GENESIS, The Last Domino? in Leeds. Review by Jill Walker.

It’s been a long, long time ….. hasn’t it! 14 years in fact, but Genesis are back, and on Monday 27th September 2021 I was at the First Direct Arena with my daughter, courtesy of tickets from my son. Gutted at missing over half the Manchester show due to its very late start and having to catch my last train home, my family put things right for me. My first visit to Leeds Arena and wow what a fantastic venue, in all respects. Built like a green spaceship that’s just landed in the middle of the city. Spacious, clean, easily accessible , with friendly welcoming staff. Our seats were central at the front of the top tier with a fantastic view of the stage. Tension was building until the lights dimmed and the Band appeared to rapturous applause, and we are off on a magical journey through 5 decades of glorious music, nostalgia, memories, laughter and tears ….. plenty of tears!

The opening medley of Behind the Lines, Dukes End and Turn it on Again confirmed it - they are back and sounding full of energy and passion for the music. With Phil’s son Nic on drums it’s obvious from the start he’s a chip off the old block, a phenomenal musician, and a young man with Genesis music ingrained in his soul. Phil meanwhile was seated centre stage, watching on until his opening vocal with Turn it on Again. Not the strongest vocal but age and infirmity were bound to take their toll. We’ve all aged and have to accept the guys as they are now and feel privileged they are still here performing. Phil was ably assisted by backing vocalists Patrick and Daniel, buoyed by his band mates and a supportive audience, he got better and better. This was special.
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Three huge video screens behind the band brought each song to life. Either band close ups or videos it was magnificent. The Arena was bathed in red light for the atmospheric Mama. Nic’s drumming was out of this world and Phil’s raucous cackle as good as ever. The lyrics to Land of Confusion are so relevant to the world we live in now. This came with a new video interpretation, very clever. Marching men in bowler hats and wearing face masks; toilet rolls bouncing around the screen; a nod to the happy carefree days of summer sunshine on the beach, what a classic track both musically and lyrically,

Home by the Sea, and the summoning up of spirits was needed. Seated or not Phil can certainly engage with an audience and there was lots of participating and singing along. A strong, driving beat encouraged audience air drumming and young Nic made this his own. Phenomenal playing! Phil rose from his seat and moved slowly to the back of the stage to sit adjacent to Nic. Watching his son with immense pride during 2nd Home by the Sea.By now I was in 7th heaven, unbelievable happy.

Then the mood changed, Tony’s moving intro heralded Fading Lights, which got me in an instant and the tears flowed. So poignant, so beautifully played, so many memorable lyrics! “ Oh if only, we could do it all again”, and of course “These are the days of our lives … so remember”! Just as we were being lulled into this dream of reminiscing the Band launched harshly into the middle instrumental section of Cinema Show, and we were carried back in time. Knowing what this was leading to my tears were floods by now and I was swept up by the emotion of it all. Afterglow of course - oh the power of music is a wonderful thing. No secret this is my favourite Genesis song.

The cheering continued a while during lots of movement on stage as the Band changed positions ready for an acoustic set at the front. Phil remarked that in 50+ years Tony had been on his left and Mike on his right, now they had swapped. “but me” he said “I know my place”. Then followed That’s All, which lends itself perfectly to this style; The Lamb, a calm, subdued version, was gorgeous, looking back on the story of Rael through older eyes. Follow you Follow me completed the acoustic set with Tony’s magical, soothing playing. I really enjoyed this.

As the music was ramped up again the video screens lit up with colourful, theatrical, sparkly lights for Duchess. A standout moment in the show, such a wonderful song. sublime music filling the arena and Phil by now in much better voice. All the Band were loving this as much as we were. Old friends having a blast together. No Son of Mine continued at a pace with full audience participation, encouraged by Phil who was in his element.

More spine tingling moments for me with Tony’s wondrous instrumental start to Firth of Fifth. Just a taster though as this gave way to I Know What I Like complete with the best video footage yet. A potted history of the Band, old footage, including Peter and Steve. All the Bands CD, Video and DVD Titles stacked on shelves. Nostalgia overload, but brilliant and quite emotional. More nostalgia as Phil picked up his tambourine for a short, seated tarantella, to much applause.

As Phil gave his usual explanation of the Domino principle for the uninitiated it was audience participation time again, to much cheering. Musically brilliant, but with new video replacing dominos with shapes resembling high rise buildings and tombstones, reflecting the times we are living in. A powerful song with a powerful message. I still would have preferred to see some dominos in the footage, as a nod to the name of the tour!

The sound quality tonight was superb, better than any other Arena I’ve been to, and we were awash with quality music. Mike seemed more animated than usual and so enjoying the night. He was so encouraging to Phil throughout. Tony, as ever the professional musician, with glorious keyboards as we expect. Darryl unassuming, but boy can he play. Nic, the young superstar, gives hope for the future - sons of Genesis?

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Going up another gear into Throwing it all away, then to finish the concert proper, Tonight, Tonight, Tonight and Invisible Touch. Not my personal favourites but brilliant, upbeat crowd pleasers ending with a happy, teary audience raising the roof. But it can’t end there can it ….?
Back to tumultuous applause and the irony of I Can’t Dance was apparent with Phil singing his heart out confined to his chair! Our evening was nearly at an end with the intro to Dancing with the Moonlit Knight before a final rendition of Carpet Crawlers, as with other songs pitched a bit lower to assist Phil’s voice but not detracting from the impact of this track.

Time to take their bows and after 48 years of having Genesis in my life it was like saying goodbye to family for the last time. To sum up I wasn’t expecting perfection and didn’t get it, but that didn’t matter. Just seeing Genesis play live for one last time was enough and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Leaving the arena in tears, and I wasn’t the only one, The words to Fading Lights running through my head ….. so remember! Thank you Genesis for all the joy you’ve brought me over the years …. I will always remember!