On October 2, 1982, the legendary ‘Six Of The Best’ reunion show with Peter Gabriel and Genesis took place at Milton Keynes.Continue reading “Six Of The Best”
On 28 September 1972, Peter Gabriel appeared onstage during ‘The Musical Box’ with the foxes’ head and the red dress from the Foxtrot album cover.Continue reading “Dublin, 28 Sept 1972: Peter Gabriel wears a fox head and a red dress”
On 18 September 1993, Genesis played their last gig with Phil Collins at Cowdray Ruins before he left the band.
Genesis in 1993
1993 was a quiet year for Genesis. In 1992, the group had been on their huge’We Can’t Dance tour‘ following their 1991 album We Can’t Dance*. 1993 saw them returning to their solo projects. Phil Collins’ marriage to his second wife Jill started to fall apart with the tabloid press publishing story over story about the family. Phil wrote and released his solo album Both Sides*, a very dark and angry and certainly his most personal album, which unfortunately did not go very well with the critics. In these turbulent times, Genesis only played one gig, when they resurfaced briefly for ‘a charity gig at Cowdray Ruins in aid of the King Edward VII hospice where they were joined by such rock alumni as Pink Floyd and the remaining members of Queen.’1
Queen performed a set of songs with Roger Taylor and Paul Young from Mike and the Mechanics on vocals. Then Genesis took the stage, but not with their regular live members Chester Thompson on drums and Daryl Stuermer on bass and guitar. Instead, Roger Taylor of Queen and Gary Wallis of Mike and the Mechanivs played drums for them and bass/guitar was played by Mike’s bandmate from Mike and the Mechanics, Tim Renwick, who also played with Pink Floyd.
Genesis’ reunion in the picturesque scenery among these famous headliners saw them playing ‘Turn It On Again’, ‘Hold On My Heart’, ‘I Can’t Dance’ and ‘Tonight Tonight Tonight’/’Invisible Touch’. According to some sources, they were also said to have played Phil Collins’s solo song ‘That’s Just The Way It Is’, but that is highly doubtable.
Next up was Pink Floyd who played some of their classic tracks from the 1970s, some also sung by Paul Young and with Mike on bass. Phil remembers: ‘The Floyd I’ve never loved apart from ‘Arnold Layne’. But we did this gig…I went to the sound check, and I was listening to the Floyd and a couple of the things they played I thought ‘I quite like that. There’s a couple of things in there that, you know. They show promise.”2
After Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton played a few songs (with Mike playing bass) and at the end, the ‘All Star Cowdray Ruins Band’, a band that featured everyone that had performed that night, played ‘Ain’t That Peculiar’, ‘Can I Get A Witness’ and ‘Gimme Some Loving’. YouTube videos and audio recordings of the show exist, but in a very low quality, which is a shame when considering this was Phil’s last gig with Genesis.
It was a successful, but ‘low-profile show’ and ‘few people would have ever believed that it was also Phil Collins’s final appearance with the band he’d now fronted for 18 unexpected years’3.
The show may have been one of the reasons for Phil to leave Genesis, as he remembers: ‘In the middle of my writing and making BOTH SIDES, Genesis did a concert with Queen. […] But I didn’t enjoy it … As I was singing these songs, it didn’t feel natural. Obviously, it was bad timing, going just like that from doing my most personal thing to a Genesis thing and back. But it definitely felt like ‘What am I doing here?’, like shoes that don’t fit anymore’.’4
Some time after this gig, Phil decided to leave Genesis, but his departure would not be announced until 1996. But that’s another story.
The line-up of the Cowdray Ruins band (according to the programme):
TONY BANKS: Genesis Keyboards
ERIC CLAPTON Guitar
PHIL COLLINS Genesis Vocals
JOHN DEACON Queen Bass
DAVID GILMOUR Pink Floyd Guitar
ADRIAN LEE Mike &. Mech Keyboards
NICK MASON Pink Floyd Drums
TIM RENWICK Mech./Floyd Bass/Guitar
MIKE RUTHERFORD Genesis Guitar/Bass
ROGER TAYLOR Queen Vocals/Drums
GARRY WALLIS Drums
RICHARD WRIGHT Pink Floyd Keyboards
PAUL YOUNG Mike &. Mech Vocals
Hewitt, Alan (2000): Opening The Musical Box. London: Firefly Publishing.
Platts, Robin (2007): Genesis. Behind the lines, 1967-2007. Burlington, Ont., Canada: Collectors Guide Pub.
Thompson, Dave (2005): Turn it on again. Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins & Genesis. San Francisco: Backbeat Books.
