"The Genesis Story" - Part Sixteen, "Invisible Touch" by Peter Morton.
After the highly successful Mama Tour of the USA and UK in 1983/84 it was time for the band to go on hiatus again. As mentioned in the first instalment of the Phil Collins Story earlier this issue, Phil's profile remained highest after the end of the tour, although Mike and Tony also kept busy with a batch of solo projects including Mike &, The Mechanics' first album.
The band reconvened during the autumn of 1985 and began to work on their next album at their now fully completed studio, The Farm, on what was to become their biggest selling album to date. As usual, the trio went into the studio with no material on hand, solo projects having taken care of any itches the band members may have wanted to scratch in that department.
One of the first tracks written was "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" which originally went under the working title of "Monkey/Zulu" from Phil singing around the word "Monkey", around which the rest of the song was written. The first fruits of the album appeared on May 15, 1986 with the opening single "Invisible Touch" - also the album's title. An astonishing record this, a marvellously catchy pop single with an infectious riff and catchy lyrics, which propelled it to the number fifteen position in the UK charts as well as good positions elsewhere in Europe and the USA.
The album released on June 2, and charted at number one in the UK and USA, knocking Peter Gabriel's "So" off the top of the charts. In fact, 1986 was an amazing year all round for Genesis fans, at some point or other, either Genesis, Peter Gabriel or Steve Hackett in his GTR guise were in the upper reaches of the charts. The album certainly proved the critics wrong, here was no band of "has beens" - the Genesis of 1986 was a high octane beast driven by a compulsive mix of pure power pop and dynamic music. A heady mix guaranteed to make even the most cynical sit up and take notice.
Certainly the mix of styles left everyone astonished. How many other bands could construct an album out of such seemingly conflicting tracks as "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" and the hilarious "Anything She Does" with its accompanying video featuring Benny Hill as the band's security man?!
Further success greeted the band with their subsequent single releases from the album with no less than five singles being released in the UK and USA - where the band were achieving their greatest success to date. The sheer number of singles and the amount of unreleased material indicated a healthy prognosis for the band and the improvisational nature of much of the band's writing certainly made for a more rounded effort than several earlier albums.
The album also broke records as one of the first to gain simultaneous release on CD, cassette and vinyl, and this album also saw the release of the first singles by the band on the compact disc format too, although strangely enough, the first and last singles from the album were only released on cassette and vinyl. Controversy greeted their fourth single, "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" when part of it was used to advertise Michelob Beer in the USA, the company were also sponsoring the group's US tour.
The next step was to organise a tour to complement the album's huge success. Nothing short of a mammoth tour would suffice and that was exactly what happened. Beginning on September 17, 1986 in Detroit, the "Invisible Touch" Tour made sure the band were anything but invisible with 112 shows, played to over two million fans including their inaugural visit to Australia and New Zealand as well as Europe - and Japan for only the second time in the band's history.
The stage show created for the tour again tore up the rule books with a lighting rig now comprised entirely of Vari-lites, which enabled the band to create entirely new visual atmospheres on stage. Musically too, the show was highly adventurous with several oldies being revisited. Each territory also benefited from a slightly different set...
US Tour set list September/October 1986: Mama / Abacab / Land Of Confusion / That's All / Domino / In Too Deep / The Brazilian / Follow You Follow Me / Home By The Sea - Second Home By The Sea / Throwing It All Away / In The Cage - In That Quiet Earth - Apocalypse in 9/8 / Invisible Touch / Los Endos / Turn It On Again (with 60s medley)
New Zealand/Australia Tour set list November/December 1986: Mama / Abacab / Domino / Your Own Special Way(*) / In Too Deep / The Brazilian / That's All / Home By The Sea - Second Home By The Sea / Throwing It All Away / In The Cage - In That Quiet Earth - Afterglow(+) / Invisible Touch / Los Endos / Turn It On Again (with 60s medley)
(*) At several shows Follow You Follow Me was also played at this point. (+) the Apocalypse In 9/8 section of "Supper's Ready" was played for the last time at the only New Zealand show on November 23 1986.
USA/Canada/Japan set list January-March 1987: Mama / Abacab / Domino / That's All / The Brazilian / In The Cage - In That Quiet Earth - Afterglow / Land Of Confusion / Tonight, Tonight, Tonight / Throwing It All Away / Home By The Sea - Second Home By The Sea / Invisible Touch / Drum Duet / Los Endos / Turn It On Again (with 60s medley)
Europe/UK May- July 1987: Mama / Abacab / Domino / That's All / The Brazilian / In The Cage - In That Quiet Earth - Afterglow / Land Of Confusion / Tonight, Tonight, Tonight / Throwing It All Away / Home By The Sea - Second Home By The Sea / Invisible Touch / Drum Duet / Los Endos / Turn It On Again (with 60s medley)
Set list for this leg of the tour was as for the US 1987 tour with the occasional omission of Tonight, Tonight, Tonight.
Everywhere the band went, they broke new ground. In Australia, local Musicians' Union rules meant that they employed a local orchestra's string section to accompany them on "In Too Deep" and "Your Own Special Way". In the USA they outsold every artist on tour at the time and even broke records with their four night stint at Wembley Stadium at the close of the tour.
|Phil, Mike and Tony On-stage at Wembley Stadium, July 1987|
Unusually for a band as synonymous as Genesis, TV and video appearances increased dramatically from the first tentative glance at the recording of the new album on a BBC "Whistle Test" programme to their hilarious appearance on the Wogan show the night before their Wembley shows, as well as several compilation videos and another record breaker, their third live video which was the first of its kind to be filmed for Hi Definition TV. By the end of the tour, the band had taken the entire world by the scruff of its neck and shaken it, bit how could they possibly follow this success? It would take almost four years and another issue of the magazine for us to find out...
|A selection of tickets from the Invisible Touch tour|
My thanks to the following people for their help: Mike Jackson, Guido Truffer, David Birtwell and Richard Nagy.