You can say what you want about Genesis, but if you only have a little interest in music history, you just can’t ignore them. You might not like them, true, but they have achieved and given so much to music history that it would be completely wrong to reduce them to the Phil-Collins-driven mainstream vehicle that they have admittedly become during their latter years. Just remember that they released their debut album in 1969 when no one really knew about mainstream! And Collins might be a member of Genesis, but he is not Genesis!
So when Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins and Tony Banks announced their reunion tour last year, I took the news in with great pleasure, but also with a slice of sceptic. I started to follow the band around the Mama-era, long after Peter Gabriel has left the band, and discovered the older works only years later. But nowadays, I’m really more into the old stuff than the newer one, which doesn’t mean that I don’t like the new stuff at all. There were just too many pop songs amongst the really good tunes; perfect pop songs, yes, but in the end just pop songs. So of course I was hoping that Genesis will not only concentrate on their most successful works (which were the newer pop-songs), but will also include some of that good, old progressive rock that they used to do in the beginning.
When the setlist of the first 2007 concerts popped up on the Net, I heaved a sigh of relief. The mix seemed to be well-balanced, and most of the reviews were stating that the band laid more attention on the progressive side. And the shows themselves were very entertaining and well-received by the audience. All that made me want to go to the concert even more!
So Sunday came, and it was time for the Genesis Reunion Gig in Switzerland. The setlist was the same as at the concerts before (find the complete list below), so no surprises there. I won’t go through all the songs now, I’ll just pick out some of the highlights. The stage itself was impressive, with two big screens on either side. We grabbed a spot just under the roof of the stadium (it started raining about 2 hours before the concert), and had a good view of the stage. And then it began…
We were taken on a journey through the band’s musical history, and it was true that quite a few songs were from the earlier years of Genesis. The first medley with In The Cage / The Cinema Show / Duke’s Travels and Afterglow was nothing but brilliant and sent a first shiver down my spine. I guess they played the next song, the boring Hold On My Heart, to calm down the people in the audience who were simply overstrained by this progressive excursion (and guessing from the faces, there were quite a few!).
My next highlight was Home By The Sea / Second Home By The Sea, which was always one of my favourite Genesis songs, and it sure didn’t disappoint here. This song will probably never cease to amaze me! Just a few minutes later (after a rather wonderful Follow You Follow Me), the first notes of the second-best guitar solo on earth (just after Pink Floyd‘s Comfortably Numb) were played by long-time Genesis compagnion Daryl Stuermer, and for the next 9 1/2 minutes, I was in music heaven! The medley of Firth Of Fifth and I Know What I Like was simply one of the best things I’ve ever seen and heard in my life… goosebump central!!!
Next highlight was Ripples, another oldie, and a tune that I listened to a lot when I travelled through Australia in 1992. It was a marvellous stage setting, and the song was very well received by the whole audience, even by those who have heard it for probably the first time.
OK, this is getting quite long, so I’m finishing off by saying that the drum duet from Collins and Chester Thompson was simply amazing, Domino still is a perfect crowd-pleaser, and Invisible Touch was the perfect song to end the set (also helped by another great stage setting and some fireworks). From the encores, I really liked Carpet Crawlers more than I Can’t Dance… this song has just been played too often.
So, there you have it. Collins, Banks and Rutherford have shown us that they still are capable of pulling a great show (for which they were known for in the first place), and know how to entertain a crowd. The setlist was a very pleasing one, and I guess fans of both eras had enough to enjoy. Of course I would have made some changes to the set, but so would probably everyone else in the stadium. If there’s something negative to say, it’s that most of the Collins-audience-interactions were pretty much the same as 15 years ago (on Throwing It All Away or Land Of Confusion for example), and that the whole affair was a bit too slick. Genesis are a well-oiled machine, and there wasn’t too much space for spontaneity.
I’m gonna leave you now with the setlist, some rarities and a few more pics I shot yesterday. Congratulations if you have been reading all this, and leave a comment if you like!!
Setlist Berne, June 17th, 2007:
Behind the Lines / Duke’s End / Turn It On Again
No Son Of Mine
Land of Confusion
In The Cage / The Cinema Show / Duke’s Travels / Afterglow
Hold on My Heart
Home by the Sea / Second Home By The Sea
Follow You Follow Me
Firth of Fifth / I Know What I Like
Throwing It All Away
Drum Duet / Los Endos
Tonight Tonight Tonight (intro)
I Can’t Dance
The Carpet Crawlers