Title photo: Genesis in corcerto. Nizza – Luglio 1992 . Source: Wikimedia Commons, Valerio Ravaglia / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).
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A week after The Melody Maker had rumoured about Peter Gabriel’s decision to leave Genesis, the departure was confirmed with the cover story ‘Genesis Seek New Singer’.
Chris Welch recalls a great British Band
At this point, the band had already moved on and worked on what became their next album A Trick of The Tail. Peter Gabriel’s departure was old news for them, but now, they had to deal with the media. For them, Genesis could not exist without Gabriel and his visuals. In the eyes of the critics, he was the band, not just a member of the team. Naturally, the band felt upset by the obtiuary. In The Melody Maker, journalist Chris Welch ‘recalls a great British Band’.
The front page of Melody Maker from 23 August 1975
Several news papers reported about Peter Gabriel’s departure on 23 August 1975. The front page of Melody Maker said:
Genesis seek new singer
PETER GABRIEL has quit Genesis. And that’s official!
The Melody Maker last week front-paged the growing doubts about Gabriel’s future in the band. Reports, denied by the management of Genesis, indicated that Gabriel was unhappy with his role as a rock star and had already left the group.
And this week an official statement admitted the split in Genesis. “They are now looking for a new singer,” said the band’s management. “They have a few ideas but nobody has been fixed.”
“The group are currently writing material and rehearsing for their new album, and they will go into the studio shortly to record. The album will be released at Christmas and Genesis will go on toe road in the New Year.”
It is understood that Gabriel will now concentrate on straight theatrical ventures.
Of course, the band was interviewed by the press after the news had come out. Phil Collins remarked that the rest of the band ‘…were not stunned by Peter’s departure because we had known about it for quite a while.’1 They had already decided to carry on without him and interestingly, the new singer was already in the group and was exactly the same member who had exclaimed the statement from the Melody Maker‘s article above. But that’s another story.
Title photo: Front page of Melody Maker 23 August 1975
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- Welch, Chris. “Peter Gabriel Quits Genesis”. Melody Maker, 23 August 1975. ↩︎
The Melody Maker rumoured in its edition of 16 August 1975 about Peter Gabriel’s departure from Genesis.
Peter Gabriel left the band after the 1975 tour
After the The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway tour in 1975, lead singer Peter Gabriel left Genesis. The band did not announce his departure right away, but instead went into the studio to record what became their next album A Trick of The Tail and audition new singers. By August 1975, the press had heard rumours about Peter Gabriel’s decision to leave Genesis. On 16 August, the Melody Maker put a picture with him wearing the batwings on the cover and featured the headline GABRIEL OUT OF GENESIS?
Here’s the text from the Melody Maker’s front page:
GABRIEL OUT OF GENESIS?
PETER GABRIEL’S position in Genesis was uncertain this week as mounting speculation suggested he had quit the band.
Gabriel had remained incommunicado since the end of Genesis’ British tour in the Spring – he has refused repeated requests for interviews and reliable sources told the Melody Maker this week that he has decided to leave the band.
The speculation comes as various members of Genesis are becoming increasingly involved in solo projects. Guitarist Steve Hackett has finished work on his first solo album and Michael Rutherford, the bass player, is also planning to record. Phil Collins, the band’s drummer, has been playing with his own pub group.
Commenting on the reports of a split, the band’s manager Tony Smith told the MM: “The group are being rather broody at the moment, but this happens every year when they are thinking and writing for the next LP.“
And Tony Stratton-Smith, head of Genesis’ record label, Charisma, said: “Peter has been involved with one or two summer projects including producing a single for Charlie Drake.” Both Smith and Stratton-Smith, however, denied a split in Genesis.
Genesis manager Tony Smith first denied the rumours, but a week later, the band announced it officially and explained that they were searching for a new singer. Hardly did they know that the singer was already in the group: Their drummer Phil Collins. But that’s another story.
Title photo: Melody Maker 16 August 1975: Gabriel out of Genesis?
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In August 1970, Phil Collins joined Genesis as their drummer. This is the story of how he got the job with the band.
‘Looking for someone’
In the summer of 1970, Genesis had faced what is often described by them as the greatest loss in their career. Guitarist and founding member Anthony Phillips had left the band after they had recorded the album Trespass, partly because he suffered terribly of stage fright. With Ant gone, the remaining three members also decided to look for a new drummer. Up to that point, Genesis had already had three drummers. Searching for a new guitarist and a new drummer, the band anonymously placed ads in the famous music magazine Melody Maker: ‘TONY STRATTON SMITH [their then label manager, note of the author] is looking for 12-STRING GUITARIST who can also play lead; plus DRUMMER sensitive to acoustic music.’ One of these ads caught the eye of a young drummer from London: Phil Collins.
