"The insane ramblings of an old Genesis roadie" - life on the road, courtesy of one on the front line. Article by David Lawrence.
Our grateful thanks to David for not only taking the time to write the following article, which I am sure you will find both interesting and amusing in equal measure, but also allowing us access to his collection of memorabilia associated with the tour. Over to you, David...
October 5, 1974: answer advert in Melody Maker: "Road Crew wanted for Name Band..." All the advertisements said that so it came as a bit of a surprise when the band did have a name. I went along for the interview to their offices in Welbeck Street, central London. On the way, I popped into the HMV record shop in Bond Street; to my shame the music I had been listening to for the past few years had been heavy metal: Black Sabbath, Deep Purple etc, I looked at the rack of Genesis LPs thinking that I should know all the records and the names of the band just in case I get asked about them.
Walking back down the street, trying to remember the names of the band, I got very confused and gave up. I got to the office door, went down some stairs and found myself waiting with a few other hopeful roadies. They all looked just the part: long hair, wearing a Led Zeppelin T shirt, selection of hotel and truck keys hanging from their belts. And then there's me, just out of college with a sound engineering certificate, almost 21 years of age, looking a bit too clean, boring clothes, very new to the music world, and looking for my first job. No chance, I thought: run back up the stairs now, nobody will notice - just tell mum you almost got the job.
I was called into the office where I met Nick Blyth; the head of the Road Crew. He was at one desk with Tony Smith's assistant at the other. During the three minutes that I was in the office, they had about six 'phone calls; shouted at anybody who was within earshot and made a lot of noise. In the background, someone was playing the record player so loud I was almost shouting back at them. It was madness, and this is the business I want to be in!
He asked me just three questions, all of which were a bit odd to me, and as this was my first ever interview I was taken aback slightly...
"Are you fit?" he asked. "Yes" I replied, he should have said "Are you Mr Universe?" because I needed to be later on the road.
"Do you have any Russian connections?"
"Is there any reason why the USA will not let you in? Have you been done for drugs?"
"OK, you're in. See you next week."
And that was it. I am on the road crew. I got the train back home in a bit of a daze, thinking very odd interview. Wages were discussed briefly and I was to be paid $240 per week. That was around £100 and a fortune at the time. I was going to earn more money than my dad which was a bit of a shock to him. It would be paid in the currency of the country we were in at the time. After the long seven month tour I ended up with lots of Dollars, French and Belgian Francs, Italian Lire, German Marks and a few others thrown in. Unlike the other members of the road crew, this was my first job and after three years of being a student, all this money was going to be saved, so I did not spend too much and came away at the end with about twelve hundred pounds. It only took three months to get rid of it afterwards though.
The next week I started with the other five members of the road crew. The band started rehearsals at Una Billings' dance school in Acton, West London. Downstairs they had a big room where you could make some noise. We took a truck load of equipment there only to find that the organ and mellotron etc were too big to go through the front door and so they all went through a side window with a lot of effort. We left the band to rehearse and spent the rest of the week sorting out equipment for the UK tour.
A lot of the special effects equipment had yet to be made; myself and Peter Hart (the special effects man) spent about a week wiring up flash boxes, Ultra Violet lamps; making all sorts of odd boxes with fans in them. At that time I was not quite sure what all the equipment was for. I had not heard any of their music or seen any of their stage layouts. That week we also went to Shepperton Studios to put up a big PA system for a full stage rehearsal and to try out all the effects.
The 20,000 watt system was put up and one song was played through it, Status Quo I think, and then we all went home. That night Steve Hackett cut his hand on a glass at a party and could not play the guitar. The next morning, big problems at the Genesis office; what to do now? I thought this was the end of my job, it only lasted a week but it was fun. Tony Smith decided he could put the UK tour back seven months and do the US and European tour then the UK.
Next week I was on a plane to Dallas, Texas with some of the other crew. It was the first time most of us had flown; you know you are on tour when you are sitting on the plane - nothing in the way now. Our first of many meetings with the US Customs was at Washington airport where Gus, the guitar roadie, was having a big argument with a female Customs officer with a gun on her belt. She would not let him import meat into the US; sandwiches made for him by his wife. After ten minutes of this, the rest of us were pulling Gus away as we had another plane to catch. For the next two weeks he kept telling everybody he met about this incident. He was not liked and I had to share a hotel room with him!
