On 14 January 1971, Steve Hackett played his first gig with Genesis at University College, London. It was not the best start for the guitarist.
When Steve joined in late 1970, Phil Collins had already been in the band for a few months. Since then, Genesis had performed as four piece: Tony Banks on keyboards, Mike Rutherford on guitar and bass, Phil Collins on drums and Peter Gabriel on vocals. They were used to playing live. Phil had established his role as the drummer, being the backbone of the band.
So Steve Hackett was quite nervous before he played his first gig with Genesis. On 14 January 1971 the band played at University College in London. The guys came in the afternoon. The stage was set up, they did a soundcheck and had something to eat and a few drinks.
Phil decided to test the rule of how many Newcastle Brown Ales you could drink and still play the drums
Unfortunately on this evening, Phil decided to test the rule of how many Newcastle Brown Ales you could drink and still play the drums. By the time the band was onstage, he did all the right fills but three inches to the right of each drum.
The usual equipment problems of the early Genesis days kicked in
For nervous Steve, the whole gig was a nightmare. Not only because of Phil’s experiment, but also because the usual equipment problems of the early Genesis days kicked in, when his fuzzbox did not work properly.
After the show he thought that he had failed and the others did not want him in the group. He heard Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford arguing with Phil backstage and thought it was about him. Of course they gave Phil a hard time because of his performance!
Although this certainly was not the best first gig for Steve Hackett, the audiences were happy and the band wanted him to stay. They liked his contribution and played more gigs throughout the year and recorded their first album together, “Nursery Cryme“*. But that is another story in Genesis history.
Title photo: Wikimedia Commons, Jeff Wurstner / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)
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.