"See The Face On The TV Screen" - Genesis’ recent and not so recent TV appearances reviewed by Alan Hewitt.
The band’s profile is riding high at the moment. Deservedly so, on the back of a series of incredible shows both in the UK, Europe and the USA and Canada. Promoting their back catalogue 5.1 remasters series by doing what they do best: PERFORM .
With no new “product” as such to promote, such TV appearances as have occurred are in the domain of live performances instead. Even so, these performances have been few and far between and it is these which are the focus of this feature.
Beginning with the VH1 “Rock Awards” ceremony in Las Vegas prior to the commencement of the tour. Having watched this item several times, I can begin to understand why promotional work is such a chore. Introduced by Robin Williams, in a manner which made me as a viewer; cringe and seriously want to re-arrange the guy’s facial features. I can only imagine what the band felt like having to listen to it backstage!
I was intrigued to hear Keane announced onstage to perform That’s All. Hardly the typical acknowledgement of the band’s past glories but entertaining enough I suppose. Genesis themselves eventually emerged onstage after further ludicrous pronouncements from Mr Williams; kicking off their performance with Turn It On Again; their anthem for the Eighties - and again for the Noughties! Played adequately enough, it got a suitably raucous reaction from the crowd.
This was in turn followed by No Son Of Mine, which picked the pace up a bit. Always a great song, there was certainly nothing wrong with the performance here either; although it was amusing enough to hear Phil forget some of the lyrics!
It was then the time for the presentation of the “awards” themselves with even more outrageously over the top behaviour from our host before the band returned to the stage for the finale of the performance; an abridged drum duet and Los Endos which even after all these years has lost none of its magic. As a prelude to the tour, this certainly whetted the appetite but did nothing for Robin Williams’ street cred, I’m afraid!
With a firm “no interviews” policy being enforced during the tour itself, such footage that has emerged since has also been in the realms of performance.
The band’s performance at the Live Earth event was something of a surprise - Genesis are not normally known for their participation in “political” events but fortunately their performance as event openers was captured for posterity by film crews. Condensing a show of their magnitude into a mere thirty minutes was always going to be difficult but when you have an opening salvo of songs as potent as Genesis do, you really can’t go wrong. So, the crowd were fed a heady mix of Prog: Behind The Lines/Duke’s End/Turn It On Again, and Pop: Land Of Confusion and Invisible Touch, making a perfect opener for the rest of the day. The band looked relaxed and the performance was decidedly more polished that the Las Vegas show, not surprising really after almost a month on the road.
Next up is an item that was for me, at least a lot more interesting. Titled “Genesis On The Road 2007” this is a behind-the-scenes look at the day to day running of such a massive tour as this one with interviews with the band and also the key tour personnel as well as sound check and rehearsal footage from the gigs in Rotterdam and Paris which along with the previous items mentioned gives a nicely rounded look at last year’s tour from most perspectives.
The final new item is perhaps the most surprising. With the gig at Rome’s Circus Maximus filmed for release as the official DVD from the tour, I was surprised to find that Italian TV had broadcast an edited section of the gig on 4th December last year. Once again, including behind the scenes footage and interviews as well as footage from the spectacular finale to the European tour itself this is another must have for collectors.
Of late, there have also been a few interesting items from earlier parts of the band’s story and in particular a couple of nice items from the Calling All Stations tour period.
First of these is a VH1 broadcast which surprisingly enough, eluded me at the time it was broadcast. Titled “Genesis One To One” and broadcast as part of VH1’s The Night Fly series, this is an interesting look at the new look band through interviews and promotional footage. Introduced by that doyen of Prog Rock; Tommy Vance, this is another interesting item for collectors.
Another item from that tour which had eluded the TWR archives until recently was the TV broadcast from the band’s gig at the Vienna Statdhalle on 15th February 1998. The other TV broadcasts from Katowice and Prague have already been reviewed in previous editions of TWR. This represents the only other extended televised footage of the band from this tour generally available. Sadly once again, this was one of the gigs that didn’t feature the Jumbotron screens due to weight restorations within the venue but nonetheless, it is another interesting item especially for the inclusion of Shipwrecked which was soon to disappear from the set lists for the rest of the tour.
The final item is another release by the Epping Forest project which appears to be a one-man effort these days. “Kliekjes” which I am guessing translates as “Snippets” is exactly that, a series of TV footage from various dates starting with the TOTP performance of Turn It On Again in 1980 with stop offs in 1981 for a mimed performance of several tracks for Italian TV and the embarrassing Late Late Breakfast Show performance in 1983 where the band were hi-jacked at the end of a performance of That’s All by Jonathan King! Then there is TV footage from the band’s gigs at the Feyernoord Stadium Rotterdam from a VH1 broadcast, sadly this is no the complete broadcast which featured further performances and is in the TWR archive but interesting nonetheless, and the final item is the band’s headlining performance from 1998’s Rock In Park Festival in Germany rounding off the DVD in fine style.
It is great to see some of this footage being made available to fans at last and the TWR archive is full of such interesting material which is there for anyone to take on and make available if you fancy the job because I have neither the time or the technical equipment to do it myself!
Of course for those among you whose appetite for Genesis footage is never satisfied, there are also the multitude of unofficial recordings from this tour to contend with but that really is another story and one which we shall cover in more detail another time along with a look at some of the material that has surfaced from the solo artists as well.