Regenesis, 18 October 2002
The Opera House, Newcastle, UK
Before moving on to the main course, a brief note on the starter for the evening, Melbourne.
No reference to the city, but in fact the surname of keyboard man Doug, along with wife Carrie on Chapman Stick and vocals, who form the mainstay of the band. Sadly I missed the first couple of numbers, due to impossible parking within the City,
however those numbers I did catch were diverse and interesting and not easily categorised. Particularly good were Carrie's gentle vocals and the melodic use of the Chapman Stick - the two combined together formed the basis of this interesting set. Along with this were some strong keyboard parts from Doug, and fluid guitar playing from Manir Donaghue (co-incidentally to join ReGenesis at the end of this tour). I believe DPRP are reviewing the new album, Night Star, in the not too distant future - one to look out for.
After a short interval ReGenesis appeared on the stage and after a few moments of preparation the familiar Mellotron chords rang out and Watcher of the Skies began. One of the early indications that this band not only enjoy what they do, but do it well, was Piers de Lavison's keyboard sounds. Not a real Mellotron but
in fact sampled from the original, performed here from a Kurzweil 2600 (thankyou Andy) and this did make the difference to the authenticity of the overall sound. Pretty important when offering a detailed recreation of Genesis in their heyday. I find it difficult to add any new comment on the original material as I doubt anyone reading this will not be familiar this era of Genesis, so I will remain with this interpretation. ReGenesis captured the essence, faithfully recreating not only the music, but incorporating many of Peter Gabriel's stage antics - batwings in full display for the opening track.
Certainly one of my favourite albums, so the Selling England by the Pound tour was the one to catch ReGenesis. As Tony Patterson flexed his vocals for the introduction to Dancing with the Moonlit Knight, I remembered well the first time I heard Peter Gabriel singing this un-accompanied on the album and brought to life on stage here. Again there was much attention to detail in the music as the track ebbs and flows through one of Genesis' finest pieces. This was followed by I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe), complete with the lawnmower sounds and on-stage theatrics. The band did seem a little uneasy on stage and I did wonder if the on-stage mix was as disappointing as the FOH. It has been of constant wonder to me over the years that certain Sound Engineers feel the necessity to "improve" the sound, by endlessly turning up those parts of the sound that were already fine and totally ignoring those that are not. Sorry about that, but it rattles me and by the looks given to the monitor guy, I gather the band were experiencing similar dismay. All this went to create an uneasy atmosphere and probably the cause of some glitches in the playing
- the music is difficult enough without fighting against the mixing.
The tension, I felt, was broken during the Firth of Fifth, where the track had to be started a second time. At this point the humour of it all emerged and the band seemed to relax. From this point on the evening just went from good to better. The humour remained as a reluctant Jamie Fisher was dragged from behind the drum kit to sing the gentle More Fool Me, as on the album this was one of the early introductions to Phil Collins as an emerging vocalist. Possibly not the best rendition of the track I have heard, but the audience and the band warmed to the track, in this light hearted moment. But Jamie was soon back on his throne as The Battle of Epping Forest faded in. What was a pleasant surprise was the inclusion of the instrumental After the Ordeal, which I am reliable informed that Genesis, rarely, if ever, undertook on stage.
The Cinema Show marked a distinct turn in the evenings proceedings and for whatever reason the band really began to open up here, showing why they are regarded so highly. Just as the track rises from start to finish, so did the band. The keyboard section excellently played by Piers de Lavison - again detail to the keyboard sounds was special and well complimented by the rhythm section as the 7/8 sections abound. The reprising Aisle of Plenty drew the proceedings for Selling England to a close, but not for the night, as there was still more fine music still to come.
A leap forward of a few years to Wind and Wuthering's The Eleventh Earl of Mar, here with the strong driving rhythm bringing the audience's feet into play. The sound has improved now and Andy Hyam's bass pedals fill the sound, and the empathy between Andy and Jamie Fisher is very apparent. Nice also to see some of Jamie's own interpretations within the drumming emerging here. The set went on from strength to strength firstly with The Musical Box and the seminal Supper's Ready. By this point all the ingredients were evident and praise to all the musicians, who have clearly grafted long and hard to reproduce these songs. Steve Marsh captured much of Hackett's fluid playing style, along with many of the distinct guitar sounds. As to the vocals, I remember recently watching an interview with the members of Genesis, and on the subject of whether there would ever be a reformation of the classic line-up, Peter Gabriel's comment on being able to reach some of the notes. I mention this as I felt that Tony Patterson may also have found some of the original keys a little high, fully expecting his voice to 'go', throughout the performance. However he managed admirably and coupled with his deft flute playing and stage persona carried off the "front man" task convincingly.
Over two hours of great music and for the conclusion of the concert, onto the stage emerged two drummers Jamie Fisher (departing) and Nigel Appleton (the replacement) - visit the bands website for an update. The duo played a lengthy drum solo ala Genesis circa the 1977 Invisible Touch Tour (I believe). Both players played tightly and cohesively together, following the script well before the addition of their own variations - an enjoyable prerequisite to the powerful Los Endos. As the likelihood that Messrs Gabriel, Hackett, Banks, Rutherford and Collins will ever reform (and even if they did would you ever get a ticket), ReGenesis capture well the essence of Genesis.
Watcher of the Skies
Dancing With the Moonlit Knight
I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
Firth of Fifth
More Fool Me
The Battle of Epping Forest
After The Ordeal
The Cinema Show
Aisle of Plenty
Eleventh Earl of Mar