Phil Collins had previously played in the band Flaming Youth (they had been called ‘Hickory’ at first) and released one album with them. He had been unhappy because they were not successful and hardly played any gigs. Approaching a career as a professional drummer, he started looking for a new band he could join.
Auditioning for Genesis
Phil and his mate Ronnie Caryl, a guitarist, were both interested in auditioning with the band behind the ad. Having known their manager Tony Stratton-Smith from previous musical projects, Phil went to the Marquee Club, where he knew he would find ‘Strat’, as he was called, at the bar. He asked him if he could join this mysterious band, but Strat told him that the band was very adamant and insisted on auditioning new members. He also told him that the band behind the ad was Genesis. Phil knew their name from the gig announcements in the back pages of Melody Maker.
By this time, Genesis was a threesome: Tony Banks on keyboards, Peter Gabriel on vocals and Mike Rutherford on guitar and bass. ‘I rang up and I guess it was Peter Gabriel who I spoke to’, Phil recalls. ‘He said ‘Yes, uhm, come down to my parents’ house in Chobham.”
Peter Gabriel was impressed when Phil mentioned that he had played with George Harrison. Later he and the rest of the band found out that Phil had only played tambourine on a George Harrison session, but it helped him get the audition.
Then, on a hot summer’s day, Phil and Ronnie drove to Peter Gabriel’s family home, a country house near Woking with a swimming pool and farms surrounding it.
According to Phil, Mike Rutherford wore a dressing gown, looking like a crushed velvet smoking jacket à la Noel Coward, and slippers (Mike insists that he wore swimming trunks and a dressing gown because they were by the pool). Peter Gabriel seemed a little bit eccentric to Phil, and Tony did not say much but had the appearance and demeanour of a ‘tortured artist’, as Phil put it.
Phil and Ronnie had arrived early and there were still some drummers auditioning before him. He was invited to have swim in the pool while waiting.
‘Being there early and having two or three drummers ahead of me, I didn’t know what the conversation was, what they were saying to each other, but I could hear the music’, Phil remembers. ‘The same piece of music being played two or three times and the same piece of music being played with the next guy two or three times. So by the time I came up to play, I kind of felt I knew what I was doing.’
The band had given the drummers pieces from their repertoire that represented the various styles Genesis was playing at the time. It was a mixture of lighter passages, heavier passages and of course, very experimental passages. When it was Phil’s turn, they played him the album Trespass in the house’s living room. Phil felt that the music was very soft and immediately liked the harmonies (a feature in Genesis music that would disappear in their later works), which reminded him of Crosby, Stills & Nash. Phil later said that he would have joined them even if he had not liked the music because he was a professional drummer in search of work.
Having listened to the other drummers while swimming in the pool, he then played everything the band had prepared perfectly.
Peter Gabriel adds: ‘Just the way he sat down on the stool, I knew he was going to be good. Some people have this sort of confidence about what they do.’
When driving away, Ronnie said that he thought Phil failed the audition, but that he – Ronnie – had done a good job. As history proved, it was the other way round. Some time after the audition, Phil got the job and became a member of Genesis, while Ronnie did not. He had not been the right guitarist for their kind of music. Today, Ronnie Caryl actually still plays with Phil Collins in his solo band.
Impressions of Genesis
Having succesfully auditioned, the 19-year old Phil Collins joined Genesis in August 1970. At first, the band took a two-week holiday break and after that, they met to rehearse at Farnham Maltings, a place that Mike’s father had helped them to rent. There, they rehearsed for six weeks and wrote what was to become their album Nursery Cryme.
Coming from Grammar School and Stage School and being a working-class kid, Phil had a very different background than the ‘Charterhouse’-guys, who were upper-class public school boys. Phil realized they were very highly educated and very different to him; Tony Banks with his long hair reminded him of Beethoven. Also, he was irritated by Peter Gabriel’s bass drum that used to be right next to his microphone stand and that Peter just played whenever he felt like it, often completely out of rhythm.
At this point in their career, Genesis had released two albums and were preparing to write their third album. Very soon, Phil realized there was tension within the group. Especially Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel used to have arguments and – sometimes rather violent – disagreements.
‘In the middle of a conversation, suddenly someone would get up and slam a guitar on the floor and walk out’, Phil says. ‘I thought ‘What?’ Someone had said something to upset somebody else. Two hours later this person would come back and we’d start playing again. Suddenly there’d be ‘Oh, f*ck you’ and somebody else walked out. It was very highly strung.’
