Sunday, July 8, 2018

Dreaming While You Sleep

The songs on later studio albums of Genesis sometimes get lost in the discussion of what qualifies to be a great song in the overall Genesis catalog. One of the lost songs that deserves more recognition is Dreaming While You Sleep.

Dreaming While You Sleep is reminiscent of songs like Say It's Alright Joe. A song that has surreal scenarios that take us into a world we may never travel. Yet, we feel what the main character is going through thanks to clever musical time signatures and lyrics.

Dreaming While You Sleep is deceptive in nature. The song has many layers. It allows us in the world of the hit and run driver's mind. First the remorse of hitting someone. Then the visit to the hospital, and the hope that the victim will come out of her coma. And finally, the haunting guilt that the driver feels about leaving the scene of an accident. Certainly, the haunting will never go away, and will imprison the driver for the rest of his life.

There is a feel to this song musically that is uniquely Genesis. Highs and lows are felt throughout the song. Tony, Mike and Phil each contribute to the song with their individual talents. The keyboards are haunting at time. Phil's vocals connects the song emotionally. Mike does some magic with the guitars throughout the song that provides a backdrop for changes in the song. The drums are intense at times, while the background is guided by a synthesized drum pattern that is perfect for the song. You can even hear in the beginning what sounds like a screeching tire, which is replicated by either Mike or Tony. Subtle time changes and you have what is a very dark, surreal song.

Dreaming While You Sleep is deserving of the recognition of a great Genesis song. It is the song that takes the listener to a great place both musically and the lyrics. It is also a great live song. Phil's range of emotions, as with songs in the past, brings the song to life and connects the audience to the studio version.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Night at the Stanley Theater - "That Jacket" - And Peter Gabriel

By Lenny Giardino and Tim Flihan

Often times, Genesis Fans speak of the spiritual experience of the band. Whether the music, or a chance encounter with a band member, it resonates for a lifetime. One of the best things about Positively Genesis is the people we meet, and the stories we hear to validate how important the band is in music history. Every now and then, a story comes to our Facebook Page or Blog that deserves to be shared with a larger audience.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Musical Box, Tony Banks and The Preservation Of Genesis

Genesis fans know the gold standard for tribute bands is The Musical Box. Original members of the band have credited them for their tireless efforts to recreate the magic of the early era of Genesis. Originally, The Musical Box focused on their earliest albums, Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot and Selling England by the Pound. Once they found success, they decided to work on a reproduction of the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour. A special connection was made in preparation of the tour, as Tony Banks would open of the Farm to the band members so they can learn first hand the subtleties of playing Genesis live for the Lamb. Tony would allow them access to the original 24 track recording of the Lamb, and allow the band to take apart sections that they deemed too difficult to learn. Imagine having the "Maestro" teach each member of the Musical Box the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. What an experience for the band. Genesis would support their efforts and also give them access to the 1200 slides that were original to the Lamb tour. By providing access to the band's history, The Musical Box provided new fans the opportunity to travel back in to time. This preservation of history can only be appreciated by experiencing the music, along with the theatrics of Peter Gabriel during this time period.  

Tony Banks and Steve Hackett have worked tirelessly to preserve the history of Genesis. Phil, Mike and Peter have also supported the efforts of The Musical Box. Their productions provide new fans the best incite to into the early history of Genesis. Accolades from all the members have been shared at one point about their shows. In a sense, it is the "Broadway" version of Beatlemania. A preservation of the band we love. The Musical Box's success indirectly encouraged other musicians to preserve all eras of Genesis. Thanks to The Musical Box, the preservation of the history of Genesis is in good hands for future generations to learn and enjoy, as did the original fans.

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) 

Dreaming While You Sleep