"My Memories of Genesis 1971 -1973" by Paul Clarkson Memorabilia courtesy of Paul Clarkson, Mino Profumo and TWR Archive.
Genesis were always going to be on my future radar of music even when I was a young lad in the 1960’s. My musical tastes were very different from my brother and sister who liked mainstream pop - nothing wring with that as I liked it as well especially The Beatles who were, and still are my favourite band. It was when I heard ‘Macarthur Park’ by Richard Harris that I had a moment of clarity. , no one in the house liked it but it took my mind and emotions to a different place as did ‘Eloise’ by Barry Ryan. I wanted something a bit different so when a friend introduced me to Yes a couple of years later I thought I had found the holy grail of music!
I was fourteen years old when I saw Genesis for the first time in 1971. I was there principally to see Lindisfarne as I had heard Fog On the Tyne and quite liked it. Genesis were on first that night. I had only heard of them in Sounds which I bought every week and I knew they were a bit different. I loved it, the music told a story and Peter Gabriel led from the front in his story telling and singing. The melodies and lyrics were fabulous and I loved the layoit of the band; Peter Gabriel at the front smashing the hell out of a bass drum at his feet, to his right was Steve Hackett looking like a college professor in his dark rimmed glasses and playing lead guitar with more pedals on the floor than I had ever seen a guitarist use before, to his left was Phil Collins sitting behind the drums and further over to Phil’s left was Tony banks playing keyboards. I do remember vividly that the moment I was hooked was on hearing the opening few bars of The Fountain Of Salamis . I couldn’t get over the fact that a group could recreate that sound on stage. It was such a beautiful, exciting intro to a song.
I remember that they played most of the new LP: Nursery Cryme which was released that month and soon became part of my record collection. The whole performance was fabulous and a band called Audience followed and then Lindisfarne who were excellent and gave us a great end to the evening. Lindisfarne by the way were banned for life from the Dome as they invited everyone up on stage for the encore. The Dome Management were very quick to ban groups at that time but Lindisfarne did return in 1986.
So, to the next gig in February 1972. Me and a friend went to see Genesis at Worthing Assembly Halls. I remember it cost about 70p on the door. There was a support band but I can’t remember who it was, I was only there to see Genesis along with a quite healthy crowd. It was great that in such a short space of time they had generated a fair bit of interest. The set was about the same and I could see that Peter Gabriel had extended his bald spot further back from his forehead which was effective but spooky all the same. After he gig we managed to get in to the dressing room, looking around we saw Phil Collins and he signed his autograph for us. We didn’t ride our luck any further and made a hasty retreat out of the building.
The next gig was a bit strange to say the least. It was on 27th October 1972 at the Top Rank Suite in Brighton. Lindisfarne were again top of the bill and Genesis were on first. The Top Rank Suite first and foremost was a disco and not really a venue for gigs. I think the management misjudged this one as it was so popular that it was dangerously overcrowded. I was at the front and when Genesis came on there was a real air of excitement as they started with Watcher of the Skies from their new LP Foxtrot. The gig was great but the problem came when they played The Return of the Giant Hogweed, near the end of the song there were two huge flashes either side of the stage, this was obviously going to in time with the music but apparently someone on the staff who wasn’t aware of this pulled the switch and turned off the electricity so we were plunged into darkness. They feared there was a fire starting so that was that and the end of the performance!
Rab Noakes followed Genesis and then Lindisfarne came on and now I wouldn’t want anyone to think that it was disparaging to Lindisfarne as they are a fine band but the Top Rank suddenly became half full. It became apparent that 50% of the crowd were there to see Genesis which was fabulous for the band but obviously not for Lindisfarne who put in a great performance.
The press were being very kind to Genesis at this time and their popularity was growing. It was great for me asa fifteen year old as all of my friends only liked what was on Top Of The Pops and here was my band all over the music press with no TV help at all.
My next Genesis gig was on 10th February 1973 and finally they were to play The Dome in Brighton as the main act. This was a sell out gig and The Dome had the air of patchouli and other substances that I shouldn’t have known about at my tender age of 19! They played most of Foxtrot with Supper’s Ready taking up the second part after the interval. This was by far the best gig yet, they were playing brilliantly and the new songs were fabulous.
By this time I had all the L Ps and I was lucky enough to get hold of a copy of From Genesis To Revelation and all Genesis fans know about how that LP was lost to the public in 1969 due to it being put in the religious section. I actually loved it. I thought the songs were very nice and the singing was very “English” and sung with a clipped posh accent.
The next tour was to promote Selling England By The Pound which was and stillis my favourite LP of theirs and they came to the Dome (again) on 15th October 1973. I made sure I got my ticket for this one early as we could see that their popularity was rising and it was apparent that the tickets would go fast. This was the last time I would see them as a five piece and the whole evening was brilliant.
They had a screen behind them flashing up images which at the time ws cutting edge. Whilst singing Dancing With The Moonlit Knight when it got to the line ‘knights of the green shield stamp and shout’ an image of an actual Green Shield Stamp was flashed up on the screen - brilliant! For the last song they performed Supper’s Ready and it was the first time I had ever really seen a show of emotion at a gig. When Peter Gabriel got to the line ‘hey my baby don’t you know our love is true’ he was wearing a black gown and the square head dress. Then when Phil Collins played the drum fill into the next line, ‘I’ve been so far from here’ Peter lost the black gown and suddenly appeared in exactly the same spot wearing a silver two-piece suit. Some of the crowd in the stalls just rose and ran to the front with everyone out of their seats in awe and it was a wonderful moment and I always think of it when I play the LP.
So, that was my journey through Genesis in the early 1970’s. I still play those LPs today and I always hear something new. I know they went on as a three piece an found a lot more fame but my favourite time was back then with Peter Gabriel.
Our thanks Paul for sending in your memories which will bring back happy memories for some of our readers of a similar vintage to yourself and make the rest of us bloody jealous! Seriously though, if any of you have memories like Paul which you would like to share with TWR then, send ‘em in!