The next two weeks were spent with the band rehearsing in a big warehouse in Dallas and the crew were still sorting out equipment. My job was to be the projectionist for the slide show at the back of the stage; around 1150 slides were used and they all needed to be mounted and put in the right order. This took about seven days to do, far longer than we thought. The slides were all taken by Geoffrey Shaw, an Australian photographer and artist living in Amsterdam. He came along with us for the first three or four shows to make sure everything was OK.
Dallas is the home of Showco Inc, a light and sound company who hire out their equipment and people to the Rock'n'Roll boys. They have a very large building where they can make almost anything, it seems. From all the speaker cabinets to the sound mixers, lighting controllers and all the effects you can think of - puts the English companies to shame really. I asked one of the workers there "who do you tour with" and was given a sort of who's who in rock: Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Chicago, and about a hundred others.
Many of the guys there wanted to work with Genesis to be with an unusual band; some of them had been on the previous tour of the US and had come back for more. The crew of fifteen would travel in a Greyhound bus: eight English, the rest from Showco. The band would travel in two big limousines and all the equipment in two big forty foot trucks; sixteen tons of gear had to be put in and out of the trucks every show - quite a task! We had about 150 flight cases of equipment; all with numbers on them, I was about to find out why.
Nick had decided that the only way to see if all the equipment fitted into the trucks, was to practice loading them; so we spent a good two days loading and unloading the trucks, which took about six hours. We did this about three times and on each occasion a slightly different order of flight cases was used to try and make it all fit. On the final time, which only too four hours, we wrote down all the case numbers on the back of the truck doors in order that we loaded the trucks correctly. Now off to Chicago...
The design of the set and stage show was by the band and Ian Knight; a set designer who had worked with Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton and many others. He was a man just full of ideas, some of which were just too mad for anyone to use. I first met him just before we left the UK when myself, Geoffrey Shaw and Ian got into a taxi to go somewhere. He was wearing this large black full length cape which he never took off, ever! Inside this cape were two or more deep pockets; one with a bottle of Martini and the other with a bottle of gin in them. He was a tall man with a full black beard, big black hat, looking a bit like a pirate. As he was walking fast through the airport lounge, people just got out of his way. Ian came with us for the first few shows and then flew back to the UK I never saw him again, but he left quite an impression on me.
November 17, 1974: Chicago, first show of the US tour. The first show of any tour will be hard work; some things did not work as they should, everybody was in everyone else's way backstage. The slide show was still being changed, but we never did have a full rehearsal! The two dry ice smoke machines we had brought with us had to be filled with about fifty gallons of water, which meant a lot of buckets and running around. Later on, we discovered fire hoses were a lot quicker. Backstage during the show everything was dark; the road crew can only see anything by the use of a torch. The band were really keen on having the stage area as black as possible. There were often short blackouts so that Peter could quickly go off for a costume change; any odd lights from equipment or from the side of the stage would wind the band up; so everything was painted black if possible. Most of the road crew had black clothes on. The stage floor was covered in black lino, all the sound and light cables were black or sprayed with black paint. I sent many happy hours over the next few months spraying black gaffer tape with black paint. This also meant that it was easy to trip up backstage, which was something Peter often did!
The first show in Chiacgo went off well; we had a lot of good help from the local stage crew, and the theatre was a fine place to start at tour. The next day we all bought the local paper to see the reviews which were very good. Now on to the rest of America...
New York was the next big important show; we had two nights booked in a theatre, seating about 2000 people. When we turned up at midday to set up, there was a children's show over running in the hall, so we stood around for about an hour waiting to get in! This became quite a common problem over the next few months; sometimes the stage had not been finished or the local crew had just gone to lunch when we arrived; sometimes there would be no power until the sound check or nowhere to park the trucks.
On a normal day, the road crew would get up at about 11am, go down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast only to find that it was closed until lunchtime and buy a chocolate bar instead. Then get on the bus for midday for a short ride to the concert hall, at the hall spend about two hours unloading the two big trucks; we then had to put all the sound and lighting gear up on stage. This took us until about 6pm, then we would stop for food. Around 6.30, the band would arrive for a short sound check. They would play bits from the set for about fifteen minutes and go to the dressing rooms. Some of the dressing rooms in the older theatres were poor, and often the band complained about this. The band never stayed in the same hotel as the crew so we never saw them until the sound check. At 7pm the hall would let the audience in and at 8pm the two hour show would start. Bt 10.15, depending on whether there was an encore or not, the house lights in the hall would go up and the audience would start leaving . We would race to get everything packed away and loaded into the trucks. Encores were rare for Genesis, normally played only if the band felt it was a good audience or that there would be trouble if they did not play something else. Glasgow the year before had seen the audience tear the stage apart due to no encore. The encores were normally "Watcher Of The Skies" or "The Knife".
