My Selection of Genesis Shows: Part II
Four Nights in Philadelphia, PA and East Rutherford, NJ 2007

A couple of months had passed since my adventures in Twickenham in July, but the events of that night remained as vivid as if they had happened just days before. I could still hear the mass hysteria of cheers and applause when the band first took the stage that night, and visualize the miles of Genesis fans swaying back and forth to "I Know What I Like" while singing along with the chorus under Phil Collins able direction.  I had taken no chances this time out having experienced the pre-sale debacle first-hand for UK tickets, and made sure I had venue maps at my disposal when securing my prized seats for the North America dates I had so eagerly purchased.

Sadly, with the cost of the UK trip and the cost of my own guilt consuming me, I was reluctant to buy tickets to both shows in my area, which boarders the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where two shows had gone on sale at the Wachovia Center. Some may consider it a tad extreme to see the show on the same tour a second time, much less more than that, but knowing that this could very well be my last opportunity to see Genesis live, I knew I would regret not seeing the tour as much as I could within the confines of my financial ability.

My practical side and my inner Genesis fan grappled with the selfishness of my dedicated fandom desires to see both shows verses the sobering reality of dollars and cents. The King Solomon decision I made was to go to one of the two Philadelphia shows and no more. Little did I know that this decision of 'logic' would be challenged repeatedly over the next several months leading up to the concerts in Philadelphia.
  I almost immediately saw Mike Rutherford walking backstage, but I respectfully opted not to violate my agreement. I was then taken to the front of the stage and asked to sit for a little while so that the band could do a soundcheck before the interview. I don't mind telling you, while I calmly and cooly said, "That's fine," I was carefully hiding my excitement. I was getting a first-hand view of Genesis rehearsing behind the scenes! Unreal!

The band came out on stage and greeted me and what appeared to be a handful of record company executives and some radio station contest winners. After a few minutes of tweaking their equipment, the familiar keyboard sequence from the beginning of "No Son of Mine" began to play and the band soon followed.
All that aside, I felt a sense of great remorse when I first heard that both Philadelphia shows completely sold out.  Maybe I should have tried to swing an extra seat... at least a cheap nose-bleed level seat? What was I thinking?! ...Alas, that was no longer an option. I regrettably accepted my fate of seeing Genesis only once more as both Philadelphia shows quickly sold out.

To my surprise, roughly a month (and a clean credit card bill) later, a third Genesis show went on sale in Philadelphia. Was this a sign from God? Ok, probably not... but it was good enough for me! After all, in the off chance that it was a divine intervention, who would I be to go against the will of the all-powerful by not getting more Genesis tickets?!

So, I anxiously grabbed tickets to the third show's fan club pre-sale, strangely enough ending up a couple of rows behind my exceptionally primo tickets for the first night! Now, I felt satisfied. My inner fan was at peace. I was now seeing a total of three Genesis concerts in 2007.
  After completing a verse of the song, the band ended abruptly and fiddled with their equipment a bit more between a few laughs. They were clearly enjoying making music together, which was great to see, because they certainly did not need to show any signs of enjoyment to this bunch!

Genesis then went into the full "Behind The Lines" instrumental section into a complete rendition of "Duke's End" ending relatively abruptly without going into more than a couple of bars of "Turn It On Again" (as it is traditionally performed on this tour). It was a treat to see this up close and personal! Phil then warmed up his voice a bit singing a bit of "Follow You Follow Me" accappella, which sounded absolutely great!  
Shortly afterward, the band performed "Follow You Follow Me" from the starting point and continued through the first verse. After a few more tweaks and notes on their instruments, the band said to the small group "I hope we passed the audition!" and thanked everyone and walked off stage. The soundcheck was complete.
Roughly two weeks before the Philadelphia shows, the excitement for the tour was at a fever pitch. Between my own experience in England and the heated enthusiasm on the official Genesis site's forum on talk of nostalgia, fan tailgating, and the speculation about the possibility of a changed set list only fueled my already excited state.  Any number of irrational justifications went through my mind as I attempted to justify why anyone should see this 2007 Turn It On Again Tour any more than I already was. What if it really was the last tour? Would I regret it later if I could have gone but didn't? What if they actually played something different on that one night of the tour and I wasn't there to witness it? I was completely torn.

