By Daniel Coston
November 23, 2021
Anytime a beloved artist announces an upcoming tour that may be their last, there’s a mixture of sadness and celebration in recognizing that our favorite performers are growing old, and perhaps we are doing the same. Dominoes continue to fall, and all we can do is enjoy the moment.
Formed in Surrey, England in 1967, Genesis grew from progressive rock origins into one of the biggest rock bands in the world. When the band’s original frontman, Peter Gabriel left in 1975, drummer Phil Collins stepped to the mic, and they had even more success.
After the band last toured the United States in 2007, Collins retired for some years from the road, which led many to believe that Genesis was done. All of which added an extra level of emotion to those in attendance at Spectrum Center on Saturday night.
Severe back issues in recent years forced Collins off of the drums. When he performed a solo show in Charlotte in 2019, he accidentally fell out of his chair and had to be helped back into his seat to continue the show. While Collins still sat for the entire set, and his voice sounded at times reedier than in previous years, Collins fed off the crowd’s enthusiasm for a rousing performance. Shouts of “We love you Phil!” could be heard throughout the night.
Mike Rutherford appeared to be having a lot of fun, and can still wear his trademark heavy double-neck guitar and bass at 71. Keyboardist Tony Banks still looks and sounds like, well, Tony Banks.
Guitarist and bassist Daryl Steurmer, still the new guy after 44 years, traded guitar licks and smiles with Rutherford for much of the show. While Collins’ style of drumming has always been essential to the band, having his son Nic take over the drums felt like a seamless fit. The band also welcomed two backup singers, who did an excellent job harmonizing with Collins.
The band’s light show and presentation was impressive, with multiple screens throughout the arena. However, one of the most striking portions of the show barely required any lighting at all. Huddling together in the center of the stage, the band played stripped down acoustic versions of “That’s All,” “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway,” and “Follow You Follow Me,” giving each a dynamic that brought the songs closer to the audience.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the setlist was the band’s acknowledgement of their history. After Peter Gabriel left the band, and Genesis attained mega-stardom in the years to come, much of the music from the band’s early days was left behind. Six songs from their Gabriel-fronted days appeared during the show, including four from Gabriel’s final album with the band, 1974’s The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The show wasn’t just for fans who knew the hit songs; it was a playlist for those who have followed Genesis through the years.
After finishing their set with 1986’s “Invisible Touch,” the band returned to the stage to play another crowd favorite, “We Can’t Dance.” The stage lights grew darker, touched only by a blue haze, and the audience went silent. Phil Collins began to sing a capella the opening lines of “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight,” from their 1973 concept album Selling England By The Pound. The band then segued into a longtime favorite of many fans, “The Carpet Crawlers.”
At the song’s end, the band took their final bows, and slowly left the stage. The audience loudly cheered until the house lights came up. They let out a collective groan of sadness, briefly disappointed by the passage of time, but still thankful for the experience.
“Behind the Lines / Duke’s End”
“Turn It On Again”
“Land of Confusion”
“Home by the Sea”
“Second Home by the Sea”
“The Cinema Show”
“The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”
“Follow You Follow Me”
“No Son of Mine”
“Firth of Fifth”
“I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)”
“Throwing It All Away”
“Tonight, Tonight, Tonight”
“I Can’t Dance”
“Dancing With the Moonlit Knight”
“The Carpet Crawlers”