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The Last Domino! Ein Tour-Tagebuch

Genesis: A Journey to the Last Domino!

A The Last Domino? Tour Diary 2022

First of all: Genesis are "my band" - the group around Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford has shaped my musical taste like no one else since I started to explore their diverse and sometimes challenging œuvre at the tender age of 14, 15. In the following, I try to sort out my thoughts and feelings around Genesis' - and Phil Collins' - probably really last concert series: Against all odds, I finally got to see my favourite band live again in March 2022. In Berlin, in Hanover, in Amsterdam and finally in London. In the end, the concerts were different from what I had dreamt of for years, but still impressive, stirring, overwhelming, entertaining... - just everything that (live) music can be at its best. But one after the other...


Genesis 2007

As a late-born, the 2007 Turn It On Again Tour - which Phil Collins preferred to call a "selection of shows" rather than a tour at the time, having said goodbye to life on tour for family reasons with his First Final Farewell Tour in 2004/05 - was the only chance I had to see Genesis live. As a 15-year-old teenager I had written about the concert in Frankfurt's football stadium that I had never looked forward to any other day in my life as much as I did to that 5 July 2007. Today, at 30, I would like to put that (somewhat) into perspective. For years I had hoped for a return of Phil Collins to the stages of this world - without knowing how badly he was actually doing personally in his self-imposed retirement and how momentous this time would actually be for him. The publication of his autobiography and the accompanying live comeback in the form of the (Still) Not Dead Yet Tour (2017-2019) were an unexpected, bitter-sweet surprise for me: the concerts were highly emotional and marked by the apparent fragility of the exceptional artist, who now sings while sitting down and no longer plays drums - but another Genesis reunion had not really become more likely in this setting, even after around 100 concerts on four continents. Genesis were always more and bigger than Phil Collins: Unlike Phil Collins concerts, Genesis concerts after the departure of Peter Gabriel were always also defined by the force of two drummers during the numerous instrumental passages. Vocally, too, Genesis songs are usually more challenging than Phil Collins' solo material - the tour programme of the Not Dead Yet Tour, for example, still contains Collins' statement that pieces like Genesis' Mama are no longer to be thought of. Nevertheless, in the course of the comeback concerts, the man seems to have regained not only the passion and fun of live concerts, but also self-confidence and vocal range (compare for example recordings of Against All Odds from 2017 with those of 2019).


At the same time, Phil Collins' wish to perform again with Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford seems to have become concrete. In the announcement before the two Genesis songs in the first half of his solo programme (Follow You Follow Me and Throwing It All Away), Phil had been saying since the first concerts in spring 2017 that all the former Genesis members were "still great friends". Tony and Mike had already attended one of Phil's concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017. Mike and his Mechanics also supported Phil's big open-air concerts in Dublin and London's Hyde Park in the summer of 2017. However, as in 2004, they did not perform together. The surprise was accordingly great when Phil suddenly brought Mike on stage for Follow You Follow Me at his concert in Berlin's Olympic Stadium on 7 June 2019. This guest appearance was then repeated at the remaining shows in Europe, where Mike & the Mechanics were the opening act. At the very last concert of the Still Not Dead Yet Tour in Las Vegas in October 2019, Phil already dropped a broad hint in the direction of a possible Genesis tour when he said "We're still great friends so you never know what's gonna happen... you never know" - accompanied by a gesture of casting the line and landing the fish...

Phil Collins / Not Dead Yet Tour

In January 2020 - and thus only a few weeks after the conclusion of the Still Not Dead Yet Tour - Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins and Nic Collins, sitting separately, were spotted in New York's Madison Square Garden attending a basketball game. The news quickly spread in the relevant music forums. Rumours were doing the rounds that Genesis were planning arena shows in the UK in autumn 2020 with the line-up Banks/Collins/Rutherford, supported by Nic Collins on drums and Daryl Stuermer on guitar. The same source published a purported setlist of the rehearsals (which subsequently turned out to be less than authentic). In fact, as Nic Collins reported it in an interview in the aftermath of The Last Domino? Tour, Mike had already attended another of Phil's concerts in San Francisco in autumn 2018 and had talked to Phil about a possible Genesis reunion. According to the report, Tony, Mike and Phil had already put together a setlist via email in autumn 2019 and arranged to meet for non-binding rehearsals in New York City in early 2020.

In early March 2020, Mike Rutherford and ex-Mechanics singer Paul Carrack reunited for a charity concert at London's 02 Arena, where they performed an interesting version of Genesis' I Can't Dance (alongside the Mechanics' hit Over My Shoulder) - the striking "I (can't dance)" in the chorus was largely sung by the background singers... For me, this performance at Music for the Marsden - like the aforementioned Phil Collins concerts in Dublin in 2017 and in Berlin in 2019 - belongs in the chronology of the prehistory of my personal Last Domino journey: At the time, I had flown to Dublin alone; however, unbeknownst to me, I had arranged to meet Alex, another concert traveller from Hesse, via the internet forum of the German Genesis Fan Club. In the meantime, a lively musical friendship has grown out of this. Despite the novel Corona virus slowly arriving in Europe, the two of us had travelled together by train from Frankfurt to London in the first week of March 2020. In addition to Mike Rutherford and Paul Carrack, the other line-up of the benefit concert had also promised us and so we sat in London's 02 Arena and listened to the all-star line-up that (the recently deceased) Gary Brooker of Procol Harum had put together.

The reunion of a "massive band" was announced by the BBC on Twitter for the next morning - and indeed the sensation was perfect when Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford announced their first concerts together since 2007 on BBC Breakfast Radio on 3 March 2020. The Last Domino? Tour would initially feature 10 concerts and take the trio, joined by Nic Collins and Daryl Stuermer, through the biggest venues in Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Scotland in November and December 2020. In an interview with BBC presenter Zoe Ball, Mike Rutherford justified the announcement by saying that they were all still good friends, had not yet bitten the dust, had only played two concerts in their home country of Great Britain in the past 30 years - and that he personally would like to perform the rather dark Genesis material again compared to his Mechanics. Tony Banks praised Nic Collins' skills as a drummer and Phil Collins, whose voice was rather weak due to a cold, said he would even try to accompany his son a little on the drums.

Over breakfast in a London café, Alex and I were already discussing which concerts of The Last Domino? Tour we wanted to see and how the setlist might turn out under these circumstances...

