The end of the Invisible Touch Tour at Wembley 1987

On July 4, 1987, Genesis finished their gigantic Invisible Touch tour at Wembley Stadium. It was the fourth sold out night in a row at Wembley.

Invisible Touch

In 1986, Genesis released the album “Invisible Touch“*. It became their most successful album, peaking at #1 in the U.K. and #3 in the U.S. It produced five hit singles: “Invisible Touch”, “Tonight Tonight Tonight”, “Land of Confusion”, “In Too Deep” and “Throwing It All Away”. Songs like the title track, “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” and “Land Of Confusion” with its famous spitting image video would dominate the radio and music TV stations and the international charts of 1986/1987. Genesis were everywhere and bigger than ever. So of course, the band went on a massive tour through North America, Australia, Japan and Europe before finishing in Britain with four sold-out nights at Wembley Stadium in front of 300,000 people.

The Invisible Touch tour

The tour began in the U.S. in September 1986 and included 112 dates and sold close to two million tickets. It ended in July 1987. In Australia and New Zealand, the five-man line-up was accompanied by a four-piece string section on “In Too Deep” and “Your Own Special Way”. They had to invite the quartet because of local regulations that required them to employ local musicians.

At this time, the band was not only a hit-machine, but a working and brilliant live act. The Vari Lite light show was impressive as always. The band had much material to rely on, but chose mainly new songs from their hit album and the albums before.

The shows were always opened with “Mama” (which sometimes lacked a bit of atmosphere in daylight) and ended with the “Turn It On Again” hit medley that the band had established on the previous tour. The medley included “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”, “Satisfaction”, “Twist and Shout”, “Pinball Wizard”, “All Day and All of the Night” and “Karma Chameleon”.

Older songs in the set included “Los Endos”, “Home By The Sea” (including it’s meanwhile standard ghost-story introduction) and another “In The Cage” medley. When the tour began, they had played “In That Quiet Earth” and the second half of the epic “Supper’s Ready” after “In The Cage”. However, during the tour Phil had difficulties reaching the higher notes in “Supper’s Ready”, so by the middle of the tour they had gone back to the usual ending of “In That Quiet Earth” and “Afterglow”.

New songs included “Domino” (with another – soon to be famous – introduction by Phil), “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight”, “Throwing It All Away”, where the call-and-response singing developed throughout the tour, and “Invisible Touch” itself.

Live at Wembley Stadium

By the time Genesis got to Wembley, they had performed the set so often that it had become a true piece of fine art and musicianship. Interestingly, only two shows were scheduled at Wembley, but the demand for tickets was so high, that a third and then a record-breaking fourth night were added.

The Wembley shows were filmed and released as video and as DVD in 2003*. Unfortunately the famous “In The Cage” medley was left out of the release because on every night, the tapes had to be changed during that song.

Apart from that, the results and the performance are astonishing. The band truly ended the tour on a high note there. Looking back at the videos and listening to the songs and performances, we can say that Genesis were at their peak at this very point at Wembley Stadium. Afterwards, the fans had to wait four more years for a new Genesis record.

Title photo: Genesis Nancy 1987. Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Daryl Stuermer, Chester Thompson. Genesis en concert à Nancy le 14 juin 1987 au stade Marcel-Picot de Nancy-Tomblaine Source: Wikimedia Commons, Fredamas / CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

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Steve Hackett’s last show with Genesis

On July 3, 1977, Genesis played the last show of their “Wind And Wuthering” tour and (unbeknown to them at that point) also the last show with lead guitarist Steve Hackett.

Wind And Wuthering

In December 1976, Genesis had released “Wind and Wuthering“*, their second album since Peter Gabriel’s departure. The band had become a foursome the year before, drummer Phil Collins had taken over the vocal duties. He had proved that he could fill this role easily on the previous album “A Trick of the Tail“* and the following tour in 1976.

By this point, keyboardist Tony Banks and guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford were the main songwriters with Phil Collins being more of a player and arranger. Guitarist Steve Hackett felt that not enough of his material was used. He was frustrated about his role in the group and decided to leave Genesis after the 1977 tour.

The Wind & Wuthering tour

The band set out for a huge tour in 1977 that would lead them to South America for the first time and through Europe and the US. On drums, they were accompanied by American drummer Chester Thompson. It was his first tour with them and he would remain with the band as a live drummer until 2007 (with a short interruption in the 1990s).

Genesis reached a new peak in live performances and was voted “Best live group” in 1977. This was captured in the double live album “Seconds Out“*.