After about ten shows, the four hour loading time was trimmed down to just over two hours, so by about 1am we would drive to the next town. This was usually about 150-200 miles away, so we were always turning up at hotels at about 5am in the morning, demanding rooms; looking tired and unwashed- not a pretty sight! Now and again, the hotel would turn us away, leaving us stuck. Just a few hours' sleep and a up again for the next show.
Back to the New York show... This was going to be two good nights; all the music press were there, and all the music people. Nothing could go wrong. In the past the New York shows have had lots of problems; the year before, someone hi-jacked all the guitars overnight and held them to ransom, so we were more careful about this show than most.
In the middle of the jam section ("The Waiting Room") there is along crescendo of sound getting louder and louder; the lights get brighter and brighter and then suddenly all the stage sound equipment went off; no keyboards; guitars; just Phil on drums. Backstage there is panic; the band, all except Phil came offstage leaving him to do a quick solo. We were all running around back stage looking for the power supply board to see if a fuse or circuit breaker had blown. This took about two minutes as everything had been painted matt black, including the two big fuse boxes which we just could not find in the dark. When power came back on and the band went back onstage and started paying again as if nothing had happened I think the audience thought it was part of the show and we got on with it. Unfortunately, the same thing happened at the same place during the next night, but we were ready for it; this fuse blowing never happened again- ever. New York was fighting back!
During this part of the tour, we went across to Canada for two shows in Montreal and Toronto. The halls were massive 20,000 seater ice hockey stadiums. Just before we got to the Canadian border, one of the American crew said that we should throw out any American drinks cans, rubbish, drugs etc as the Canadian border guys were very hot. So we threw out about 150 cans of beer and cola. Just as well really, as the Customs gave us all a search with a sniffer dogs and went through all our bags. They found nothing, and we carried on. The shows were a big success and brought some money back into the kitty. Having a big band on tour costs a lot of money and some of the smaller halls cold not break even; the record sales would save the day but you have to tour to promote your records - a bit of a Catch-22 situation.
Christmas meant ten days off, back in Dallas. The band had flown back to London with some of the English crew. Nick Blyth, head roadie, had gone to New Orleans with his wife; Peter the special effects man had gone to New York. This just left three of us in Dallas; Geoff Banks (Keyboards), John (drums) and me. Dallas was cold at Christmas, about 40 degrees Farhenheit - we should have gone somewhere hot. One of the truck drivers lent us his spare car to use for a week. It would seem that everybody we met had many cars and bikes at home, so we had this big 7-litre Buick to drive around in: air conditioning, FM stereo, electric windows - we felt like kings driving in this car. One night we drove back from a club and just had to find out how fast this car could go. So we went down the freeway at 125mph. The next day we asked one of the locals what the speed limit was... "Well, in Texas they let you do 55..."
The next part of the US tour started in West Palm Beach, Florida. I remember it being January 5, and ninety five degrees; very humid and it was taking about three times longer to unload the trucks. This part of the tour was going to take us right through the Southern states. It was going to be very hot, unlike the cold and snow of Chicago. Some of the cities had great names - New Orleans, Atlanta, Houston, Denver. Some of the drives for the bus and truck drivers were very long, it was quite common to drive 1200 miles with only one stop to refuel. The bus for the crew had a fridge, toilet and 24 bunks on board so we could drive for some time before needing to stop. All the trucks and the bus had a CB radio so they cold talk to each other if there was a problem. The bus driver would use headphones most of the time while driving at night and to keep awake, would speak via the CB to other truckers hundreds of miles away. During a long drive from Oklahoma to San Francisco, 1700 miles, the bus broke down while we were in the desert in New Mexico. The brakes had locked on after coming down a long hill. The crew all got out of the bus and started running around the desert taking photographs and having fun until somebody said "Look out for the snakes", we all got back in the bus quick! The bus driver said he would call up a breakdown truck on his CB radio... "Got a 200 mile range with this rig" he said. Well, radio silence hit us; there was nobody out there and we were all going to die.
