Genesis back with bang one year on
By Staff Writers
You wouldn't have been alone if you’d feared never seeing superstar rockers Genesis again after they cancelled their “Last Domino” tour dates last year.
As front man Phil Collins admitted: “Well I guess we kind of thought ‘that’s it, isn’t it? The moment’s passed, and unfortunately it’s out of our hands now.’”
However, the time away allowed for some introspection and a resolution that no matter what, the show must go on.
“We’d sold thousands of tickets, so obviously there was a desire to hear our music,” explained keyboard player Tony Banks. “We kind of thought – well, we’re probably not going to get too many more chances to do this, so let’s make it count.”
The time away obviously had an impact, the band taking the time to get match fit again, especially lead vocalist Collins who has had well documented health issues.
The band also decided to, as guitarist Mike Rutherford put it “relook at everything. Nothing was set in stone anymore.”
A large part of this was the influence of Nick Collins, Phil Collins’ son who now doubles as the band’s drummer. “Nick has his own preferences of what he’d like to hear,” laughs Phil “he’s into some stuff we can’t even remember, and he pushed us in a different direction.”
In November last year, fans were informed that the “Last Domino” tour was no more. “The name felt a bit negative given what was happening at the time,” mused Banks. “And to be frank, when we sat down to think about it, Domino has been in the setlist pretty much continuously since Invisible Touch was released. We wanted a fresh angle.”
So it was some 3 months later, a brand new tour was announced.
“People were bemused,” laughs Rutherford. “But I thought “The Flannan Isle Lighthouse” Tour had a really cool ring to it."
Collins nods. “Yeah, people were shocked, but the amount of emails and letters we got from fans wanting this song back, it just seemed obvious.”
Wearing one of the now ubiquitous tour T-Shirts with it’s stylised lighthouse, Banks agrees. “I know it was a Peter song, but the demand was just there. Phil kept saying he couldn’t really get into it, couldn’t get behind the lyric, but you know, at the end of the day its nice to be able to give back, and it just seemed a really obvious name for the tour.”
Another talking point among fans were the various medleys the band wheeled out. As Phil explained: “Fans had always loved the medleys – you know, the Blues Brothers medley, Old Medley from The Way we Walk tour – we thought “let’s come up with something different – no more In The Cage/Slippermen, what can we do?”
Entitled the “For Absent Friends” Medley, Rutherford explained that the band thought it would be nice to acknowledge previous band members. “It’s not the most obvious medley – but I thought “Ballad of the Decomposing Man / Swing Your Bag / Humdrum / Um & Aargh” worked really, really well. Sure, they weren’t Genesis tunes, but we’re all one big family and to hear the audience singing along during “Swing Your Bag” is one of the highlights of the tour for me.”
The out of the box thinking continued in the 'R-Kive' medley. “Well you know” explains Banks. “People have heard Phil sing Sussudio so many times, and I’m sure people are sick of hearing me singing “Big Man”. We just thought “You know what? Let’s mix it up. Sing each other’s songs. I remember when Phil did “Shortcut to Somewhere” and “Miracle” all those years ago – it worked so well I’m not sure why we haven’t tried it since.”
The R-Kive Medley was an unexpected highlight. “Initially we though ‘Let’s do the tracks we actually put on R-Kive’” explains Tony “but swap vocalists. However, Phil couldn’t really explain why he’d picked ‘Wake Up Call’, so we thought “let’s just pick our own favourites. It was a bit of a surprise I thought that Mike chose ‘An Island In the Darkness’, but luckily in the medley format we were able to cut it down to 9 minutes to fit it in.” Backed with Phil grooving to Rutherford’s 80’s classic “Calypso” and Tony's surprisingly accurate portrayal of Danny Devito while belting out the chorus of “Wear My Hat”, the band really brought home the Medley with all three harmonising on ‘No Son of Mine’ – “the one track actually on R-Kive!” as Phil wryly points out.
It's Nick Collins who admits he convinced the band to include minor hits Paperlate and No Reply At All in the set. “I loved those songs,” he enthuses. “They had a real funky energy, I was keen to see them played live.” As Phil explains, once it was determined they had made the cut, it seemed only natural to invite the EWF horns along to guest on the songs every night. “When Nick asked to include those 2 tracks, I just said to the guys ‘Look, we’ve got to see if we can get EWF along, they just add so much.’.” However, as Banks points out: “That’s all well and good, but it’s rather expensive getting all these horn guys along for just 2 tracks.” Thus, it was decided that Genesis/EWF would get their own 4 song mini-set. But what other songs to pick?
Banks explains that eventually it wasn’t that hard a choice. “I trawled through the back catalogue. ‘Just a Job to Do’ was an obvious one, a bit of a deep cut for the fans. ‘Pacidy’ was perhaps less obvious, but to be honest hearing it now with EWF I’m not sure why we didn’t release it with them on there in the first place!”
We can’t finish this review without mentioning the touching father/son moment that finished each show. “It all came about from the ‘Not Dead Yet’ tour,” explains Phil “Nick had really loved “You Know What I Mean” and we did it as a sort of piano duet. It was really lovely. Tony and Mike were happy to include something similar, so it was just a matter of finding the right song.” While “I Can’t Dance (Sex Mix)” was an unusual choice, and the funny walk perhaps a touch excruciating to watch, it can’t be denied that the moment was powerful – much of the crowd was in tears around me.
The Flannan Isle Lighthouse Tour continues in Japan/Australia/NZ in December. Thanks to Genesis for their time and tickets to the show.