Sunday, October 15, 2017

For Absent Friends......Taking A Look Back

For Absent friends can be found on Nursery Cryme and it takes us on a journey in time from the perspective of a widowed couple. A simple track under 2 minutes that is amazing song.The couple attend church together, and reflect upon their past friendships and people they have lost. Steve Hackett and Phil Collins are credited for writing this little gem. (Although the album gives credit to all five members) 

This song reflects a writing style that would continue long into the modern era of Genesis. The band would continue to write songs that ask us to look at our lives through a looking glass per say. Whether it was Duchess, Ripples, Man on the Corner or No Son of Mine, the lyrics ask us to "take a look back." Some songs can be haunting like Dreaming While You Sleep as they explore the dark side of human experiences. 

For some fans, the mythical allegorical lyrics mean the most to them. For me, it is the songs like "For Absent Friends" that mean the most. They challenge me to understand another person's world, one that I may not understand. The challenges that people must face in a lifetime define who they are as a person. Trauma or life changing events can only be understood by the individual, and we can only see their life through our own prism, which casts doubts whether they are one of us. This darker side of imagery is what makes Genesis songs truly special. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Footnotes - Mayhew, Stewart, and Wilson

The anniversary of Calling All Stations has spiked a renewed interest in Ray Wilson. His contributions have accelerated into a conversation that he deserves a place in Genesis history. While he does deserve a place, he also deserves the proper context.
Ray Wilson has more in common with members that started with the band, than he does with major contributors in the band. His legacy is similar to Chris Stewart and John Mayhew. They are footnotes to the history. They played on albums that generally are considered to be less reflective of the Genesis music that fans embrace in their catalog. All three have contributions that also less significant than other members. Musically, their impact was not as important in regards to the band's history. One can counter that Anthony Philip's tenure you was similar, however Anthony Philips is credited for pushing the band in the direction we have come to known as Genesis. This is not a trait associated with other members of the band including Wilson.

Wilson is recent in the band's history. While their are critics of Mike and Tony's decision to end their relationship, Wilson does profit from the timing of his tenure in the band. Since his departure in the late 90's, he plays a lot of Genesis music as part of his catalog. His counterparts with similar histories were unable to profit from their experiences as Wilson does today. And this may be his biggest contribution to the band. Similar to tribute bands like the Musical Box, he keeps the music relevant for new fans to discover. This might be Ray's greatest contribution to Genesis. Musically, he is still a footnote in the history of Genesis, and not a major contributor, which is why fans are so divided about Ray Wilson's place in Genesis history. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

4 Reasons Why 80's Genesis Deserves More Respect

Time and time again, the 70's era fans of Genesis want us to believe life ended when Steve and Peter left the band. The band lost it's prog roots and were sell outs. Limited to 1970 -1977, fans of the prog era truly disrespect the 3 person era of Genesis by suggesting the music was not very good. There were so many creative aspects to 80's era Genesis that we take for granted. It was a great time for the band, and they always honored the past by playing the songs from the past with renewed vigor.

I am a big fan of Steve Hackett. His concert was one of the best I have seen in quite a long time. However, as someone that loves all eras of Genesis, I found myself missing some of the 80's contributions to the band, including the older material that Steve plays so well in his concert. Steve plays the music just like they were intended to be played int he 1970's . I realized what makes 80's era Genesis special, is that the older music was reincarnated by the band to be something totally different for fans. It's okay to love Steve and 80's era Genesis.

If you are not a fan of 80's Genesis, here are some things to consider:

Live in Concert - Each album in the 80's that provided a live tour also had a live album to accompany the tour. We forget that Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer provided their unique talents to the live shows. Daryl receives more criticism because he is actually replacing an original member. Anything he does will not stand the test of Steve Hackett fans. Daryl was a great addition to the band. He often times is credited for expanding the bass and guitar sections in live shows in partnership with Mike Rutherford. They two complimented each other by playing to each other's strengths.

