My Selection of Genesis Shows: Part I
Twickenham, UK July 2007

When Genesis first held a press conference back in November 2006 confirming wide-spread rumors that a reunion concert tour with the ever-popular late 70s to early 90s line-up of Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford (accompanied by long time touring members Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson) would take place starting in the summer of 2007, it was truly a dream come true.

Roughly 15 years had passed since I last saw Genesis perform live, and my personal recollections from the concert I attended had become partially obscured over the years that had passed. Not from old age mind you... Or, at least that is what I would like to think. The actual culprit of diluting my cherished personal memories of that night was, in fact, from having watched The Way We Walk concert video that was recorded on that tour (and later released on VHS, then laserdisc, and then finally DVD), way too many times to count.

Over the many years that passed since that show at the now non-existent Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I have often wondered if I would ever get the opportunity to see my favorite band again or if my quickly hazing memories would be relegated to vicarious memories courtesy of tours long gone frozen in time on DVD.


The crowd was then treated to another oldies medley of the instrumental from “Firth of Fifth” into “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” both from 1973’s Selling England by the Pound. Daryl Stuermer was really showcased nicely on the guitar instrumental of “Firth of Fifth,” including a giant image of him on the jumbotron monitor (which I couldn’t friggin’ see that night – but I digress).  Daryl wailed on this guitar solo and sounded absolutely perfect! Never have I seen a crowd cheer so loud for a guitar solo!

The song segued into the opening of “I Know What I Like” which again had the crowd dancing and singing along from beginning to end. People I didn’t even know were putting their arms around my shoulders and rocking back and forth to the chorus of the song, which was an incredible moment. I looked around the venue and even in the darkness (thanks to the glow of the stage lights) I could see the same thing happening all the way around the arena! It was like something out of the end of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas with all the people of Whoville rocking and dancing in unison! It was simply unreal. You really felt like you were all sharing the experience of the night as opposed to just watching it together. Another truly unique and memorable experience!

At the time of the Genesis press conference, only European tour dates were officially announced. While North American dates were expected to be announced in the coming months, I was not about to take any chances!  I immediately began the crafting the preliminary planning stages for a trip that I had daydreamed about many times as a young Genesis fan listening to their records in my bedroom instead of doing homework...

I would plan a trip to Europe to see Genesis in their home country of England in the kind of massive outdoor football arenas that I always saw on television and on the aforementioned video that hazed my concert experiences of the past. The kind of venues that held crowds that cheered and sang along with every word to Genesis songs recorded before the band’s commercial heyday of the 80s. Sadly, in America, that would be the point in the show when the majority of U.S. fans would seemingly migrate to the toilets, merchandise stalls, or the beer vendor until the next hit single was performed.
  The crowd was so enthralled and enamored at that point, they could have probably ended the show and the fans would have been alright with that. Luckily for us, we still had the second half of the show to look forward to! Genesis immediately went into “Mama” another concert favorite (from the self-titled 1983 Genesis album). Again, the crowd kept perfect time clapping along to the drum box sounds at the opening of the song. Even Phil gave a smile before he started to sing, clearly impressed with the level of enthusiasm of this crowd. The song was clearly down a key or two from the way it used to be performed, but it still sounded very good and the crowd did not mind one bit.
My friend and I immediately booked our flight and were pleased to see that we could purchase tickets to the show as part of the official Genesis site’s pre-sale to guarantee choice seating for this trip of a lifetime.  Within the first minute of the pre-sale, I had scored two tickets to the show. I selected “Best Available” through the ticket purchasing site since I was unfamiliar with the venue. We ended up with tickets on the lower level side of the stage. At the time, I was surprised that I did not get floor seats, but they seemed like we’d have a great view, so I was satisfied. The trip to see Genesis was months away, but the adventure was about to begin…

Surprisingly, July 2007 came very quickly and next thing I knew, we had boarded the plane on our way to the United Kingdom. After a few days of sightseeing and a little record shopping, the day of the concert finally arrived. We boarded the train to Twickenham, quickly arriving at the seemingly small town on the outskirts of London. The path to the rugby arena at Twickenham was lined with quaint pubs, restaurants, and little shops. The large packs of people making their ways to the venue lined the streets, taking over this town in what appeared to be nothing less than a Genesis fan invasion.

