The ‘Turn It On Again’ reunion tour

On 11 June 2007, Genesis started their ‘Turn It On Again’ reunion tour in Helsinki. It saw the return of Phil Collins on vocals.

Genesis announced their reunion in 2006

On 7 November 2006, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins announced that they were reuniting as Genesis to play a series of shows in Europe in the summer of 2007 and in North America in autumn. Phil Collins had left Genesis in 1996. Although he had appeared with his former band members in the past, this was his official return. The reunion also included Genesis’ long-time live members Chester Thompson on drums and Daryl Stuermer on guitar. Both had not played with the band since 1992.

The first proper gig was planned for 11 June 2007 in Helsinki. With no new album to promote, the band had enough time to go through their material and dust off the old songs. Having not played together for 15 years, rehearsals were a bit more difficult than they all had expected.

Rehearsals for the ‘Turn It On Again’ tour

Tony Banks (keyboards) and Mike Rutherford (guitars, bass) not only had to relearn the songs. They also had to change keys so that Phil Collins, whose voice had dropped over the years, could sing the songs.

He had some trouble relearning some of lyrics. But once he did, he struggled less with them than he had in the past. Songs like ‘Domino’ and ‘Home By The Sea’ with lyrics by Tony Banks were always a challenge for him to sing. (For example lines like ‘Sheets of double glazing’ or ‘Nylon sheets and blankets’). He also listened to live recordings from the past and realized that he had often added some little extras. On this tour he went back to singing the songs the way they were written.

He also had not played Genesis songs on drums for years. On his solo tours, he had done the drum duet with Chester Thompson and played on ‘In The Air Tonight’. But now he had to get himself back in shape and play things like ‘Second Home By The Sea’. Luckily enough, Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer were there to back them up and help them out. Daryl had to show them how to play their own songs because he knew and had learned them so well.

But the five of them had played for so long that even after a break of 15 years, the chemistry was still there. Also, they got along much better than ever before. Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford had become looser with age whereas Phil Collins had become a bit more serious. They could talk about things they never dared say to each other 15 years before.

The setlist

And what would Genesis play on this reunion tour? They had plenty of material to choose from. Of course, there some inevitable hits that the fans wanted to hear like ‘Follow You Follow Me’, ‘Invisible Touch’, ‘Mama’ and ‘I Can’t Dance’.

They also played their hit ‘Land Of Confusion’ a bit heavier than usual. It sounded more modern, which was a nod into the direction of the band Disturbed. They had done a metal cover version of the song.

A trip down memory lane on the Genesis reunion tour

Apart from the hits, they also played more ambitious songs from their later period like the already mentioned ‘Home By The Sea’ and ‘Domino’, two of Tony Banks’s favourites. As opener, they decided to do the instrumental intro of ‘Behind The Lines’ from Duke. They added a piece of ‘Duke’s End’ and called the show opener ‘Duke’s Intro’. It was a very strong and powerful opening for the reunion shows and would always make the crowd go wild.

Overall, Phil Collins played much more drums throughout the show than he had in the past. And for ‘I Know What I Like’ he looked at the tambourine dance from 1976 and after a bit of training, was able to do it also on this tour.

Also, they dug out ‘Ripples’ from A Trick Of The Tail (the first album with Phil Collins as lead vocalist from 1976), which they had not played for years. It was a real surprise in the setlist. The same goes for a bit of ‘Duke’s Travels’ that was incorporated into a medley. The setlist was a great mixture of material from all of their history. They played songs from almost every album since 1973. The last song of the set was the Lamb-classic ‘Carpet Crawlers’ from 1974. It was always a very emotional ending for the band and the audiences.

Behind the scenes

The stage set-up for the tour came from acclaimed stage designer Mark Fisher, the lighting design came from Patrick Woodroffe. Behind the band was a huge screen which created a different look and a different setting for each song.

Producer Nick Davis supervised the sound of the band. Also, the band decided to release sound board recordings of each show through an Encore Series.

The first concert in Helsinki

And finally the first gig was played in Helsinki on a warm summer night. The band played flawlessly, the screens showed the right visuals at the right time and the audiences were happy to see Genesis again.

Phil Collins later said that some people expected them to release a new album during this period. But for him, the tour was not only a Genesis reunion tour but also a Genesis farewell tour.

