"Duke's Travels" - Genesis in Liverpool May 2nd and 3rd 1980. Concerts reviewed by Ted Sayers.

The early part of 1980 was a veritable feast for fans of Genesis and their off-shoots. The band's first UK tour since 1977 took place between March and May and this was filling in a rather tasty sandwich; the bread of which was a tour in February and March by Peter Gabriel and followed by Steve Hackett's tour in June/July. The Duke Tour took in just about every major city in the UK and many not so major. I recall the scramble that seemed to engulf every Genesis fan when tickets went on sale in the early part of the year and like everyone else I sweated over the arrival of the said tickets.

Thankfully, the then official fan club: Genesis Information, were able to secure good seats for many of the shows for members. The tickets really were like gold dust that year and so mine were hidden under lock and key upon their arrival.

The Liverpool gigs fell towards the tour's end on May 2nd and 3rd and just prior to the famous Lyceum shows. The first night was a Friday and due to the high profile of the band by this time; the touts were out in force.

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Rumours of tickets changing hands for in excess of £400 were flying around and their popularity was only enhanced by the fact that Turn It On Again had recently been riding high in the UK charts. The weather over the two days brought the fans out early; with bright clear early summer skies and the streets around the Empire Theatre teemed with people who were obviously there for one thing.

The gigs were filmed and formed part of a local TV documentary that highlighted the hysteria and anticipation that surrounded the tour. At the time of the Liverpool gigs; Liverpool FC had just been crowned League Champions and a number of players were in the audience. Phil even wore a Liverpool shirt for the encores with a number 7 on the back (Kenny Dalglish).

The band were very busy between the two shows with local radio interviews and also the filming of the Duchess promo. This was the first time I got to meet the band and a couple of us had turned up very early on the morning of the second gig at the stage door. We arrived at around 8AM in the morning and Phil, Mike and Tony turned up by 10AM. At the time we didn't know what they were there so early but it can only have been to film the shots of them sat in the auditorium for the aforementioned video promo. They also used some footage of the queues outside the venue prior to the shows.

The shows themselves were everything the Genesis fan could have wanted at that time with a fairly large slice of Genesis history. The atmosphere at these shows was intense from the opening heartbeat of Deep In The Motherlode to the closing musical meltdown of The Knife. The band grabbed the audience by the throat from the off and refused to let go for nearly two and a half hours.

In retrospect, these were shows that would be difficult to pick the best moments. The set included so many classic Genesis tunes; Dancing With The Moonlit Knight; Squonk; Carpet Crawl; In The Cage; Ripples; One For The Vine and that's before we even got to the tumultuous ending that was the Dance On A Volcano/Los Endos and the ensuing encores. The strangest part of the set was surely the decision to place all the new material in one section. This became known as the "Duke Suite" or "Music From Our Album Called Duke" as Phil introduced it. This became the Supper's Ready of the tour due to Phil's lengthy intro to the piece.
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In The Cage had made its first appearance in the set list since The Lamb… shows on the previous tour but it was very much an embryonic version that really grew on the Duke tour into the medley. The growth of the song into that medley continued on the tours that followed but the powerhouse early versions had so much about them due to their freshness. The flow from Cage to Slipperman and on to the mighty Afterglow was a stroke of genius that has never been bettered.

By this point the crowd were in raptures and in those days the audience were as one and there were no people chatting all the way through or 'phoning their mates to let them know they were at a Genesis gig. These were special shows with an intimacy that is rare even in small venues these days.

Sadly, Genesis have never returned to Liverpool as a band, mainly due to the huge leap in popularity they took after these shows. The Abacab tour of the following year saw ticket demand grow to astronomical proportions. Fewer gigs plus less cities equals more disappointed Genesis fans. It looks like we shall never see those days again.