After about five hours a car approached us which we flagged down and asked the driver to send out a tow truck from the next town. This arrived four hours later - hooked us up and proceeded to tow us the hundred or so miles to the next town. In the state of New Mexico it is illegal to have anybody inside a vehicle which is being towed, so we all had to lie down on the floor of the bus so nobody could see us - all part of the glamorous world of rock & roll! After twelve hours of sitting in the local McDonalds, the bus was fixed and we all got in for the rest of the ride to San Francisco. The bus driver was behind time now and just drove like mad. This old Greyhound bus had a top speed of 72 miles per hour, and with a brick jammed on the gas pedal we flew along. When the bus driver wanted to use the toilet, someone just held the wheel for a few moments to let him out of the seat, the bus never slowed down. This was a common way of driving it seemed, and in the three months in the US, we never saw any police on the road - unlike Italy, where we hit speed traps and were fined several times.
Ticket sales were poor in some of the southern cities, and a few of the shows were cancelled. Dallas was one of these, which was a shame as all the Showco team would have been there. Denver and Vancouver were also cancelled so, we did some more shows back in Chicago before returning to the UK. The sound crew had a friendly rivalry with the lighting crew and there was always some ribbing between us. The big PA system we carried with us performed well until a show in Fort Wayne Indiana. This was the home town of Craig Schertz, the sound mixer, and Dale Newman, the guitar roadie - all their friends would be there watching this one. About three hours before the show, the PA system developed a big hum - very loud, and Craig could not get rid of it. This was going to be a big problem, and the show was about to be put back a few hours.
We checked the earth and the cables for the sound system and could find no fault. In a moment of desperation, Craig decided he needed a good earth to stop the hum. He ran out of the hall with a mic stand in one hand and a hammer in the other. Four feet of the mic stand got buried in the ground rapidly and a new earth was found. Unfortunately this did not work as the ground was too dry. Craig then runs on to our coach and brings about fifty cans of beer with him and proceeds to empty them all into the ground around the mic stand to make a better earth. At this time, the lighting crew had had enough and were trying to stop Craig from emptying all our beer into the ground. A bit of a struggle ensued: the sound man won but we were not happy. It took a long time for the lighting crew to forget that one!
Back in London for about five days, which gave us some time to fix some of the equipment which needed service and sort out some new members for the road crew. Crew members got dropped if they messed things up or are unreliable. The drum roadie, John, was being dropped. He had been with Genesis for about two years but no more, and he still owes me $100.00 that I lent him! Dale Newman, the new guitar roadie, took over from Gus in Florida and we now shared a hotel room. I remember carrying guitars up to hotel bedrooms at night so that Dale could change the strings. I think he changed them about every fifth or sixth show; the double neck needed eighteen strings and the other three - six string guitars - took him a long time to re-string. The other crew members were from MEH, a London sound hire company. All the American lighting equipment and the sound mixer were flown over to London but the main PA system could be hired in London which saved a lot of money. This meant that the crew was now about seventeen including two or sometimes three girls: Alison for Peter's costumes and makeup, and two girls who sold T-shirts. Merchandising was not a big thing then - you could buy a T-shirt or poster but that was about it, a lost opportunity.
February 5 was a cold, dark Saturday morning when we left London in another coach bound for Oslo in Norway. This coach had no toilet, fridge or bunks, and was not going to be a picnic. We went via Newcastle to catch the ferry along with two trucks of equipment. The next few days were going to be our darkest hours, one of the trucks never made it that far! The ferry went through some very rough weather and the cabins we had were small: no windows and smelly; next to the engine room and each one had four bunks. After about five hours in, everybody gave up trying to sleep and went to kip down in the bar instead. This led to the start of many arguments with officials over the next three months. When we reached Oslo, it was in deep snow; the coach had almost frozen up and it was too big to go in the hold of the ferry and was on deck for almost two days. The American tour had lasted three months and for the most of it, all went well: no language problems apart from a slow Texan drawl from the Showco crew. Europe was going to be hard work; we found that trying to talk to the local crew in concert halls became very tiring and frustrating. None of us could speak Portuguese, German, Dutch, or Spanish, just a bit of schoolboy French which was not good enough.
