Genesis delivers impressive concert
Plenty of hits and old treasures in the setlist
By Steve Metsch
If you have no plans for 8 o’clock tonight, you may want to look into buying tickets for the Genesis concert at United Center.
I took a quick peek at Vivid Seats this morning. Tickets upstairs are selling for less than $100 each.
Even with the dreaded fees, it is money well-spent as Genesis delivered in impressive fashion Monday night to open the North American leg of what may be their final tour.
The two-hour and 15-minute concert was filled with radio-friendly hits from the Phil Collins era, and some of the long, majestic songs from long ago when Peter Gabriel was the band’s lead singer.
With a fantastic sound system and an amazing light show, you’re in for a great night on the West Side of Chicago.
Billed “The Last Domino?” tour, this is the first time Collins, 70, guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford, 71, and keyboardist Tony Banks, 71, have performed together in 14 years.
I reviewed that concert at the UC in 2007. Then and last night, I walked away floored.
Rutherford and Banks are still impressive playing their instruments. So were drummer Nic Collins, Phil’s 20-year-old son, and guitarist Daryl Stuermer, of Milwaukee,
Thanks to various physical ailments, Phil Collins no longer can drum. He uses a cane to get around and has difficultly standing for a long time. Instead, he sat in a chair at the center of the stage.
After the band opened with the instrumental “Behind the Lines/Duke’s End,” it played “Turn It On Again,’ the first song to feature his singing.
He looked frail, and frankly didn’t sound too good. He was off-kilter with backup singers Daniel Pearce and Patrick Smyth.
However, on the next song, when he took on the menacing “ha, ha, ha” lines of “Mama” with his face bathed in a red spotlight, Collins began to sound better.
I’ve talked with singers who’ve told me that singing while sitting is no easy feat. Collins managed to pull it off quite nicely. As the night went on, Collins’ improved, sounding stronger with each song.
He was his usual jovial self, urging the audience to sing along “because doing that makes me sound better.”
There were numerous highlights throughout the evening.
When Collins introduced “Land of Confusion” he said that in recent years the song has new life. No doubt about that.
“Home By the Sea,” their terrific song about a haunted house that’s always in the setlist, sounded great and dazzled with a rainbow of lights flashing on and off.
It was followed by the instrumental “Second Home by the Sea” which allowed Rutherford and Banks to further impress.
A three-song acoustic set found the band sitting upfront around Collins.
They played “That’s All” and gave “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” an interesting new take.
“Follow You Follow Me” had most of the fans lighting up the UC with their cellphones. Say adios to scorching fingertips with matches and lighters.
It was a nice surprise to hear “Misunderstanding” and “No Son of Mine.”
And it was great hearing oldies like “Firth of Fifth,” and “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe).” The band took things to a new height with “Domino.”
Genesis closed with a rousing “Invisible Touch” and returned with an extended “I Can’t Dance” to start the encore.
Collins spoke the first verse of “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight” – from the Gabriel days – and then the band went into another song first sung by Gabriel, a lovely rendition of “The Carpet Crawlers.”
The backup singers helped Collins hit some of the higher notes, voices blending beautifully.
I whistled that song walking down Madison Street to the parking lot. I woke up with that song playing in my head.
On the way out, a woman from Milwaukee kept repeating “phenomenal.” She kind of sums it up. So, if you need someone for that second ticket tonight, the first round of libations is on me.