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Chicago 2021

Genesis - United Center Chicago 2021

Two Nights reviewed by Three Fans

For some, it may be the first time ever to see Genesis live. For others, it is the last opportunity to see the band live, after being a fan for a long time. When Genesis played in Chicago on 15th and 16th November 2021, it surely was an unexpected event for many fans. Three of them, Todd, Paul and Mark were there and share their impressions.

15th November, by Todd Leinss

My wife and I were very fortunate to attend the November 15, 2021 show in Chicago. As with the Phil Collins Not Dead Yet tour I splurged and purchased 4th row VIP dinner seats. The dinner was fabulous with a huge variety of food and drink choices all included. Then came the trivia contest. Egads. By no means have I ever said I was a Genesis trivia expert. I hate competition and started to sweat. From the 10 questions they asked I'm confident I got 9 correct (let's just say I didn't remember the correct order of previous drummers but I got the first name correct on the answer!). While I didn't make the lightning round to win the "special" prize I knew every answer to the 15 or so questions they asked so I walked away feeling ok. They also had a poll of how many time you had seen Genesis and the winner was 33 times!

Todd in Chicago

Then on to the show ... I went there not expecting anything and not knowing what they had played previously at earlier shows. I value the element of surprise and knowing that songs may change between legs of tours I didn't want to be disappointed expecting to hear a particular song. For the most part I got what I expected. A 2 hour plus show from a band I've been following since 1980. My personal highlight was Afterglow which has always been a favorite of mine and was so glad it was part of the show. I grabbed my wife's hand as tears filled my eyes and ran down my face knowing this would be the last time I would hear such a beautiful song live in concert. I was disappointed to read we did not get to hear Duchess as that would have been a true highlight for me as well coming from the album that started it all for me.

Nic Collins' drumming was superb and I think it's such a fitting tribute to play for his father honoring the legacy that Phil gave us all those tours ago. I could think of no-one else filling those shoes. Mike Rutherford was more lively than usual being fairly animated onstage I thought then in previous outings I've witnessed. Tony Banks was his usual serious "get the job done" attitude with just a glimpse of a smile at times which is why my wife has always called him "smiley." Daryl was outstanding as usual and with my wife and I being from Wisconsin we have seen him numerous times with his own bands and he definitely never disappoints. Truly a class act every time. The two background singers helped to fill out the vocals for Phil and were a helpful addition in moving things along. We noticed Phil had lyrics for each song printed on laminated sheets which he would deposit into a receptacle after each song. With a few missteps on lyrics throughout the show all in all it was the Phil Collins we all know and love.

My ending thoughts:

I came away feeling it can now be time to close the book on seeing Genesis live for the rest of my life. After seeing Genesis only 4 times and Phil Collins 6 times I feel that I've had a good run. I have to admit I would have rather hoped against hope for a new Genesis album rather than see them go on tour. I still hold hope that could happen and that Calling All Stations wouldn't be the final release in their catalog. However, everyone that has followed this band for whatever reason can all agree we have all been part of something special that can't be described to others. We all have the greatest of memories which will live on forever.

Thank you Genesis (past and present) for enriching our lives...

16th November, by Paul

I just got home from second Chicago show and let me tell you, the YouTube videos aren't doing anything justice. So the range isn't there as before, but Phil was on key, nice pitch, and dare I say hit some tough notes in Throwing it All Alway and Domino. Couldn't believe how many out of towers there were. Travis from Sacramento, Bill from Milwaukee, a nice couple from Omaha, and Dave from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. All said the same thing, no west shows we are coming out.

Great vibe with age group 40 to 70 for the most part. Nice mix of non white people too. Very cool. Went with misses, and it was her first Genesis concert, and a convert when I showed her what album tracks look like.

We had last row seats in the nosebleeds, and then, 20 minutes before the show, we got upgraded to the 11th row. Others up top started to join us. So I asked the usher and he said the band releases some tickets based on once they get the stage in there, if there's more space than needed, they go get real fans and say thank you. I was blown away.

The set was the same as night before, but some quick thoughts:

Nic Collins hit with real power. Got a good look at him and Tony all show and he made Second Home By The Sea and Domino into something that we haven't seen live before. Tony's fingers still can work during The Cinema Show well and Daryl owned Firth Of Fifth that night. This probably was his best version yet. There were a couple of technical keyboard issues when power went out for about a bar during Mama, but hey, that's live.

Nic Collins

Phil still messes up the lyrics during Home By The Sea and Domino, but that's been happening since 1986! He was in great spirits busting Mike and Daryls balls and the voice is pretty darn good, there was zero embarrassment if people were afraid. Domino was really intense! Love when Nic clicks those sticks and Tony goes to town.

The acoustic set also works well. The middle song, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, was different but it worked great.

