stage. Phil ended the song doing his little soft-shoe dance from the music video, making the crowd go nuts.

Before doing the final song of the night Phil introduced side men Daryl Suermer and Chester Thompson, saying how indespincible they have been for the last 30 years. He then thanked the crowd for 30 years of support, and said, "We don't know if we will be back this way as a band again." This drew much derision from the crown.

He then said, "We want to do a song that is very much the spirit of Genesis." They then closed the show with the ballad "The Carpet Crawlers" from "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" album.

Most of the crowd sang along with this song for all they were worth. The band gave a group bow after the song, and then Collins, Banks and Rutherford moved forward and bowed to the crowd.

With that the magical night was over. My only complaint is that they did not do anything from the "ABACAB" album, but it was a wonderful night of music."

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:25pm]


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