The last show

The last show of the tour (and also Steve Hackett’s last show as a member of Genesis) took place in the Olympiahalle, Munich, on July 3, 1977. They opened the set with “Squonk” as they had done throughout most of the tour, then they played “One For The Vine”, a Banks composition from the new album. “Inside And Out” from the recent EP “Spot The Pigeon” was added on some European dates and was also played in Munich. Among the highlights of the show were songs like “The Carpet Crawlers”, “I Know What I Like” and “Supper’s Ready”, some of which had changed a lot since the days when Peter Gabriel sang them. Also, the band had started to play medleys on the tour before and continued to do so on the “Wind & Wuthering” tour. “Dance On A Volcano” and “Los Endos” were combined as well as “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” and the closing section of “The Musical Box”. The band also played “Firth Of Fifth” that night in which Steve plays the famous guitar solo. Neither the fans nor the band knew that they had witnessed him playing it live for the last time.

Steve leaves the band

Steve Hackett had been the first Genesis member to record a solo album. There, he included some of the music that was not used on Genesis albums. During the period as a four-piece-band, he wanted to have a certain percentage on each album for his own songs. The others disagreed; they were a democratic band. So he started recording solo albums and felt that his input on Genesis albums became less and less.

Also, when the band mixed the live album “Seconds Out” in July 1977, he could not stand listening to tracks like “I Know What I Like” anymore after having played them for months at this point. Also, he felt that after playing shows with audiences of 20.000 people, there was nothing new to strive for. So one day he phoned Mike Rutherford and told him he wanted to leave. Mike knew that Steve had been unhappy in Genesis for some time, so he did not try to talk him out of it. Later that day or the following day, Phil Collins drove from West London to Trident Studios, where they mixed the live album. He passed Steve on the street and told him to jump into the car. Steve acted a bit oddly, said “Speak to Mike, he’ll explain” and went off. When Phil arrived at the studio, Tony and Mike informed him that Steve had left the band.

The three remaining members then went on mixing “Seconds Out” and afterwards went into the studio to record their next album. They would remain a three-piece-band in the studio for the rest of their career and Steve Hackett would continue his career as a solo artist.

Title photo: Genesis Steve Hackett. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Jean-Luc / CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0). Originally posted to Flickr as Genesis.

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Archive I 1967 – 1975 (1998) – Genesis

In June 1998, Genesis released their first of two “Archive” box sets: “Archive 1967 – 1975” covers the era with Peter Gabriel as lead vocalist.

The plans to release “Archive” box sets dated back to 1994

After the release of their last studio album “Calling All Stations“* in 1997, Genesis began putting together unreleased material from their history. The idea dated back to 1994. Originally there were plans to release three box sets. The first would have featured the Gabriel years, the second the period from the mid 1970’s to the early 80’s and the last the period from the mid 80’s to the early 90’s.

But over the years, there were delays and plans were changed. The recordings were released on two box sets, the first one being “Archive 1967-75“* , released in 1998, the second one being “Genesis Archive 2 1976-1992“*, released in 2000, which covers the era with Phil Collins on lead vocals. Both sets feature unreleased live performances, studio tracks and demo songs.

A complete live performance of “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”

“Archive 1967 – 1975” is a box set that includes four discs. The mixing was done by Genesis producer Nick Davis. The first two discs feature a complete live performance of Genesis’ magnum opus “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway“*. When the band toured the concept album in 1974/75, they played the whole double album. After this tour, Peter Gabriel left the band. The live performance in the box set comes from The Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Peter Gabriel’s stories between songs about the adventures of Rael were left out.

Peter Gabriel re-recorded his vocals at Real World Studios in 1995

Also, it is not a completely “live” recording. Peter Gabriel and former lead guitarist Steve Hackett re-recorded some of their parts in 1995. You can hear the difference in Gabriel’s voice if you compare the studio versions from 1974 to the “live” version on “Archive I”. Gabriel recorded his vocals at his Real World Studios. Also, the last song “It”, fades out because the tape machine at the Shrine ran out halfway through the song.

The live performance in general sounds more powerful than the studio version and the crowd seems to be enthusiastic. Apart from that, the songs are almost identical to the studio versions. The only exception is “The Waiting Room (Evil Jam)”, which was an instrumental with lots of space for improvisation that was therefore played differently every night. Apart from that, especially the title track, “Fly On A Windshield” and “Carpet Crawlers” stand out.

