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    Ray Wilson & Band live in Heiligenhaus - The Club - July 19, 2006

     


    Ray tours and tours. Since the beginning of the millennium he has been on tour, unplugged at first, later with a band. And then he kept switching between the two. He is a regular (and annual) performer at the Edinburgh Festival. 2001 at Madogs was the fresh start for Ray Wilson. From that point on his solo career took off again. There was a Live And Acoustic album, then Change and The Next Best Thing. Then there was a double Live CD with a cross-section of Ray’s musical oeuvre and his favourite Genesis songs, and another Unplugged album. By then he had found his appetite for rock again. Since March, a new Stiltskin album called She  has been available. And this year, too, sees Ray touring, semi-unplugged at first, but now with a band again. On July 19 he played Heiligenhaus near Essen, Germany.


    Ray Wilson shows are interesting events for Genesis fans. The tour was advertised as the „World of Genesis“ and about half the set consisted of Genesis songs. He did not play material from Calling All Stations only, but also many of his own favourites. Ripples made it into the set this way, the song with which he delighted the guests of the RayVent. Some people claim that Ray was a good Genesis coverband. Others ask who, if not him, had a right to be one. The fact remains, however: With every tour and every new album he plays more of his own material and less of Genesis’.

    Stiltskin SHE

    Heiligenhaus Setlist

    Calling All Stations
    The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
    Land Of Confusion
    Ghost
    Goodbye Baby Blue
    Change
    Entangled
    Follow You Follow Me
    Sarah
    Along The Way
    Ripples
    (Pause)
    The Actor
    Alone
    Games Without Frontiers
    Not About Us
    Lemon Yellow Sun
    She
    Sunshine And Butterflies
    Wake Up Your Mind
    Footsteps
    Inside
    Turn it On Again

    Taking Time
    I Can't Dance
    The Carpet Crawlers

    There is a small venue operated by the town council in Heiligenhaus. It is called „Der Club“ and it also is where Ray played. During the day, temperatures outside had reached 35°C (95°F) when genesis-news.com interviewed Ray. In the evening, there were 35°C inside while the outside had not cooled much either. There was not too much space on the stage and Irvin Duguid sat a little bit at the side and behind a column while Ray sang for his life on the opening song Calling All Stations. The song works great live and not only Ray wonders (in the interview) why he had not played it live much earlier. A new guitarist by the name of Ali Ferguson provides a new guitar sound smashing it out now, now focusing on melodies. The three Genesis opening songs (Calling All Stations was followed by The Lamb... and Land Of Confusion) were very well received and the heat rose in the club. Ray and his band presented themselves much rockier than on previous band tours and it was evident that they had lots of fun onstage. For the next songs, though, Ray got his acoustic guitar ready. His acoustic performances are, after all, very popular, particularly in Germany. Songs like Change and Sarah, Ghost or Along The Way mark Ray’s solo projects after the end of Genesis. And then there were Ray’s favourite Genesis songs. Who would have thought that he would play Entangled? The original pitch of the song provides some problems for Ray, but he does not even try to sing it as in the original. With Ripples, this problem has all but gone. Both songs are happily accepted by the audience and meet with wild applause. Since the temperature in the venue causes permanent transpiration with the audience, Ray decides to have a break. Everybody goes outside to sample the sultry hot air outdoors.


    The second half of the show is a firework of rock kicked of by Ray’s solo classic The Actor. The song after that is a congenial version of Games Without Frontiers. Ray had played this song (and Entangled) earlier this year in a semi-acoustic fashion, but this band version is all one could wish for. What’s more, it sounded even better than Peter Gabriel’s own version on the Still Growing Up tour.  Not About Us is finally performed by the whole band. After that, it’s pure rock music. Inside, Footsteps, Sunshine And Butterflies, Turn It On Again in a hard rock version, Ray and his band went for the very big bang. Add to that a couple of new songs like She where Ray used another microphone to bring out that distorted voice. Wake Up Your Minds rocks royally. The next Stiltskin single, Lemon Yellow Sun is a bit calmer again, though it is much stronger than on the album. Another new song, Taking Time, is performed as an encore. In case that that was too much rock for Genesis fans there is a final song to make it up to them – The Carpet Crawlers


    It is interesting to observe how Ray’s live shows develop. His Unplugged Shows are always a bit forcedly minimalistic, though they have lots of pep thanks to Irvin Duguid. The performance Ray and the band (sans Irvin and Ali then) gave on the Change tour is lightyears below what they are able to do and what they actually do. It is a most enjoyable development. The new Stiltskin material is even stronger live than the strong material on the album – and Ray explained in the genesis-news.com interview that these summer shows are somewhere in between what he used to do and what he is going to do in autumn. Let’s hope and wish for Ray that the success curve points further upwards and that the autumn tour becomes a big success.




    by Christian Gerhardts

    translated by Martin Klinkhardt


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