“Live at the German Front” - Genesis in concert at the Wilhelm Koch Stadion Hamburg on Friday 10th September 1982. Review by Alan Hewitt. Photographs by Ted Sayers.
Having seen Genesis in the UK on several occasions, perhaps the most notable being the now famous Knebworth Park gig in 1978, I had often wondered what one of their shows in Europe would be like.
My opportunity to find out came in 1982 when the group announced their European tour to promote the Three Sides Live LP. And so, being on holiday from university at the time, I decided to satisfy my curiosity. So, on the evening of 8th September I took the train to London where I met up with several hundred other fans for the trip to see the group in Hamburg. Everywhere I looked the presence of badges, T shirts, sweatshirts and embroidered denim proclaimed the fact that that the Genesis army was on the move!
By midnight we were all embarked and the trip began with a tour of the main roads of France, Holland and finally, Germany. We arrived at our hotel a little after midday on the ninth and after a short stop to refresh ourselves, we were unleashed on the unsuspecting public of Hamburg. Everyone we met was friendly even if the German fans we encountered clearly thought we were mad to have come all this way.
The following morning saw s get ready for the trip to the St Pauli Sportsplatz for the concert. We arrived in the middle of a glorious German summer’s afternoon and after queuing for an eternity we were admitted and everyone scrambled for a space nearest the stage or the beer tent depending on where your true loyalties lay!
The support act for this gig caused almost as much furore as the main event, for they were King Crimson no less, one of Genesis’ formative influences. They gave us a very impressive set, mainly drawn from their most recent albums with a couple of older tunes thrown in for the older element among the crowd. Then everyone settled down to wait for the main event.
Eventually, Genesis came on stage to thunderous applause with the opening keyboard phrases of Dance On A Volcano, followed thunderously by Dodo and Abacab which were received differently by the scattered groups of English and German fans in the stadium. This was followed by the reggae tones of Follow You Follow Me which I greatly enjoyed.
Although the groups’ performance seemed to have improved, Phil’s between-song jokes certainly hadn’t ; “Ah, I see there are some English people here in the audience tonight (cue applause from the Brits), Any Germans? Good, I’m glad we came over here”. All of this was a lead up to the high spot of the night when Phil announced the band’s all-time classic: Supper’s Ready which was received with frenzy by everyone. The band played like the true professionals they are and the audience sang the lyrics as if their very lives depended on it. The light show in combination with the textured keyboard sounds and guitar work all helped to transport the listener to the fantasy world which the pieces describes. I am sure that most of the audience could really see the angel standing in the sun at the end.
It was with a jolt that the band brought us back down to earth with the sad song which to me says so little; Misunderstanding, but the contrast only served to show the variety which has always been Genesis’ strength.
Then came the obligatory introductions by Phil in which Daryl and Chester took their bows and then we were treated to another Genesis classic; In The Cage which grabbed the audience by the scruff of its collective neck and carried us through the medley of Raven, Cinema Show and the finale of the show proper: Afterglow bringing the show to a grandiose climax.
After a short break, the group returned for over twenty minutes of encores which began with what some have called “five minutes of thunder” the drum duet between Chester and Phil leading into Los Endos which was simply stunning. Then came the familiar thrumming chords of Turn it On Again which gave the head bangers in the audience something to get their teeth into. Not knowing quite what to expect next, we were all pleasantly surprised when Tony began tickling the ivories with the intro to The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, not my favourite album by Genesis, but the title track certainly goes down a storm live. And then the finale proper, as the arpeggio to Watcher Of The Skies brought the show to its full end. The magic was over for tonight and my curiosity about European shows was whetted but my appetite for them was far from satisfied.