After all, between the tour merchandise, the concert tickets already purchased, traveling to London, and other miscellaneous expenses involved and/or already committed, part of me kind of felt like I ought to just be grateful for what I was getting and leave well enough alone. My practical side, and probably the voice of logic and reason, pierced my inner-most thoughts as I went back and forth about whether I should even look to see if seats were still out there to be had for night #2 in Philly. 
  I was then escorted backstage again, this time running into Phil Collins himself! He greeted me very kindly, and since he started some conversation with me, I quickly ceased the moment to ask for a quick picture, which he graciously obliged. I did not want to press my luck any further, so I shook his hand and thanked him as I kept moving. I was then taken to a small rehearsal room, where I saw Chester Thompson working on his laptop. Again, honoring my agreement, I did not disturb Chester as much as I would have loved to shake his hand and thank him as well. 

I finally came to an even smaller room, where Chester's practice kit was located. Daryl greeted me and we went in the room for privacy. I've had the opportunity to interview Daryl once before, and he's a very down-to-Earth, genuine guy. I really respected his candor and enthusiasm for doing the interview. He also acknowledged that members of the band had been to the World of Genesis site, which was a fantastic thing to hear after all of these years of maintaining it!

After concluding my interview and posing for pictures, I said goodbye, and headed back to the concourse to exit the building.
I finally decided in a moment that I still do not know was clarity or complete delusion, "What the hell! If I can find seats - even bad ones - to the second night in Philly cheap, I'm in!" Sure enough, I did... on eBay of all places! There was one problem... I had won two tickets on eBay, and between the Twickenham show and the other two Philadelphia shows I already had tickets for, I knew no one who wanted my extra ticket to the extra night I was attending.

I ceased the opportunity to offer it to a fellow member of the Genesis forum, who gratefully split the reasonable cost of the tickets. So, now I was going to all three Philly shows! Two nights with great seats and one night with seats all the way in the back of the venue - but I didn't care... I was still going! I was now seeing Genesis four times in 2007!

In the midst of all of this excitement, I decided that since Genesis was coming to Philadelphia, it would be an ideal time to interview the band for my World of site. To my grateful surprise, I was granted interviews with both Daryl Stuermer and Phil Collins on the second night in Philadelphia! I was thrilled!

The first night of the Philadelphia shows had finally arrived, and I took my fiancée to experience her first Genesis show. I give her a great deal of credit, because she is much younger than I am, so her recollections of Genesis are almost non-existent. After all, she just started listening to music around the time that Genesis last toured with Phil Collins, so perhaps that should have come as no surprise. In fact, she will be the first to share that she is anything but a Genesis fan. In any case, she thoughtfully accepted my invitation and checked out the show despite her lack of shared exhilaration for the night's event.
  By this point, it was an hour to show time, but to be honest, I probably could have left right then and have been totally pleased with the evening. Its always a relief to know that the people who create the music you are so passionate about are decent people and not jerks. It was a good night in Philadelphia! Even though I had terrible seats on this second night, with the help of Laura from the Genesis forum, we managed to finagle our way to the lower level on the side of the stage. While the set list did not change on the second night in Philadelphia, it was another great show! In fact, the best of the three I had seen by that point. I drove home that night thinking that should this truly be the last time Genesis perform, there is simply no better way this great stint of shows could have gone. 

The third and final night had arrived in the "City of Brotherly Love." Once again, I arrived early to chat with fellow fans and to share the events that had happened the night before. As it was the night before, the tailgating was fun, and it was great to see everyone one last time. As we wrapped up the tailgating, we all said our farewells, and headed off to the venue. This was the first night since Twickenham that I did not have either a photo pass or a backstage pass. It was a great way to end the run to be honest, because I got to just enjoy the night as a fan without the pressure of missing a great shot or prepping interview questions. I couldn't have asked for a better ending to my run of four nights with Genesis... Or could I?
I was offered a photo pass to take some pictures for my World of site that night. Due to the equipment up at the front of the stage, the photographers were asked to take pictures back at the sound mixing desk. Thankfully, my zoom lenses did the trick! As is the normal practice at concerts, I was able to take pictures through the first three songs: the opening Duke medley, "Turn It On Again" and "No Son of Mine." While at the mixing desk, I met Tony Smith, the band's manager. I merely said "Hello" and left him to his business. With headset in hand, he was clearly busy ensuring that everything ran smoothly at the start of the show, and I certainly did not wish to disturb him! Although, I'm sure the very nice bottle of chilled white wine in the cooler behind him kept him calm later in the show!
  Eric, another fan I had met on the Genesis forum, offered me a spare, below face-value costing ticket to see Genesis perform a few days later in East Rutherford, New Jersey, at Giant's Stadium about a hour from my home. By this point, I knew I was probably pushing my luck, so after appealing to my fiancée, it turned out that I was seeing Genesis yet again... Yes, a fifth show! Who would have ever thought?  Again, the seats were not great, but it didn't matter. Once again, I arrived early and met many of the same faces I saw just a week earlier in Philadelphia as well as other new ones who also frequently traffic the official Genesis site's forum. After a few beers toasting what was the end of an incredible run of Genesis reunion concerts....

