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Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisWith the Phil Collins-led reunion tour selling out stadiums all across the globe at the end of 2007 and the winter 2008 box set release of 1970-1975 (Rhino) chronicling the Peter Gabriel era, Genesis is arguably as hot as the Invisible Touch age all over again. Thankfully though, recent set lists have catered to more treasured album cuts, while wishes of a Gabriel-led continue to swirl the internet at lightening speed, so much so that tribute act The Musical Box is back in America within two years of its last appearance.
As is the hat tippers' tradition, the evening revolved around yet another full album, this time 1976's A Trick of the Tail, the first ever Collins-led album following Gabriel's departure after the extraordinary The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. Nonetheless, both periods of the band's catalogue were on display (though never daring to go beyond the year advertised) much to the delight of die-hards who filled in the cozy Vic Theatre during the first of two nights.
The flip-flop was apparent within minutes, kicking off with Collins' "Dance On a Volcano" before exploring Gabriel-directed cuts "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" and "The Carpet Crawlers." Throughout the nearly two and a half hour evening, The Musical Box dug well beyond the surface cuts, playing the full versions of "Cinema Show," "Firth of Fifth" and "Squonk" in all their art rock excellence.
"Robbery, Assault and Battery" featured music video footage emulating the classic clip, while a series of scenic slides (much like The Lamb tour) enveloped the Trespass chestnut "White Mountain." Of course, the meatiest portion of the evening was the entire "Supper's Ready" suite, which at over twenty minutes certainly fell towards the excessive side of the coin, but was greeted by a barrage of smoke and green laser trickery that it created a second hand art rock high. The Collins character even dawned a white, choir-like outfit that would've fit perfectly at a Polyphonic Spree show, in turn, subliminally tracing Genesis' influence upon so many modern day prog revivalists.
No matter if it was a sing-a-long through "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" or the epic instrumental "Los Endos," The Musical Box didn't just open a time portrayal back to the early '70s, it literally became Genesis in the flesh. While the jury's out if Gabriel will ever return the band to its proper glory, this covers outfit is aptly upholding the act's reputation, simultaneously introducing its avant-garde beginnings to younger audiences who've only been exposed to its pop hits.
The Musical Box returns to the Vic Theatre in Chicago on Friday, January 16, 2009. For details, visit www.jamusa.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
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