"Genesis Set Changes" - An investigation of the changes in music presented live by the group to their audience worldwide by Alan Hewitt.

Many of the newer fans who have come to know Genesis through the last two or so albums may be surprised when they first start to expose the back catalogue of music which the group have created. It may also be of interest to many not so new fans to see how much variety the group have presented in their shows over the years, and this is an attempt to show just how varied and complex their show has been and continues to be even in this age of attention to singles.

1969 - 70
The earliest sets played by the band were comprised in the main of songs which either surfaced in the first two studio albums, or in some more notable cases, never managed to get recorded at all. The earliest sets would have included: In The Beginning/ The Serpent/Pacidy(*)/Key To Love(*)/Visions Of Angels/Little Leaf(*)/One Day/ Movement(*). Audio copies of these sets are non-existent, except perhaps in the band’s own archives

1970 -72
With the success of Trespass, particularly abroad, the group began to play more adventurous set which swayed audiences with their humour and theatricality. Most of the material from Trespass and Nursery Cryme was given an airing at gigs in this formative period. The sets included: Happy The Man/Fountain Of Salmacis/The Return Of The Giant Hogweed/The Knife/Twilight Alehouse/Harlequin/Seven Stones/Stagnation.

(April onwards). With a new album in the making, Genesis took the ambitious step of playing material from the Foxtrot album which as yet their audience had not heard. The result was semi hysteria from the fans eager for anything new. A standard set would have included: Watcher Of The Skies/Fountain Of Salmacis/The Musical Box/Get ‘Em Out By Friday/Can-Utility And The Coastliners/Supper’s Ready/Twilight Alehouse/The Knife.

This year saw further consolidation of the group’s almost unique position as one of Britain’s major theatre-rock acts. Early in the year, the lack of new material meant that the set remained as it had been for 1972. By October however, and the release of Selling England By The Pound, there was a rapid change in the set helped by the fact that the band were now headlining in the UK and Europe. A typical late 1973 set would have included: Watcher Of The Skies/Dancing With The Moonlit Knight/Cinema Show/I Know What I Like/Firth Of Fifth/Musical Box/More Fool Me/The Battle Of Epping Forest/Horizons/Supper’s Ready.

A very important year for the band, who finally established themselves as a major rock act in the USA. Most of the year was spent on the road but in November, the band released the album that was to be the turning point both for them and rock music in general. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, a concept album was to divide opinion among the fans and critics alike, as well as generating the tension which a year or so later was to compel Peter Gabriel to leave the band. The promotional tour for this album was to be their biggest until the recent Invisible Touch tour. In all the group played over 102 shows, in every one the new LP was played in its entirety, along with two or three older pieces: Watcher Of The Skies, Musical Box and The Knife.

Saw the continuation of the massive Lamb… tour which finished in May of that year. The band took some time off during which time, Steve Hackett managed to record his first solo LP: Voyage Of The Acolyte before returning to the group to help in the writing of the band’s first LP without Peter. A Trick Of The Tail proved to be enormously successful and provided the group with a new front man in the shape of Phil Collins. A surprising choice, and a surprising set too for the new tour to promote the album, which did a great deal to help the group find a new more receptive audience. The set for the tour was a mixture of older and new material: Dance On A Volcano/The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway/Fly On A Windshield/Carpet Crawlers/Cinema Show/Robbery, Assault & Battery/White Mountain/Firth Of Fifth/Entangled/Supper’s Ready/Squonk/I Know What I Like/Los Endos/It-Watcher of The Skies.

The new year also saw a new album. Wind & Wuthering, which was more in the mould of the traditional Genesis sound. Lengthy tours were undertaken in support of the album which resulted in several different sets.

1. UK (January 1977): Eleventh Earl Of Mar/Carpet Crawlers/All In A Mouse’s Night(+)/Firth Of Fifth/Your Own Special Way/Robbery, Assault & Battery/Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers/In That Quiet Earth/Afterglow/Lilywhite Lilith (+)/Wot Gorilla (+)/One For The Vine/Supper’s Ready/Squonk/Dance On A Volcano/Los Endos/The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway/Musical Box (Closing Section)

2. USA/Canada (February/March 1977): The US set was fundamentally the same as the UK apart from tracks marked (+) which were not performed on the US leg.

3. Brazil (May 1977): May saw the band play the first gigs by any major rock artist in South America when they played a series of shows in Brazil. The set was perhaps the most notable for the inclusion of the then unreleased track, Inside & Out which replaced Your Own Special Way. Otherwise the set was the same as it had been on the US tour.

4. Europe/UK (June/July 1977): June saw the group return to Europe with a vastly improved stage show and the set, already rehearsed in the States, was well received. The only main differences occurred at the band’s London shows at Earls Court, where they retained Inside & Out as well as giving their long standing fans a treat by performing The Knife as a second encore.

To be continued….