The Musical Box
Performing ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’
21st October 2004
The Pabst Theater, Milwaukee WI, USA
By Peter Stankovich
The tours which Genesis performed with Peter Gabriel, are for many fans of progressive music a case of: I should have gone…; I would have gone…; If I could have gone… Genesis’ popularity during Gabriel’s tenure never reached the status of Yes or ELP, yet many consider Genesis music during this period to be on par with these other giants of Prog. Seeing the photos or to hearing the music of this period just reminds people of a missed opportunity.
Fortunately you can turn back the wheels of time. Or at least you can have the next best thing…
The Canadian group, The Musical Box, has been recreating the Gabriel/Genesis experience for years. This is not merely your average tribute band (no disrespect to tribute bands), but TMB is more of an experience. The band has painstakingly recreated the staging, costumes, banter, slides and set lists for the Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound (SEBTP) and now The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (TLLDOB) tours. Again, not merely a tribute band, but a band that has a license granted from Genesis and Peter Gabriel to perform this ‘Holy Grail’ of Prog. (Genesis has loaned them the original slides which were used on the TLLDOB tour.) Needless to say I could go on about the details, but go to their website if that really interests you.
During the years the members of the TMB have changed and by many fans accounts, the last incarnation of TMB was their best to date. So as TMB embarked to perform the entire TLLDOB album/tour with two new members, many people, including myself, wondered if they could live up to the task?
The band started out a bit slow, but perhaps one expects to be completely blown away by an opening number such as the title track. To be fair, they probably hadn’t had a chance to get completely warmed up. Slowly they started to get in stride and by the middle of the “The Cage” you realized that you were witnessing something special.
Denis Gagné (Peter G) was in fine form as Real. His voice is a perfect as Peter and he has the master’s mannerisms down to a tee. Sébastien Lamothe (Mike R) was also in fine form. The true highlight of the night was Martin Levac (Phil C). He was on a roll the whole night and he reminded you how good a drummer Phil used to be. Martin is also Phil's doppelganger both in looks and voice.
The two new members of TMB were also great. Éric Savard (Tony B) is wonderful replacement for the pervious keyboardist and I personally didn't see a difference between the two musicians. There has been some criticism in the TMB community of the new guitar player, François Gagnon (Steve H) and while I don't think he is as good as the previous guitarist; in all fairness it is amazing how little Steve Hackett plays on this album. Especially compared to how much he contributed on SEBTP. (During one of the songs he actually leaves the stage!) It is no wonder Steve eventually left the band. But I digress…
The sound was too soft in the beginning of the show and may have contributed to the slow start. I was sitting near the soundboard and some people were yelling `louder' to the mixer during the first 15 minutes. Eventually the volume was turned up, but I was always wishing the Denis' vocals would be pushed more to the front of the mix. I did notice that the sound guy was constantly tweaking the mix throughout the show.
The standout numbers of the night were: The Grand Parade...; Back In NYC; Counting Out Time; ...The Supernatural Anaesthetist; it.
The stage, slides and costumes are radically different from the pervious tours. The stage for TLLDOB tour is very dark and “Peter” sings from 3 or 4 different points of the stage. The slides were also different and not what I expected to see. I thought the slides would be based on the theme of the album cover, but this is not the case. In fact, the slides are a bit ‘cheesy”. One, however, must remember that the slides were created in the early 70’s.and probably accounts was to why they really don’t hold up in the new millennium. The one noticeable exception was the slides used in Counting Out Time. The other surprise of the night was seeing the Slipperman costume in action. I have to admit that it was one of the goofiest things I have ever seen.
As previously mentioned, with each track the band grew stronger and the audience was transmitted back to 1974-75. By the end of The Lamb composition, the audience was completely taken away. The band played one more number before taking their leave: The Musical Box. Needless to say the band ‘nailed’ this number and the again the audience was enthralled. The band continued to follow the script layout by Genesis years ago and returned to do an encore of Watcher of the Sky.
For those of you who love Genesis from the Gabriel period, you owe it to yourself to see this band. Not only is it a way to re-live the past, but it a thoroughly exception production of classic by a talented group of musicians.
The TMB has a license to perform TLLDOB for the next 2 years. They will be touring the Canada and the US in Fall of 2004 and Europe in Winter and Spring of 2005.
"THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY"
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Fly On A Windshield
Broadway Melody Of 1974
In The Cage
The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging
Back In N.Y.C.
Counting Out Time
The Chamber Of 32 Doors
The Waiting Room
Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist
Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats
The Colony Of Slippermen
The Light Dies Down On Broadway
Riding The Scree
In The Rapids
The Musical Box
Watcher Of The Skies
THE MUSICAL BOX WEBSITE