‘I would often be at loggerheads with Tony Banks’, Peter Gabriel explains, ‘and Phil would always sit on the fence, he would never want to come into the argument.’
Phil quickly realized that his different attitude and background not only had an influence on the music, but on the dynamics in the band too. ‘I saw it was my job to deflate these situations with humour, which the stage school background enabled me to do’, he says.
Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford adds: ‘Apart from the humour, he’s got a very laid-back approach. He was very serious about his work, but had a very laid-back approach to life, which I think helped us a little bit.’ Mike also thinks that having auditioned at the Gabriel’s country house might have given Phil the impression that playing with Genesis would be a nice, relaxing job. In fact, they would spend their lives in the back of a van on the road for the next couple of years.
Title photo: Genesis – ‘The Knife’ (single cover).
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Phil Collins – A Life Less Ordinary (documentary, 2002)
Genesis – Sum of the Parts (documentary, 2014)
Philipp Röttgers – Two eras of Genesis? The development of a rock band (book, 2015)
On July 13, 1985, Phil Collins was the only performer to appear on both Live Aid shows in London and Philadelphia.
Phil Collins is all over the world
In the mid-1980s, it seemed as if Phil Collins had already achieved everything: As a solo artist and as a member of Genesis he had number one hit singles, chart-topping albums and sold-out world tours. By 1985, his third solo album No Jacket Required had been a massive success and produced hit singles that topped the charts worldwide. Phil Collins’ music was all over the world – and so would he be on July 13, 1985.
Phil Collins made rock history
On July 13, 1985, Phil Collins made rock history. He did something that no-one had done before (and probably not since): He appeared live on television around the world twice in a day from two different continents. And as usual with Phil, this had not been an elaborate act of profiling himself as an artist. It had been for the benefit of millions of starving people in Africa. The two appearances onstage and on television had been part of Live Aid, two shows that had been organized by Bob Geldof. The man of the day however, was Phil Collins.
The famous Live Aid concerts from 1985 were the continuation of the Band Aid single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” from 1984, in which musician Bob Geldof had gathered many famous pop stars to raise money for the poor starving population in Ethiopia. The concept worked and half a year later, the Live Aid performances were celebrated with the same intention. There were two parallel concerts, one in London, one in Philadelphia, and the whole 80s pop world seemed to participate in the event. Phil Collins had already played drums on the the million-selling Band Aid single “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. He did not sing on it, as he had recently recorded his own solo album and duets with Philip Bailey and Eric Clapton and the record company told him not to sing anymore until his album “No Jacket Required” had come out and he would be on the tour that followed.
So what exactly happened on July, 13, 1985, “the greatest day in the history of pop music”? Phil Collins proved the impossible, playing at both shows. He appeared at Wembley Stadium in London in the early afternoon and played “Against All Odds” and “In The Air Tonight” alone at the piano. He remembers sweating on the white stage and therefore, his finger slipping off the piano on “Against All Odds”. The bum note was not only heard in front of 80,000 people in Wembley, but also by a global telly audience of 1 billion people. Phil thought “Oh God, what a good start for the day this is.”
Then he was joined by his friend Sting on guitar and vocals for “Long Long Way To To” from “No Jacket Required” (Sting had also provided backing vocals for the studio version). Then the duo played “Every Breath You Take”. Phil left the stadium afterwards, crossed the Atlantic with a Concorde, and played his solo songs in Philadelphia the same way he did in London. In Philadelphia, he also joined his friends Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin. Phil had arrived at the John F. Kennedy Stadium at 7pm, was at the show at ten past, went to Eric to ask what they would play and then went onstage with him at 7.30pm. In between, he also rushed to Robert Plant’s caravan to have a chat with Led Zeppelin about their gig. This pretty much sums up the energy of Phil Collins in the 1980s.
Phil Collins had been an international superstar at this point, but his legendary performances as the only one who appeared at both Live Aid shows, certainly boosted his profile and made him as a solo artist and personality become more famous than Genesis, the band he was part of.
Live Aid – The aftermath
Looking back, Live Aid was a terrible example of using clichés. It is the prime example of “rock musicians trying to help poor Africa”. The intention was certainly good, the realization was maybe good-hearted, but not that effective. The Christmas single with its awful lyrics (“Do they know its Christmas time at all?” – this is colonial thinking at its best) and the Live Aid performances raised a lot of money and made people aware of the problems, but the result was that much, if not all, of the money was taken by the corrupt Ethiopian government. They used it to prop up the brutal dictator Mengistu. Furthermore it turned out that part of the relief donations were diverted by a rebel group to buy weapons. And also, very little food and medicine left the port cities of Assab and Massawa. It was more important to unload military hardware from Soviet ships, leaving hundreds of thousands of tons of food rotting on the docks. Bob Geldof, founder of Live Aid, was seen on TV with Mengistu, smiling and joking around, as he handed over the famine money.
