Genesis Knebworth 1978 A Midsummer Nights Dream
And Then There Were Three…..
Support from Jefferson Starship, Tom Petty, Devo, Brand X, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Roy Harper
Come 1978 and Genesis were massive news. Firstly they were one of the biggest bands in the UK, big enough to headline the massive Knebworth festival and secondly they were in the news because their line-up changed again when Steve Hackett left to pursue a solo career. Genesis were now down to three members, and hence the album title, those being Phil Collins now vocalist, frontman, and drummer extraordinaire, Mike Rutherford on bass and guitar, and Tony Banks on keyboards. The remaining musical duties we fulfilled by players Daryl Stuermer on guitar and Chester Thompson on drums. By 1978 the Knebworth Festival was well established and the line-up for this event was pretty strong. Of the other acts on the bill I remember enjoying Tom Petty particularly. In fact his set was the highlight of the day. Jefferson Starship also played a great set, which was remarkable given the absence of lead singer Grace Slick who had left the band a few days earlier, suffering from drink and drug problems. The weather was ok, warm, but not hot. Festival favourite Roy Harper was a late, unexpected and very welcome addition to the bill, coming on stage to warm the crowd up just before Genesis. The headliners took to the stage quite late in the evening, and had an amazing light show. The set was drawn mostly from their more recent albums, which was a disappointment for me, as I was hoping that they would still play some of their older material. I Know What I Like was reserved for the encore. The single at the time was Follow You Follow Me. The crowd gave Genesis a great reception with major singing along to Follow You Follow Me and I Know What I Like. I suppose this was the point where Genesis really became a mega band in the UK, and started to move more towards AOR and soft rock, and away from the beautiful mysterious prog rock what had characterised their earlier days. Although I continued to enjoy their music and saw them a few more times, something innocent and beautiful had been lost during the journey, and it wasn’t simply about the departure of Peter Gabriel. Genesis had changed into a different sort of rock act, and I guess that night at Knebworth I realised that for the first time. I enjoyed the gig but left the field longing to see them play The Musical Box, Watcher of the Skies and The Knife.
Archive for the ‘Devo’ Category
Genesis Knebworth 1978 A Midsummer Nights Dream
Devo Newcastle City Hall 1978 and 1980
Question: Are we not men? Answer: We are DEVO.
There were some pretty crazy messages coming out of planet DEVO in the late 70s. The messages even got through to the north east of England and drew us all to Newcastle City Hall to observe these strange beings that were DEVO, listen to the songs that they chose to share with us, and do our mad DEVO dances. The DEVO guys were very different to UK punk rock, and to anything else that we earthlings had seen come out of American new wave. So along we went (twice in my case!) to be DEVOed and to stare in awe at these crazy guys who wore red pointy hats, weird yellow suits and sang quirky punk songs with strange lyrics and obscure messages, many of which also had quite catchy hooks. Mongoloid and Jocko Homo were quite good fun, and their version of Satisfaction was ok, if a little strange. As the programme says: “The band eveolved from a long line of brain-eating apes, some of which settled in N.E. Ohio around Akron where members of Devo eventually appeared years after the A-Bomb ended World War II. By the process of natural selection they met and shared the habits of making electronic noise, watching TV and watching everybody esle. They called that they saw around them De-evolution and called their music Devo. It made the sound of things falling apart.” Support for the 1978 Newcastle gig came from The Members whose Sound of the Suburbs was pretty neat. They were fronted by singer Nicky Tesco who was a cool guy and good fun on stage. The Members had been brought in at short notice to replace Doll by Doll (featuring Jackie Leven) who had been dropped from the tour because they were “not sufficiently DEVO”. Apparently Doll by Doll turned up for this gig, only to find out that they were not playing and were understandably not too pleased. Anyway, my two interactions with the DEVO aliens were both good clean fun, even if it was all a little crazy. But then, these were crazy times. I also had the good fortune to be present when the DEVO space craft landed in a field at Knebworth and they performed on a bill with Genesis, Tom Petty and Jefferson Starship. But thats a story for another days blogging. Perhaps the DEVO guys, who are still playing in the States, will yet take over the world and I will wake up tomorrow and find that I am living on planet DEVO. Perhaps I already am? Are we not men? We are DEVO? “If the spud fits; wear it : DEVO”