The highlight of the whole show for me came next. After a brief introduction, Phil’s witty dialogue mentioned “the blue bells” which we knew was from the Trick of the Tail song “Ripples.” If I only remember one moment from this incredible night, I will always recall the crowd singing at the top of their lungs to the chorus – not one person in the entire venue wasn’t singing along. Once again, you certainly would not get this level of enthusiasm in the States! England showed their love of Genesis ten-fold at that moment. I can't even put into words how mind-blowing this experience was to see, hear, and feel!
...But in one word – WOW! Incredible! What a night this was becoming! I’ve seen Genesis a few times in my life, and it had never been anything like this. Whether it was because we were in London, because the long absence made us all that much more appreciative, or simply because Genesis brought their A-game to the show that night, it was without question the best show I had ever seen.

With Mike Rutherford’s instantly identifiable guitar riff and the drum box sounding off behind him, “Throwing It All Away” from Invisible Touch began. Of course, this audience took every opportunity to sing along with Phil’s audience participation on the song – I can still hear them singing the “AAA-YAA!” as the backing track to Phil’s perfectly crooned vocals. Once again, Genesis was giving 100% and the audience was right there with them... giving it right back.

By the time we managed our way through the crowd and got to our seats, I was crushed with disappointment. Our seemingly great seats, which were close to the side of the stage, had an obstructed view. We could not see anything going on in the middle of the stage (including the big screen in the back) because of the way that the side video monitors stood out. I couldn’t believe that these were the seats made available for a pre-order. I was extremely disappointed. I only hoped that the show would compensate for it. Thankfully, it did.

The show began in what was still broad daylight, which seemed really strange. Much of the spectacle of the lights, at least from my limited vantage point, seemed completely lost under the bright summer afternoon sunlight.  Regardless, when the band opened with the instrumental medley of “Behind the Lines” and “Duke’s End” (both from the 1980 album Duke) the crowd went absolutely crazy with bliss! That segued straight into another Duke staple, “Turn It on Again,” which immediately had the entire stadium clapping in synch to the pounding keyboard sounds of Tony Banks as the song began. Of course, the emergence of Phil Collins from behind the drum kit and Mike Rutherford’s opening guitar riff clearly took the crowd to an even higher plateau of excitement as well.  


Without question, the biggest audience participation moment of the night was when Phil began to explain “The Domino Principle.” As fans know, for the better part of the past 20 years of Genesis concerts, this was the introduction to “Domino” one of the great epic pieces from the Invisible Touch album.  It was performed masterfully. Unfortunately, this is one of the songs that suffered the most from our obstructed vantage point. There was so much imagery going on that we could not see at all, it was probably the only point in the show where my seat location really pissed me off. It sounded great, but you felt like you were only getting half of the show. People in my section were all kind of aimlessly looking at each other, trying to comprehend what everyone else was witnessing and gasping at. Clearly, I was not alone in my frustrations with the stage design!

From there, the band went into “No Son of Mine” from the We Can’t Dance album, which sounded as strong in the live setting as it did 15 years ago back at Veterans Stadium.  What struck me immediately was that the band genuinely looked like they were having fun on stage and projected an incredible vibe. Next came “Land of Confusion” which again had the crowd clapping and singing along at deafening levels. It was still too bright outside to see clearly what was going on with the video screens, but at this point, I don’t think many people really cared, including myself. The energy of the crowd was simply infectious!

Traditionally, on the last several Genesis tours, a few songs into the live set, they would break into an ‘oldies medley’ of some sort. This tour was no exception... of course, after 15 years, I suppose they are all oldies now!  Genesis proceed to perform one of my all time favorite live songs, “In The Cage” from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, which was played in its entirety. The video screens were starting to get much clearer as the night’s sky was slowly creeping in under cover of some rather menacing looking rather dark clouds. The song was combined with pieces of “Cinema Show” and “Duke’s Travels” (from Selling England by the Pound and Duke respectively) before reaching its crescendo with an amazing rendition of “Afterglow” from the 1977 Wind and Wuthering album.  Dusk, was finally upon us! At this point, the screens (or what I could see of them) were starting to get really vivid with rich colors and images. I will never forget the way the crowd sang along with the “In the Cage” medley on this tour. It was an incredible experience so see and hear that many people singing along with songs like “Afterglow” and clapping in perfect time to the intro of “In the Cage,” which would certainly not get the same overwhelming response in North America.