A live performance of “Supper’s Ready” from 1973

Disc 3 includes live performances from the Rainbow Theatre in London, recorded on the “Selling England By the Pound“* tour in 1973. We finally get to hear songs like “Dancing With The Moonlight Knight” and “Supper’s Ready” live with Peter on vocals on an official release. Here, the stories are included. It also features a 1971 BBC recording of “Stagnation” and b-sides and studio tracks from that era like “Twilight Alehouse” and “Happy The Man”.

The last disc is also the most interesting one, at least for the fans. It features songs from the band’s earliest period, still with Anthony Phillips on guitar. There are BBC sessions and many demo songs. You can hear the band “becoming” Genesis on this disc. Some of the tracks are real gems, from the early version of “Dusk” to the appealing “Hey!”. There is an atmosphere in these early recordings that went missing after Ant Phillips left the band.

Apart from the four discs, there is a 82-page booklet which contains the band’s history and interviews with band members and associates.

So “Archive 1967 – 1975” is a quite interesting box set. We finally get to hear official live versions of Gabriel-era songs sung by him. The only official live release with him had been “Live“* from 1973, which only covers songs from “Trespass“*, “Nursery Cryme“* and “Foxtrot“*. The inclusion of b-sides and unreleased studio tracks like “Twilight Alehouse” make this box set special. Some would argue that disc 4 is only for the hardcore fans, but it also is the most surprising and most interesting of the four discs. Unfortunately some rare tracks and demos that are known to exist did not make it onto the box set. But all in all, “Archive 1967-75” is an extraordinary release. Fans seemed to agree with that: It reached no. 35 in the UK charts in 1998.

The band met at Heathrow Airport to promote the release

To promote the release of “Archive I”, Genesis members past and present reunited for a photo shoot (and a following dinner) at Heathrow Airport in May 1998. There were Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Anthony Phillips, former drummer John Silver, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford. The band’s first drummer Chris Stewart only made it to the dinner. Trespass-era drummer John Mayhew did not attend the event.

Genesis’ next “Archive” release would be in 2000. It would be entitled “Archive II 1976 – 1992” and feature the period with Phil Collins as lead vocalist.

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“We Can’t Dance” in Tampa – The story of the 1992 tour

Tampa, Florida, 17 May 1992. Genesis leave the stage at the fourth show of their gigantic “We Can’t Dance” tour after just two songs. They leave behind an almost rioting audience. The band had to cancel the show after “Land Of Confusion” and “No Son Of Mine” due to Phil Collins’ throat problems. Luckily enough, this was just a one-time affair. The “We Can’t Dance” tour became one of their biggest productions in terms of stage setup and venues.

Let’s take a look back at the massive production of the “We Can’t Dance” tour.

We Can’t Dance

We Can’t Dance“*, the band’s fourteenth studio album, was released in 1991. It was another monumental blockbuster and a huge success all over the world. Despite being in the business for almost 25 years, Genesis still reached top of the charts. In terms of sales, “We Can’t Dance” was one of their most successful albums. It produced four hit singles: “No Son Of Mine”, “I Can’t Dance”, “Hold On My Heart” and “Jesus He Knows Me”. All of them were accompanied by elaborate music videos. Especially “I Can’t Dance” and “Jesus He Knows Me” stand out for their high production and sense of humour.

Massive venues and Jumbotrone video screens on the “We Can’t Dance” tour

Of course, this blockbuster of an album had to be followed by a massive tour. Over 60 concerts were planned for North America and Europe in 1992. The band decided to play stadiums, although they were not too happy to play bigger venues. But the idea of playing three months of stadiums instead of ten months of arenas appealed to them. They did not want to be on tour for too long.

Therefore, the stage set up reached another level on this tour. With new technology available, three Sony Jumbotron video screens were put behind the stage so that everyone in the stadium, right to the back, could witness the action onstage. The band rehearsed in the Goodyear blimp hanger in Houston. It was one of only a few spaces that was large enough to accomodate the new stage set-up.

The setlist

Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks were of course accompanied by their long-time live members Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer. The band rehearsed for a few weeks. The setlist included mainly material from the new album. They added a few tracks from its predecessors “Invisible Touch“‘ and “Genesis“* and the inevitable “Turn It On Again” as an encore. A 20-minute medley was played that included the band’s most prominent material from the 1970’s. It was different to the “In The Cage”-medley they had played for 15 years and a welcoming change.

Leaving the stage in Tampa, Florida

They started the tour on 8 May 1992 in Texas. On the fourth night of the tour in Tampa, Phil Collins’ voice gave up. When necessary, he had supported his voice with various medical methods on tour. And he knew that a stadium full of fans could sing the songs word by word and help him out. But on that night he could not continue. The band left the stage after just two songs, “Land Of Confusion” and “No Son Of Mine”.

