"In The Glare of the Light" - Face Value, live at the Horwich RMI Club, Friday May 17, 2002. Review by Alan Hewitt.
There was a famous Disco hit in the mid 1970's under the title of "Oh, What A Night!" which definitely sums up this particular event. John Wilkinson, the band's singer had already asked me to be Master Of Ceremonies for this event; a request I was only too happy to agree to - I owe Alder Hey Hospital my own life so anything to help them was good enough excuse in my book.
The band's manager, Jeff Christie had worked tirelessly on behalf of the group to make sure that this was one show we would not forget in a hurry. HSL Lighting, who had previously worked for Robbie Williams amongst others, brought an added dimension to the show with a full professional lighting rig - some of whose effects had to be seen to be believed but I shall mention those later.
The Horwich RMI itself is a smashing club which holds over 300 people. We arrived in plenty of time to set up the display of items for the auction and raffle as well as having time to get our final orders from Mr Christie. The evening kicked off with the auction of several items of Genesis and footballing memorabilia which in itself raised several hundred pounds for the charity. I was ably assisted in this by Steve Witkowski and John (whose surname I never did find out), both of whom did themselves and the event proud. Yours truly then announced the band onto the stage where they were received with great applause and opened the proceedings with a storming version of "No Son Of Mine" to which the extra lighting mentioned before definitely added an extra dimension of drama to an already dramatic song.
Hit followed hit; "Something Happened On The way To Heaven", "Against All Odds" and "I Wish It Would Rain Down" followed in rapid fire order with both Will and Tony making fine use of the excellent sound system to deliver faultless renditions of these classic tunes. It is difficult to single out specific tracks from such a class set but the first highlights for me personally were the wonderful renditions of "Follow You Follow Me" and a superb "Fading Lights" for which the entire band managed to recreate the almost exact feeling I had when I first heard this track at the press playback of the album back in 1991- God how time flies!
"In The Air Tonight" followed and then another class performance by the band; "Mama" took on all the majesty and drama imbued on it by Genesis with John delivering an astonishing vocal. "Another Day In Paradise" was equally as excellent and then it was time for the first real bit of audience participation as the "Horwich RMI Dance Troupe" led by a certain person whose name eludes me... oh yes, it was me, wasn't it? Led a far from impromptu chorus line round the front of the stage during "I Can't Dance" to round off the first set by the band.
During the interval there was no rest for the wicked with the second half of the auction and the raffle being drawn - they certainly got yours truly to work at this gig! I was also pleased to be able to make the formal announcement that a young lady in the audience had accepted a proposal of marriage from the band's photographer who looked suitably gobsmacked - congratulations therefore to Mick and Linda!
I was dragged back up to announce the band back on stage and they immediately took us all by the scruff of the neck with storming versions of "Land Of Confusion" and "Abacab" and "Invisible Touch", all delivered superbly by the band who were by now feeding well off the well-spring of emotion and enthusiasm coming from the audience. The classics "You Can't Hurry Love", "Two Hearts" and "Sussudio" got the audience off their backsides and dancing, which is the only way to be when these tracks are performed so well. The dancing continued with "That's All", "In Too Deep", "Easy Lover" and "A Groovy Kind Of Love" which slowed the pace down nicely before the emotional highlight of the entire concert for me - two tracks which simply ripped my heart out they were that good! The band's acoustic renditions of "Afterglow" and "Undertow" simply blew me away, and our little group of fans at the front sang our collective hearts out while I cried mine out - superb guys!
How could the band round off a show? Well with "Turn It On Again" and "Take Me Home" of course, complete with raucous audience participation and our very own version of line dancing - or was it semi circle dancing? I have seen this band progress in leaps and bounds over the last twelve or so months, and this show was the icing on the cake. Totally professional, 110% entertaining and not a trace of an ego in sight - just what the doctor ordered! It only remains now to say the usual round of thank you's, so here goes...
First of all, my thanks to John, Tony and Will for giving such an incredibly professional and above all entertaining performance - drummer? What drummer?! To Jeff for organising everything with such consummate skill and for being a true gentleman - hearing really is believing! To Lisa for not beating me up when I dragged her onto the dance floor! To Linda and Mick - congratulations on the impending wedding! To "Big" Steve, Stuart, John, Ian and Dean amongst others for their enthusiasm To the manager and staff at the RMI for allowing the band to use their excellent venue and to the sound and lighting guys for helping the band stage such an amazing show- can we do it all again next weekend?