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Mario Giammetti
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The Last Domino? Tour

When the We Can’t Dance album came out people started speculating, as they would after every album, what could be expected from the new live show. Just like Pink Floyd Genesis have the reputation amongst concert-goers that they always break new ground with their shows. It was therefore no surprise that four weeks after the start of the presales more than 400.000 tickets had been sold for the German shows alone. Genesis’ sponsor on this tour was Volkswagen, who also released special editions of two of their car models. As on every tour they were out to set new standards for the stage technology.

The planning phase for the new concept began in July 1991 while the test stage was built in December 1991. The designers decided to leave out the usual roof structure in the shape of the familiar “black box”. They set up a construction of arched steel pipes right over the musicians’ heads; in case of bad weather a kind of Perspex roof could quickly be installed. The use of big screens has become state of the art for productions of this size; they give the audiences in the rear blocks a glimpse at what happens on stage. The use of three movable 20x26ft Jumbotron screens that could be combined into one gigantic screen was a new level for this.

The screens showed not only the images no less than nine cameras captured of the show but also a video animations. Varilites were also used – some of them were also moved on steel cables above the stage. A very special sound experience was provided by two towers of speakers packing 53.000 watts each. They stood some 160ft apart, thus offering better stereo, and could be moved according to what the acoustics in the venue required.

The stage setup for the musicians was as usual: Chester Thompson sat (from the audience’s point of view) rear left, Phil Collins’s drumkit stood rear right; the front row was taken up by Daryl Stuermer, Mike Rutherford, Phil and Tony Banks (left to right). After two warm-up gig the tour began officially in Miami on 16/05/1992. After six weeks in the U.S. and Canada the band played their first European gig on June 28 at Werchter, Belgium, and their first German gig in Gelsenkirchen on 03/07. The provisional tour finale took place in Knebworth Park, UK, on August 2, which event was broadcast  throughout Europe by several TV stations.

English fans were happy when word got out that Genesis would play some more gigs in the UK. Just in time for the release of the first part of their new live album The Way We Walk they embarked on the bonus gigs, starting on 23/10 in Southampton. What made this special was that Genesis played only small theatres for audiences of no more than 2,000 – except for the six gigs at Earl’s Court London which were recorded for the 1993 live video The Way We Walk Live. Because of the more intimate atmosphere the band exchanged the screens for more Varilites. The show itself did not change much. The real tour finale took place in Wolverhampton on 17/11/1992.

The band decided on a balanced set that included their recent hits as well as less accessible material. The two-and-a-half hours of a show usually consisted of the following songs:

Land Of Confusion
No Son Of Mine
Driving The Last Spike
Old Medley: Dance On A Volcano (first two verses only) / The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (first two verses only) / The Musical Box (closing section) / Firth Of Fifth (instrumental section) / I Know What I Like (including brief bits from Illegal Alien, That's All, Your Own Special Way or Misunderstanding, Follow You Follow Me and Stagnation)
Throwing It All Away
Fading Lights
Jesus He Knows Me
Home ByThe Sea / Second Home By The Sea
Hold On My Heart
Drum Duet
I Can 't Dance

Tonight Tonight Tonight (short version) / Invisible Touch
Turn It On Again

The set barely changed during the tour. Apocalypse in 9/8 was allegedly included in some Old Medleys in the U.S. The “voice killer” Mama was dropped after a couple of shows, and so was Dreaming While You Sleep which would only reappear during the England tour in autumn. Throwing It All Away was initially an encore, but it was promoted into the regular set. Southampton was treated to a huge surprise on 23/10 when Genesis played The Carpet Crawlers.

There were a number of surprises in the stage performance. For Domino Phil was lifted up in front of the jumbotron screens on a hydraulic platform and so he became part of the computer animated journey. It was interesting to see that Tony, Mike and Phil were alone on stage for the first time in the history of Genesis when they played Fading Lights. The drum duet was rearranged and became a standalone piece. Turn It On Again was played without the “sixties medley” of previous tours.

Several events put a damper on the overall course of the tour. It started with Phil losing his voice in Tampa so that the show had to be abandoned. Throughout the tour certain songs were dropped from the setlist or shows moved and cancelled because Phil had to preserve his voice.

Moving the equipment around also proved a challenge. First there were not enough wide-bodied aircraft available to fly the stage back to Europe, and when it was in Europe the French farmers and truck drivers went on strike and blockaded crucial motorways so that two shows had to be postponed. Tragedy struck when a couple of stagehands were injured and a stage manager had a nervous breakdown, but never worse than when Dixie Swanson, another stage manager suffered and succumbed to a heart attack. Genesis dedicated their Knebworth show to him.

It should also be mentioned that the band played another gig after the end of the We Can’t Dance / The Way We Walk tour. Banks, Collins and Rutherford met again to play a brief set with Tim Renwick (bass) and Gary Wallis (drums) for the Cowdray Ruins benefit concert 1993 (on 18/09).

How long will it take after this tour until we can say: “They are back again”?

by Steffen Gerlach
translated by Martin Klinkhardt