But his voice worked for the rest of the tour. They ended the first leg of the tour with a huge open-air show in Knebworth Park in August that was broadcasted on Premiere. In the autumn of 1992, the band continued their tour and played various cities in their home country. Throughout the 80’s, the had not played that many shows in Great Britain. On this leg of the tour they made up for that. The concerts at Earl’s Court in London were filmed for video and later DVD release: The Way We Walk Live in Concert*.

“The Way We Walk”

The tour also produced a double live album, “Live – The Way We Walk (The Long And The Shorts)”. It was split into “The Shorts“* and “The Longs” instead of splitting an entire show in its middle. Some fans did not like this approach, but at this point in Genesis history, it was a wise decision. Many listeners knew them for their single hits. Other fans just liked their long and epic songs. In later releases of the double live album, the songs were put into the right order.

The tour turned out to be Genesis last with Phil Collins until 2007. It was also the last tour for drummer Chester Thompson and guitarist/bassist Daryl Stuermer until 2007. By the end of 1992, none of them knew. Also, the fans did not know that they had witnessed Genesis for the last time in this incarnation (if they even to to see the 1992 tour). But as we know, the band got together again 15 years later. But that is another story.

Title photo: Genesis Live- Land Of Confusion. Photo taken during the performance by Genesis of “Land of Confusion” in Knebworth, England (August 2nd, 1992). Source: Wikimedia Commons, Manny Hernandez/ CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

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The Rainbow shows in January 1977

Genesis started their “Wind & Wuthering” tour at the Rainbow Theatre in London on 1st January 1977. They played the venue for three nights. Those shows were the first with Chester Thompson on drums. Also, the tour was the last with guitarist Steve Hackett.

Wind And Wuthering

In December 1976, Genesis had released “Wind and Wuthering”, their second album since Peter Gabriel’s departure. The band had become a foursome the year before, drummer Phil Collins had taken over the vocal duties. He had proved that he could fill this role easily on the previous album “A Trick of the Tail” and the following tour in 1976. On this tour they had Bill Bruford of the band Yes on drums. Being a famous “prog rock” drummer, this gave the band and the fans huge confidence. It was a signal that the band was stronger than ever after Gabriel had left them.

So they went in the studio to record their next album “Wind & Wuthering” in 1976. By this point, keyboardist Tony Banks and guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford were the main songwriters. Phil Collins was still more of a player and arranger. Guitarist Steve Hackett felt that not enough of his material was used. He was frustrated about his role in the group. “Wind & Wuthering” was released in late 1976. The band set out for a huge tour in 1977 that would lead them to South America for the first time.

Their new live drummer

Since Bill Bruford was busy in other projects, Genesis had to find another drummer for the tour. Phil Collins found the perfect candidate in Chester Thompson of Weather Report. Chester had also played with Frank Zappa. Phil had heard him on Zappa’s “Roxy & Elsewhere” and liked his style. So he decided to offer him the job in Genesis. Although he hardly knew the band, Thompson agreed. He came to London for only a few days of rehearsals before the tour started.

The music was totally new to him. He knew a bit of “A Trick Of The Tail” because Weather Report’s bass player Alphonso Johnson (who was friends with Phil Collins) had listened to the record on the last Weather Report tour all the time. But now he, an American jazz drummer, had to learn and rehearse a two and a half hour set of British progressive rock music in ten days. Chester wrote down the music in a little book. He learned it by night and played it the next day at rehearsals. Tony Banks was (of course) very impressed by Chester’s notes and his way of working.

Chester Thompson played with them until 2007

From the moment Phil and he played together, they knew that they had something special going on. The both of them clicked instantly. There is a greater chemistry when they play together than when Phil played with Bill Bruford. Thompson was criticized by some for these first performances at the Rainbow. Music journalist Chris Welch admitted that Thompson was technically better than Collins or Bruford but that he lacked excitement. Peter Gabriel, who was in the audiences at the Rainbow shows, felt a bit sorry for Chester, because he had to learn this kind of music and its feeling in such a short time.

But Chester became much more familiar with the music during the course of the tour and could put his own stamp on the songs. Songs like “Los Endos” or “Wot Gorilla” that were influenced by jazz rock reached another level, especially with two drummers. But also the epic fan favourites benefitted from the new influence. “Supper’s Ready”, “Lilywhite Lilith” and the ending of “The Musical Box” were played with a groove that was missing before. The band and the audiences liked Thompson’s input. The collaboration worked so well that Thompson toured with them until their last tour in 2007. Unfortunately he is not part of the “The Last Domino?” tour in 2021/2022.