A few days later, the tickets went on sale. Alex and I coordinated and together we got tickets for the two opening gigs in Dublin (16/17 November 2020) and the two homecoming gigs in London (29/30 November 2020). In terms of atmosphere and value for money, we would have preferred standing room inside, of course, but after our experiences with Phil's (Still) Not Dead Yet Tour, it was basically clear where the journey would go: just under 100 euros for the cheapest tickets in the upper rows and well over 400 euros for the most expensive regular seats in the blocks in front of the stage. Those who wanted to get even closer were virtually forced to buy more expensive VIP packages with imaginative names like "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" or "I Can't Dance" package (or to leave it alone). The Dublin concerts would have had the charm for us of not only marking the start of the tour but also, in a way, coming full circle to the 2017 trip for the Phil Collins concert - and that the venue there is really tiny compared to the usual basketball/ice hockey multi-function arenas in continental Europe. The London concerts were to bring us full circle to our joint London trip for Music for the Marsden, which was eventually crowned by the tour announcement. (Looking back on the actual conclusion of The Last Domino? Tour in March 2022 with Peter Gabriel in the audience, the O2 Arena as the venue also closes another circle, as Peter Gabriel had opened the formerly named Millennium Dome concert hall with his OVO show in 2000...). Considering the ticket prices, we opted for slightly more expensive seats in the middle for the first evening and cheaper seats in the upper tier for the second evening.


Within days of pre-sales for the UK and Irish dates of the tour, the Corona pandemic had the world firmly in its grip. The number of people infected with the novel virus skyrocketed, the health system was stretched to its limits in many places and pictures of military convoys to the crematoria in Bergamo, Italy went viral. Schools were closed, employees were sent to the "home office" if possible, public events were postponed or cancelled and some states even imposed varying degrees of strict curfew. The feasibility of cultural events became increasingly remote. (I remember how in March 2020 I was still naively hoping for the Steve Hackett concert in Wuppertal scheduled for April 2020...). Nevertheless, the prospect of an easing of the situation "in the summer" in the first pandemic year was definitely there... As we all know, hindsight is always wiser and so Genesis at the end of July 2020 had to postpone their tour from the end of 2020 to spring 2021. In the course of this, the tour schedule was completely mixed up, so that the tour kick-off would henceforth take place in Glasgow and the London shows would no longer be at the weekend, but in pieces during the week. This annoyed us at first, but due to the unclear situation we hadn't booked anything except the tickets anyway. In the course of the postponement, however, London got a third concert, for which I also ordered two tickets in the cheapest category without further ado. At the beginning of 2021, it was clear that these new dates could not be kept either. So the shows in January 2021 were moved to autumn 2021: This meant that the Dublin shows were again the opener and the London dates were again at the end of the week in a travel-friendly way. Presumably to feed the hope that the concerts would actually be played at some point, Genesis simultaneously released a short promo video showing the band in full production rehearsals: 

The 50-second film is set to the beginning of the instrumental Behind The Lines, but shows a montage of the recordings of various songs, as suggested by the films on the - thus shown for the first time - high-resolution LED stage back wall as well as the positions of the five "dominoes", which are variably mounted above the musicians with all kinds of Vari*Lights. With the release of this video, Genesis not only fuelled the guesswork of inclined fans as to which songs they might be rehearsing in each sequence, but also revealed that Phil Collins would be backed by two young male backing singers. The two, Daniel Pearce and Patrick Smyth, take the place at the back left of the stage that Chester Thompson's drum kit used to have. Nic Collins' new silver-grey Gretsch drum kit is a replica of the white Gretsch set his father played in the mid-1980s, and takes the place of Phil's drum kit. The soundtrack of the video also suggested that only one drummer - Nic Collins - was at work during the recording. A few weeks later, the BBC broadcast a radio interview with Patrick Woodroffe, Genesis' lighting designer, which was also accompanied by (instrumental) excerpts from the rehearsals (such as Home By The Sea). While the full production rehearsals, which took place in London in autumn 2020 and were filmed in their entirety by the band for their own use, virtually no information was released to the public, it was the band themselves who revealed details about the production here and there: Tony, Phil and Mike, for instance, gave an interview to Prog Magazine in which they said they were at least considering excerpts from Supper's Ready. However, Nic Collins spoiled the most, giving interviews to several drummer channels on YouTube before the start of the tour and not only providing information about drums, cymbals and co., but also about the songs in which drum machine loops (such as Mama, Hold On My Heart) or triggers for playing the Simmons e-drum sounds typical of the Genesis and Invisible Touch albums would be used (Second Home By The Sea, Domino). In addition, Nic sometimes told that pieces like Land Of Confusion, No Son Of Mine or Abacab were rehearsed.

In April 2021, Mike Rutherford hinted in a podcast that Genesis might also play in North America in the second half of the year. Indeed, at the end of April, around 20 concerts were announced for November and December 2021 on the American East Coast. On the side, the Genesis management had apparently hired someone for the social media area again: For example, the followers on Facebook and Instagram were asked about their most popular songs, from which corresponding official Spotify playlists were then compiled (yay...). It was interesting, however, that the subscribers to the official Genesis newsletter were announced a Behind the Gear series, which ultimately consisted of sending out a special newsletter for keyboards, guitars, drums and vocals, in which short texts about the respective musicians were garnished with disappointingly superficial information about the equipment. The only thing that was good about it were the photos: A "small" drum kit (equipped with only two hanging toms and two standing toms) set up for left-handed players was also shown - the same drum kit that could be seen in photos circulated by Mojo magazine and the band's official social media channels in the months leading up to the start of the tour. So, in retrospect, it can be assumed that at least during the musical rehearsals (without a stage) Phil Collins tried to "accompany" his son during (selected?) instrumental passages (as Phil promised during the tour announcement on the BBC). As with the rehearsals for his solo comeback tour, of which photos also exist with the famous In The Air Tonight drum kit (without cymbals), this plan apparently (unfortunately) did not translate into stage fitness...


As in 2007, the first half of 2021 was again marked by snatching up and discussing every little piece of information that consciously or unconsciously came to light about the band. In the meantime, a Best Of album - quite superfluous apart from the vinyl version - had been announced under the name The Last Domino?, whose track list fitted in well with the rumours and speculations already circulating about the setlist: dramaturgically following the structure of the 2007 setlist, the double album consisting of the well-known studio versions also contains some sequences that could turn out to be well-known or new medleys or transitions in concert. Besides all the radio hits and live classics like Domino, Home By The Sea or Afterglow, the album also contains deep cuts like Fading Lights, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway or Duchess. However, Mike Rutherford had already announced in advance that the concerts should not last much longer than two hours. Accordingly, it was clear that the track list of the 2CD or 4LP set would be too long for the setlist of the concerts and that not all of the tracks on it could be played (in their entirety)... So it should remain exciting.

Despite all the euphoria, however, the Corona pandemic was still raging. In the meantime, several effective vaccines had been developed; however, the distribution of the vaccine was much faster in Great Britain than in Germany. The British government also pursued a much less restrictive Corona strategy than most other European countries - not least because of the European Football Championship - so that the feasibility of the Genesis concerts in Great Britain just in time became more and more likely in the course of the summer.

At the same time, the travel regulations to the UK due to the pandemic and Brexit were another organisational hurdle: I already had a new passport, but regarding the vaccination I had to take action myself in order to have the full vaccination protection in September- and thus de facto travel permission. The Irish government, however, was more cautious, so that Genesis had to postpone the two Dublin shows until unknown and finally cancel them altogether.


