"The Genesis Weekend" - Crewe Limelight Club; Friday, April 5 to Sunday, April 7, 2002 - A look at this year's Genesis event. Review by Alan Hewitt.
Ok folks, let's get one thing straight here and now. This event was not organised as any kind of riposte to the organisers of G99 or G2. Despite what some cynics and nay-sayers may think, that is the truth of it. After all the problems attendant on G99 (the saga of which may be told one day - although I believe in some quarters it already has been told and I suppose it all depends whose version of events you believe) - I swore that I would never get involved in such a project again. Never say "Never" however, and against my better judgement I gave in when approached to assist in the creation of this event. "Was it any good?" That really isn't for me to say. That is the judgement of the fans who attended and what follows is merely my observations of the event from "behind the scenes" so to speak...
The event got off for me personally with Ray Wilson's gig at Alexanders in Chester on Thursday April 4 - a sort of pre-Weekend gig and a blinder at that, a review of which appears elsewhere in this issue. Sadly, I was unable to attend Ray's opening of the Genesis Weekend on Friday due to having a lot of things to organise for the start of the event itself on Saturday, but I believe that once again he went down very well - which was marvellous to hear!
Saturday dawned bright and clear and myself and my fellow cohort Paul Tomlinson set off for the venue and the start of two days of hard work and fun. Arriving ahead of the official opening time for the fans, we had just enough time to set up the TWR stall and organise some bits and pieces of memorabilia on the walls, check that the VCR was operational for the video screenings and check the PA system for the quiz, and await the arrival of the display cabinet for the rest of the multitude of memorabilia I had hauled out of the TWR archives for the occasion. Sadly, the cabinet never arrived, but hey, shit happens! A quick trip to pick Paul Whitehead up from his hotel and organise his stall for him and away we went. The punters began to arrive and soon the annexe bar was full of fans happily chatting and getting to know each other.
Quiz time duly arrived and with yours truly in the chair as quiz master it merrily passed a couple of hours and the banter flowed quite freely (thanks, Mr Morris!). Time for a hasty retreat while the two bands of the night, Face Value and In The Cage, sound checked. This was my cue to grab a long overdue bite to eat and a drink and also a chance to finally say hello to some of the people who were in attendance. Personally it was great to see so many familiar faces as well as having the chance to make the acquaintance of so many new ones which is what such events are all about really.
Time flew and soon it was time for Face Value to take the stage. Their set was strongly Genesis flavoured and I am sure took a few people by surprise - certainly me included! Will, Tony and John delivered the goods though, as the comments on the various newsgroups afterwards indicated. A short interval while In The Cage set up their gear and we were back again for round two. I had never seen In The Cage before although I had read all of the reviews and was looking forward to judging for myself. They certainly did not disappoint. I have read the reviews which quibble about Trevor's voice etc. but the performance from where I was standing was excellent and kudos to the band for playing several tracks I had never heard in the live context before. And then it was all over for the evening... time definitely flies when you are having fun and this was fun!
Round two began with a slight detour back to Liverpool when yours truly realised that one of the items for the planned auction was still sitting at home! After that slight hiccup it was back to work again ensuring that everything was set up; stalls in place, VCR cued up etc. A slightly more relaxed day for me because a lot of the groundwork had been done the day before. First major event of the day - the auction. My mistake; I should definitely have organised this for the previous day! A slender audience turned out to watch us offer up some seriously choice items for ridiculously low prices! Never mind, we still managed to raise over £800 for the nominated charities and that was the main thing!
That left plenty of time for glad handing with the fans again and time to relax and get to know people over a pint or two. Once again it was good to see the mix of familiar and unfamiliar faces which makes such events interesting.
Show time once again - G2enesis. This was a show I knew I was going to enjoy. I had seen the guys at The Moses Gate a few months before and their rendition of my favourite Genesis live set simply took my breath away and this time was to be exactly the same. To hear such classics as "Blood On The Rooftops", "All In A Mouse's Night", and "Entangled" live was absolutely wonderful and it was plain to see that the guys were feeding off the audience reaction - feeding the fire in fact!
Only one more act to go. Invisible Touch, soon to be bereft of two of their founding members Phildas Bhakta and Richard Mills. I had a feeling that this was going to be an emotional night for all concerned and I was right. From the opening notes of "Dodo" to the closing chords of "The Knife", the band took the audience by the scruff of its collective necks and rounded off the Genesis Weekend in fine style. [see TWR #45 for an account of the Genesis Weekend from the point of view if the Invisible Touch bassist (and TWR web bloke) - TWR publicity Ed.]
All that was left then was to spend some time saying goodbye and thank you to the people who matter - the attendees and performers which is what I would like to do here, so in no particular order; my thanks to... Ray Bispham and the staff at The Limelight for working so hard over the three days to ensure we had a venue to hold this event; to the bands for playing their collective hearts out and for keeping us so richly entertained! to Ray Wilson and Paul Whitehead for being the special guests and for giving me the encouragement to keep going; to Paul Tomlinson for being the TWR merchandiser for two days and for all his caustic abuse - he may be in a wheelchair but their ain't nowt wrong with his tongue, I can tell you!
Finally to the fans; those who contributed to the auction (Pat Williams, Mansoor Khaleeluddin, Maneula Thiele) and to those who attended the event and made it a success; to our auctioneer; Mr Stephen Witkowski, for whom a whole new career now beckons! to Anthony Phillips, Annie and Geoff Callingham, Steve Hackett and Peter Gabriel for their contributions; to the fan club/web site organisers - Simon Funnell, Peter Morton, Mic Smith and Manuela Thiele for their input. And finally, to anyone I have left out - my thanks for making the event a successful and (I hope) enjoyable one all round - now where's my bed?!