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ConcertsNEARfest 2004: The Musical Box

Posted on Wednesday, July 21 2004 @ 23:47:43 CDT by Pete Pardo
Concert Reviews The Musical Box (Friday Nite Pre-Show)

Having never seen Genesis in concert during the Peter Gabriel years, all I had as a reference have been the classic albums that the band recorded during that time period, plus some brief footage of the band that has been floating around on bad VHS tapes over the years. Now, there are a few Genesis tribute bands around, but the most prestigious is perhaps The Musical Box from Montreal, a band that takes great pains to replicate a Genesis concert right down to the costumes, instruments, and between-song banter.

NEARfest president Rob LaDuca had commented over the years that a 'cover' band would never grace the NF stage, due to the fact that as the not-for-profit status that NF has with the IRS prohibits them from including acts that do no play original music. Thus, Progressive Arts, Inc., a for-profit company that is distinct from NEARfest, chose to invite the Montreal ensemble to Bethlehem for a Friday pre-show at the Zoellner Arts Center that was to be a separate performance from the NEARfest event. Ultimately, in the fans eyes, it was a perfect kick-off to the weekend.
These guys have the Genesis shtick down pat--just close your eyes and pretend that it is 1973 all over again, as the band plays the majority of the Selling England By the Pound album in all its glory. The majestic organ, Moog & Mellotron of Tony Banks, the searing guitar wizardry of Steve Hackett, the rumbling bass, lush 12 string, and soaring Taurus bass pedals of Michael Rutherford, the nimble drums of Phil Collins, and the entertaining vocal imagery of Peter Gabriel, all right before your eyes in Bethlehem, PA. No? Wait, it can't be!
Well, it wasn't, but it is the closest thing any of us who never saw the classic Genesis line-up will get to that experience. Every minute detail of the magic that was Genesis is performed by these musicians, and in addition to the Selling songs, the band tackled "The Musical Box", the ominous "Watcher of the Skies", "The Knife", and of course the epic, "Supper's Ready." Myself, as well as many in attendance, were amazed at the stunning precision of these pros, perhaps the best tribute band performance I have ever seen. A stirring set of nostalgia, accompanied by many standing ovations, and most importantly, a wonderful beginning to another fantastic weekend of progressive rock.


Pete Pardo

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