Shortly before the first concert of the tour in Birmingham, Genesis not only released The Last Domino? documentary, but also gave an interview of the final rehearsals to BBC Breakfast Television. Both were revelatory oaths: the documentary showed the band in different phases of rehearsals and the development of the stage show - and a Phil Collins in different vocal states: While his vocals in an excerpt of That's All, for example, were quite scratchy and behind the beat, excerpts of Mama and Domino were convincing. Although his vocal limitations since the 2007 tour were shown unadorned, a noticeable improvement in the course of the rehearsals cannot be denied. Nevertheless, Phil said in an interview before the first show that he had had enough after the announced concerts in England and the USA and probably didn't want to tour any more.


With now "only" tickets left for the three final London concerts of the UK tour, I followed the kick-off of The Last Domino? Tour on 20 September 2021 via social media. During the day, fans from various countries had already flooded the relevant Facebook groups with photos of their arrival. In the afternoon, the first photos of the official merchandise stands set up around the venue appeared. As expected, there were mainly expensive, lovelessly designed T-shirts - but interesting was one with the band logo printed on the front and a setlist apparently handwritten by Nic Collins on the back. This sequence basically corresponds to the order of the tracks on the Best Of album, but does not contain all the tracks from the album. Later in the evening, it was possible to follow most of the concert quasi in real time via Facebook, because numerous fans repeatedly "went live" for minutes at a time and streamed live videos into the Facebook groups with their smartphones. This particular 21st century pop cultural practice is an ambivalent thing: On the one hand, "permanent videographers" (like all other troublemakers) massively disturb me at concerts; on the other hand, it is nice to capture special moments for eternity and share them with others who cannot be there live... There must have been quite a lot of those on The Last Domino? Tour: A manageable number of concerts in a manageable number of rich countries with horrendous ticket prices, restrictive travel regulations and a nasty, airborne and highly contagious, potentially deadly virus are not exactly the best conditions for a low-threshold cultural programme...


...and shortly before the trip to London, this very virus - for the fourth time - threw a spanner in the works: several band members and their relatives had contracted the corona virus despite vaccination, so that Genesis could not complete their UK tour in October 2021 as planned. The second Glasgow concert and the three London concerts had to be cancelled or postponed. For us, this meant that we found out on Friday afternoon that we would not be travelling to London on Monday. We had to postpone our accommodation booked shortly before and the flights (the EuroStar was suspended due to the pandemic and therefore not an option) until unknown. Emotionally, I was at the point of saying that fate just didn't want me to see my favourite band again - after all, at that point I had tickets for 5 of the only 6 concerts of the tour that had not taken place. However, as fate (or capitalism) would have it, the postponement of the London concerts once again opened up a window of opportunity that I would make massive use of: Genesis were able to find a free slot in the London O2 Arena schedule for the end of March 2022, almost exactly two years after the announcement, to put the Last Domino? Tour - and with it the live band Genesis - "to bed", as Phil Collins expressed it in a BBC interview. In order to make these three final concerts logistically viable, a dozen more shows were added to the weeks before the London concerts. This gave Genesis the opportunity to visit their regular audience in Germany, France and the Netherlands, who had been loyal to the band for decades, and to say a fitting farewell. The advance ticket sales were quite relaxed - the prices were back at the level of Phil's 2017 tour and I got almost all the tickets I wanted: The opener in Berlin (upper tier next to the stage), both shows in Hanover (once from the long shot in the upper tier; once with family in the main grandstand) and finally the first night in Amsterdam, because there should be standing tickets for around 110 euros. Taking time off was not a problem because of my job - I was more worried about the skiing trip with about 25 people that was in my calendar between Hanover and Amsterdam... A classic first world problem.

Genesis, meanwhile, were able to complete their tour along the east coast of the USA in December as planned without any further Corona cases. For the opener in Chicago, Duchess was replaced by Misunderstanding; however, after two shows they (fortunately) swapped back. This brought Genesis back to the setlist for the UK leg of the tour, which was broadly similar to The Last Domino? Best Of album and, with the exception of Hold On My Heart and Jesus He Knows Me, what was printed on the setlist t-shirt. Apart from that, the pandemic had Europe firmly in its grip again - the Netherlands went into lockdown again, there were contact restrictions in Germany and I got my booster shot in December.


The weeks leading up to the opening concert of the additional small European leg of The Last Domino? Tour were marked by hopes and fears about the feasibility of the concerts, especially the German ones: While there was an early green light for the concerts in London and Paris, the possible Corona requirements for Amsterdam as well as Berlin, Hanover and Cologne were not clear until shortly before the concerts. The concerts in Germany were even on the verge of being cancelled, as the Corona regulations in force at the time did not allow such large events in view of the Omicron wave. However, just in time for the Genesis concerts, the governments of the federal states regained the authority to make different regional regulations by means of independent state ordinances. The bosses of Hannover Concerts and the Cologne Lanxess Arena had been loudly demanding permission for the Genesis concerts in the press for weeks as a signal to the crisis-stricken event industry and were finally successful: first the two concerts in Hannover were approved on 18 February, then the three in Cologne on 22 February and finally, one day later, on 23 February, the two opening concerts in Berlin. So here we could already experience the "Domino Principle in action" before even a single note was played. Parallel to the approval of the concerts in Hanover, however, we unexpectedly had to worry about the three final concerts in London: Storm Eunice raged through Great Britain and destroyed parts of the roof construction of the shopping mall, which is located in the outer shell of the O2 Arena, on 18 February. As a result, parts of the building were closed and individual events inside were postponed. After a few days, however, it became clear that the Genesis concerts would not be affected by the damage...

Personally, I tightened my personal testing regime in the weeks before the concerts and tried to keep the risk of infection as low as possible in my private life (which was quite difficult, as my partner also works in education). I then booked trains and accommodation at fairly short notice. For the opening concert in Berlin, I stayed at the Deutsche Bahn InterCity Hotel at Ostbahnhof; for the two Hanover shows, I stayed with my sister in Braunschweig and in a hotel at Hanover's main station. For the Amsterdam show, Alex had chosen a low-budget hotel a few minutes' walk from the ZiggoDome. For the London trip, Alex and I still had the postponed flights with British Airways and a deal based on pure goodwill with our accommodation within walking distance of the O2 Arena, because we had also booked in October at quite short notice and therefore without a cancellation option.

Berlin, Mercedes-Benz-Arena, 7 March 2022 (Monday)

1On the morning of the first Berlin concert, I took a "citizen test" at home in central Hesse, because - despite booster vaccination - I didn't want to take any risks at the entrance to the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Before that, I had already taken a quick test (no idea what I would have done if this test had been positive... I had waited too long for the concert to make responsible decisions...). Waiting for the test result seemed like an infinity, but the result was negative and I set off for the train station. Arriving in Berlin, I was completely amazed at how the area around Ostbahnhof had changed since I had first been to the - then O2-sponsored - arena in March 2010 for Peter Gabriel's Scratch My Back concert. Then in a vast wasteland, the Mercedes-Benz Arena is now embedded in a hip, gentrified district full of system restaurants. The space down to the Spree River and the East Side Gallery is now fully developed and busy. I met up with Sophie, a student friend from Bremen, for burgers and beers outside within sight of the arena until I made my way to the entrance at around half past seven and got into the venue with virtually no waiting time at strict 2G+ Corona admission control.