Live at the Rainbow 1977

When Genesis announced the Rainbow shows, 80.000 people applicated for 8000 tickets – despite critics saying that punk killed progressive rock that year. Fans that were lucky enough to see the shows were also suprised by new visiuals. The “Wind & Wuthering” tour introduced a new light show, which included lasers and Boeing 747 landing lights.

The new songs were welcomed by the crowd. Genesis opened the Rainbow show with “Eleventh Earl Of Mar” from the new album. This song was also lifted to another level by Thompson’s playing. The jazzy new instrumental “…In That Quiet Earth” was unbelievably groovy with two drummers. At the end of Tony Banks’ ballad “Afterglow”, Thompson and Collins reproduced a drum fill that Thompson had played with another drummer on the Zappa live album.

“Best Live Band” in 1977

Tony Banks’ epic “One For The Vine” proved to work just as well as “Supper’s Ready” or “The Musical Box”. The quirky “All In A Mouse’s Night” was a humorous moment to relax between the heavy stuff. “Squonk””from “A Trick Of The Tail” suffered a bit in comparison to the album version and is a reference point for the Thompson critics. “I Know What I Like”, originally a rather short single from 1974, became even longer than on the previous tour and had much more groove. For Genesis, the three nights at the Rainbow theatre were highly successful and a strong start for a long and successful tour.

The tour would lead them through Europe, the US and South America. Genesis had reached a new peak in live performances and was voted “Best live group” in 1977. This was captured in the double live album “Seconds Out”. After the tour, guitarist Steve Hackett left the band. The three remaining members Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks returned to the studio to record their next album.

Title photo: Genesis_(the_band). Source: Wikimedia Commons, Jean-Luc / CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

The Longs (1993) – Genesis

After the “We Can’t Dance” tour in 1992, Genesis released two live albums titled “The Way We Walk” (1992/93). For this release a “typical” Genesis concert from that time was split in two. The first volume, “The Shorts” contained the hits, the second volume “The Longs” contained their longer, more epic songs. “Live – The Way We Walk, Volume Two: The Longs” was released in January 1993 . It was their last release with Phil Collins before he left the group and the band’s last no. 1 album in the UK.

The second volume of the live release “The Way We Walk”

All the songs on the live album were recorded on the “We Can’t Dance” tour in 1992. It starts with the impressive “Old Medley” which incoporates snippets from “Dance On A Volcano”, “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”, “The Musical Box”, “Firth Of Fifth”, “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” and more. The sound of the album is pristine, the band has probably never sounded better. They were a tight unit at this point and in their prime. The whole production is great and you notice a stronger focus on Mike Rutherford’s and Daryl Stuermer’s guitar playing. This shift in sound came with new producer Nick Davis. He had also produced Genesis’ last studio album “We Can’t Dance”.

The medley is followed by “Driving The Last Spike”, “Domino (Part I: In The Glow Of The Night, Part II: The Last Domino)”, “Fading Lights”, “Home By The Sea/Second Home By The Sea” and the “Drum Duet” between Phil Collins and Chester Thompson. There is no weak song on this compilation. Apart from the medley, the other songs all come from the albums “Genesis” (1983), “Invisible Touch” (1986) and “We Can’t Dance” (1991).

Their last number 1 album with Phil Collins

All of the songs sound stronger and better than on the albums. Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer certainly play their part in it. Chester’s drumming and Daryl’s bass lines on “Driving The Last Spike” lift the song up on another level. “Fading Lights” is interesting as it is only played by the three band members (Tony, Phil and Mike). It is a typical long song in band tradition with an extraordinary instrumental part (way better than on record). The lyrics about fading memories are written by Tony and it almost seems as if Genesis were discreetly saying goodbye to their fans. Was it irony or prophecy that the band really split up afterwards?

“Domino” and “Home By The Sea” both sound much better than on the record, especially because the e-drums are replaced by real drums and there is much more energy in the performance. Those songs never sounded better. The songs from the “Old Medley” that would have sounded interesting as standalone tracks are “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” and “I Know What I Like”. Especially the first one would have sounded very modern between the more recent hits.

Many fans do not like the way the band split up the two “The Way We Walk” volumes. Nonetheless, “The Longs” is a great compilation with many of the songs presented in their best versions.