Here’s a song from a long time ago. Actually all the songs we play tonight are from a long time ago; and if you have seen us before, you must be at least over 40.” Phil Collins could have been a very popular comedian, had he not been a mega successful musician, both in his solo career and with a supergroup whose timeless music is still absolutely entertaining fans of all ages. At the O2 Arena last night, his driving power worked magic even when he was sitting down, engaging the audience in fun games to build up the haunted house atmosphere for Home by the Sea and to demonstrate the domino effect before playing Domino (which inspired the name of this latest tour).
Sharing the spotlight with Phil were the two remaining original members of Genesis, keyboardist Tony Banks and guitarist Mike Rutherford, plus 21-year-old Nic Collins, who took over the drums stool from his father. Already a proven powerhouse drummer, he was more than competent on the same job that was handled by twin drummers on previous Genesis tours. Second guitarist Daryl Stuermer is no newcomer to the scene, having toured with the band since 1977, and played particularly beautifully tonight on the classic Firth of Fifth.
The setlist contained a good balance of songs from different eras of the band, and images of former members Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett appeared on-screen during the show, signifying their rich history and a huge back catalogue, from complex epics like The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Mama to catchy tunes such as That’s All and Invisible Touch. The audience reacted with tremendous enthusiasm to every song after having waited decades to hear them again in concert.
Visual elements are always essential to a Genesis concert, treating the audience to not only amazing live music but also a cinematic experience. Tonight the show featured visuals from a Bates Motel-style house inhabited by ghosts in Home by the Sea to surreal empty streets around famous London landmarks filmed during lockdown to accompany Land of Confusion, but most spectacular was the dominoes animation, looking almost like a scene from the multiverse created by Doctor Strange.
Once upon a time Genesis was labelled as one of rock’s dinosaurs, but they proved they’re still walking tall last night. It would be a shame for those who missed this tour if it really is their coda.