“It was Thirty One Years Ago Today…. Or something like that!” - A blatantly nostalgic trip back to 1982 by Alan Hewitt. Photographs by Ted Sayers, Mike Ainscoe, Alan Perry and Robert Ellis. Memorabilia: TWR Archive.
Nostalgia isn’t all it’s cracked up to be these days is it folks? Tribute bands abound even to acts that are still very much alive and kicking (even if the harsher among us may wish that some of them weren’t!) although thankfully, in the main those providing a tribute to Genesis’ music more than live up to the job. Even so I thought I’d take this opportunity before I finally end up in the Matilda Smith-Williams Home For The Aged (wonder where I’ve heard that name before…?) to look back at what for many fans were the band’s last truly classic live shows.
1982 was a marvellous year if you were a fan not only of Genesis but also Phil, Peter and Mike who all produced their new solo offerings beginning with Phil’s second solo album: Hello, I Must Be Going and a series of successful singles including one about a peeping Tom (Thru These Walls) and another in which Phil finally got to take all of The Temptations’ parts (You Can’t Hurry Love) which also gave him his first number one hit here in the UK. Fans also finally got to see what Phil was like as a solo performer as he went on the road promoting the album with a hugely successful series of shows which ran from November 1982 until February 1983. As you might expect from Phil, the shows were a healthy mix of fantastic music and some elements of tongue-in-cheek humour.
Mike’s second solo offering; Acting Very Strange, took fans by surprise as he decided to carry out the singing duties himself to varying degrees of success (or failure). With Genesis duties beckoning, Mike did not have time to tour this album and the singles released from it barely troubled the charts.
After a three year lay off, Peter roared back into life in 1982 with what for many fans (myself included) is his best solo album or “Four” as it has subsequently become known. An album of thought provoking and challenging music which showcased Peter at his most dramatic. Despite the less than enthusiastic reactions from critics who, let’s face it don’t really like to have to think too hard about things, the album achieved charts success although the single; Shock The Monkey didn’t match the album’s success. That didn’t bother fans who lapped up Peter’s latest offering and he subsequently proved that he had lost none of his performing powers as he began what was to be his most extensive solo tour to date with a pair of memorable shows at the inaugural World of Music Arts and Dance (WOMAD) Festival in July before embarking on a massive tour in November 1982 that was to keep him (and his fans) occupied until September of the following year.
Steve Hackett’s profile was the lowest during 1982. Following on the highly successful new look Hackett sound and band which had emerged on 1981’s Cured album and highly successful tour, Steve spent most of 1982 ensconced in the studio working on what would eventually emerge in April of 1983 as his next album: Highly Strung. A couple of live appearances demonstrated that he was still a potent live force too.
In the meantime, the band’s momentum had been building steadily since the end of the 1970’s with each successive album out performing the last. 1981’s Abacab album however, probably divided the fan base more than any album since The Lamb… back in the heady days of 1974. I freely admit, that I hated the album on first hearing, perversely loving Keep It Dark though and the first edition received the now famous “Frisbee” treatment which was also meted out to Invisible Touch a few years later. But hey, I was young and foolish in those days (as opposed to being old and foolish now then, eh? I hear you cry!). However, the album did eventually grown on me and the resulting shows in the horrible winter of 1981 certainly proved that the band had the ability to still take most of their fans along with them - I even enjoyed Who Dunnit!
With a new live album to promote, many fans, myself included, wondered if the live shows announced in the spring of 1982 would be any different to those which had preceded them. Boy, were we in for a surprise! In fact, 1982 was to be a year of surprises for Genesis fans but we’ll get to those in good time folks. The spring of 1982 also saw the band release the 3 x 3 E P of songs left over from the Abacab album sessions. Once again displaying that fine line in ironic humour we know so well, the send up of The Beatles’ iconic Twist & Shout single cover was completely lost on the music critics who were no doubt still struggling to fathom why Genesis were still around. And, shock horror - they were even getting to appear on TOTP again as well!
I narrowly missed out on a trip to Leiden in Holland back in 1981 in favour of seeing young Mr Hackett whose own new album; Cured was creating equal furore among his fans, in my own home town of Liverpool. No sign there of the negative response that greeted the band at Leiden I can tell you! However, having heard from several fans how enjoyable these overseas trips could be, I duly decided to book a place on one advertised in the band’s fan club magazine and so, my first experience of Genesis 1982 would take place in Hamburg in Germany.
I still have vivid memories of just about every aspect of that trip. From finding myself apparently the only Scouser on a coach load of fans who all seemed to be from Leeds - not that that made any difference and I was soon made an honorary “Tyke” for the duration. Watching the hilarious antics of my room-mate on the “ahem” Reeperbahn and even the singalong to Supper’s Ready whilst waiting for the U-Bahn train to take us into downtown Hamburg - which also proved that the band were NOT the only ones who can’t dance I can tell you! Thankfully the photos have been dealt with to protect the guilty… oops, I mean innocent!
