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Live Review: Genesis at United Center • Chicago

| November 16, 2021


Genesis 2021


United Center

November 15, 2021

Review by Andy Argyrakis

Photo by Patrick Balls


When Phil Collins proved he was Not Dead Yet with a tell-all book and tour of the same name in 2018, speculation began swirling that another final hurrah with Genesis could be coming right around the corner.

Though it wasn’t exactly what some fans have been praying for since 1975 — that original singer Peter Gabriel and guitar hero Steve Hackett would take the trailblazing group back to its progressive rock beginnings, the much more commercially successful line-up featuring Collins, fellow guitarist Mike Rutherford, and keyboardist Tony Banks finally came to fruition with “The Last Domino?” tour.

The American edition kicked off right here in Chicago at the United Center last night and continues there on Tuesday, November 16, which smartly requires masks when not actively eating or drinking, along with proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Considering the overseas dates were already derailed for that very reason, these precautions are worth the extra steps, significantly if it aids the core trio — longtime axe-slinger/bassist Daryl Stuermer, drummer Nic Collins (who’s picking up right where his father or Chester Thompson left off), and two background singers (a first for the band) to all reach the finish line together.

It’s no surprise that the seated Collins isn’t drumming anymore and can benefit from any extra vocal assistance, plus now more than ever, he definitely can’t dance, but that didn’t stop his superstar-sized personality and self-deprecating sense of humor from shining through. However, it was the musicians who got the earliest chances to shine with an instrumental mash-up of “Behind The Lines” and “Duke’s End,” followed by a euphoric “Turn It On Again,” all of which mirrored the opening to 2007’s reunion and implied career conclusion.

Given that Genesis hasn’t released anything new since 1991, the over two-hour show had many similar moments as that previous go around, mixed with a few surprises, such as a larger-than-life video wall that cleverly illustrated the pandemic during the charging “Land Of Confusion.”

Perhaps to further drive home the finality of the occasion, a couple of verses of “Fading Lights” found their way into a medley that included the instrumental wizardry of “The Cinema Show” and the sublime visual display of “Afterglow.”

The synchronizations simmered when everyone unplugged and came to the front of the stage for a campfire-friendly version of “That’s All.” However, “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” was virtually unrecognizable, stripped of all its grit and guts in favor of a more Mike + The Mechanics-styled adult contemporary arrangement, which certainly has “A Time And Place,” but probably not during the titular track to this belovedly bizarre conceptual collection.

Nonetheless, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers rebounded with the phone light-adorned “Follow You Follow Me,” before cranking it up for the meaningful “No Son Of Mine,” the unexpected inclusion of “Misunderstanding” after a 37-year absence, Stuermer flawlessly recreating Hackett’s spectacular solo on “Firth Of Fifth,” and the light-hearted “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe),” which even saw Collins tossing around the tambourine.

From there, it was a straight shot through no less than four humongous moments off Invisible Touch, with the intensity of the complete “Domino,” a testament to both Banks and Rutherford’s undiminished speed, and the chilling radio edit of “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” volleying with the wistfully nostalgic “Throwing It All Away” and the title cut’s synth-pop perfection.

The encore couldn’t have made for a wider study in contrasts, starting with the bluesy, MTV-era novelty “I Can’t Dance,” then returning to when its former frontman dressed in drag for a shocking sliver of “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight” and the complete art-rock etherealness of “The Carpet Crawlers.”

Even five seconds of “Supper’s Ready” would’ve sealed the deal. But not to fear, at least Hackett is performing that sprawling opus as part of the entire “Seconds Out” concert tour with his version of Genesis Revisited throughout 2022, including a stop at the Copernicus Center on Thursday, May 5.

In the meantime, specific setlist picks and physical limitations aside, what’s not to like or at least appreciate (other than the prices) about three lifelong buddies giving yet another generation the chance to catch what’s arguably the most “progtastically” popular act ever to walk the planet.



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Category: Featured, Live Reviews

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