Apologies for the delay, readers, fans, friends and family. I was moving. Expect a barrage of activity once the new place gets internet.
My relationship with Genesis is much akin to that of a well-liked acquaintance. Someone you really enjoy seeing and talking to when you run into them at parties, concerts, or on the street. You both say, “we should get together,” and maybe you mean it, or maybe you don’t, but neither of you puts forth the effort beyond then. Maybe you’re busy, maybe other people are higher on your priority list, or maybe that’s just the extent of your understanding.
T-Sides has written before about the predicament in reviewing classic rock artists, but nevertheless, here I am again. For the same reason that acts like Genesis are so difficult for someone my age to review is why we must – the generation in grade school now and will, no doubt, eventually discover and enjoy these musical relics, but will never be able to witness them, even at the coals and embers end of their glory. Like Astroland at Coney Island, or CBGB, such stamps of culture deserve to be appreciated throughout the duration of their existence. The size of Genesis’ dent on the musical map is debatable, but the dent is there.
Nine out of ten critics will tell you there’s not much concrete difference between the Genesis of Peter Gabriel and the Genesis of Phil Collins (I tend to prefer Gabriel, but that’s partly because I prefer his solo work). Whether or not there’s much difference between the two, on Tuesday night, the crowd was more or less led to believe that it was Collins’ show. Was the rest of the band there? Between his constant dominance of the mic and the stage, and the others’ head-nodding restraint, who could tell? This would’ve been easier to accept as standard front-man/band dynamic if it weren’t for Collins’ hokey audience participation antics that seemed to bore even him, though he continued to fall back on them for entertainment every half an hour.
Despite the band’s insistence that they felt the night was special, the audience seemed only half-heartedly appreciative, with most people just sitting down and nodding – which could be a testament to the band’s lackluster performance, the overall age of the crowd, the fact that it was a Tuesday, or more likely, some combination of the three.
Still, the evening was not without its moments – the most energizing points included the uncomfortably creepy “Mama” from their self-titled ’83 release and “Firth of Fifth” and “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” from ‘73’s Selling England By The Pound (unfortunately, “More Fool Me,” perhaps the best Collins’-fronted track, was absent). Collins proved unashamed of his aging – or perhaps just self-obsessed – when he performed his standard tambourine juggling during “Wardrobe” while a clip of him doing the same dance in his younger days played simultaneously in the background (along with other pictures from those days, including a group photo, which the shape of the screen interestingly cropped part of Gabriel’s head). The overall song selection proved diverse, but the star of the evening was Invisible Touch, as the setlist included nearly all of the tracks from that release.
Once again, musical mementos of decades past prove difficult to critique. While their performance wasn’t exactly atrocious, it wasn’t especially memorable, either. It was just hard to feel strongly about the show one way or another – but I did listen to “Biko” and “More Fool Me” on the subway ride home.
Image courtesy flickr user Lall