In Oslo the night before the first show of the European tour, one of the trucks broke down just ten miles outside the town. Nick, the head of the road crew woke everybody up at around 2am and dragged them out of the hotel. The truck that had broken down was stuck at the top of a big hill in the snow with its brakes locked on and its engine dead. The only option was to unload all of its equipment into another truck and then take it to the concert hall. Sounds OK when you say it like that, but the only truck we had was full of lighting equipment, so we managed to wake up the concert hall caretaker who let us in and unload all ten tons of gear quickly into the hall and then drive this now empty truck out to the broken down one. But we had no transport for the crew. Luckily for us, some fans of the band were waiting outside in the cold hoping for a glimpse of the band. We persuaded several of them that if they gave the crew lifts in their cars to the broken down truck, they may get some tickets for the show. We all jumped into the their cars and sped off, and were given a demonstration of handbrake turns in the snow at the same time.
|Those fans saved the day for us and helped us unload tons of gear. When we got to the broken down truck, it was in a very sad state and the spare truck could not go up the steep hill so we spent about four hours in the dark carrying and pushing about eighty flight cases of gear down this snow covered hill; the highlight being me and four others holding on to Tony's Hammond organ trying to stop it going over the edge of the cliff as it ran away from us; it was eventually stopped by a snowdrift. Back at the concert hall, it was non-stop to get all the equipment set up and put the show on - nobody having slept for about 24 hours. The show went well until the last note, when a small flash box that normally gives a slight flash and puff of smoke, decided to explode instead. This was almost the end of the tour before it had started. The band went deaf for several days; small parts of the stage had gone; many speakers had been destroyed with the sudden rush of air. We never found the flash box although bits of stage equipment were picked up 150 feet away. Oslo was going to be like New York: jinxed! The next show was in Copenhagen in a few days' time; more sound equipment was sent out from London to replace the damaged stuff and Peter and I started to look at the flash box for a clue as to why it blew up. These flash boxes were made out of welded stainless steel with a mesh cover to stop any debris coming out. They were the best made boxes I had ever seen and was impressed by them in London. The problem was that the old explosive charges had never been cleaned out of them and over the months it had built up and detonated in Oslo. We now had a daily cleaning routine to add to all our other jobs!|
I have not said much about the music. Here I am, a progressive rock fan, normally playing Deep Purple or Black Sabbath in my bedroom at night, and working for one of the world's top rock bands, who have a slight twist on music and lyrics. I was a drummer for four years when I was at school, playing all sorts of music - and now I can watch Phil play every night from about ten feet away. I could appreciate how good he is and the real skill he has. Over the next few months, I was turned into a Genesis fan big time and now have a big collection of their work. If the band played an encore, it meant that I could go around the side of the stage to watch Tony Banks play some keyboards like no one else can. Even today, I sometimes play "Selling England By The Pound" in the car and still wonder how they did it!
During the setting up of the show, there would come a time when the band had not arrived, but every light and piece of sound gear was working - this was the tie for the road crew to have a small sound test of their own. Most of the road crew are musicians and to have a full sound system and backline all ready, and just asking to be played was enough. I sat on the drum stool, Dale on guitar, someone else on double neck and we were off. Unfortunately, Phil plays left handed and I do not, the double neck is too heavy to lift up and it has got eighteen strings. No one can play keyboards, so our little jam never got going. Leave the music to the band. To test the PA system and to ensure that all of it was working, Craig would shout down... "Test, Test; Test" about two hundred times. It drove us mad and we asked him to play a cassette or something and he plays us a cassette of ZZ Top at 20,000 watts. I am now a big ZZ Top fan! Craig was the sound mixer for ZZ Top then, and also a big fan of Genesis - two different bands but the same mixer.
The lyrics of Genesis up to that point were a bit odd to my young head. Peter was only three years older than me, but his knowledge of so many things was outstanding: even twenty five years later I still read some of the lyric sheets with amazement.
Back to the tour... we played in Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain all without too many problems but then we went to Portugal. The trouble started with the hotel; one of those very nice, flash hotels that road crews do not normally get let loose on. For some reason, a few of the sound crew got drunk - very drunk, and on returning to their room late at night, decided to wreck it . I only found out the next day at breakfast, when all the contents of the hotel room was bobbing up and down in the swimming pool and I mean all! Everything including the bed, and all the light fittings and the shower were in the pool, the room was empty. This did not go down well with the hotel who started a stock check on all rooms; counting everything. Nick, the head roadie took the costs for the damage out of the wages of about five crew members. Jim, one of the sound men shouted: "On the Deep Purple tour, they let us do it!" This was the only bit of hotel wrecking I ever saw during the tour, shame really.
The concert hall was a bit small only seating around 2,500 people and there was no power when we arrived. The dressing rooms were primitive and the feel of the hall was not good. After unloading the trucks and putting up the equipment, the local electrician came in who could not speak English and we could speak no Portuguese. He gave us three power cables and we needed five. A few minutes of head scratching told us that we only had half the power we needed and there was no earth. The electrician then took us outside to a pole in the street; he climbed it and clipped on our three cables to the top of the pole; power was now on and live but we don't want to touch it.