Of course, by the time we were embarking on this trip, the biggest surprise for Genesis fans had already been announced - the Six of The Best concert! Yes, for one night only Peter Gabriel was to be reunited with his old bandmates. Naturally, the talk on our Hamburg- bound coach centred around “have you got your tickets for Milton Keynes?” so, imagine our surprise again when the courier handed out our tickets for the gig and we all saw … “Genesis and Special Guests King Crimson” written on them. The collective gasp was almost tangible.
The gig itself has been examined in detail in previous issues of TWR but even so it has to be said, that this one, and indeed, the other three UK shows I was lucky enough to see before the wet and windy spectacle at Milton Keynes all had one thing in common - a band at the peak of their collective powers. Phil was evidently in his element winding both the British and German contingents of the crowd up with his between songs patter while Mike and Tony have seldom appeared so relaxed and confident while Chester and Daryl were the rock solid and reliable backbone of the band. Of course, even these gigs themselves had a surprise in them as Phil, in various different ways, heralded the arrival of Supper’s Ready to exactly the same stunned reaction at each gig. Perhaps my most lasting memory of the evening in Hamburg though was the point in the Apocalypse section when the lights projected out from the stage over the audience all of whom for some reason appeared to have bought two of the concert posters which were on sale at the merchandise stall, and as I glanced behind me, all I could see was a field of white crosses as everyone converted them into a cross to banish the evil one - that’s the devil and not Phil for the cynics among you, by the way!
Even the trip back to Blighty was not without its moments including yours truly’s introduction to the world of bootlegs (I was a late developer folks!) and a week or so later by which time I had also immersed myself in both Peter Gabriel and Mike Rutherford’s latest solo offerings, I was back on the road again for three consecutive nights of Genesisteria beginning with two at the NEC in Birmingham where I had seen the band some nine months before. No worries about whether the transport would actually get us there this time though, and the train journey was uneventful. Show wise, the set was exactly the same as it had been in Hamburg although I did derive some amusement at the reaction of the disbelieving fans whom I had told about Supper’s Ready’s presence in the set (this was before the days of the Internet, remember folks!). Once again the band put in two stunning performances which had the crowd completely captivated.
Next stop, Deeside Leisure Centre, a venue no longer with us and I can’t say I am too disappointed about that actually! I only ever went there twice and both times in 1982 for Genesis and The Jam (that’s another story entirely!). Whose bright idea was it to stage a Genesis gig on top of an ice rink? Well… I suppose in the great scheme of things, Genesis have played stranger places over the years and it does give an entirely new meaning when you say you were at a “cool” gig! Humorous moments this evening included Phil’s exhortation to the crowd to take one step back so that all the people who were having their nipples crushed could get their breath! Musically, I think this was the best show of the four for me but how was it for you, folks?
Anyway, a week of anticipation separated this show from the eagerly awaited Six of The Best show. I do still wonder whose bright idea it was to organise an open air show in England in October?! Another lengthy coach trip to the salubrious surroundings of Milton Keynes saw us arrive at the concert bowl early enough for us to be under the stage awning at one point. The weather had decided to play its part and the bowl was a mud bath by the time the first of the day’s bands; Talk Talk took to the stage. Having three other bands on the bill on a day when the weather was as awful as it eventually turned out to be, severely tested the patience of the sixty or so thousand fans who by the time Talk Talk came on resembled nothing more than drowned rats and they were the recipients of a less than friendly reception from the crowd which was a pity as they were a good band who deserved better.
The Blues Band managed to get everyone cheered up slightly but to be honest, John Martyn’s set passed me by completely. Mind you, that might have something to do with the young lady in front of me who somehow (God alone knows how!) managed to dance throughout his set clad in a pair of white stiletto shoes whilst yours truly could barely move - and of course, I had forgotten to pack my own stilettos - typical! By the time the main event finally arrived, the audience would probably have lynched anyone who suggested a further delay but to add a final moment of surrealism, Jonathan King had to have his moment to a not unexpected (and totally deserved) reaction from the crowd before four pall bearers (including as it turns out one Mr Brian Coles who was then tour manager for Peter and now carries out the same function for Steve -small world, innit?) emerged carrying a white coffin out of which emerged one Peter Brian Gabriel, clad as Rael and belting out Back In NYC - the dream had finally become a reality. Well, not quite. Despite the anticipation, this was not the magnificent event which it has been frequently made out to be. Genesis themselves were match fit and after almost three months on the road that is no surprise. Peter’s performance however, was shambolic at best and evidently under rehearsed despite the rehearsals in the days leading up to the gig at Hammersmith. Missed cues, forgotten lyrics, in many ways just like a vintage Genesis gig and the audience didn’t really care and no one who was there would have traded their tickets for anything else I am sure. However, even this gig managed a surprise as Steve Hackett was announced on stage for the encores. Grinning from ear to ear, he joined his old band mates for rousing versions of I Know What I Like and The Knife before it was all over and the band retired to no doubt help Mike Rutherford celebrate his birthday in style.
And that my friends, was a Genesis fans’ year in 1982. Without doubt, one of the most memorable and enjoyable ones in my years as a fan but hey, if any of you have similar reminiscences about other tours, then why not send them in to us here at TWR? We would love to hear from you!