"An evening with the new-look Genesis" - A review of the band's gig at Earl's Court on Friday, February 27, 1998. Review by Paul Ridings.Although I have been a BIG (6 foot plus; around 14-15 stone) Genesis fan for over ten years, I had never seen the band play live and my expectations were high.
My friend Dave and I arrived at Earl's Court approximately an hour before show time, giving me plenty of time to buy a programme and a smart T-shirt with "The Lamb..." album sleeve in it. Eventually the new-look Genesis burst on to the stage playing "No Son Of Mine" and "Land Of Confusion". Early in the show, Ray Wilson announced that he had only been four years old when some of the older tracks in the set were written, and that he would leave the stage if anyone asked "where's Phil?" and that he would call a doctor (Doktor Dyper?) if anyone asked for Peter!
The first real high point in the show was Tony banks' haunting classical piano heralding the wonderful "Lamb Lies Down On Broadway". Next up was the first of the new tracks, the awesome "Calling All Stations", with some really evil guitar from Mike backing up Ray's powerful vocals. During the song, the band's triple video screens came to life, showing computerised animations depicting appropriately futuristic sci-fi imagery, and the song's sad and lonely hero exposed to the elements.
Apparently, one of Ray's favourite early tracks is the beautiful "Carpet Crawlers", from "The Lamb..." and this was next. Ray then reminisced about his auditions for Mike and Tony which were apparently quite demanding and partly inspired the next song, "There Must Be Some Other Way", which included a brilliant synth solo from Tony. After this, it was back to the '80's and the best track from "Invisible Touch" - "Domino" accompanied by some stunning visuals with Ray perched on a drum riser in front of the screens almost merging with the surreal imagery. This was followed by the powerful instrumental section from the middle of "Firth Of Fifth" culminating with Tony's eerie mellotron solo.
After this, it was back to the late '90's and the catchy "Congo" at which point Ray was jogging around like he had ants in his pants! The mood continued as Ray made some fairly dodgy jokes about group members, their lighting trusses, and a lack of groupies which led into a stunningly illuminated "Home By The Sea". The next part of the show was a short acoustic set including Tony on acoustic guitar, consisting of parts of "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight", "Follow You Follow Me", and "Lover's Leap" as well as the new single, "Not About Us".
Genesis on stage at Earl's Court, February 1998
(Photo - A. Gouder)
The stage lighting took on an appropriate diabolic red hue and a drum machine cranked into life for the menacing "Mama" followed by "The Dividing Line" which included a great solo from the new drummer. "Invisible Touch" followed, and the set closed with the fantastic "Turn It On Again" by which point, most of the crowd were on their feet. The group left the stage, only to return for the singalong "Throwing It All Away" and the funky "I Can't Dance" where Ray jumped off the stage and found a young lady called Michelle to dance with.
All in all, a great show, marred only by the fact that we were right at the back of the arena, seemingly miles away from the stage. However, the band did strike a good balance between older material and the more recent stuff. The new line up works very well; Ray is a great front man and Tony and Mike are still the best with the confident backing from Nir and Anthony - here's to the next tour!