“A Hot Night In Liverpool” - Face Value in concert at The Cavern Club Liverpool on Friday 22nd July 2011. Review and photographs by Alan Hewitt.
It has been a LONG time since I have had the pleasure of seeing Face Value
in my own home town. TOO long in my opinion but better late than never, as they
say! As seems to be the norm these days, the band had a new face in the line
up tonight. Finding a keyboard player able to replace Tony Cole couldn’t
have been an easy task but somehow the band had managed it and I was to see
this new boy; John Comish in action for the first time tonight.
With a good crowd already filling out the sweat box that calls itself The Cavern, the band emerged on stage to the now familiar trio of Behind The Lines/Duke’s End/Turn It On Again, which set the scene for another wonderful romp through the back catalogues of both Genesis and Phil. Everyone looked relaxed on stage, and if John was nervous he certainly didn’t show it! The tick-tock introduction to No Son Of Mine followed and once again, it was a marvellous performance by one and all. Mr Wilkinson put in another sterling performance and both John and Chris brought home the goods musically.
With the band’s repertoire now expanding further and further westward - oops, I mean BACKWARD, it was great to hear an underrated classic from one of my favourite albums, Many Too Many, the one that eluded live performance by Genesis. Here it was given a truly magnificent rendition by the band with John’s keyboards sending shivers up and down my spine. If the job of a tribute band is top make you suspend your disbelief and imagine the real thing, then this hit the spot for me and I was immediately transported back to a certain field in southern England which I won’t name because it upsets Mr Wilkinson too much!
Jesus He Knows Me sounded slightly jarring after the lush magnificence of what had just proceeded it but the contrast in Genesis’ music is what has kept my interest alive for so long. Wrex and Chris really gave the song an edge here and both band and audience worked hard to bring it home. Misunderstanding and I Wish It Would Rain Down are both songs that don’t really do a lot for me personally, but the crowd seemed to like them which is all that matters.
Abacab is an altogether different kettle of fish however. Strange how my initial reactions to this album still keep on coming back to haunt me. Live, the title track has never been anything other than superb and in the capable hands of this band, it was equally amazing. Chris certainly enjoyed his chance to be a guitar hero for the moment and once again, John took on Mr Banks’ mantle without us being able to see the join.
Follow You Follow Me always has been a crowd pleaser, and despite what the so-called purists might say, it’s a damn fine song in its own right - nuff said! Another Day In Paradise and Mama finished off the first half of the show in a suitably dramatic fashion. Once again, each and every member of the band had their chance to shine during these pair of classics and the audience showed their appreciation in spades.
Interval over, it was up to Wrex to kick off the second half of the show with his very own “drum thang” which segued nicely into Something Happened On The Way To Heaven again showcasing the combined talents of Chris, John and Wrex. Against All Odds certainly got a response from the crowd whilst In The Air Tonight threatened to turn the Cavern into an open air venue!
Once again, pee break time for me as the band gave us the nauseous confection which is Throwing It All Away but things got better as the now familiar strains of A Groovy Kind Of Love and Two Hearts which had everyone bopping away - even yours truly (not a sight for the faint-hearted!).
The Collins part of the show continued with fine versions of Sussudio and Easy Lover which were delivered with aplomb by the band who were clearly enjoying themselves almost as much as we were.
Afterglow next, with an unexpected mention for yours truly - mad as a box of frogs eh? OK, it’s a fair cop guv! On it’s own Afterglow sounds out of place but there is no denying that when it is in the hands of a keyboard player as accomplished as Mr Comish, then it does the business and yes, tears did flow as usual! Los Endos worked surprisingly well next to its predecessor and by now the band and audience were really ready to let their hair down and a healthy workout was had by one and all.
Carpet Crawlers was given a suitably respectful treatment and had the audience singing along with John as befits this classic slice of vintage Genesis. Picking the pace up for the finale, Tonight, Tonight, Tonight and Invisible Touch, by which time I was beginning to wonder what exactly the band were on to keep this frantic pace up.
A suitably short break and the band were back for the now obligatory encores. Believe me, there was no way the band were leaving The Cavern without an encore and the whirr of the Cosmic Lawnmower introduced I Know What I Like always guaranteed to get the audience going and tonight was no exception, while the party mood continued as the band played what is for them (and Phil) the only way to end a show as John exhorted us to Take Me Home. The smiles on the band and the crowd’s faces told the story of a triumphant night and there’s no doubt that The Cavern will be resounding to many more gigs by Face Value in the future.
There you have it, another superb night from one of the best tribute bands around. New boy John has slotted in perfectly and brings his own take on classics old and new alike. The rest of the guys looked like they had swallowed the chance to play this hoary old venue with collective glee and that rubbed off on the audience who gave them all the necessary support that a performance such as this deserved. Well done lads, here’s to the next one!