Using lots of gloves and towels to wrap around his hands, Peter managed to connect up to our power box without killing himself, and we found an earth for the sound system via the trusty water pipe. Things are a bit basic in Portugal, and very soon we heard the sound of tanks outside the hall. It would seem that we had walked into a small revolution which was about to start. Troops were walking around with guns in one hand and a can of beer in another. A few shots were fired over people's heads and the place went mad. Nick was running backstage telling everybody to arm themselves with anything heavy - the mic stand now has more than one use! At one point, half the crew were under the sound mixer, with Craig shouting... "Just like 'Nam!"
Teargas was now being fired everywhere as fans were trying to get inside the small hall, the army trying to keep them out. The fans outside with no tickets were standing on top of tanks as they were driving around. It was all very nasty; the band went on and did the show and during this time Craig had two guards at his side by the sound mixer; I had one by me complete with automatic rifles and beers! This was not a good time to be in show business. When the show ended, all the army disappeared, with the fans leaving us to pack up and go. We think it was just a show of force but it was a very nasty time.
Around 2am everything was in the trucks apart from our big mains cable which was still connected to the outside power pole. The electrician had gone home and it needed someone to climb up the pole and disconnect the cable while it was live. Nobody was going to do this, so Peter pickled up two pairs of working gloves and a hacksaw and shouted to me..."You hold the cable. I'll cut it".
Peter cut through a 300 amp cable live with much sparking and we all ran to the bus. The drivers needed no directions on which way to go - out! A few hours after we had left Portugal, they closed the borders and had a small revolution, we were lucky to get out of that one.
Onwards to Italy: fine wine, food, women... Oh how wrong a poor boy could be! The Italian government had heard about the trouble in Portugal and had let us do just one show in Turin. If that went well, we could do the other ten in Rome etc. The Italian traffic police had also heard about Genesis and stopped us several times for speeding along with the trucks; on the spot fines for all. We finally reached Turin to play in a big hall, this was going to be a great show. We were warned about the locals pinching equipment out of the trucks as we unloaded, and this was the least of our problems as it turned out.
How does that song go...? "I love the smell of tear gas in the morning..." The riot police arrived; windows in the hall were smashed; teargas shot; you know the rest. We did the show and were all escorted to the Italian border and told never to come back. This left the band and Tony Smith, the manager with a huge problem. The ten date Italian tour was cancelled with no possible return dates; all the crew had been paid for eleven days with no work. The band flew back to England and the crew went to a small French town and a cheap hotel to pass the time. After a few days of sitting around not sure of what is going to happen, most of the crew got very restless. This must have cost the band a lot of money, having to pay the crew and hire all the equipment for nearly two weeks with no money coming in. Tony managed to get some extra dates in Germany and a couple in France to help out but by now this long tour was taking its toll with most of us. We finished with a show in Brussels and then got the ferries back to England.
We had done 71 shows but it felt like more, Wembley was going to be our first in England for two nights and they were going to be sell outs. The band and the crew could not wait for these shows; everything was going to be just fine and the fans speak English as well. Wembley was like coming home after a war; nothing was going to stop us now and we pulled all the stops; 20,000 fans loved us.
The next few weeks showed me that apart from Wembley, England had no big halls for big bands. We played in Southampton, Manchester, Bristol, Newcastle and struggled trying to get the equipment on the stage. Europe had bigger halls with better access for the trucks and England had nothing; it was all outdated and difficult. This is why in the later years, bigger bands almost forget England as just too difficult, apart from the odd outdoor gig. In Bristol we had to leave half of the lighting rig in the truck as there was no room on the sixteen foot stage for our rig. The last show in England was in Birmingham on May 5, 1975. This was to be my last show with the band, a few of the road crew had already left: Nick Blyth had an argument with the management and left about four years with them. Pete, the effects man had gone to New York, I had projected my last slide for them. I found life on the road living out of a suitcase for months on end just too much. I had gone slightly deaf in one ear, too much mellotron I guess.
Soon after leaving Genesis I went and bought a good hi-fi system with the money I had saved and went to a record shop. And do you know the records I bought, but what else: "The Lamb..." "Selling England", "Foxtrot", "Trespass", "Genesis Live" oh... and have you got any ZZ Top back there?
All the above is true; I was there - David Lawrence.
Thanks very much for sharing this with us , David. I am sure that our readers will find it very interesting reading!