“We definitely know what we like!“ - Face Value live at the Moses Gate, Bolton, Saturday 11th July 2009. Review by Alan Hewitt.
It has been a while since Face Value graced the pages of TWR but here we are again at one of their favourite stomping grounds; The Moses Gate in Bolton. There is something unique about this place that really brings out the best in both the band and their audience and I suppose it is in no small measure down to the great hospitality that publican Ray and his good lady always show to everyone crossing their threshold. Things have changed quite a bit for the band over the last few months; new kit, new lighting and an increasing repertoire of the band’s material including a couple of surprises as we shall see….
First surprise on arriving at the venue, was the expanded lighting rig now in the capable hands of John Comish. So, visually the evening promised to be a treat. The band took their time over a sound check to ensure that everything was working as it should and even here the music sounded great so I really began to anticipate the show. Eventually, show time arrived and the crowd welcomed the boys onto the stage and the fun and games began with the now familiar Duke’s Intro leading into Turn It On Again both of which roared along at a frantic pace setting the tone for the evening nicely.
No Son Of Mine and Land Of Confusion continued the up tempo feel of the evening and the former lacked none of the sense of heightened drama that it had when Genesis performed it themselves. In fact it was at this point of the show that I really didn’t need to suspend my disbelief any more. As far as I was concerned this was a GENESIS gig pure and simple!
Home By The Sea has always been a favourite and the band really went to town on it tonight. Tony’s keyboards and Will’s guitar playing were firmly underpinned by Wrex’s drumming which threatened to lift the roof off the Moses Gate! John too, delivered a frantic vocal giving the song a harder edge. It was here that the money spent on the new lighting rig really came into its own too, with a marvellous display deftly provided by Mr Comish. Jesus He Knows Me gave us a moment of light relief before we were treated to a real surprise. Apparently, Tony had won a bet that he couldn’t play the piano intro to Firth Of Fifth… well, knowing Tony as I do I was not surprised when I heard that he had won the bet. I was surprised however, when the intro led into the rest of the song itself! Absolutely stunning! Tony and Will took on the mantles of Messrs Hackett and Banks with consummate skill while John delivered a vocal that both Phil and Peter would have been proud of. The first set ended with the high drama of Mama, always a crowd pleaser and once again greatly augmented by the marvellous lighting which managed quite successfully to recreate the heady days of the Mama tour itself.
Both the crowd and the band were grateful for the fifteen or so minute interval but the crowd were buzzing and ready for more which the band were soon ready to deliver opening the second set with a rip roaring version of Abacab which once again set the tone for the rest of the show. I was really surprised to find Fading Lights back in the set. One of Genesis’ finest “longs” and given the Face Value treatment here tonight, this one brought a lump to my throat and more than a few tears to my eyes and I know I wasn’t the only one!
This show was the second night that the band had played at the Moses Gate, and if the previous night’s show had placed the emphasis on Phil Collins’ solo music, then tonight it was Genesis all the way and next on the menu was another firm favourite of mine; Follow You Follow Me, always a joy to hear and tonight was no exception. I was quite chuffed to hear myself included in the dedication to the next number; the evergreen Afterglow, and it was performed to absolute perfection by every member of the band Los Endos rounded off the show proper as you would expect but the show itself was far from over as the band threatened us with “twenty or thirty more songs”
Pee-break time for me next with Throwing It All Away, probably one of the handful of Genesis songs that I genuinely dislike but it’s a crowd pleaser so there you go! Normal service was restored with an incredibly vibrant rendering of Domino where the band took the crowd by the scruff of our collective necks and didn’t let go. Once again, the lighting for this one really brought an added dimension to an already emotionally charged song.
Carpet Crawlers took us all back on a trip down memory lane and what a delight it was, too. Will’s guitar playing here augmented a superb vocal delivery from John to really send shivers up and down the spine. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight segueing into Invisible Touch brought the show to a fitting climax and I really do wonder how John managed to sing this pair of demanding songs back to back without doing himself a vocal hernia but he managed it while the rest of the band risked equal damage to life and limb by rampaging through both songs in suitably dramatic fashion.
Time for one more… and what could it be? Well I Know What I Like, of course! Even if John had lost his voice by this point it wouldn’t have mattered as the Moses Gate Choir knew all the words anyway and band and audience celebrated their combined love of all things Genesis to end the evening on a marvellous high note.
Well, I have to say, I have been fortunate enough over the last fifteen or so years to see every Genesis tribute band in the UK and have never failed to be impressed by their dedication to the cause of keeping this music alive. However, a new standard of excellence was set last night by a band whose driving force has always been to entertain their audience and by God we were certainly entertained last night - the BEST tribute band gig I have ever seen bar none. The bar has been raised to an incredibly high level now let’s see whether the rest of the tributes can match it. Thanks again to John, Will, Wrex and Tony for such an amazing performance. Kudos too to John Comish for his impeccable lighting and to all of the members of the Face Value “family” for making it an extra special night.
Note: Sorry about the lack of images to accompany this feature - we were at home to “Mr Cock-Up” at the local branch of Boots!