I bought the tour programme and a beer in a Genesis cup and made my way to my "Olympic seat" (motto: "Being there is everything") in the upper tier to the left of the stage (102€). Arriving at the block, an arena steward asked for my ticket, collected it and informed me that I had been moved. As I had already read about this practice in the context of the US concerts on Facebook, I didn't ask any questions but took my "relocation" ticket and made my way to the lower tier. In fact, I now had a lower tier ticket with the same perspective on the stage, which would have cost me around 90 euros more in regular advance sales. Nice gesture! On the new seat I drank my beer, read the - nicely written - tour programme and then met up briefly with my friend Leonard and his girlfriend on the balcony of the arena. Leo and I had met as teenagers in the context of the 2007 Genesis tour in the internet forum of the German Genesis Fan Club and since then had attended countless concerts of various artists together. If I remember correctly, we had last been together at the aforementioned Phil Collins concert in Berlin's Olympic Stadium. Shortly after 8 pm I was back in my seat, trying to mentally and emotionally prepare myself to finally see my favourite band live again in a few minutes - after almost 15 years of waiting including almost two years of pandemic, during which the Genesis concerts were my constant fixed star - possibly for the last time. (Despite tickets and travel plans for six more concerts on the tour, I had no way of knowing whether the pandemic wouldn't throw a spanner in the works for me or the band one more time...). As on Phil's solo tour, the pre-show music from the tape consisted of a playlist of Motown songs, most of which Phil had covered for his latest studio output (Going Back).

3As in 2007, Thomas Newman's instrumental Dead Already was played at a much higher volume as intro music: the arena was darkened and only the stage was bathed in blue light. Because of my seat, I could see the musicians and crew members coming out of the catacombs at the middle of the backstage: Tears welled up in my eyes when I saw Phil Collins being pushed around the stage in a wheelchair in the cone of a torch... A few moments later - I was completely out of it emotionally - Genesis climbed the stage from the opposite side to me. At the very back and carefully walking with a walking stick, Phil Collins in orthopaedic shoes, loose canvas trousers and track jacket with racing stripes strolled to his place at the front in the middle of the stage to thunderous applause: The familiar barber's chair along with side tables with water bottle, towel and laminated lyric sheets. As soon as everyone was seated, Nic Collins quickly counted off and Genesis started as expected with Behind The Lines and Duke's Intro to a standing ovation. The sound in Berlin was crystal clear and very powerful from the very first note. Already during the first minutes it became clear to me that I would not miss Chester Thompson on second drums musically; so good and energetic was what I heard from Phil Collins' now 20-year-old son on his Gretsch drums. The characteristic fills on the concert toms thundered through the arena, and the rest of the band also played with supreme confidence. Exactly with the start of the drums in Turn It On Again, the musicians were shown larger than life on the screens for the first time, which was a successful surprise effect and led to big cheers. As usual, Tony, Mike and Phil showed concentration at work. Already after the first few lines of lyrics, my "tears about the old man Phil Collins", as it was to be read about the Glasgow concert in the German feuilleton, gave way to enthusiasm and joy: Finally we were here - the band, the fans - and could live and experience the concert. Phil sounded much stronger than on YouTube and overall I would say that I liked Turn It On Again better in the 2022 package than in 2007. The same goes for Mama, which is one of my absolute favourites of all Genesis eras anyway and was the absolute highlight of the set for me in 2007. That they would actually play Mama was a positive surprise - and already a first exclamation mark so early in the concert that the frontman's vocal condition is much better than it was to be feared. To accommodate Phil Collins' remaining vocal range, however, the piece had been transposed as low as it could go in the meantime. But: it worked excellently. The mood was dark - no, creepy as fuck - and the stage show gigantic. The song was never better staged. The entire stage was bathed in red light in semi-darkness, the screens showed abstract, pulsating movements as if under a microscope, and in addition Phil Collins' yellow-lit face with all its facial expressions and theatricality. Fittingly, Tony Banks' keyboards also sounded very organic compared to previous tours - and Mike Rutherford seemed like he was having the time of his life. In short, after just a few minutes, my doubts about the quality of the performance were swept aside and I was able to fully enjoy the remaining almost two and a half hours with "my" band. Due to the transfer to the lower tier, I was relatively close to the stage, but could not see the light and stage show as it had been designed. On the other hand, I was able to look into the wide round of the arena and experience the reactions of the audience very well. I was positively surprised how much the audience was "into it" despite the obligation to wear masks and how good the atmosphere was - apparently a knot had really been broken for most of the audience and they were all happy to finally see this concert, this band live (one last time). The sea of smartphone torches during the acoustic part of Follow You Follow Me was heartbreakingly beautiful and overwhelming in a way I haven't experienced in subsequent concerts. I was also impressed by the quality of the performance in Berlin - the band played flawlessly and Phil made few mistakes by his standards: Only in the choruses of Land Of Confusion, Home By The Sea and Duchess did he allow himself lyric twists, which probably hardly anyone would have noticed if the two backing singers hadn't sung the right lyrics. He also had one or two lapses on No Son of Mine. However, this theme has run through the entire tour and is therefore not a unique characteristic of the 2022 opening concert.  All in all, on the first evening in Berlin, you could actually only notice in the announcements of the songs that the band wasn't quite back in touring mode after the month-long break: Musically, the concert was strong. Phil seemed very concentrated on the music and in the course of this, his interaction with the audience seemed a little rough at times: During the first announcement of the evening, Phil greeted the audience after Mama with a few, apparently improvised fragments of German ("meine Damen und Herren”… dass Ihr gekommen seid") and then tried to draw a bow from Thatcher and Reagan to the Corona pandemic for the following Land Of Confusion, but said nothing (yet) about the Ukraine war. This surprised me somewhat, but was soon to change.

4The announcement before Home By The Sea was also a bit bumpy on the first evening in Berlin - but of course the absolute majority of the audience knew the séance announced by Phil as the "first Genesis party trick of the evening" inside out, so that this "Audience Participation Time" didn't really need a more detailed explanation. Surprisingly (besides Mama), Second Home By The Sea was already an early highlight in the set for me: Actually, I don't excessively like the piece (in fact, I would have preferred to hear Driving The Last Spike or a full Fading Lights); but here everything just fit: Super sound, super light, super stage, super playing. An emotional highlight for me was also the new medley, consisting of the first half of Fading Lights, the instrumental part of Cinema Show, a short quote from ...In That Quiet Earth and finally Afterglow. While surprisingly Fading Lights, as one of the youngest pieces in the set, was transposed down the most, it did expose Phil Collins' vocal limitations the most - and was still touching. Cinema Show was a blast and Afterglow simply beautiful: compared to 2007, this time Genesis (their lighting designers) knew how to scale back the screens here and instead work primarily with artificial fog and light. The colour and mood changes of the music were perfectly reproduced visually and Tony Banks' touching lyrics were probably never sung more authentically than by a Phil Collins in the shape he (unfortunately) is in nowadays. In the instrumental outro of Afterglow, the band was almost swallowed up by the glistening white fog - this must have been what the concerts of the late 1970s were like... 

