"Unplugged and Unleashed" - The Genesis acoustic concert in Berlin on August 26, 1997. Review by Peter Schueler.

Being one of the few Genesis fans not to have seen this item broadcast on VH1's "Genesis MkIII" I thought I would leave it to Peter to provide a commentary on this historic item of Genesis television...

Having seen the VH1 "Genesis MKIII" launch last week, I feel that Ray Wilson has no worries at all. Ray was obviously nervous but what a brave start to a new career: a live Genesis acoustic show, where just the slightest quaver in his voice would have ruined it for him and many, many Genesis fans everywhere. Instead, they started with a beautiful performance of "Not About Us" from the new album, and Mike obviously very confident on guitar and it was clear straight away that Ray was a winner on vocals. I almost preferred this version to the album version, a simple song adapting well to the simplistic way in which it was performed.

Next came an absolutely magnificent rendition of "No Son Of Mine" from the 1991 "We Can't Dance" album. What was most interesting about this song in an acoustic performance by Genesis was that only a month before, VH1 aired a programme called "Storytellers" featuring Phil Collins in which he sang an acoustic version of this song. Without doing Phil down, his singing on this particular number just didn't seem as good as Ray's. It just seemed a little too strained. The performance clearly showed why Ray got the job as the band's new singer.

Genesis Unplugged
(Photo - I. Jones/IT)

A rather special treat followed for us "oldies" as Tony and Mike donned their acoustic guitars and all four musicians performed "Lover's Leap" from "Supper's Ready". Again, Ray's performance was superb, reminding us all so much of Peter Gabriel, but adding his own personality and strength to the song.

I have tickets to see the band next year and during the interview which followed this piece, Mike did not rule out a performance of this song. Now wouldn't that be great?! The band closed their set with a great version of "Turn It On Again", which lent itself well to this medium. I hope that the band decide to add these tracks to a CD single soon (like Mike & The Mechanics did recently with their Radio One sessions), they are certainly worthy of an official release.

As a summary: I think the band may have lost some of its sense of humour which Phil so obviously generated. I don't necessarily think, however, that is such a bad thing, as the new album would suggest that they are trying to shelve that side of themselves (for a while anyway). What is clearly evident, is that the loss of Phil has given Mike and Tony an opportunity to look at the "heritage" of Genesis. This hopefully will mean quite a change during the forthcoming tour, particularly with regard to the older music which I hope will resurface again - in its complete form - no more medleys, please!!

Everyone I am sure, wishes Ray all the best and he definitely has the "thumbs up" from me!