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The Musical Box - London 2007

Selling England by The Pound live at the  Royal Albert Hall London (Mar 16, 2007)

Time travelling back into the 70s

flowerA ‘love affair’ that lasted for some four years and fifteen shows by this unique outfit was to be crowned with this concert. When we ordered the tickets the encore shows at the end of the year had not been announced yet; besides, the wife and I had never been to London or England before. We decided to take go on a three-day bus trip to save on travel expenses. Bettina (Banjogirl) and Martin (Martin C) gave us many a piece of advice on what we should do and see in London; our thanks to them. Suffice it to say (since brevity’s the soul of wit) that London is truly unique (and, Martin, now I understand why it is the most beautiful city in the world for you); you feel life pulsing every single second. We made full use of those two days to see and do as much as we could, and I guess we did see a lot. Since it is difficult to sleep on a bus we were on our last legs by Sunday night but London has won two new admirers who will probably spend a longer holiday there this year. Enough about that… We had seen TMB before in these cities (sometimes for more than one show): Ludwigshafen, Hannover, Halle, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Duisburg, Hamburg and Bremen. In Halle, Frankfurt and Hannover TMB played more than one concert, so we booked different seats for different shows to be able to compare the acoustics. In London we arrived early at the venue to meet up with Banjogirl and Martin C. Unfortunately we had to find out that the stars would not make an appearance, but we were nevertheless looking forward to the events that were to come. After fifteen shows we obviously knew what we were in for so we paid attention to the things that were different. The venue cannot be compared to any other in the least. It all seemed bigger, warm and inviting.
We were surprised to notice that a couple of minutes before the scheduled beginning of the show only about 60 percent of the seats were taken. A brief announcement told us that there would be a support act. Dale Newman played own songs for some thirty minutes; it all sounded very good, worthwhile listening to. While he played more and more people came in and when he finished 80 percent of the seats were occupied. Even then it was evident that the venue offered perfect acoustics.
Before the show I noticed Banjogirl and Martin C (who had their seats below) talk to Serge M. Perhaps he had come to London to talk with Winfried (WIV) about a Trick tour?
In some of the boxes one could see people having a good time with champagne and the like. The volume was set at the upper limit of what was tolerable (for me, at least), though the sound clarity did not suffer. There were no echoes either. Where we were sitting it was the !!!best!!! TMB concert of them all. The bass was tangibly warm, but very strong. David and his instrument were in great shape, never before have I heard Apocalypse in a way that every single note could be heard distinctly. I’ll never forget that, it was so different, simply perfect. Denis’ introductions were faster and more fluent then in Germany. Applause was strong but brief. Only after Supper’s Ready were there standing ovations for the musicians. The fireworks were stronger than ever. Two seconds longer and I might have hurt my eyes! It was so bright, large, warm and the smoke rose only slowly to the ceiling so that we could enjoy the spectacle for almost one minute. For some reasong there even was a small flame on the stage floor, but a roadie quickly extinguished it with a towel. I Know… and Epping Forest were treated as equal songs here, while in Germany they are more or less songs to catch one’s breath between the highlights.
The applause after The Knife was strong, but, as  I said, brief. After the show we had arranged to meet Banjogirl and Martin C at the merchandising stall; it took them ten minutes to make their way to us. And then I deeply regretted not having had English in school; the little Russian I know would not have helped at all. I had met Martin Levac several times after the shows, shook his hand, expressed my admiration, picked up autograms &c., but this time around not only Martin L, but also David Myers and Francois the guitarist had come to the stall. I would have had so much time to ask questions, and I would probably have got answers, too – but I would have needed a translator for special questions. So David gave us an autogram with my wife’s ball-pen that David accidentally kept.. at least something. There were hardly any admirers and fans, most people went straight home so that it was kind of empty at the merchandising stall – and there I was with almost no English at my command, what a nuisance! When Banjogirl, Martin C and Winfried finally arrived, they hardly found the time to say good-bye to the musicians; security almost threw us out of the hall! Such a thing has not happened in Germany (and would not happen there at all). Winfried promised to promote Martin Levac’s CD better; after all, Martin will be Denis’ successor.
What remains is this:
The foundation for the final brief tour in autumn was laid by the fans in Germany! Our enthusiasm was much larger than what the band met in England. Our love/affection/sympathy has likely prompted Denis to agree to do the autumn tour. On March 16, 2007, we had the pleasure of experiencing the musically BEST TMB concert. We say our thanks to five excellent musicians who celebrate our favourite music in this way!

by Thomas Netz 

translated by Martin Klinkhardt



Catch them while you can!

flower From the opening Mellotron strains of Watcher of the Skies (boy did they perform that well) through The Cinema Show, and Firth of Fifth, Supper's Ready, and to the encore The Knife (plus all the others) - they faithfully reproduced the show I saw in 1974 at Drury Lane (except for the encore….originally Genesis never did one, and also I was fortunate enough to see one of the few shows where Peter Gabriel walked about up in the air for the finale to Supper’s Ready).
The musicianship has to be seen to be believed, and songs are so faithfully reproduced that you can air guitar/keyboard/drum along to all those little touches and nuances that we loved Genesis for in the first place. Highlights are Watcher of the Skies, the piano opening to Firth of Fifth, the trio of acoustic guitars opening The Cinema Show, The Musical Box, and the drumming on everything. There were three generations of my family at this show…My 78 year old mother down to my 13 year old daughter , and we were all blown away by the spectacle. If you loved the original Genesis, believe me, you’ll love this.  Catch them while you can…

by Bob Abbott

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