It was a great night and I can only say: Thank you Genesis!

Both nights, by Mark

I'm 51 and have been a fan since 86. I am from Madison WI and saw both Chicago shows.

Night 1 I went with my wife and son and we had 15th row tickets. Night 2 I had a 2nd row ticket - centered between Daryl and Mike - and went alone.

First show

I was amazed at Phil's vocals. After Mama, my wife looks at me and says "I thought you said his voice wasn't going to sound good....".

There were some songs like Fading Lights, That's All and No Son of Mine where he sounded just as good as in 2007, if not 1992. He did flub a bit here and there - but that was no big deal. Mike was on the spot as well.

I like Misunderstanding, don't love it, but like it. And as soon as Nic clicked the sticks I knew it was coming - but in all honestly, they played the hell out of it. It sounded great.

Overall - the band made the right choice to play Misunderstanding. Despite what we all think and believe - the newer hits were way more popular. I was surprised that people were sitting during I Know What I Like - and you could tell there were fans here and there that were excited, but overall the older material did not go over well.

I don't know if someone gave Phil a shot of 5 hour energy before the show - because he was engaged the most I have seen yet (from the videos of the UK shows). He was constantly air drumming, and moving his arms quite a bit. During Second Home By The Sea, he actually leaned up against the drum riser instead of sitting off to the side.

His mannerisms were quite strong. He got a bit slowed down during Domino, but bounced back.

Great show - it also was my son's first and last Genesis show.


Second show

During the second show, Daryl was probably 15 feet away from me. First of all, being in 2nd row was a different experience than 15 row, I'll say that. I could see what Mike and Daryl were playing, and I could hear the 2 vocalists raw - without the PA. Obviously I could hear the raw drum sound as well. I thought I would be able to hear the guitars/bass a bit better as the amps were right there - I could hear them, but the front mains were right in front of us too. I could hear the guitars more than the keys this time - when I had 15th row the keys were HOT. Not so much from 2nd row. Daryl playing the pedals was amazing to watch, feel and hear.

The vocalists were great at the end of Afterglow - they sang all the way to the end and it was fantastic. Mama had a problem - Tony's keys went out for about 12-16 bars after the interlude - they just waited. It was interesting to see how they rebounded from it - usually when a song goes south, it's very difficult to pick up the pieces and move on. They did a decent job of finishing it off. Mike obviously loves the 2nd half of Domino. I never knew Daryl's bass playing at the end of Invisible Touch was so complex - was fun to watch. Mike even came over to watch a bit of it. The crowd by me was into it - even into the older tunes. Misunderstanding was great again - once it started the crowd came alive.

Watching Nic on drums was fantastic, one could tell he was into it mentally and he was on time and I didn't see even one mistake. His rolls are like his dad's, but other ones (like in The Cinema Show), he plays them different than Phil.

Saw an older couple in front of me, who I'm sure have been fans longer than I have (looked like in the early 70s). They were frail and you could tell tired. Seeing them come to life and give what they could with clapping and singing, than having to sit down - puts everything into perspective.

Two younger women filed in next to me - they were ... maybe 25? My first thought was they were rich and just wanted to be there. Well was I wrong - they knew EVERY LYRIC! Even more than I did - and they knew they drum hits as well. Was fun watching them get into the music so much. Lots of younger people around me - young adults in their 20ies.

In front row, we had a few people who were on their phones the whole time (why?), but a couple in their 30's had the dead center spot and they were loving it and the band watched them quite a bit. Talked to them on the way out - they were really nice.

I know Mike saw me a few times during Domino - I was mimicking his guitar swoops during the 2nd part, and he smiled when he saw me and the guy next to me doing it.

But the real moment for me was Second Home by the Sea - my all time favorite. I've probably heard that song over 300 times in my life, it is my favorite musical composition and I never get tired of it. Monday night was great - but being right there seeing them only a few feet from me was worth the $ for the ticket. During the middle of Second Home by the Sea right before the solo when the drums do 4 heavy rolls (right when the eyes come on the screen), they are 4 bars that intro into the solo. Daryl was doing a heavy progression on the bass, Nic was pounding the drums and Mike was handling the guitar like he was 30. It was truly magical - there is no better word for it. I felt a brief musical euphoria - know it sounds kind of weird but best way I can describe it.

All in all, it was also a sad occasion - some of us talked about it before the show how it's the end of the band, as we are getting older. But at the same time, it was a celebration. Genesis had an amazing run and what else is better than that? As someone else on here said ... we'll never see the likes of them again.

Also - these two shows were musically better than the 07 shows. Just sayin ...

Photos from various locations, taken by Todd Leinss, Volker Warncke and Matthias Fengler. Photo from Nic taken from a YouTube video.