"It’s The Rael Thing" - The Musical Box at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, 29th April 2005. Review by Ted Sayers.

Oh the dilemma! Having never really gotten the point of the tribute band but having always wished I’d seen Genesis perform The Lamb, it was quite a dilemma when I heard that The Musical Box where touring the production. Being well aware of this particular band’s reputation for quality reproductions of early Genesis shows I knew that I wasn’t taken a chance on whether or not I would enjoy the show. So I went along expecting to be thoroughly entertained…and lo and behold, I was. Sadly I’d missed their Selling England shows due to being out of the country. However, The Lamb is one of my all time favourite albums (possibly even THE all time favourite), so I had to be there. It was still with some trepidation that I took my seat on the front row in the very middle of the circle, a perfect view.

As even the casual observer knows this band have been given the official stamp of approval by the real thing. So if it’s good enough for them and in particular the picky Peter Gabriel, then I thought it had to be seen.

The stage set up is exactly as it was in 1974/75 with all of the slides that Genesis used back then so the stage was set for me to get to realise a dream. The only other way would have been for me to invent a time machine so it was otherwise an impossible dream. The opening notes of the title track got the hairs on the back of the neck up as per usual so that was a good start. Initial impressions where drawn to the high quality of the musicians. If you close your eyes then you really can believe that it’s Genesis up there and it’s 1975 again. At times you could still believe that even with eyes open. In particular the singer and drummer have completely mastered the mannerisms of both Gabriel and Collins.

The show sped by with all the expected highlights fitting in where I expected them too. In places I found some of the song endings a little flat and rushed but this is scant criticism and we soon reached the explosive climax of It. This was swiftly followed by a perfect rendition of the band’s title tune. The Musical Box (the song) was just about flawless to these ears and without doubt the highlight of the show which is odd given that it was a Lamb show. Having said that, it may have been the case 30 years ago when the band, having been released from the shackles of playing The Lamb in it’s entirety, opened up as they launched into something more familiar to their audience.

So it was all too quickly that the band closed with Watcher Of The Skies. I’d still have to call myself a cynic when it comes to the tribute band but I having seen the best I can rest easy that The Musical Box have helped me fulfil a long held dream. Thankfully I was in the country when this one happened.

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