“Live from the Cinema Show” – The Dusseldorf cinema broadcast reviews by Alan Hewitt.

Ah, the joys of being a Genesis fan! These days you don’t even need to go to a gig to see your heroes in concert. Live videos and latterly DVDs have been spoiling us for ages now. Even so, the band’s latest idea of screening a simulcast of one of their recent gigs in the cinema “live as it happened” was something of a surprise.

I had avoided “spoilers” prior to going to the rehearsal in Brussels and, much as it was tempting, I also avoided going to the cinema to see this broadcast – preferring to wait a few days to see the real thing in Germany and then here in the UK. However, when it became apparent that this broadcast was available for reviewing “elsewhere” I could not resist for long.

Concert videos have always been something of a disappointment in the past. Nothing can ever really capture the magic of “being there” as part of the Genesis “experience”. Watching it in the widescreen comfort of a cinema may well have been a closer representation than most but even so – where was the rain? The singalong chorus? The warm beer?!

What this broadcast servers to show is the difficulty of presenting such a show for the benefit of those not fortunate enough to be in attendance at the gig itself.

Visually, as we all know, Genesis are the premier act in the world and the new stage set-up takes their kudos to an even higher level. With the emphasis firmly on the visual rather than lighting this time, the new show looks great just about anywhere in a stadium – I can vouch for this after five gigs, folks!

The Dusseldorf gigs did have the added advantage of being under a roof which meant that the visuals were fully effective and easy to see. However, as the gig progressed, it became apparent that not all of the visuals were there. The red “bars” of the cage in In The Cage for instance were missing so even at this stage it looks as if certain effects were still being road tested. The peak level meters which introduced I Can’t Dance at the gigs I saw were not there at the rehearsal in Brussels either.

Musically, however, the band were firing on all cylinders with a marvellous collection of music from their back catalogue. They even seemed to be enjoying themselves too – I have never seen Tony Banks smile so much and look so relaxed – a joy to behold. The interplay between the five musicians is incredible and the virtual telepathy between them is scary at times.

The audience is always a key element at gigs (well they would be pointless without us, right?!) and it was quite amusing for me, watching the front row of this crowd and recognising so many faces! They certainly seemed to be lapping up the performance and the empathy between the stage and the crowd was almost tangible.

Broadcasting this gig ahead of the live DVD which has been filmed at Rome was always going to be a risk. However, for most fans we can never have too much Genesis and so thanks guys for yet another “Cinema Show”!