The tour went on until autumn 2007 when the band played North America. After that, it seemed that Genesis had closed the final chapter. When asked what they enjoyed most about the reunion tour, they all agreed that the greatest thing was to be back with old friends and laugh together.

Photo: Genesis, ofwel: Phil Collins, Michael Rutherford, Tony Banks, Chester Thompson en Daryl Stuermer.}} |Source=Maikel Koek, via Wikiportrait |Date= |Author=Maikel Koek |Permission={{Wikiportrait|2008041010026495}} (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

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 is from The Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles. Unfortunately, most of Peter Gabriel’s stories about the adventures of Rael between the songs 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 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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The last show of “The Lamb” tour

On 22 May 1975, Genesis played the last show of their ambitious “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” tour. It was also their last gig with Peter Gabriel as lead singer.

“The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”

In 1974, Genesis went into the studio to record the album “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway*”. It was a double concept album, based on a complex story by lead singer Peter Gabriel about a Puerto Rican boy named Rael. Rael lives in New York City and is sucked into a netherworld, where he encounters strange characters on his adventures.

The story and the American setting were a break from their earlier tales of British myth and fantasy. Previous to the album, the band had toured North America and were trying to become successful in the United States. It was also (after the failed attempt on their first record) their first real “concept album”, a trademark for many progressive rock bands.

There were tensions going on inside the band, when they wrote the ambitious album. Peter Gabriel wrote the lyrics and the story separately, while his bandmates wrote all the music. Only the lyrics for one song, “The Light Dies Down On Broadway”, were written not by Gabriel, but by Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford. Most of the music came from jam sessions by the trio Tony Banks (keyboards), Mike Rutherford (bass and guitars) and Phil Collins (drums). Lead guitarist Steve Hackett did not contribute much to the music.

Tensions within the group

There were two main reasons for the split between Gabriel and the rest of the band that overshadowed the making of the album: For one, William Friedkin, director of “The Exorcist*” was interested in working together with Peter Gabriel on a film script. Peter Gabriel was interested and even thought about leaving the band for this project, but Friedkin backed away when he realized that.

The other reason was that Peter’s wife Jill was pregnant with their first child Anna. She was was born in July ’74 and there were some complications in the aftermath. Gabriel started to alienate from the band during that time. He was the first one to have a child and see that there were other opportunities and possibilites in life besides being in a rock band. His inner conflict is also reflected in the story of “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”, for example in the lyrics of “In The Cage”: “Get me out of this cage!”

Up to this day, the album divides fans and critics. Upon its release, “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” received decidedly mixed reviews and was a commercial failure. Ticket sales did not go as well as planned and they had to cancel several shows. Nowadays it is looked upon in a hazy retrospective because it is Gabriel’s last work with the group.

The “Lamb” tour

Peter Gabriel was frustrated by the failure in terms of success and sales, especially because it was his story. For the tour, the band decided to play the entire album live, often to an audience who had never heard it because the tour began before the album was released.

Having become famous for his use of masks and costumes, Peter Gabriel wanted to use visual aspects to underline the story of the album. This time he overused them. Again, he wore costumes, the most famous being the “Slippermen” outfit, which covered him from head to toe and did not allow him to get the microphone close enough to his mouth, so his vocals could not be heard clearly. The band did not like this exaggeration and felt that the costumes and the performance had become the focus of the show to the disadvantage of the music.

The spectacular stage show also brought along some problems. There were slides at the back of the stage and they never were in the right order or stopped and did not move on. One night, a dummy of Peter Gabriel, which used to mirror him during one of the songs, was replaced by a naked roadie. And once when there had to be a small explosion for one song, the production manager caused a big explosion, so loud that the band stopped playing in the middle of the song. He poked his head round the curtain and said “Sorry!” to which Phil Collins shouted back: “You’re fired!”

Peter Gabriel decides to leave Genesis

During the course of the tour, Peter Gabriel decided to leave. It was no surprise to manager Tony Smith and the rest of the band. Smith only wanted Gabriel to finish the tour and announce the news afterwards.

Peter Gabriel played his last gig with Genesis at St Etienne in France in May 1975. It was a strange last gig, because St Etienne was meant to be the penultimate date of the tour, but the final date was cancelled just the day before. And so, Gabriel’s time with Genesis was over. He had founded the band in 1967 with Tony Banks, Anthony Phillips and Mike Rutherford. When it was announced publicly, the fans were greatly shocked. Many doubted if Genesis could survive without him but we know they did and so did he.

