Progressive turned pop titans Genesis had supper ready at the New Jersey
Meadowlands on Sept 27, and proved that, with the proper portions of main
course, there's still plenty of room for dessert.
Like many bands of their status and tenure in the business who have endured
style-altering personal changes (Yes and the Doobie Brothers come to mind),
Genesis and fans will always be divided based on their era: Prog Gabriel or Pop
Collins (which is supper and which is desert is ultimately subjective). The cool
thing about them taking a 15-year hiatus is that the current incarnation
(Collins, Rutherford & Banks of the Pop era) have been in absentia from Top 40
way longer than the seven-year span from 1976-1983, which is basically the time
it took to sculpt art rock into pop greenery.
Sea Of Tranquility's Steve Fleck
By now you've either seen them or checked the song list on the internet, and
due to that, your reaction was likely the same as mine: wow. Forget the history
of the who's and whys; look at the synergy of the five men on stage, including
Chester Thompson (drums) & Daryl Stuermer (lead guitar), which allows the old
chestnuts to breathe the same air as the chart-toppers. Genesis 2007 is really
as comprehensive a tour as you can get shy of all 5 originals starting anew.
Of the And Then There Were Three, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks are
as solid and indispensable as ever. Mechanic Mike still looks "All I Want Is A
Miracle" thin (at least from 100 yards back) and with the ultra-technical
Stuermer in place, is free to concentrate on subtle guitar runs and bass lines.
Banks, less of a solo success than his mates but just as integral, is the
songwriter who crafted the post-Gabriel textures that became the blueprints for
the updated Genesis sound.
The seemingly unstoppable Collins has been progressively pushed more center
stage since his inimitable predecessor went his own way in the early 70's...as a
result, the outstanding Thompson has been groomed over those years to "Phil-in."
Having the experience of playing not only with Genesis but on Collins' solo
gigs, Thompson (and Stuermer) are obviously more than comfortable. Consequently,
this band is more than just technical—this band burns. With the two drummers
bashing away at once, it's a dynamo.
Of technical note are the sample-perfect reproductions of the album drum
sounds reproduced on-stage. Got '87 hit? Have '87 Simmons sound down cold. Got
'91 single? Have '91 gated snare FX dialed up. The mix was also superb.
Vocally, the consistently underrated Collins was once again incredibly
consistent. Even treading on Sacred Gabriel-Era Ground, he is superb. Works a
crowd. Tells jokes (with funny English accent). Sings with emotion. Doesn't miss
notes (at age 56). Inimitable himself, really. Once he hits the kit, his
percussive expertise is obvious: check out he & Thompson on the dual drum solos,
which begins with tapping on a foam-padded metal stool and ends as a concert
highlight. Not kidding.
You've seen the list (yes they really do play a good amount of old stuff). It
lives up to the hype. While purists may miss Hackett and certainly Gabriel, they
are represented in a history of the band that's much more authentic than some
costumed impersonator at your local pub. I mean, when 3/5 still do it right, why
settle for imitation?