  To me one of the highlights of a Genesis show is the Chester Thompson and Phil Collins drum duet, which inevitably surfaces at the latter part of any Genesis show (this is Mike, Daryl and Tony’s ‘official pee song’, I suppose!). In any case, instead of the traditional show, Phil and Chester played percussion off of a drum stool, which sounded awesome... The crowd absolutely loved it! It was a real treat to experience (although, technically, I didn't 'see' it very well until the next leg of the Turn It On Again Tour - but again... I digress!).

Phil and Chester continued pounding away in a rhythmic, tribal sounding tango as the audience stared on in complete amazement. The percussionists slowly moved their way to their drum kits – never missing a beat - and transitioned straight into a full-on, pounding drum battle. 

Performed flawlessly, we could see that Phil was on the large monitor by our head, so we assumed that Chester was on the one at the other side of the stage (I was able to confirm that myself a few months later on the North American tour). 

The other band members snuck their way back on stage as Chester, Phil and company launched into “Los Endos” from Trick of the Tail, yet another concert staple.  As much as I love the Trick of the Tail album, this is a song that always sounds better when performed live. Tonight was no exception. It was absolutely perfect! When the angelic chorus sounding Tony Banks keyboard part kicks in at the end, combined with the haze of the lights and effects, it’s like nothing you can imagine.

Despite “Los Endos” seeming like a perfect end to the set, Genesis continued on with two more hits from the Invisible Touch album, “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” into the title track from that 1986 album. "Invisible Touch" closed with an impressive fireworks display perfectly in synch with the close of the song with a final massive blast of pyrotechnic bliss exploding from the top of the stage! Once again, nothing short of “WOW!” does it justice.

Of course, the level of audience participation took a slight dip with the performance of “Hold on My Heart” from We Can’t Dance. My friend and I looked down in disbelief as we watched the mass exodus of floor seat ticket holders heading for the bar or the port-a-johns. Clearly, this was the Brit’s ‘official pee song’ of the night. Frankly, while it’s not my favorite Genesis song, “Hold on My Heart” came off really well. Having seen it done 15 years ago when Phil had a sore throat in Philly and his voice struggled on this tune, it was perfect this time around. He hit every note spot on. Beautiful!

It was completely dark outside now – pitch black. The stage was at its full prowess with images and colors more wondrous than anything I had ever seen at a rock show before on video screens the size of small skyscrapers. After a little audience participation, led masterfully by Phil, the band began playing the “Home by the Sea” and “Second Home By The Sea” medley.  The crowd was oohing and aahing over the images on the screen, but we couldn’t see a damn thing! We would have moved, but there was not an empty seat to be had a Twickenham that night, so we just sucked it up and stayed in our seats.

The "Home By The Sea" medley sounded great and went straight into the popular ballad “Follow You Follow Me” from And Then There Were Three. Once again, even with Chester Thompson behind the kit on percussion, it wasn’t needed with the audience clapping along to this audience favorite. The crowd devoured every minute of it, and gave thunderous applause at its end.


For the encore, the band returned to the stage for “I Can’t Dance” from the We Can’t Dance album. We couldn’t get most of the visuals again from our seats, but it was great to see Phil leading Mike and Daryl in “the Genesis walk” that accompanies the song from one side of the stage to the other. At the close of the song, Phil announced that they had one more song that they wanted to do that night, and they closed the show with “Carpet Crawlers” from 1974’s The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, which was a strange, somber way to end the show after the upbeat grandeur and spectacle of “I Can’t Dance” and “Invisible Touch,” but I’m still glad that they performed it.

I was still in a daze as we literally ran back to the train to London, attempting to beat the thousands of others who shared the same strategy. I was still trying to soak in everything I had just experienced as we hurdled past cars and police blockades to the station. Between the music, the perfection in which it was performed, the enthusiasm of the crowd, the excitement of achieving a life-long goal of seeing Genesis in London, it was just all so surreal.

Magic is the only way I can describe it. There is something about this line up of musicians that just works in the live setting. I’ve seen countless bands and nothing compares to these guys doing what they do.  At this point, as we stood in the cue waiting to catch the train back to the station in London, I couldn’t help but reflect back on whether this would be the last tour I would actually get to see Genesis. I already had tickets to see them again on this tour in North America later that autumn, but there was certainly something very bittersweet about that moment of realization.  I will never forget that rainy night in Twickenham. I will always be grateful that they decided, if only one more time, to "Turn It on Again," for the fans. It was worth the 15 year wait, and if they choose to do it again, I’ll be there without hesitation. Magical!





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