Photo: Peter Gabriel in 1975. Photographer unknown. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: Peter_Gabriel,_April_1975.jpg. Unknown author / CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

Listen to recordings from The Lamb tour on “Genesis – BBC Broadcasts” – Get it here!*

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Ray Wilson announced as new lead vocalist

On 6 June 1997, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford of Genesis announce the band’s new lead singer after Phil Collins’ departure: 28 year old Ray Wilson.

When it was announced in March of 1996 that Phil Collins would leave Genesis after 25 years, the public was impatient to know who would become the next lead singer of the band. Genesis had survived the loss of their first singer Peter Gabriel in 1975. And when Phil Collins left the band in 1996, the two remaining members Tony Banks (keyboards) and Mike Rutherford (guitars) decided to survive a singer’s loss once more. The two founding members of Genesis started to write and record new songs and tried to find a new singer. Music media suggested several vocalists, until on June 6th 1997, the band announced that Ray Wilson would be their new lead singer.

Ray Wilson

Ray was born in Dumfries, Scotland, on 8 September 1968. He had previously been in a band called Guaranteed Pure and was frontman for the band Stiltskin. Their biggest hit was the song ‘Inside’, used in a Levi’s commercial in 1994. The song had reached no. 1 of the charts. Ray was not an unknown singer when he joined Genesis, but theirs and Stiltskin’s music was worlds apart. His fans and Genesis fans were both surprised and suspicious.

Ray remembers on the Songbook DVD: ‘I was in my little studio writing songs. It was ten in the morning, I was making a coffee, and Tony Smith, the manager of Genesis, was on the phone: ‘Would you like to come and audition to replace Phil Collins?”

In the years before, Phil Collins’ solo success had created an image of ‘Phil Collins and Genesis’, as if Genesis was the band behind him. Filling out this role and changing this public image, would be very difficult.

Calling All Stations

Ray, Mike and Tony went into the band’s studio ‘The Farm’ in Surrey and recorded the new album Calling All Stations*. Most of the songs were already written by Tony and Mike, but Ray was able to add some of his ideas. The album was very dark and melancholic. Phil Collins’ influence on Genesis music, his energy and cheerfulness combined with Mike’s and Tony’s music, was missing. The Genesis chemistry only worked fully when all three of them worked and wrote together.

Ray’s expressive voice worked with the melodramatic music. He did a remarkable job on the album and the following tour. His voice and style was a bit closer to Peter Gabriel’s, but the music on Calling All Stations seemed to be closer to its predecessor We Can’t Dance*. Like We Can’t Dance, Calling All Stations was produced by Nick Davis.

Three singles were released from the sombre, dark record: ‘Congo’, ‘Shipwrecked’ and ‘Not About Us’. Ray co-wrote the last song as well as the songs ‘Small Talk’ and ‘There Must Be Some Other Way’. The drums on the album were played by Israeli session drummer Nir Zidkyahu and Nick D’Virgilio from American prog band Spock’s Beard.

The critics were not too kind. NMW wrote that ‘the world doesn’t care enough about Genesis to make the effort’ to buy the album and ‘like the rest of the population, they’ve forgotten why they were once any good.’ Q wrote that the album consists of ‘just darkness, confusion, individual isolation’ and described it as ‘one-paced and one-dimensional.’

Live on tour 1998

On tour, Ray proved that he could sing songs from all the eras. The setlist covered hits like ‘Invisible Touch’, ‘No Son Of Mine’ or ‘Follow You Follow Me’ (in a lovely acoustic version), younger epics like ‘Home By The Sea’ and Gabriel-era songs like ‘Carpet Crawlers’ and ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’. The new material worked well between these songs and some tracks, like the title track, were even better live. Ray, Mike and Tony were accompanied by drummer Nir Zidkyahu and guitarist Anthony Drennan, who filled the roles of Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer.

The album was not as successful as the ones before

But unfortunately the album was not a big commercial success when compared to the albums before. It reached no. 2 in British charts, but only no. 54 in America. Also, ticket sales were not as high was they used to be and the tour had to be minimized in terms of production and venues. The American leg of the tour had to be cancelled completely. So after the 1998 tour, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford decided to put Genesis to rest.