Drum Duets - Over time, Phil and Chester provided memorable percussion experiences and double drum sessions throughout the concert. This was non-existent during the prog era. One of the things I found myself missing during the Steve Hackett concert was Phil and Chester's drumming. This is not a slam on Steve's drummer as he is honoring the Phil Collin's era of the band. Phil and Chester brought powerful sections of the older material that greatly improved the songs during the 1980's in my humble opinion. For example, Afterglow became a thunderous song with the addition of the double drums at the end. In the cage and Los Endos took on a life of their own during live shows. Even Supper's Ready in my opinion was played during the Invisible Touch tour with such energy, that no other version was close matching the musical quality played during that tour. Every prog era song was greatly improved up during the live shows in the 80's.

Medleys - Some people hate the medleys. I however am a fan of the medleys. For me, they provided a unique way to honor the past. My favorite medley was from the We Can't Dance tour. It became an integral part of the 3 man Genesis era. Each album brought us unique live shows that combined sections of some of Genesis's greatest songs from the past. Again, the medleys provided for improvisational drumming, keyboards, and guitar play that are unique to this era.

Staging - The big arena era provide us with better lighting and atmosphere. The theatrics of Peter are long gone and the music in my opinion becomes the centerpiece of the live shows. All the lighting and special effects replace the costumes and highlight crescendos and quiet moments during the live shows in a way that I loved being a part of when I saw Genesis live during this era.

Some reading this article will always debate the prog era was better than 80's Genesis. For those with an open mind, give this era a chance and listen to the live sets. Order some live videos or watch some of the concerts on YouTube. Judge for yourself. You may find yourself loving this era as much as I do.

Friday, July 21, 2017

ABACAB.....Vinyl to Live Shows Makes All The Difference.

I love ABACAB as a stellar example of the 3 piece era. It is a transitional piece from that represents for me a significant shift in the band. The entire album is a great album. (I know some hate whodunnit) 
Overall, I think some people struggle with the shorter songs. The simplicity of songs like Lonely Man on the Corner. Genesis would start songs differently sometimes only choosing to have intros with vocals and synthesizers. Yet there is magic in the air. Sometimes simple is better. Lonely Man on the Corner is just as powerful in my opinion as many Genesis live songs from the 70s. It gave me chills the first time I heard it. 

Critics have charged that some songs are pop. They also say the complexity of the group is gone. However I beg to differ. For those who attended the live shows in the 80s, they played their songs with passion and the complexity was still there. In fact, songs like ABACAB were extended in live versions and the 5 piece band would enhance the songs from vinyl. The records were a tapestry for new imaginative music. You can't reinvent Supper's Ready over and over again. So many bands like Yes would make that mistake. Instead, Phil, Mike and Tony would challenge themselves to reinvent the music, and enhance it live. This gave us so many new songs and for me, they are just as good as the prog era. T

Live versions of the vinyl counterparts would take a life of their own. The songs  were extended versions masterfully played by the group. Each member would perform the song with their own fresh take. For example, Phil and Chester greatly increased the persussions of their vinyl counterparts, Mike and Daryl extended the solos for bass and guitar and added fun snappy riffs. Tony provide the foundation. It all came together. This was the magic of the 3 piece era.
The prog critics fail to enjoy the enhanced versions of the songs from the 80s. To dismiss Home by the Sea, Domino, Behind the Lines, Dodo and Mama just to name a few is to make a huge mistake in my opinion. The changes in the band provide us with such a wonderful discography. And the live versions are treasures for many to discover that is the magic of Genesis. 

(1984 version of favorite) 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Did Daryl Let The Cat Out Of The Bag That Phil Is Coming To Chicago?

Is Phil Collins coming to the United States in the fall? He might be and we have Daryl Stuermer to thank for the heads up. A few months ago there was a mistake on Daryl's page that listed Chicago dates with the same background used for the Not Dead Yet European dates this summer. It was a 5 day stint in Chicago. The post was shared on the Facebook p
age Positively Genesis. Unfortunately, when the error was discovered, it was quickly removed and no one copied the the post.

