“Don’t Fold This Programme” - A look at tour programme collecting by Alan Hewitt. Memorabilia: TWR Archive.

Over the last few years it has been a constant source of amazement to me to see at record fairs, etc tour programmes by the various progressive rock acts of the 1960’s and 1970’s and the prices such items are now fetching. How many times have you bought a tour programme before a show, gone to the bar and spilt some drink over it, folded it up and put it in your pocket and forgotten about it? And how often on moving to a new home have you thrown out your “junk” including those precious programmes?

Genesis material in the main these days is very collectable and programmes are a very sound investment, and with a band that has been going for as long as Genesis have, there are quite a few to collect.

The earliest programme that Genesis feature in that I am aware of is the one that was issued for the 1972 Lincoln Festival in May although I do not possess a copy I would assume that it took the form of a handbill with an introductory blurb about each of the acts on the festival. Also from the same period is the programme from the Charisma Package tours when several of the label’s bands appeared on the same bill together. The Lindisfarne/Genesis programme from this period features Lindisfarne, Genesis and Rab Noakes all of whom appeared on the tour. In mint condition either of these would fetch from £50- 60 upwards.

1974 saw the band’s next programme promoting Selling England By The Pound and this one came in an envelope and the contents included a hand drawn poster, cut out dice, gun and other accoutrements as well as one page of programme notes and the flexi disc of Twilight Alehouse. A complete copy of this package will set you back a tidy sum these days.

That year also saw the historic Lamb Lies Down On Broadway tour and for this the band produced the first of an increasingly informative series of brochures which has some very good live shots of the band as well as a well written text and the complete story to The Lamb.. Itself. This one is not too difficult to find although it still fetches about £20-30.

Although the band embarked on another extensive tour in 1976, there was as far as I have been able to find out, no tour programme for the tour although a souvenir brochure for the release of the Genesis In Concert film was available at cinemas.

As if to make up for this, the 1977 tour generated not one but two programmes: The European Tour Picturebook was just that, containing a selection of black and white images by Robert Ellis and frankly the quality of these is very disappointing. The other programme is the Wind & Wuthering World Tour programme which more than makes up for this with a wealth of excellent photographs, supported by a well written text by Babara Charone. It is my favourite of all the programme sin my collection and either of these are still quite easy to find for between £10-15.

In 1978 the band undertook their most extensive tour until the 1986/87 tour. Promoting their new album: And Then There Were Three, this album also took in a new territory as the band performed their first ever gigs in Japan during the course of it. A special programme was produced to commemorate their visit and this is one of the hardest programmes to find. The US programme is also quite rare and takes the form of a postergramme with extracts from the recently published book by Armando Gallo. In Europe too, there was at least one special programme commemorating the various festivals the band were performing in Germany and this is one of the best programmes available from the band. Lavishly illustrated and featuring a text in both German and English it is well worth tracking down. The band’s only UK show of the year also got a brochure and this is another worthy addition to any collection.

The 1980 programme was, by the standards of those which had preceded it, a bit of a disappointment. The text is taken directly from Armando Gallo’s second book on the band and although the photographs are in colour, the overall feel of the programme is one of trying to say something about the band. This one is one of the easiest programmes to find.

The Abacab programme was another low key effort, incorporating colour photos and no text except for credits and in some copies a lyric sheet for the album.

1982 saw the band extend the Abacab tour with a revised set to promote the Three Sides Live album. The programme this time was a definite improvement on the last couple and had some excellent photographs and an informative text on how a tour by the band is put together. Also in 1982 there took place the show that most Genesis fans never thought would happen: the reunion with Peter Gabriel. This took place on Saturday 2nd October at Milton Keynes Concert Bowl and a brochure was produced with a healthy mix of photographs and text to celebrate the occasion.

The 1983/84 tour was predominantly a US affair with only five gigs at the NEC in Birmingham tagged on almost as an afterthought. The programme is a disappointing affair with a rather motley selection of photographs and no text. Because each of the five UK shows were for a different charity, there are standard programmes and ones which feature a cover dedicated to the charity in question.

Genesis’ most recent tour, the 1986/87 Invisible Touch tour has generated two different programmes. The US tour had no mention of the death of Tony Stratton-Smith nor does it have any mention of Paul Young who was the support act for the European leg of the tour. Otherwise, the difference are that the European programme carries a black “domino” and an advertisement for Virgin Airways on the cover whilst the US one has a greyish “domino” cover and sports an advertisement for tour sponsors: Michelob.

Well, that completes this look at Genesis tour programmes. I hope you found it interesting. I have not mentioned foreign tour programmes except where I am aware of them and would welcome any details on any other programmes from abroad. Nor have I mentioned bootleg programmes which were very much the vogue during the 1970’s and which were usually poorly produced and frequently inaccurate. I hope this has been an informative look at the subject and don’t forget, next time you buy a programme, treat it carefully because - you never know!

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