Take a Little Trip Back…

Yes folks, here is another in this occasional feature looking back at particular events in the bands’ story as seen through the eyes of the fans. This time it is the turn of the 1980 Duke tour to be put under the spotlight…

“A Biased Reminiscence of Blackpool” Genesis in concert at the ABC Theatre Blackpool 6th April 1980/ Words and images by: Neil Hannah.

It is April 1980...

I am eighteen years old. I’ve been waiting three months or so to go and see my favourite band since the tickets dropped through the letterbox. Not one lot like the previous two times for Earls Court and Knebworth but two lots: Blackpool and Liverpool. The ABC is in one of my favourite towns but is a new venue to me. We’ve been to the Manchester Apollo many a time before. Liverpool is a new venue too. It’s only going to be another four weeks before I get to see my favourite group again, but I digress. I have been listening to Duke for a few weeks now./ I have got all the lyrics in my head so I should be able to sing along with all the new stuff this time round.

So, we are on the bus to Blackpool, my brother Stewart my very best friend Pete and other good pal Graham. I keep checking my pockets, making sure I don’t lose that slab of gold. We’ve got our denims on and our armour (plastered in badges).

Half an hour into the journey and two other guys join us on the bus, they are wearing the denim uniform, the smell of Patchouli fills the air. They spot us at the back of the bus, copies of Duke and Seconds Out tucked under their arms./ These two come over and join us. “We’re gonna get our albums signed” the tallest says. “Shit, why didn’t I think of that…?” Having a good chinwag about who was better, Mike or Steve, Peter or Phil “Tony” I piped up, we all laughed but I knew I was right.

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The coach rolled into Blackpool station, we alighted and our new found friends knew a shortcut to the venue which was great, seeing as we hadn’t a clue where the ABC was so we were gonna wing it. The wing worked out/ Stood in the queue now, butterflies mounting. Sent my brother for the programmes,. T shirts and badges. He had more money than the rest of us, so he added a satin green tour jacket to his haul - jammy bastard! Cost £25 show off!

We finally get into the hall. It is smaller than I imagined. We have exactly the same numbered seats as for the Liverpool gig - G6 to G9. It’s bloody odd that we got the Blackpool tickets through the booking office and the Liverpool ones through the fan club. We are all excited, I can smell the dry ice pervading our hairy nostrils. Then the house lights drop and I can hear the heartbeat … Surely they’re not going to open with Back In NYC?

Many hundreds of voices roar then we see Chester behind his kit. Daryl wanders on,. The roaring gets louder. Mike meanders on stage, deafening and then Tony parks his bum behind his keyboards, close to passing out now, then the opening strains of Deep In The Motherlode start up. Oi! That’s not right but what the hell, my group is up there performing then Phil hit’s the stage and the whole place erupts. “Get out of the way fat man, you’ve got something to do…” my head is gone. Amazing. The lights, the power of the sound seems louder this time round, well we are close enough to the stage to count the spots on Tony’s chin!

All too soon the first song has ended to rapturous applause and my hands already feel like two Zeppelins sore from applauding and my voice has gone. From the stage no one introduces the next song but we can here “Can you tell me where my country lies./..” we all go apes hit crazy. “They’re going to do Damcing With The Moonlit Knight!” the crowd respond in one voice: “Cried the unifaun” but wait, again we are fooled, it is just the introduction merging into Carpet Crawlers one of my personal favourites. I am crying now, and yelling at the top of my voice…|”You gotta get in to get out” for what seems like an eternity.
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“Good evening Blackpool” Phil says from the stage and then Squonk fires into life. We are all up on our feet now, even my brother Stewart. At the age of twenty two. Stewart is best described as a stuffed shirt. Well, he is air drumming with the best of us and I am giggling like a schoolboy. He’s bopping around like a dad dancer!

Then comes One For The Vine, another favourite, and I am transported off to some alien world as if I was in the story of the lyrics or am I still on earth in a different place? Have I gone back in time, forwards in time perhaps? This is better than drugs. “I am God’s chosen one..” Am I observing a falling stranger,. Or a reflection of myself disappearing. I guess I shall never know.

Next up we are regaled by “The Story of Albert” and the adventures of a sleepy transsexual drum machine. We are prompted to call out book titles, with Albert incorporated into the titles. “”Albertross for Christ’s sake!” I hear myself shouting, People are laughing around me, I feel like part of the show.

The lump of new songs follows the intro. I love them all, I am joining in with Behind The Lines, those hypnotic green lights during Duchess. My friends and brother say it is like being on Top Of The Pops while Turn It On Again is being blasted out. The drum powered crescendo that is Duke’s Travels and Duke’s End. Wow! Hands are hurting and it feels like Chester has been doing a solo on my ear drums. Still. More than worth it.

What comes next is, to me, a low point in the proceedings. I love everything that Genesis have ever recorded and performed live. But Say It’s Alright Joe live is just too slow for my liking. This is my one and only complaint from the whole of Genesis’s history (I like Who Dunnit). Phil’s having a fag onstage. So I roll one up myself and have a smoke during the song.

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We are treated to The Lady Lies and Ripples next. Then highlight number one; In the bloody cage, Colony of Slippermen and After-bloody-glow (Sorry about that, that is how I hear these songs after watching the Mama Tour video). Mindblowing, Stewart is up again, air drumming and singing his heart out and air keyboarding in Afterglow (Ian Gillan, my brother invented that not you, pal!).

All too soon Mr Collins announces the last song. “Booo! Nooo!” but highlights numbers two and three and four “Holy Mother of God…” is erupting from the stage. Hundreds of souls are in heaven tonight right there in Blackpool, all singing our lungs out. I nudge my mate Pete saying: “ Ey up, he’s off again…” Stewart is off again, drumming in the air. Well, so is everyone else. That drum duet leading up to that heavenly place that is Los Endos. I just don’t want to be anywhere else. If someone told me I could stand on the surface of Mars right then (which still remains one of my greatest dreams to this day) I would have told them to bugger off!

How on earth can two hours be that short? It’s over. The crashing of Daryl, Chester. Mike, Tony., Mike and Phil are still. Over. Gone in an instant. The echo seems endless. We four get the chance to tell each other how much our poor mitts are hurting, which is nearly impossible through deafened ears with hoarse voices. But we carry on bellowing for more, and moore, and mooorrrree!!!

After what appears to be hours, it’s 1 o’clock and time for lunch, dum de dum de dum emanates from the front of us and we are off again. Singing our heads off. I Know What I Like and I like what I know. Close to passing out again, the heat is almost unbearable, the air is thin but we are a hardy bunch we Genesis fans and we soldier on. Phil is doing his tambourine routine and all is fine with the world.

Then it is over. Rotten sods! We have to go home now. All the lights,. Sounds and smells are ringing our senses. Last bus home and a group of twelve folks are belting out a fine off key rendition of I Know What I Like accompanied by the tut-tutting of the oldies huddled down the front.

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There you have it folks, a vivid account of what these gigs were like from someone who was there (jammy bugger!). Thanks Neil for sharing your memories with us.