All in all, I was more than satisfied with the first evening. My expectations were more than exceeded - the organisation and sound in the Mercedes-Benz Arena convinced me completely; plus the seat upgrade, a great performance by the band and also a great audience (not only after two years of pandemic). As far as concert travel logistics are concerned, for concerts in the Berlin arena I would probably take the train to the Ostbahnhof again in the future, spend the night there and walk the few minutes to the arena.

Hanover, ZAG-Arena, 10 March 2022 (Thursday)

5It's a different story with the fairgrounds in Hanover. A few years ago, I went to an EMINEM concert there with my sister. At that time, however, the open-air concert took place on the square in front of the (small, somewhat provincial) ZAG Arena, where Genesis were to play. Even then I found the ensemble of steel, glass, concrete and kilometres of sealed surfaces in the middle of nowhere completely unsuitable for concerts. On the other hand, Hanover is famously a Phil Collins and Genesis town, and Phil's 2019 concerts at the stadium were wonderful. So now the ZAG Arena, which was new territory for me until then. As expected, the journey by car from Braunschweig was already an imposition, but the organisation of the entrance and the 2G+ Corona control in Hannover also left a lot to be desired from my point of view. I had to queue for about half an hour to get into the arena because the procedures were simply not efficient in many places; no comparison to Berlin. I also found the Hanoverian regulation strange, as the mask requirement only applied up to the seat. As a consequence, you were not allowed to drink your beverage after the purchase in the lounge areas outside the actual venue; during the concert, however, around 9,000 people were allowed to sit there without masks...

In order to be able to see the show from the long view, I had again bought a (desired) ticket in the upper tier (118€): Centre, aisle seat, 2nd row from the bottom (I avoid the first row because you tend to have a railing in your field of vision there). In the hall, however, I unfortunately discovered that I had a thick cable strand in my field of vision. The Last Domino? production had a classic head stage, but also additional lighting and sound equipment mounted across the hall on the stage ceiling, which had to be supplied from the lighting and sound desk at the end of the hall interior. The corresponding cables were therefore bundled and hung from the ceiling to the left and right of the consoles and thus - depending on the seat - well within in the field of vision of the audience. Nevertheless, I was able to enjoy the stage show frontally and in all its glory.

6Especially the opener, Mama, Home By The Sea/Second Home By The Sea, Afterglow, Duchess and Domino were really elaborately staged for the Last Domino? Tour. What I remember most from Hanover, however, was Throwing It All Away. On paper, I had been annoyed that Genesis would play the song on this tour - not only because they had it firmly in their set in 1986/87, 1992 and 2007, but also because Phil had also played it in 2018 and 2019. In the concert context, however, I really enjoyed this rather shallow number - certainly not least because of the beautiful visuals on the back wall of the stage, which had cassette backs and archive recordings of the band running up and down here in vertical strips. In addition, Phil could still sing the number really well and the lyrics, like so many in the set, can somehow also be reinterpreted. All in all, the first evening in Hanover was also strong; in the overall package perhaps even more convincing than Berlin. Phil's announcements were more fluid, his humour was sharper and indeed, in the welcome announcement, he drew a bow from the 1980s not only to the Corona pandemic but also to Putin's invasion of Ukraine ("...fucking idiot"). Personally, it was more the surrounding things than the concert itself, which is why I liked Berlin a bit better.

Hanover, ZAG-Arena, 11. March 2022 (Friday)

The second concert in Hanover was similar. To avoid the stress at the entrance, we arrived earlier and thus actually got into the arena much faster. I was accompanied by my father, who has been listening to Genesis since his youth in the 1970s and is ultimately also (partly) responsible for my taste in music, and by my slightly younger sister, who listens to completely different music, but knows about the importance this band has for my father and for me (and also for our father-son relationship). Musically, the concert was strong as the day before. The Domino Principle was longer and funnier than the night before and Phil didn't thank the state government for allowing the concert during the welcome as he did the night before. Unfortunately, Phil again had lyric problems with No Son Of Mine - maybe this was due to the overwhelming applause he always gets just before the start of the piece at the band introduction? Anyway, my personal highlights on the second evening were the acoustic part, Firth Of Fifth, Domino and the encores.

My father was positively surprised by the concert and Phil's performance; my sister - who studied musicology, plays several instruments, sings in a choir and works as an editor for a cultural magazine - found Phil's singing "borderline", but still enjoyed the concert. She liked the instrumental passages best; she was also impressed by the light show and Nic Collins' drumming. We were very happy with our seats in the upper tier on the right-hand main stand, about halfway up the hall: from there we had a good view of the stage and the back wall of the stage - so a good compromise between my seats in Berlin and the night before. My father enjoyed the new version of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and the Dancing With The Moonlit Knight snippet before Carpet Crawlers. Through our seats I could clearly see Phil not leaving the stage after Invisible Touch, but "hiding" at the back right of the stage in a sort of quickly erected black “voting booth” until the rest of the band came back up the stairs for the first encore, I Can't Dance. (No idea if he still descended from the stage for the encores on the (Still) Not Dead Yet Tour, or not...).  In any case, my seat, together with the rules of the ZAG Arena, also meant that my meeting with Tommy, another internet forum user of the younger generation, was only quite short: he had his ticket inside, I had mine in the upper tier - and staying in the connecting staircase was not allowed...

All in all, I am very grateful and happy that I was able to experience Genesis again with my father (and my sister) - and I think that the two concerts in Hanover were a more than worthy farewell to a fan stronghold. In terms of atmosphere and organisation, however, the ZAG Arena or the Hannover Messe did not convince me. The departure by underground to the city centre, however, worked perfectly, even with ski equipment. After a short night in a hotel at the main station and another quick test, the next morning I took the train via Bremen to the Alps for a skiing holiday...

Amsterdam, ZiggoDome, 21 March 2022 (Monday)

7After a humid and happy week in Austria, I travelled with Alex from Frankfurt to Amsterdam by ICE train on Monday morning to see Genesis on the only tour stop with standing-room tickets. At Amsterdam Central Station, Sophie was waiting for us, who had come by train from northern Germany and who had just returned with me from skiing in Austria on Saturday. Like Austria, the Netherlands had already implemented very lax Corona rules at that point. There, too, Genesis was the first major indoor act since the beginning of the pandemic, but only a 1G rule ("tested") applied to the two concerts - and only for the unseated interior. Since the information situation about exactly which tests would be accepted at the entrance was abundantly contradictory and we couldn't be sure that our German "citizen tests" from the morning would be recognised, we had booked ourselves quick test appointments online at Amsterdam Central Station. Before the smear test, we had to provide our identity card number, hotel address and the purpose of the test. Afterwards, we wandered around Amsterdam's hip railway station district quite nervously for about half an hour until all three of us finally received our redeeming Dutch negative proofs by email. Afterwards, we looked for a place where we could have burgers and beer in the fresh air (and got a decent sunburn in the process). In the afternoon, we took the city train to the ZiggoDome - a rather unspectacular, modern multi-purpose hall not far from several large football stadiums.