And, yes, this really was the last one, because there were no more shows within close proximity to my home, and even I felt like I had seen the show enough! But there was one more moment that would make my last night with Genesis unforgettable... Ultrastar, who runs the official Genesis site, held a Rock, Paper, Scissors contest in the parking lot with about 30 Genesis fans, and slowly the numbers dwindled down to myself and another fan.
Although the set list and the banter between Phil and the audience did not change, I was as thrilled as ever that night! The stage, while smaller, looked so much better indoors. The lights glared stunningly from the first moment the band took the stage, which was something totally lacking in London. The sound was also so much more mesmerizing inside the venue than it was outdoors at the arena in Twickenham. It was a very different experience - Plus, this time, I could actually see the whole stage, so it truly was like seeing the show for the very first time!
  Never had there been such a heated contest of Rock, Paper, Scissors in the history of the game! We drew the final play, and my paper covered his rock... I won the contest!!! The prize? Two front row tickets to the show that night at Giants Stadium!!! "Holy crap!" I yelled! I had seen Genesis four times that tour, and on the final night... The night I almost didn't come to... I sat FRONT ROW! "Un-freaking believeable!" I exclaimed.
Upon our exit, I cautiously looked over at my fiancée and quipped, "So, did you love the show or what?!" To my surprise, she loved it! I couldn't believe it... I haven't been able to make her a real fan yet, but I'm working on it. Maybe one day?

Night two in Philadelphia had arrived! This was to be the highlight of the entire tour! I took the day off from work and started polishing off my well-rehearsed questions and making sure my recording equipment was in good working order for the interviews that night. Sadly, an hour later, I received a call that due to a slight illness that the interview with Phil Collins would need to be rescheduled for another time. Obviously, I was disappointed, but was pleased to hear that my interview with Daryl Stuermer was still on as planned.

I arrived at the venue early to drop off the extra ticket I won on eBay and meet some of the fine folks from the official Genesis site's forum. Initially, I had mixed feelings about meeting up face to face with a bunch of people I really didn't know, but it turned out to be a great experience. The gathering of fans tailgating at the Wachovia Center varied from local fans, like myself, to visiting die-hard fans from as far away as Greece and England. After giving the ticket to my fellow forum member, I left the group to head to the backstage door for my meeting with Daryl.
  Once again, I found myself with a spare ticket. This time, however, it was a highly coveted prize! A front row seat! I walked around a moment trying to decide who to give it to, because there was no way anyone I knew could get up to northern New Jersey before the show started (and there was no way I was going to sit outside and wait for them - missing the show!). So, I decided to give the seat to Laura, who I had met in Philly and helped me get close to the stage at the second concert in Philadelphia.

It seemed like the right thing to do - besides she had a camera and we agreed to share the pictures, many of which turned out fantastic! Of course, I later learned that she was pulling for the other person to win the contest... because she had struck a deal for the other ticket had he won. That's irony, I suppose.
While waiting to go backstage, visitors are asked to sign a legal document making it very clear that you may not bother the other members of the band should you see them in the backstage area - only the one you are scheduled to meet with. Should you do so, you would be immediately escorted out of the facility by security. Now, that might sound harsh to some, but having done freelance interviews for music magazines for years, this kind of thing is really not that unusual, and I respectfully agreed. Once I signed it, I was permitted to enter the backstage area.   In any case, the show from the front row was amazing and allowed me one last chance to experience the band that I have enjoyed and followed for the past 20+ years. I sincerely hope the band tours again, but even if they don't, these "selection of shows" - my five nights on two continents with Genesis - will be ones I remember forever. Thank you, Genesis, for turning it on again one last time. 


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