“One for The Fans - Straight From The Grapevine” - Genesis in concert at the Veterans’ Stadium Philadelphia on 1st June 1992. Review by Bill Brink.
Before the review, here are a few interesting words from Tony Banks culled from an article in the Philadelphia Enquirer, 31st May 1992... “When the band’s legions show up at the stadium these days, they bring with them differing expectations. The old fans want the old epics. Newer fans want the newer hits…”
The band says it is more interested in playing the new material, but attempts to placate its older fans with a half hour medley culled form The Lamb… and other early landmarks. Some songs that had been favourites of previous tours, such as Abacab were dropped.
Banks says the medley is “not our favourite moment in the show. We’re still putting our heart into it but we think it is s a small group of people that cares about this stuff. At these bigger gigs, there’s probably 20 hard -core people. To a lot of the audience the older stuff means the last three albums…”
Well, that’s just WONDERFUL. It seems like the boys are getting progressively more nasty when it comes to the “small group that cares about this stuff”. For God’s sake, you would think we were some small fanatical group that skulks about under the seats at concerts. Hoping for… Oh no! The music that we supported back when the band was not an entertainment monolith. Why is it that almost any band that one can name show at least a little gratitude, or perhaps respect for the fans that have supported them from the start but we, the “small group that cares about this stuff” seem to be regarded as an annoyance.
During the radio show Rockline, Phil made the remark that in a typical concert crowd of 20,000 about 2000 or so would be “old fans”. Now it seems that our numbers have been thinned to 200 - what? Aer we dying of old age?
I will be paying very close attention to the crowd reaction to AL the pieces and we will see just what 200 hard-core fans sound like, they make it sound like The Lamb… or Supper’s Ready would get the reaction of a marginal tee shot at St Andrew’s . I DON’T THINK SO!
Wandering the parking lot before the show I asked a couple of fans were they old school or new school and the responses were the same “I want to hear Dodo…” “Anything off Duke”. The rain began and I returned to the car and cranked up the stereo with It’s Yourself and opened the door - what was the reaction? Indifference. The Day The Light Went Out and Spot The Pigeon met with a similar fate. Maybe the guys are right after all, we shall see…
And the show begins… Land Of Confusion - lyrically a somewhat ominous beginning. Followed up by No Son Of Mine, well performed and here is the overall feel of the entire show; they put their heart into the new stuff and coasted through the token oldies on auto pilot.
Once they got “back to the damp distant Seventies” for the medley, those 200 or so fans of the old stuff gave it a STANDING OVATION AT THE START, something that they did not do again until the encore. It was an interesting medley; The Lamb… and Musical Box getting weak treatment by Seconds Out standards, perhaps the most interesting part of it all was Daryl Stuermer’s amazingly decent job with the guitar solo on Firth Of Fifth.
Two tunes each got almost as much time as the medley: Home By The Sea and Domino but perhaps the best performance of the show was the drum duet going into a length of about five minutes. That is seems does not go in the category as the other “old stuff”.
After playing very close attention to the show, the only tunes that were better received than the old stuff were, in descending order: the encore, I Can’t Dance, the drum duet and Jesus He Knows Me. TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE INDEED! I should note that the production, the lights and the screens were exceptional. From my seat on the thirty seventh row of the floor, I wished I was sitting up in the stands (note to anyone thinking of going - if you can’t get within the twentieth row, go for upper level seats).
Phil was his usual self, playing games with the audience and talking about the songs, but Tony Banks looked very unhappy, granted he is something of a sombre repitle-type anyway but even at the encore and taking their bows, not so much as even a smile!
In summary, the show was good. It was worth the money and it gave me a far better impression of the new album than its limited airplay. It seems to be clear that the band’s dismissal of the old stuff (and the “small “ number of “hard core” fans that like it., is at best mis-informed, and at worst… well, your call!