Our cheap hotel was less than a five-minute walk from the ZiggoDome, so we queued up about an hour before admission. Equipped with our regular paper standing-room tickets from (€110 per ticket plus shipping) and the official Dutch negative proof by email, we started to panic slightly because Sophie's smartphone did not have enough memory to download the official Dutch CoronaCheck app - required, according to the arena staff on site - to display the test result in it. After many painfully deleted photos, videos and voice messages, this problem was solved and we were literally ready to go for the entrance to the ZiggoDome. The controls were quite relaxed and there was hardly any hustle and bustle inside the building. Many visitors first went to the merchandise stand, to the cloakroom or to one of the bars, so that we could walk relaxed to the front of the stage and choose a spot in the sixth row in front of Phil's chair. The arena seemed quite compact and almost square to me, considering its designated capacity (perhaps comparable to Bremen's ÖVB Arena).

9In a pleasant atmosphere, we stood around and waited while the arena slowly filled up. The concert was my first standing-room concert in two and a half years, and you'd think I'd have some competitive advantage over others because of my age, but those four to five hours of standing were pretty exhausting in retrospect... I guess one has to learn that again. Meanwhile, with our FFP2 masks, we were outnumbered and indeed the crowded standing until the concert started felt quite uncomfortable. But when the band came on stage, this discomfort was gone: The euphoria of finally seeing this band - my band! - finally so close! On the Turn It On Again Tour, I sat in the upper tier and on Phil's solo tour, I stood somewhere in the back of the stadium twice (Berlin and Hanover 2019) and once in the front row (Dublin 2017); but of course, the distances in a football stadium cannot be compared to those in a hall. In any case, the concert in Amsterdam was one big party - we were surrounded by a fairly international, partly quite young audience and the atmosphere was, as expected, much more relaxed than at a seated concert.

10There was a lot of singing going on all around, which of course did not escape the band's attention. The sound was therefore more "right in the middle instead of just being there" and less sterile than at the other concerts of the tour I had seen before. I have special memories of Duke's Intro/Turn It On Again, Home By The Sea, Fading Lights and the acoustic part. Especially The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and That's All were super intense because we were so close - and of course Phil had the audience at his feet again. I think the front row must have had some direct communication with Phil during Domino or I Know What I Like... After the concert, we chatted briefly with Ulli from the internet forum, who was able to secure his dream spot in the front row directly in front of Phil thanks to his early entry ticket for his last Genesis concert, and then waded through a sea of 0.5L disposable plastic cups towards the exit. As the ZiggoDome is located in a characterless sports and service district, there were few opportunities to stop for post-concert refreshments and wrap-ups. So we had already decided in advance to go to the bar of a hotel, which is right next to the ZiggoDome. Here we could still drink unspeakably expensive draft beer until midnight - and the Genesis crew did the same.

A few metres away from us, Phil's former and Nic's current drum tech Brad Marsh was enjoying his evening off - but we held back and left the guys in peace until a young guy from the crew asked us after a few beers how we liked the concert. So we chatted a bit about the production, the working day and the influence of the pandemic on the event business. Gradually, the crowd dispersed and we went back to our hotel shortly after midnight. The temptation had been there to take the second concert in Amsterdam with us, but we didn't want to push our luck... The next morning, after a quick breakfast at a hipster barista café around the corner, we went back to Amsterdam Central Station and from there took the ICE train back to Frankfurt.

London, O2, 24 March 2022 (Thursday)

After a day and a half back in the daily routine, Alex and I met at Frankfurt airport on Thursday morning to start the last leg of our personal The Last Domino? Tour.

12In the meantime, the band advertised another product in their online shop that left no doubt about the finality of these London concerts: a navy blue shirt, optionally with short or long sleeves, whose chest was adorned with the band logo including tour lettering, with the question mark after "The Last Domino" replaced by an exclamation mark. On the back, the musicians including the two background singers were listed and below them the tour dates; concluded by the note "That's All". We flew with British Airways at hand luggage rates to London City Airport, which lies parallel to the Thames in East London and is recommended not only for its proximity to the city centre but also for its spectacular landing approach. Coming from mainland Europe, you first fly past the airport from the east, then make a 180° turn and slowly but surely descend parallel to the river into the city centre. Not only do you fly over the iconic Tower Bridge (and see other pop-culturally interesting buildings such as the Royal Albert Hall in the north or Battersea Power Station on the southern bank of the Thames), but you land virtually not far from the O2 Arena, so we were able to see for ourselves the extent of the roof's destruction. Despite Brexit, entry into the UK was quick and easy thanks to electronic passports, and as we hadn't checked any luggage, we were able to make our way to our accommodation. Alex had already found a provider in autumn via a travel portal on the internet who rented out individual rooms in a residential building in the Woolwich district, so we were not only within walking distance of the O2 Arena in Greenwich, but also within walking distance of the City Airport. So we left the airport grounds and marched south to the Thames, which we then crossed on a free public ferry and finally arrived at our accommodation. After checking in, we went shopping for a short while. Then we searched the area and found a nice pub on the banks of the Thames, about halfway to the arena, which we liked so much that we were to stop there every day for the next few days. After fish 'n' chips in the sun and a pint or two we eventually made our way to the arena.

13There we had to pick up our tickets at the box office. Although we had bought tickets for all three evenings with the same Ticketmaster accounts and had chosen to collect them at the box office, we were only given real paper tickets for the first evening. The tickets for the Friday and Saturday concerts were converted into eTickets in the days before the concerts without our involvement, which could only be displayed in the O2 app and whose QR code regenerated every 60 seconds. So in all respects a rather fan-unfriendly change... In any case, we had to queue for 25 minutes for our paper tickets on Thursday evening, as there was exactly one Ticketmaster counter at the arena and the tickets to be collected there were not deposited ready-made, but printed out individually for each customer against printout of the order confirmation and identity check on site. After Alex and I had finally received our (four) tickets, we already had an appointment with Andrew, a former business partner of my father's, who was supposed to buy two tickets from us that had become available. Due to the pandemic, my father and a friend didn't want to go to London, so we were glad to get rid of the two very expensive tickets without making a loss - and Andrew was happy to see Genesis again: He had seen them for the first time in 1980 on the Duke Tour at the London Lyceum...

