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    Ray Wilson Makes Me Think Of Home
    German Genesis Fanclub: 25th anniversary

    A closer look at the early years of Genesis
    at the Early Years Event in Welkers, Germany


    Since 1993, the German Genesis fanclub it has been inviting its members and interested others to come to special fan club events. In the beginning, the focus lay on the exchange between fans and the traders’ market, but in recent times the events centered around a main idea. The events traditionally took place in Eichenzell-Welkers near Fulda [in the approximate middle of Germany] since 1996. Last year Ray Wilson came for the two-day RayVent, which was the first time we had a (former) member of the band as a special guest. Before that there had been two events that focused on a particular era, viz. the Selling England By The Pound Event in 1996 and the Lamb Lies Down On Broadway two-day event in 2001. This year we decided to focus on the band’s early days. The Early Years Event 2005 was all about Genesis between 1967 and 1973 (up to and including the Live album). It took place on May 15, 2005 at the Bürgerhaus in Eichenzell-Welkers. We were thrilled to welcome as a special guest Mr Richard Macphail.


    Looking For Someone - the preparations

    We discussed many ideas, thought up lots of scenarios, but it soon turned out that the club event in 2005 was to take a big leap back into the distant past after the hugely successful RayVent 2004 which focused on the band’s most recent past. The early years were to be the topic. We soon decided that a big exhibition would be fantastic – but also a fantastic amount of work. When Richard Macphail had agreed to come, details for the Early Years Event could begin to be planned. What proved most time-consuming and difficult was digging up originals and replicas for the exhibition. Richard Macphail was looking forward to the event. He agreed to a Question Time so that the guests had an opportunity to hear details about the band’s early years. A live performance was to complete the programme. Never before had very early (and some unreleased) Genesis songs been played live before, so a Genesis cover band was “hired” to do precisely that. Long-time club members Steffen Gerlach and Bernd Vormwald agreed to put together a band. Though the musicians had little time to rehearse together, they still put together a well-balanced set. Tickets went on sale in spring…


    Time Table – the schedule

    There were two blocks around which the rest of the event had to be planned, namely the question time with Richard and the live act by Champagne Meadow. Then there were to be two slots of video presentations, so that were would still be enough time to watch the large exhibition and chat with other fans. The Bürgerhaus was set up much like it was the year before for the RayVent.  There was a front stage, but more space was given to the exhibition. Eight showcases were put up, sorted by years. In them there were newspaper articles, singles, promos, photos and assorted rarities from Genesis’ early years. What drew particular attention was the Jackson Tape box, which wasn’t the original, of course, but a slightly smaller replica.
    Tour and concert posters from that time were extremely hard to get hold of. A couple of choice motives were carefully reproduced for this reason. There were also many originals from that period. Eight meters of the wall were covered with vinyl material from the early years. There has never been a similar exhibition and it may well be doubted that there will ever be an exhibition like this again.

    The event was accompanied by a programme brochure which borrowed its design from the 1972 original “Show souvenir”. It listed all tour dates up to the year 1973 and re-worked versions of the on-tour reports from earlier numbers of our fan club publication. There also was Genesis rosette made up to look like the original from Watford 1972. Then there also was a collector’s market which is a definite classic at the fan club events.
    The video presentations were split into two parts. The legendary 1972 Belgian TV appearance opened and at the end of the day there also was the Shepperton gig in a comparatively breathtaking quality. Some fans had gone to considerable lengths to make this video shine again. 

    Richard Macphail and his wife Maggie spent all the day here so that many fans took the opportunity to have a chat with Richard. At four o’clock the official question time began. Questions and answers were translated from English into German and vice versa so that nobody would have problems understanding everything. Richard patiently answered all questions. He kicked off with some special news. Earlier that day he had called Tony Banks about the Jackson Tape, and he confirmed to him that the band had bought the tape and will release it via their web site. Richard answered questions, joked around and told many anecdotes for more than one and a half hours. When was given a huge round of applause by all the guests he was visibly touched (go here for the complete interview).
    To top it all of, right after the tombola Champagne Meadow took the stage. They performed an exquisite set based on the early day’s demos in front of slides showing the faces of Genesis. Most of the songs were coupled with well-known drumsounds from more recent years. We noticed Shaking The Tree, This Must Be Love, Dreaming While You Sleep and even The Man With The Horn. It was amazing to hear how these old songs that almost nobody will ever have heard live before worked with these new rhythms. The audience were absolutely thrilled. Selected highlights of the performance can be found in the download section of our website.
    In the end, the day was over much too soon. There were only contented happy faces carrying home information and rarities galore.

    Where The Sour Turns To Sweet – the aftermath

    It was a lot of work, preparations proved occasionally nerve-wracking, but on the day itself there was only positive stress. We could not have wished for a better feedback from our guests. Richard Macphail and his wife enjoyed the day very much. Richard in particular was deeply moved both by the “time journey” as he called it and the hearty welcome he received at the hands of the Early Years Event guests. We were also pleased to see a large number of young fans and new faces next to the old friends one usually sees only on days like that. Then there was the superb live act that lived up to the main theme. It fits the bill that it was a sunny day with lots of laughter.
    As long as there is an audience we will continue to have events like this. The preparations for 2006 are, in fact, under way.

    by Christian Gerhardts
    translated by Martin Klinkhardt


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