Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisThe rumor mill has been circulating for the past decade regarding a full fledged Genesis reunion, but it really started heating up following 2004's triple disc greatest hits Platinum Collection (Atlantic). While message boards, chat rooms and gossip circles gabbed ever since, a reality based round of fuel was actually thrown in the fire this fall when Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford announced they would indeed reconvene next summer. Even with that wonderful news, there was still a significant faction of the group's earlier fan base who still felt sadness in their hearts, since original front man Peter Gabriel would not be present, nor would famed guitarist Steve Hackett. Though time will only tell if this classic line-up will ever get together again, the Genesis approved tribute band The Musical Box was the next best elixir as die-hards continue holding on to their hairless hearts.
Not only is this the only group of Canadian recreators sanctioned by the original band, but Banks has offered arrangement assistance on occasion, while Hackett and Collins have made cameos at a few concerts. Though none of those living legends were physically present, The Musical Box attempted to recreate their instrumental and vocal parts to the best of their ability, simultaneously offering an accurate physical and costume resemblance. As has been the case of these hat tippers' last few trips through down, the gang is highlighting an entire album of Genesis material from start to finish. After previous visits with The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Foxtrot, this particular sold out engagement focused on Selling England By the Pound, yet another breakthrough album from the Gabriel era.
The Musical Box offered an excellent, almost eerie replication of each and every note, along with many of the colorful personas played by Peter Gabriel (including a flower and flamboyant flute player). "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" made for an early set list inclusion met with mighty roars from fans, signifying one of Genesis' earliest "hit" breakthroughs, but also the occasional harmonies by Collins as he slapped the skins. Yet The Musical Box flexed Genesis' real musical muscles come "Firth of Fifth," complete with the several minute instrumental interlude flanked with Banks' signature keyboard solo. Other album favorites included the fairly tale-like pair "Dancing With the Moonlit Knight" and "The Battle of Epping Forest," plus a resplendent rendition of "The Cinema Show."
Aside from the Selling England selections, the gig also featured classics like "Watcher of the Skies" and "The Musical Box," two epic selections known for their traditional verse and chorus song structures, but ample with improvisational instrumentation that eventually returned to striking vocal moans a la Gabriel. The pageantry continued for a complete version of the prog rock masterpiece "Supper's Ready," followed by an encore of "The Knife," which cut back to 1970's mildly overlooked gem Trespass. By the final bows, the audience was practically drooling for the real deal and appeared thoroughly satisfied with The Musical Box's attention to even the most minuscule details, and more importantly, Genesis' musical intricacy.
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