14While Andrew and his buddy wanted to have a bite to eat, Alex and I started to get nervous and made our way to the entrance. To get in, we first had to enter the Millennium Dome, the core of which is the O2 Arena, but the outside is a shopping centre with all kinds of restaurants, bars and amusements such as cinemas and gambling houses. Curiously, we were seated in completely different areas of the arena on all three evenings, but always had to enter via the same entrance - and ironically, this was the entrance directly below the storm-ravaged roof construction. Therefore, we were first led out of the Dome and had to walk a few hundred metres around the gigantic tent in the floodlight before we were let in again at another place. Across the site, we had to queue up for the security check with metal detectors; then our tickets were scanned and we could finally take the escalator up to the outer ring of the arena. We then had to walk back down the stairs for our seats inside - past the lower tier seats where we had sat pretty much two years and a pandemic earlier at Music for the Marsden. Our four seats were to the right of the mixing desk, confirming once again my assessment that the value for money of such tickets is simply not fair. We had paid the equivalent of around 200 euros per ticket in advance and ended up sitting where you would stand at an unseated concert if you got to the arena ten minutes before the concert started... Just in time for Behind The Lines, Andrew and his mate also made it to their seats. Fortunately, the atmosphere was so good right from the start that everyone around us (and especially in front of and behind us) stood for the whole concert, so that the concert felt like a standing-room-only concert.

Visibility and sound were good anyway and also the concert itself was strong. Phil welcomed the audience with the words that this was now the last stop of the tour. He was in the best of moods and managed to sing even notes that he had otherwise often denied himself in the course of the tour - so he stuck more closely to the original vocal line in the verses of Land Of Confusion again, took the highest "Mama!" before the drums in Mama and also sang the highest "your show!"s in I Know What I Like. Of course, he got caught up in the lyrics here and there again, but especially Behind The Lines, Mama, Cinema Show, Duchess, Domino and No Son Of Mine I found very punchy. Otherwise, everything remained the same - vocally, London I was, to my ears, the strongest concert of those I had seen so far. Thanks to the London curfew, we held the obligatory concert debriefing only in our accommodation. There we each had small fridges in our rooms, which we stocked with cold drinks during the day. For the return journey from the O2 Arena to our accommodation, we chose a bus connection directly from the arena stop, from where we could travel back to Woolwich in about 15 minutes on an official red double-decker bus with virtually no waiting time. We could pay contactless by OysterCard (the pay-as-you-go card from Transport for London) or by credit card. It is confirmed again and again: London shows how public transport works!

London, O2, 25 March 2022 (Friday)

On Friday we slept late and then looked for a place to have a late but proper Full English Breakfast. We found a small canteen within walking distance on the grounds of an old Siemens factory, where we were obviously the only tourists. We spent the rest of the day on the terrace of the secluded pub on the Thames again, before walking to Greenwich in the late afternoon and then exploring the area around the O2 Arena. We also found another pub within sight of the arena, where we met Siggi from the German Genesis internet forum and his partner for a beer. The pub was also to serve us for another international fan meeting the next day.

16A bit earlier than the day before, the four of us walked to the O2 Arena - also because we didn't trust the eTickets very much. In fact, our tickets could not be loaded for a moment in front of the arena, which sent Siggi and me into a slight panic. (Screenshots were also not an option because of the constantly renewing QR codes...). A short time later, everything was working again and we were able to find our way inside the Millenium Dome at the entrance assigned to us, just like the day before. This time we had seats in the upper tier, opposite the stage in the second row - so we were seated similarly to me in Hanover on the first evening, but the cable strings were much further away and disturbed us much less in the much larger hall than in Hanover. We had booked the seats directly at the aisle and those in front of us even remained free. This gave us an excellent view of the stage from the top and the sound was gigantic. Again, Afterglow was my personal highlight, but Duchess was also as strong that evening as I had not experienced otherwise - Phil also delivered the lyrics almost flawlessly across the stage. In terms of staging and tension, the 2021/22 version of Duchess was not dissimilar to the live versions of In The Air Tonight: both began with the monotonous drum machine loop and atmospheric blue light, while gradually soundscapes of keyboards and guitars joined in, until the tension that had been building up for minutes was finally abruptly released with the onset of the drums and a perfectly choreographed lightning storm.

Not only musically and - thanks to the autobiographical lyrics - emotionally, but also visually, Duchess was one of the strongest moments of The Last Domino? concerts: At the end, Phil always made a very powerful gesture when, after the last "You're the one we waited for", he spread both arms really wide for a few moments and stared up at the sky - this moment was filmed every night in full stage width, with the colourful confetti shreds that adorned the screen visuals throughout the entire piece looking like little hearts around him... I also had great fun with I Know What I Like on the second night in London - it seems to me Phil played with the audience for a particularly long time this evening, and his implied tambourine dance was also quite comprehensive. In any case, the man hasn't lost his sense of humour and especially his wonderful self-irony; and as before, the audience was eating out of his hand every second - even if he only lifted a finger briefly. From this perspective, No Son Of Mine (finally solid without lyric twists!) and Domino were particularly impressive. I've always loved the tour's namesake track ever since I first listened to my father's Invisible Touch CD - but the deeper key, the darker visuals and, not least, the world political events of the last few months (euphemism aside: an autocrat's war of aggression on a sovereign, democratic country) have given Domino 2022 a massive boost for me. It's a kind of last gasp from the band; and Phil Collins sang the demanding, roughly ten-minute piece completely unassisted by the two backing singers quite well, even at 71, I think. All in all, the Friday concert in London was by far the musically strongest of "my" concerts. That's why I'm even more annoyed that Genesis didn't film the three evenings in London and release the compilation as an authentic, worthy document of their farewell - not least for the many, many fans who, for a variety of reasons, were unable to see this remarkable tour live.

London, O2, 26. March 2022 (Saturday)

18As strong as Friday's concert was, I look back on Genesis' last concert with ambivalence. Alex and I started the day with another late Full English Breakfast and a pot of cappuccino in - according to TripAdvisor - the best café in Woolwich, before we walked around the centre of the district in still bright sunshine and had all kinds of Genesis "expert talk". Of course, we also speculated about what might happen in the evening: Would Phil make a special announcement? Would Peter Gabriel actually come on stage? Why was Genesis manager Tony Smith at a Steve Hackett concert recently? And: Did Steve Hackett only fake the Corona cases in his band in order to interrupt his tour in North America unnoticed and jet off to London for a guest appearance? We agreed that nothing of the sort would happen and kept ourselves entertained with trivia. Personally - if you'll pardon the awkward comparison - I felt that day like I do before a funeral or some other unpleasant appointment where you are formally told some - long known but still negative - news: on the one hand you want to go (and catalyse the feelings); on the other hand you try to postpone the moment as long as possible. For so long I had hoped to see Phil Collins live again; then everything came differently than expected and was still emotional, enthusiastic, and great... In November 2017, I sat in the Royal Albert Hall with my friend Leo and tried to emotionally adjust to the fact that this would be the last night we would see our favourite musician live. It didn't quite work out that way; there was always hope. 

