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Genesis - Tune In and Turn On; Again

United Center - Chicago, IL, United States - October 2-3-4, 2007

by Jackie Lee King

GenesisGenesis's sound and lineup have gone through many changes over the band's 40 year history. With the current "Turn It On" tour, their first in the U.S. in 15 years, the band is a getting back to its Progressive Rock (Prog-Rock) roots while incorporating some of their later pop hits.

Early in their career, along with contemporaries like Yes and Pink Floyd, Genesis wanted more out of music than the simple verse-chorus approach of the 60s music. The result was more complex music which included themes that went beyond what was mainstream at the time.

The current group is comprised of Tony Banks (Keyboards), Phil Collins (Drums and Vocals), Mike Rutherford (Guitars and Bass), Chester Thompson (Drums) and Daryl Stuermer (Guitar). After Peter Gabriel's departure from the group in the mid 70's, Collins was thrust into the spotlight as vocalist for the group. He still stands front and center for a handful songs, but spends the rest of the time, behind the drum kit for the show.

The staging for this tour is colossal and features many surprises, so sit back and enjoy the ride. The set features the largest stadium concert screen, spanning 213 feet by 39 feet, designed by Mark Fisher, and a dazzling light show designed by Patrick Woodroffe. Video projections contour to the curves of the wave like set and include images from the entire history of the band.

The large screen captures close-ups of each member throughout the show, and more times than not they have their eyes closed with intense looks of concentration, and then in an instant they would smile with satisfaction. Genesis, itself, is rediscovering the artistry of their own music.

Initially Banks, Collins and Rutherford wanted to get together to do a live version of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and were reportedly in talks with Gabriel for the show. However, because of conflicts in Gabriel's schedule, including a new album and tour, he would not able to work with Genesis for a while. While this was disappointing to his former band mates, the talks made Banks, Collins and Rutherford realize that they were all ready for a Genesis reunion. Thomson and Stuermer joined their former bandmates, and Genesis was reborn.

The set list incorporates songs from the albums Selling England by the Pound, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Trick of the Tail, .and then there were three, Duke, Genesis, Invisible Touch, and We Can't Dance. This gives the audience a comprehensive look at the band's development over the years.

For part of the show Genesis plays their pop hits that include: Hold On My Heart, Throwing It All Away, and Tonight, Tonight, Tonight; but they also included some of their early Prog-Rock songs, which feature some dazzling musicianship.

In the Cage tells a tale of a schizophrenic; MaMa deals with the obsession of a particular prostitute; and the lyrically chilling Home By the Sea conveys ghostly images in a haunted house. The band also plays some uplifting romantic songs like the hopeful Follow You, Follow Me, but most of the songs have really dark imagery, perfect for a rock concert.

Seeing a show like this you realize that Genesis is more than a string of pop hits. Their earlier concept albums, featuring 15-minute songs, which the band seemed to delight in playing, puts some of today's jam bands to shame. If you are looking for special event with some real good music, you need look no further. This is a two and a half hour trip down memory lane for those who remember the band in several stages of their career.