"Watching somebody else's dream come true" - The Strictly Banks concert at The Orchard Theatre, Dartford, Sunday 6th September, 1998. Review by Alan Hewitt.
Well, the words of the song whose title is paraphrased above are certainly true: "Millions of people won't know what I mean/None can appreciate somebody else's dream" but those lucky few of us who were actively involved with the above concert can certainly say that we came close!
The "Strictly Banks" concert was the brainchild of Duncan Philips who put two years of his life into organising it, and the fact that the concert went ahead at all against a background of indifference from so many "so-called" Genesis "fans", is a testament to his and the other musicians' perseverance and indeed, to their own version of Tony Banks' famed bloody mindedness!
The Orchard Theatre, where the concert was held, is a lovely little theatre of the type which there are sadly too few left in England these days and ideal for such an event. As one of the "Chosen Ones" who volunteered to help roadie for the day, I joined the fellow mugs (oops,! I mean volunteers) for an early morning of hard labour before watching the band run through a few numbers before we all retired for a well-earned bite to eat before the main event began.
This was the chance to chat to some real fans many of whom had journeyed from as far away as the USA, Canada, Hungary, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany and Finland for the show, which made it all the more infuriating that so many "locals" had opted to stay away - where were you, folks?
Show time was preceded by a short video presentation before everyone took their seats and waited for the show to start. The audience may have been small in numbers but they were highly vocal as the band emerged on stage to the strains of "From The Undertow", and it was immediately apparent that this was going to be no ordinary show! This was followed by "Red Day On Blue Street" accompanied by projections of various political figures (and Margaret Thatcher!) to illustrate the point of the song. A slight problem with a dead vocal microphone was professionally dealt with by singer David Whitehouse before his female counterpart Sophia Capernaros performed a beautiful version of "Queen Of Darkness".
Strictly Banks on stage
"Water Out Of Wine" and "The Serpent Said" were capably delivered by the whole band before one of the highlights of the show, "Mad Man Moon", with a magnificent keyboard solo from TWR's very own Richard Mills, and the rest of the band delivered an excellent interpretation of this Genesis classic. The true mettle of the band was tested by such pieces as "Strictly Incognito" and "This Is Love" before a truly magnificent medley of pieces from Tony's first solo album, which demonstrated that the band had really done their homework, with everyone contributing magnificently to the proceedings. The evening was rounded off by a performance of Tony's latter day classic "An Island In The Darkness", which elicited an enthusiastic response from the crowd.
After a short break, the band returned to the stage to round off the show with a brilliant version of "Afterglow", which reduced yours truly to tears. The band took their final bows and it was all over; two years of planning and two hours of wonderful music, an assessment I am sure the rest of the audience would agree with. And for those of you who were genuinely unable to attend or just too apathetic; all I can say is - you missed an EVENT!