"The Lamb lies down in Crewe" - ReGenesis' performance of "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" at The Limelight Club in Crewe, Thursday, October 18, 2001. Review by Alan Hewitt.
Comparisons are unfortunate but sometimes necessary, and I will try to keep my references to another tribute band who have recently been performing this album to a minimum. I arrived at The Limelight in time to hear most of their sound check. Which certainly augured well for the performance to come. The stage itself, however, resembled nothing more than a bomb site in Afghanistan to be honest! One screen at the front left hand side of the stage and that was it, which came as a surprise because I had been led to believe that three were to be employed as in the original presentation. The amount of equipment on stage made me wonder how poor old Tony was going to be able to move around up there.
Show time eventually arrived and the usual suspects were spotted among the audience. A strong TWR presence was here tonight, fully intent on having a great time. The band emerged on stage looking if I may say so, slightly nervous but they got straight down to business, with Tony dedicating the performance to the victims of the World Trade Centre atrocity - the only sombre moment in the proceedings. "The Lamb..." itself set the pace with a sterling performance especially from Doug Melbourne whose final shows with the band, these are.
By the time we reached "In The Cage", I realised that for some reason this performance was not gelling with me. Everyone was playing their hearts out and the audience knew it, although I still had my reservations, "Carpet Crawlers" did however, managed to elicit a frisson of excitement from your jaded editor.
The band really went to town on "The Waiting Room", throwing everything into it and ripping the audience's emotions to shreds into the process. Andy Hyam, Steve Marsh and Jamie Fisher really demonstrated their talents on this one. By the time Tony emerged dressed as the demon Slipperman, the magic had happened: the audience and band were one unit totally absorbed by the story being acted out in front of them.
All too soon, the air raid siren of Doug's keyboards signalled it and the end of the show proper. Where had two hours gone? Surely that couldn't be it? (pardon the pun!) and of course, there had to be an encore. Surprisingly enough, the band did not choose any of the usual encores from "The Lamb..." tour ("Watcher of the Skies", "The Musical Box" or "The Knife") and instead launched into "Supper's Ready", and this is where I must really take issue with the musical performance. I have never heard this track played at the gallop before and hope never to hear it played that way again, there are too many moments to savour in this track for the lacklustre and hurried way in which it was played here to do either the music or musicians justice - sorry guys, that's how I felt!
No doubt about it, ReGenesis had conquered Crewe and I am sure they will return to amaze their audience again in the near future. The bulk of this audience had, I am sure, not had the opportunity to see ReGenesis before and were suitably impressed although that may well be based on having no yardstick to judge this particular performance on, I don't know. However, here is where I have to make some not altogether favourable comparisons with a certain other band... OK, let's call a spade a shovel and say The Musical Box! There has been a lot said about this band and not all of it complimentary, and some of it by people who really should know better. I can now say that I have seen both bands perform "The Lamb..." and so I think that perhaps I am well enough qualified to voice a considered opinion here. ReGenesis sadly do not, on this occasion at least, live up to their own publicity. For a start, they are not presenting the show as staged by Genesis - but in all fairness neither are The Musical Box. However, ReGenesis' advertising also states that they are using the original slide presentation and costumes... bollocks! And I do not mean the inflated pair possessed by a certain Slipperman either! Obviously, neither group has had access to the original costumes etc., but The Musical Box have at least gone to the trouble of trying to recreate the stage set up and wherever possible have original instruments or accurate replicas made - quite insane lengths to ensure accuracy, believe me, I know! Yeah, they are using computer technology to synchronise the show especially the visuals to ensure that they actually work! Oh, wouldn't Genesis do this themselves if they were staging this show now? I think so somehow, and you name me a band which doesn't use sampled and sequenced sounds on stage and I will show you a band that tells enormous lies. Such techniques are part and parcel of music these days so, having laid that dispute to rest it all comes down to that noble art - presentation, and sadly, this is where ReGenesis have a lot to learn. Seeing the visual shambles that passed for a stage show at Crewe personally I think it would have been better to have stage the show without visuals at all. At least it would have spared me the embarrassment of looking at some very corny home movies - stick to what you are good at, Tony, because your attempts at acting were not of the best! From my position, all I can say is thank God they didn't have three screens! The visuals would not have benefited from this and the paucity of their quality would have been magnified even more. Visually I would think that even the guys in ReGenesis would say that The Musical Box are absolutely stunning - they give the "appearance" of a 1974/75 show and that is the key word "appearance". No band can perform this or any other of the music of Genesis as well as the people who wrote it - Genesis themselves!
Musically, comparisons are extremely unfair and both bands gave their respective renditions 110%, and that is what it comes down to, isn't it? The music is the key, and this performance was as good as anything I have ever seen ReGenesis do in the past. However, there is one big difference between then and now and that is the fact that ReGenesis used to be the only fish in the Genesis tribute band pond here in the UK. That is no longer the case and nowadays; there are several other bands who can (and do) give them a run for their money and it is time that all the politics and egotism was laid aside and that everyone remembered what this is all about - music, and above all- FUN! Here endeth the lesson.