There are a few reasons for the post to have some relevance. It was posted by Daryl on his site. He has roots in Milwaukee, and may have been excited to play so close to home. Next, it follows the same pattern of Phil's European tour. Multiple nights in a centralized location. Phil has said he is not going to do a long extended tour. Chicago would be perfect for a multiple night stop due to its geographic location.

If the post was accurate, this means Phil is coming to the states in the fall. We will have to wait and see. One reason for the removal of the post could be due to Phil wanting to see how he reacts to extended dates in Europe. It is all speculation for now, however the possibilities for fans in the states to see him only creates anticipation and excitement that he will be here soon.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Will There Be Clues For A Genesis Reunion As Phil Collins Goes On Tour?

Rumors are starting to be shared that Phil Collins will have a few songs from the Genesis archive in his set. Could this be true? If it is, could this be motivation for a future Genesis reunion down the road? Here is why I think this would be significant if Phil plays some songs from Genesis. Whether he plays or not, there are other motivating factors for a reunion.

In an interview back in October, Collin's son was quoted that the Genesis material is from a drummers perspective, significant and challenging to play. I almost got the sense he felt playing for Genesis would be difficult in comparison to playing his father's music. As a drummer, he may pressure his father to go out with Genesis in the future.

Next, Mike Rutherford is playing along side Phil with the Mechanics. Most likely and interactions between Phil and his son will be nostalgic. Again, this reminds Phil that the idea of a reunion would fun for all parties involved. Phil did after all mention that his writing the book brought back fond memories of Genesis.

Whether Phil plays songs from Genesis or not, his returning to the stage is a positive step towards a reunion. Most likely the trio will unite as Steve and Pete will forgo the three member era of music. In my opinion, this is why we will see a trio reunion as it would be more appealing to play all eras with Nicholas on the drums. It is all speculation for now.....soon we will know.

(Sample Set From Previous Florida Rehearsals For The Little Dreams Foundation- Not The Current List)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Shhhh.....I Love Phil Collins....And He Is Going to Surprise You!

Genesis fans are in two camps with Phil Collins. Basically, Genesis fans love him or hate him for his role in Genesis. For the purpose of this article, I am giving full disclosure. I love Phil. I think he has always been the reason why we talk about Genesis in such large numbers today. I believe if the ban
d ended in 1975, we would have the same fan base as most 70s prig bands which is minimal. Genesis would have faded to much less significance and generations would not have discovered the band if was not for Phil, Mike, Steve, and Tony continuing to make more music.

I am not going to debate the merits of Gabriel, Hackett and Collins era music. Fan groups have beaten it to death. Instead, I am going to talk about his upcoming tour. I think we are going to be surprised what Phil has left in the tank. Somehow, through his motivation of his son's ambition to learn more about his father, Phil is overcoming many health issues to play again.  And it is this motivation that will lead to a Genesis reunion down the road. His son is a drummer, and wants to learn about his father's music. If you read Phil's book, he has discussed how much he loves the history of Genesis. Once this tour is finished, we may see the band play tour one more time, and I for one will pay a hefty price to see this happen.

Another thing I have noticed is Phil has been missing since last fall. For those who doubt or dismiss Phil, I think you will see a healthier and more energetic Phil Collins than his past few appearances. The return to music will prove to be an extension of Phil's personal health and wellness. I even think we will more limited percussionist duties than In The Air Tonight. This is why I admire Phil Collins. Never dismissive or negative, he stays positive in the most trying times. This guy's prediction is Phil will overcome his health problems and deliver an emotional return to music. This is why I love Phil Collins. He is genuinely a great father, who will overcome all odds to give his son and his fans one more live appearance so we can talk about it for years to come. Go Phil!

*Authors Note: For fans reading in the United States, did anyone catch the error on Daryl' Stuermer's website? About a month ago, it was posted briefly that Phil was coming to Chicago. It was posted on my fan site than it disappeared within 20 minutes. I think the error was significant and Phil may play multiple nights in Chicago. Stay tuned.