It was not to be the end of Genesis. But back in 1998 it looked like it. Unfortunately, Ray Wilson, who had been thrown into this situation, was even made responsible by some fans and critics. This is simply not fair. Ray has a unique voice and delivered the songs – his own and Peter’s and Phil’s – in a special way.

After the end of Genesis, Ray took some time to recover and has since started a solo career. He releases solo albums and still plays some Genesis and Genesis-related songs during his live shows.

Title photo: Ray Wilson live in Dortmund in 2017 (Photo: André Wilms of ‘The Photography Of Mister Ilms)‘.

Listen to live versions from the 1998 tour with Ray on “Genesis – BBC Broadcasts” – Get it here!*

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3×3 (EP/1982) – Genesis

In May 1982, Genesis released 3×3, an extended-play featuring three previously unreleased tracks from their 1981 album Abacab.

Three songs from the “Abacab” sessions

Abacab* from 1981 had brought a change in sound and style for Genesis. They had a new producer (Hugh Padgham) and had bought ‘The Farm’ in Surrey, where they had their own studio and could take time to jam for the new record. When they put Abacab together, there was not enough space on the record to include all the songs they liked. So they decided to release an EP with three leftover tracks the following year.

The three tracks were ‘Paperlate’, ‘You Might Recall’ and ‘Me And Virgil’. All of them were written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford together. The EP 3 x 3* was released in May 1982 between two Genesis tours. In the US, they did not release 3×3, only ‘Paperlate’ was released as a regular single with ‘You Might Recall’ as b-side.

The songs

‘Paperlate’ is similar to Abacab‘s ‘No Reply At All.’ It also includes the Earth Wind & Fire horn section with which Phil Collins had worked on his first solo album the year before. The title comes from the song ‘Dancing With The Moonlit Knight’ from the band’s 1973 album Selling England By the Pound*. During a soundcheck of the song in 1978 or 1980, Phil was repeating the phrase ‘Paperlate cried a voice in the crowd…’ over and over again, which inspired the band to write a song around this term.

‘You Might Recall’ is a romantic tune, which resembles some earlier Rutherford compositions like ‘Alone Tonight’. The third track, ‘Me and Virgil’ resembles his ‘Deep In The Motherlode’ (1978) in lyrics. This time it was Phil Collins who wrote a Wild West story with the band trying to create a ‘The Band’-like song. Phil Collins was so unhappy with the song that it was left off the Genesis Archive release in 2000, which featured many non-Album songs on CD for the first time.

The artwork was inspired by The Beatles

Inspired by the Beatles’ EP’s in the 1960’s, Genesis decided to create a cover similar to their Twist And Shout* EP. They also called in Tony Barrow to write the sleeve notes. Barrow had been the Beatles’ publicity man 20 years earlier. He wrote the Genesis sleeve notes in the same style (‘These cheeky chappies from Guildford…’).

One reviewer was not familiar with the Beatles original and misunderstood the design for being serious. But it was another sign of the band’s humour and the EP was a success for them. With ‘Paperlate’ they appeared on ‘Top of the Tops’ once more. The EP went to number 10 in the British charts.

Three Sides Live

In the same year, Genesis also released the successful live album Three Sides Live*. As EP’s rarely charted well in America, they decided to put the 3×3 songs on the fourth side of the live album and not release the EP individually. To complete the fourth side, they added two leftovers from Duke (1980): The Rutherford composition ‘Open Door’ and the Banks composition ‘Evidence Of Autumn.’ The UK on the other hand had a fourth side live.

3×3 was never released as a CD. Instead, ‘Paperlate’ and ‘You Might Recall’ were released on the Genesis Archive 2: 1976-1992* box set from 2000. It features rare and unreleased songs for the first time on CD. All three songs were included in the box set 1976-1982* on CD. Even ‘Me And Virgil’ was remixed for this release.

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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.

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“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.

Purchase “Genesis – The Shorts” here at Amazon*

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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).