Geldof had actually been warned about Mengistu and his dismantling of tribes, resettlement marches and slaughterings in which 100,000 people died. However, here one can see how the charity for ‘poor Africa’ can turn out and how someone like Geldof, who might have had his best interests, can turn his favours against himself.
For Phil Collins, playing at both concerts helped him gain even more popularity and becoming a proper international superstar. He also helped the event to become even more memorable.
Title photo: Live Aid at JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA. Source: Wikimedia Commons, own work. Author: Squelle. / CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).
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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.
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.
Purchase Invisible Touch here on Amazon!*
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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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.
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On June 26, 1971, Genesis appeared at Reading Festival for the first time.
Peter Gabriel had broken his ankle
On their first appearance at Reading Festival, Genesis were low on the bill. Other artists that performed at the festival were Lindisfarne, Terry Reid, Renaissance and Sha Na Na. There were the usual problems that a festival and its visitors have to deal with: Rain, mud and an unscheduled police squad. For Genesis, the gig at Reading followed the incident at the Friars Club, where Peter Gabriel had broken his ankle.
On June 19th, Genesis had played at Friars in Aylesbury and during the encore of “The Knife”, Peter Gabriel had jumped into the crowd. Unfortunately, the audience parted when they saw him coming and he hit the floor, breaking his ankle. Following the incident, he played at least one show in a wheelchair at the art college in Lincoln. Tour manager, roadie, sound engineer and friend of the band Richard Macphail remembers Gabriel cavorting in the wheelchair on the stage, which was a traditional theatre stage that sloped forward towards the audience. He thought that Peter was going to fall off the stage and break his neck. Luckily, he did not and the band could play Reading Festival at June 26, 1971.
The 11th National Jazz and Blues festival took place in Reading for the first time that year. Before, the event had taken place in Richmond, Windsor, Sunbury and Plumpton, but each time, the locals had complained, so the festival had to move on. The festival usually takes place in August, so admittedly it is a bit unclear to the author why the festival took place on 25, 26, and 27 June 1971. The ticket names the location as “Thames-side Arena, Richfield Avenue” and the festival is titled “Reading Festival of folk and progressive music”. The ticket for Saturday, June 26, cost £1.50.
Over the next few years, the festival would become one of the leading British rock festivals. Not only the greatest bands of the age played there, but it was also the birthplace for future superstars. Organizer Harold Pendleton was allowed to stage the festival in Reading, because the local council wanted to celebrate the town’s 1000th anniversary and really believed it to be a jazz and blues festival, which it had originally been in the 1960s.
Genesis performed on Saturday
In 1971, Genesis was not the only act of Charisma Records that played at Reading Festival. The already mentioned Lindisfarne were there as well as Van der Graaf Generator, and Bell & Arc and Audience. Other notable acts from this year were Arthur Brown, Rory Gallagher, Wishbone Ash, Medicine Head, Osibisa, Ian Matthews and Ralph McTell.
Due to their low billing, Genesis played midafternoon on the second day of the festival. Their performance was highlighted as one of the best of the event, and consequentially, they were invited back for the next two festivals.
During the summer of 1971, Genesis started to appear at outdoor rock festivals. Steve Hackett remembers that it used to rain for the first five years they played at festivals in England or Europe, always resulting in a mud bath. At Reading Festival, the power was fluctuating and the band could not get the organ in tune (and that meant that the Mellotron would be even worse to tune). They also tuned their twelve-string guitars in the dressing rooms and by the time they got on stage, they were already out of tune. Tuning a twelve-string guitar in front of an audience was almost impossible.
Not a festival band
Tony Banks thinks that Genesis were never a good festival group. It was difficult to build a dramatic atmosphere in daylight and most of the audiences did not really understand the long song with lots of chord changes. Also, the sound was mostly rubbish. Nevertheless, they builded a live following and got a reputation of being a good live band for festivals, but the best times were when they could play after dark at the end of a day with their own fans in the audience. However, at their first appearance at Reading, they already got some fans waving their Genesis flag during the gig.
Photo: Reading Festival Line Up 1973. Reading-festivaalin vuoden 1973 esiintyjälista Source: Wikimedia Commons, National Jazz, Blues and Rock Festival. / CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).
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