Then in the summer of 2018, I bought tickets to Melbourne to finally redeem a long-promised Australian trip. Even there I thought, "surely that can't be it now". The shows in Hanover and Berlin followed - and little by little, the hitherto absurd idea of a Genesis reunion became less and less unlikely. Then the tour announcement - and then the fucking pandemic and the months of worrying and hoping including the four (almost five) postponements of these very London dates. In the meantime, the optimist in me said to himself, as my YouTube-based diagnosis stated a steady improvement of the performance of Mr. Collins senior, that this tour might again span two, three years and four continents - but in the end Genesis themselves became explicit by erasing said question mark from the tour title. There is no denying that Phil Collins is not in good physical shape - and the final concert in London underlined in my eyes why it is consistent and understandable to draw a line at this point. "As strong as Friday’s concert was," I wrote above, "the Saturday concert was just as error-prone". Viewed purely objectively, it was the weakest of the seven concerts I was able to experience, quasi against all odds: Early on in the concert Phil messed up the climax in Mama; during the sea of lights in Follow You Follow Me he twisted the verses so badly that he got lost in the song's structure (luckily Nic Collins saved the day by having the presence of mind to ring in the chorus with his jazz brooms); the same goes for Throwing It All Away, in whose simple structure Phil also uncharacteristically got lost (he's sung the song live dozens of times since 2018).

On Domino, he even had a seconds-long total dropout that really everyone in the arena must have noticed, because he mistakenly added the "all of my life" after the second chorus in Part I, while the rest of the band was already in the next verse. BUT: The Last Domino? concerts, unlike earlier Genesis or Collins concerts, were never about perfection, but about authenticity, honesty and (mutual) gratitude; about a last, joint celebration of one of the greatest bands in pop history - and the gentlemen succeeded excellently. On the third evening, we were seated in the cheapest category in the middle of the upper tier on the main stand in the penultimate row under the roof. Even up there the concert arrived: "Audience Participation Time" before Home By The Sea, the "Domino Principle" before Domino and the clapping games during I Know What I Like proved that forcefully. Apart from that, the last Genesis concert also had its (very) great moments musically: I'd release the medley of Fading Lights, Cinema Show and Afterglow as a film in exactly the same way any day. There is a mobile phone video on YouTube that captured the emotions between Phil, Mike and Tony wonderfully... There, three friends for decades, partly scarred by life, the gigantic career and its consequences, play the essence of their joint work - knowing full well that they are doing this for the very last time. Phil's repeated "Remember.... Remember..." at the end of Fading Lights, and the looks he gives Mike and Tony as he does so, speak volumes. For the first time since the opening minutes in Berlin, I had tears in my eyes and a proper lump in my throat. To be fair, Phil had prepared us for this: Already during his greeting after Mama, you could have heard a pin drop in the arena, because everyone present was eagerly waiting to hear what he was going to say. And indeed he said that this was the last show of the tour - and also the last show for Genesis. Dead silence, then heart-warming applause filled the entire arena.

At the band introduction, Phil then launched into a lengthy thank-you speech for the entire crew - from lights and sound to in-ear monitoring to truck drivers and catering - before finally thanking Tony Smith, Genesis' manager since the late 1970s. (Payback came later in the encores, with the crew doing a polonaise across the stage during I Can't Dance). As always, when the Domino Principle was introduced, someone shouted "Supper's Ready!" (alternatively at other shows: "The Knife!"), Phil joked that possibly Peter Gabriel had called - as he was also sitting somewhere in the audience. After a restrained applause for "Peter", Phil then motivated the audience to give another round of applause for "Peter, Peter Gabriel" - with success. As expected, there was no final joint performance, but even so, the conclusion of the possibly very last Genesis concert with a devotional, gentle Dancing With The Moonlit Knight/Carpet Crawlers was beautiful - and I will never forget how my eternal favourite band took a final bow, and how the little bald fighter in the track jacket, leaning on his walking stick, paused one last time, blew a few air kisses to his loyal audience, and then slowly and carefully marched to the stage door. Thank you for everything - and all the best...


So what remains? For me personally, it was a gift to be able to say goodbye to my favourite band so extensively, against all expectations. The Last Domino? Tour had been the definitive fixed star for me during the Corona pandemic and I am very grateful that in the end, despite all the postponements and imponderables, I was able to experience even seven concerts.

Although Genesis played the identical setlist each evening, the impressions and the trappings were very different. Of course I would have chosen the setlist differently - Misunderstanding, Jesus He Knows Me and Abacab I had considered set; after the info from the rehearsals I would have also very much liked to hear The Musical Box and the Apocalypse in 9/8 from Supper's Ready - but the selection and sequence made by the band just worked wonderfully live in concert. As on Phil Collins' (Still) Not Dead Yet Tour, there were smaller or larger reminiscences of the past in many places, so that the almost two and a half hour musical journey should have had something to offer for all audience members. The light show and visuals were impressive and, unlike in 2007, very tasteful; the sound was gigantic and the band full of enthusiasm. Instrumentally, I liked Genesis anno 2021/22 even better than in 2007 thanks to the fresh keyboard sounds of Tony Banks and the driving drumming of Nic Collins. Phil Collins at least gave audibly and visibly everything he still has - and made up for many deficits with his sincerity, his commitment and not least his charisma and self-irony. Paradoxically, his condition has given new meaning to most of the pieces; sometimes even new depth - and so I not only experienced personal favourites like Mama, Fading Lights, Afterglow, Duchess, No Son Of Mine, Domino or the closing sequence Dancing With The Moonlit Knight/Carpet Crawlers (more) intensely (than before), but was actually able to enjoy them live and in colour for the last time.

Despite all the prophecies of doom (and some YouTube comments), Genesis have, in my view, bid a fitting and dignified farewell to their audience with their The Last Domino? Tour. This last concert tour was different from what many had dreamed of for years, but still had everything to offer that has made this band special for decades - and maybe even more heart? The band and crew, but especially Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Daryl Stuermer and of course Phil Collins, are wished nothing but the best for their future. Thank you for the soundtrack of my life, as quite a few people are writing in the social networks these days...

It is just a pity that this special tour was not professionally documented and thus made accessible to more people: An extension of this documentary film to include the tour that actually took place (including outtakes of the pieces that were not played later!) and a montage of the three final London concerts could have made a convincing product. The best performance of each song could have been selected from the three concerts and combined with the announcements from the last evening. In terms of camera work, the band could have been filmed on a more equal footing than in previous live recordings focusing on Phil Collins, and greater emphasis could have been placed on the concert from the audience's various points of view. That the band decided otherwise is to be regretted. After all, thanks to the fans, some of the concerts of the tour are now available in their entirety on YouTube... Will Genesis, now that they are history as a live band, finally open their archives and make rare earlier concert recordings legally and officially available to their fans in the style of other legendary bands like the Beatles, the Stones or Pink Floyd? Probably not. They'll probably leave it at that and dryly say "That's All". Fair enough.

Author: Niklas Ferch
Photos by Niklas Ferch, some additional photos by Ulrich Klemt and Matthias Fengler