Listen to live versions from the 1992 gig at Knebworth on “Genesis – BBC Broadcasts” – Get it here!*

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Live at the Roundhouse 1970

On 11 March 1970, Genesis played one of the biggest gigs of their early career at the Atomic Sunrise Festival at the Roundhouse Club in London. The event featured artists like David Bowie and Hawkwind and was sponsored by Yoko Ono. A few weeks later Genesis signed to the Charisma label.

Genesis in early 1970

At the beginning of 1970, Genesis were writing and rehearsing new music for their second album. Their debut album* had failed to chart and they had quit their contract with producer Jonathan King and the Decca label. The new songs were more adventurous and experimental and far from the pop tunes of their first album. The band consisted of Peter Gabriel (vocals), Tony Banks (keyboards), Ant Phillips (lead guitar), Mike Rutherford (guitar and bass) and John Mayhew (drums).

Genesis opened for David Bowie at the Roundhouse

The band and its members were still very young at the time and far from being famous. So the infamous hippie-festival at the Roundhouse was their biggest gig up that point. Especially as they were booked to open for David Bowie.

Both Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel were huge fans of David Bowie. Space Oddity* had been released the year before and Bowie was a rock star already. In these days, Bowie and his band appeared on stage in a very theatrical way. Gabriel was impressed and a little later, he used costumes and masks onstage himself. His outfits and theatrical performances leaped Genesis on another level in terms of popularity. Tony Banks on the other hand was a bit disappointed that Bowie and his band put so much focus on the visuals instead of the music. Unbeknownst to them, this gig might have been the beginning of a conflict within Genesis. The conflict grew when Peter Gabriel himself started to dress up and the other band members felt that the stage show distracted from the music more and more.

Yoko Ono sponsored the Atomic Sunrise Festival at the Roundhouse

At the festival, the band played songs that would appear on their second album Trespass* later that year. Video snippets exist that show the band performing ‘Looking For Someone’ and ‘The Knife’. Apparently, ‘Twilight Alehouse’ was also played. Ant Phillips jokingly admits that this footage is the only visual proof that he ever performed with Genesis.

Althought the gig was a big one for the band, they were not too happy. Peter Gabriel remembers that there were more people onstage than in front of the stage. Ant Phillips was frightened and nervous. His stage fright was one of the reasons he left the group later that year.

Still, Tony Banks and Ant Phillips were both impressed by the professionality behind the scenes. Every gig of the festival was recorded on 8-track equipment and part of it was filmed. As Yoko Ono sponsored the gig, there might be a chance that the complete film footage still exists in the Apple archive.

A couple of weeks after the gig, Genesis signed their new contract with Charisma and later that year, they released their second album Trespass. Ant Phillips left the same year and a new drummer took over in summer of 1970…but that’s another story.

Title photo: Genesis mixing desk 2 – Revox A77 and associated gear for Genesis at a concert in the Liverpool Empire, 1970s, precise year unknown. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Rodhullandemu / CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

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Genesis induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010

On 15 March 2010, Genesis were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and Steve Hackett were present alongside live members Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer. Peter Gabriel did not attend the event. The band was inducted by Phish frontman Trey Anastasio.

Live on the 29th of July, 1992. Kiel, Germany.

Phil Collins had damaged his health on the ‘Turn It On Again’ tour

By the time Genesis were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they had been in a hiatus for three years. Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks, along with Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson, had last been on their ‘Turn It On Again’ in 2007. The tour had been hugely successful.

On this tour, however, Phil Collins had damaged his health. When playing drums, he felt a numbness in his left arm and his fingers. It turned out that he had damaged the nerves in his neck and his back. Years of drumming had taken its toll. With Phil Collins being unable to play the drums, further Genesis live gigs seemed very unlikely.

The Way We Walk: The Shorts (Cover) – from left to right: Daryl Stuermer, Chester Thompson, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, Phil Collins

Would Peter Gabriel join his old bandmates for the induction?

When it was announced that Genesis would finally be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, rumours started to spread again. Would they all attend? Would Peter Gabriel also join his former bandmates? Would they perform together?

The answer was: no. Peter Gabriel was in preparation for a tour and decided not to take part in the ceremony. Also, he had cut most of his ties with Genesis over the years. He had left the group in 1975 when he was 25 and had started a tremendously successful solo career. Going back to Genesis was not something he wanted. To stop all the rumours right away, he did not attend the ceremony. But the other four ‘classic’ members Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins and Steve Hackett did. They were joined by their families and long-time live members Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson. The induction speech was held by Trey Anastastio of Phish.

