Genesis gigs in 1971 and 1972

Genesis gigs in 1971 and 1972
genesisprog72 I have been delaying writing on Genesis, because they were so important to me in the 70s, and I wanted to be sure that I do my memories, and this special band, justice. The first time I saw the band was on the Charisma package tour where they were joined by Van Der Graaf Generator and Lindisfarne for the princely sum of 30p. I have already blogged on that gig, where Genesis stole the show, as they would always do in those days. I saw Genesis several times in 1971 and 1972. They supported Mott the Hoople at a gig at Sunderland Locarno, and I also saw them as support for Lindisfarne at the City Hall (see programme) and at the Lincoln and Reading Festivals in 1972. The band were up and coming but they were also very much at the top of their game in many ways. During those years they released the classic albums “Nursery Cryme” and “Foxtrot”. Much of the set was drawn from “Nursery Cryme”, and I remember those songs best of all. “The Musical Box” and “The Return of the Giant Hogweed” were great stage favourites and would be preceded by long complex stories delivered in an enchanting, spell-binding and spooky manner by Peter Gabriel. “The Musical Box” was my favourite. Peter shaved the front of his head during this period, and also started to experiment with costumes. Steve Hackett would be sitting on a stool playing those intricate beautiful melodies, Tony Banks was wringing swirling, brooding sounds from his organ and Mike Rutherford would be quietly plucking away at his bass. Phil Collins was at the back on drums having recently joined the band, and providing backing vocals, and which were actually a very important part of their sound, which I didn’t realise until he was to become the front man a few years later.genesisprog72a The set would also feature the dramatic and fierce “The Knife” as encore, from their first “real” Genesis album Trespass, and later in 1972 new songs “Watcher of the Skies” (Peter would fly onto the stage as a weird bat-like creature) and the epic “Suppers Ready”, both from the “Foxtrot” album were introduced into the set. The set which sticks in my mind most of all is Reading 72. Genesis were featured on the Friday night of the festival, on a line-up headed by Curved Air and also featuring Mungo Jerry. It was a warm, calm evening and Genesis came on stage at dusk,  just as it was getting dark. Their beautiful textured sound flowed across the field, and we were all silent, entranced by Peter’s stories and by his strong presence. The Musical Box story was my favourite: Cynthia kills Henry, by knocking off his head with a croquet mallet, and then finds his musical box in the attic.  It was pure magic and they were easily the highlight of that night. A recording exists of that evening and shows that they played: The Knife; Twilight Alehouse; Watcher Of The Skies; The Musical box; The Return Of The Giant Hogweed. Pure magic. Genesis were to gain their most success a few years later, but it is those early gigs that stick in my mind. The band were at their most inventive, their most powerful, and their most potent in 1972 and 1972. You just had to be there to understand it. There was a simplicity, an innocence, a purity about them in those days. Magic.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Neil McEwan on January 27, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    I was a big fan of Genesis at this time and saw them play at the Dagenham Roundhouse with a mate from school and at a venue at Mile End (Sundowner?). During the era of Gabriel’s strangely shaved head and costumes. Remember him walking up to the mic at the Roundhouse wearing a flower on his head to start the set and the mic didn’t work, spurring Peter to throw the mic to the floor and stomp off for a while. Calling for and receiving ‘The Knife’ as an encore was always a treat.

    i had tickets to see them play the Theatre Royal Drury Lane a few years later, but they had got big by then and I didn’t watch them in the end.

    Thanks for posting this and bringing back so many good memories of a magical time.


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