Genesis live, July 29th, 1992 Kiel, Germany. The Nordmarksportfeld.

Phish performed two Genesis songs

Phish also performed two Genesis songs: ‘Watcher Of The Skies’ and ‘No Reply At All’. One song from each era, but two very odd choices. It was interesting to observe that they struggled much more with the ‘pop’ song ‘No Reply At All’.

Trey Anastasio gave a wonderful speech. Being a musician who is also into complex music, instead of focussing on the obvious stories and tales, he gave a brief insight into the art behind the albums Trespass*, Selling England By the Pound* and Duke. It was a fitting speech for this evening. Genesis were not inducted because they were superstars, but because they were great musicians and performers.

Phish frontman Trey Anastasio held a wonderful induction speech

The four ‘classic’ members went onstage and Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins and Steve Hackett said some nice words (Steve’s speech was a bit embarrasing, to be honest) and Mike mentioned that Peter was in preparation for his orchestra tour.

Phil Collins later admitted that he was happy that Peter had not been there, because there would have been questions about a big reunion. Being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seemed like a cherry on the cake in Genesis’ career. Although it was just a festive occasion, this was to be the last time that Genesis appeared together in public for some years. It was also the last time Chester Thompson appeared with them. Neither the band nor the fans knew at that point.

Trey Anastasio celebrated Genesis in his speech as ‘rebellious, restless and constantly striving for something more.’ This sums up their career perfectly.

Title photo: Genesis on stage during the The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway tour, 1974-75. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Nick Contador/ CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

First photo: Genesis live, July 29th, 1992 Kiel, Germany. The Nordmarksportfeld. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Derzsi Elekes Andor/ CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

Second Photo: The Way We Walk – The Shorts (Cover).

Third photo: Genesis live, July 29th, 1992 Kiel, Germany. The Nordmarksportfeld. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Derzsi Elekes Andor/ CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

Fourth photo: Daryl Stuermer, Chester Thompson and Mike Rutherford, Liverpool Empire, Duke Tour 1980. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Rodhullandemu/ CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

Fourth photo: Genesis, Phil Collins, Strasbourg, October 1981. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Philippe Roos from Strasbourg/ CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

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Duke (1980) – Genesis

On 28 March 1980, Duke* was released. On this album, Genesis went back to jamming together instead of bringing in individual songs. Let’s take a look back on the album that produced the instant classic ‘Turn It On Again’.

Phil Collins became a songwriter

Genesis’ tour in 1978 had lasted almost a year and in consequence, Phil Collins’ marriage had fallen apart. Phil asked for a break to save his marriage. Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford agreed and both of them released their first solo records. Going to Canada, where his wife had moved to with their children, Phil Collins tried to save his marriage. He could not and came back to England, sitting alone in his home in Surrey and spending his time writing songs, something he had never done before.

The band started jamming again

In 1979, Genesis came together to write a new album. Tony and Mike came to Phil’s house and were surprised to find that Phil had become a songwriter. They all brought in songs individually into the jam sessions, but more importantly, they went back to just rehearsing and improvising, something they had stopped doing since Peter Gabriel’s departure. The new songs were very strong. They were modern and still typically Genesis.

Turn It On Again

Fans could get a taste when ‘Turn It on Again’ was released as a single in early March 1980. The song became a classic Genesis song. ‘Turn It On Again’ is central to Genesis’ history. It shows how good the three were getting at incorporating complex and challenging musical ideas into pop songs that would be played on the radio. Based on a riff of Mike’s, the song has an odd 13/8 time signature, but listeners do not realize until they start to clap along or tap their toes to it.

The song was played on every tour since its release. It was mostly played as an encore and from 1983 onwards, the band turned it into a medley that incorporated various rock and roll cover songs. They also named a a hit collection after the song (Turn it on again: The Hits*) and when they announced their reunion tour in 2007 they titled it Turn It on Again – The Tour.*

On an album with outstanding songs, this weird, driving number had a special place. The single reached #8 in the U.K. charts and allowed the group to perform on Top of the Pops in person for the first time. The album itself was called Duke. It was released in late March 1980 and it was the band’s first number one album in the U.K.

‘This is the story of Albert’

There is a story behind the album, the main protagonist being Albert, the character on the album cover. The album opens with ‘Behind The Lines’, a grand musical odyssey that starts with an euphoric instrumental passage and then turns into a soulful song. With an opener like this, Genesis proudly demonstrated who they were in 1980. The trio showed again that they were (and are) the musical core of Genesis. They were the ones who had created the most important passages of ‘Supper’s Ready’, the closing section of ‘The Cinema Show’ and the main bulk of the album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.*

‘Misunderstanding’ was a hit in the US

But as mentioned, the three of them did also bring in individual songs on Duke. Phil’s songs were the very personal ‘Please don’t ask’ and ‘Misunderstanding’, which was one of the first songs he had ever written all alone for Genesis. It is a sophisitcated pop song with direct, simple lyrics and a great swinging groove. The band sound like they enjoy the new influence. Funnily enough it was this song that became a Top Twenty hit in the US – a hint at Phil’s solo success in the future.

Tony Banks often named Duke one of his favourite Genesis albums and points out the song ‘Duchess’, which for him combines all the best elements of modern Genesis. It was their first song to feature a drum machine (many more would follow) and the song’s story can be seen similar to the band’s own story. It is one of Tony’s favourite Genesis songs and although it sounds very simple, for him it has as much emotion as ‘Supper’s Ready’.

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Listen to brilliant live versions from the Lyceum gigs of the 1980 Duke-tour on “Genesis – BBC Broadcasts” – Get it here!*

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Phil Collins’ departure from Genesis in 1996

On 28 March 1996, Phil Collins’ departure from Genesis was officially announced in a press release: ‘Genesis end twenty-year experiment, decide to replace Peter Gabriel as vocalist.’ It was the end of an era. Here’s the story of his (temporary) departure.

Phil Collins decided to leave Genesis in 1993

In 1993, Genesis were at their peak. The group’s We Can’t Dance tour in 1992 had been huge. In autumn 1993, they played a concert in Cowdray Ruins, a charity gig with Pink Floyd, Queen and Eric Clapton. Genesis played four songs and joined everybody for the encore. Nobobdy knew that this would be Phil Collins’ last gig with the band for a long time.

By this point, Phil Collins was writing what would become his most personal solo album Both Sides*. On Both Sides, he played all the instruments and produced the album all by himself. Both Sides was similar to his first solo album Face Value and reflected his situation: His marriage with his wife Jill was going to pieces because he had an affair with an old girlfriend from school, Lavinia Lang. His family was about to break once more. Phil felt he could not sing Genesis songs anymore, but wanted to sing about things he could relate to. Also, he was tired of having to wow whole stadiums with the band. He felt that he had come to the end of the road with Genesis.

On his solo album Both Sides, Phil Collins played all the instruments, sang and produced

Some time after the gig at Cowdray Ruins, he told manager Tony Smith about his decision. Smith, being a manager and businessman, advised him to finish his solo album and tour and then think about the matter again. Phil Collins went on a world tour in 1994 and 1995. In Switzerland, he met a young woman named Orianne Cevey, whom he fell in love with. His marriage with Jill being over, he moved to Lake Geneva to live with Orianne. For this decision (and for his music), he was heavily criticized by the British press. In turn, Phil got to hate his public ‘Mr Nice Guy’-image. At this point in his life, there was no space for Genesis anymore.

Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford decided to carry on

The group met in manager Tony Smith’s kitchen in 1996 and Phil told them that he wanted to leave. Tony Banks’ replied with true British understatement ‘It’s a sad day, a very sad day.’ Mike Rutherford was surprised that Phil had stayed that long in Genesis, having enjoyed a successful solo career for 15 years in 1996. Phil’s departure was announced twenty years and two days after his first gig as a vocalist with the band. With him leaving, the band not only lost their superstar singer and entertainer, but also a great composer and drummer.

Mike and Tony decided to carry on and search for a new singer. Phil Collins continued his solo career, but not as successful as in the 1980s. The three of them remained friends. It was not until the early 2000s that they started to appear again as a trio for certain occasions. Finally in 2006, ten years after Phil’s departure, they reunited officially as a group to go on tour. But that is another story.

Title photo: The world famous band – Genesis. Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford. (Photo 1991) . Source: Wikimedia Commons, David Scheinmann / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

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