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Live Review: Musical Box at Arcada Theatre • St. Charles

| November 26, 2021

The Musical Box


The Musical Box

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Arcada Theatre, St. Charles

by Steven Kikoen

There’s an understanding among Genesis fans that when the time came where arguably the most prolific progressive rock ensemble that ever existed crossed the line into the pop microcosm, they would all secretly fain forgiveness and pretend to ignore this clearly obvious misstep. Such was the general feeling at the remodeled Arcada Theatre as the audience began filling up to its sold-out status as the Canadian group of exceptional musicians known as The Musical Box were spending their last few minutes of preparation backstage as showtime approached. The name of this tour is “Genesis Extravaganza – Volume 2;” the original iteration of “Volume 1” was experienced by essentially the same audience in April of 2019. Saturday’s show was rescheduled from 2020’s pandemic delay.

2019’s Genesis Extravaganza Part 1 was more Peter Gabriel based with the albums TrespassFoxtrot, Selling England by the Pound, and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway well represented; Part 2 is primarily Phil Collins based and hence, more mainstream with the albums A Trick Of The Tail, Wind and Wuthering, and And Then There Were Three well represented. The opener for Part 1 was “Eleventh Earl of Mar,” followed by “Dance on a Volcano,” and then the completely hypnotic “Entangled” that appeared to have 36 collective strings within three 12-string guitars chiming in harmonic convergence. The fans of TMB and Genesis were likely not disappointed.

Next up was an instrumental medley consisting of “…In That Quiet Earth; “Robbery, Assault and Battery,” and “Wot Gorilla?” which quite aptly demonstrated both Genesis’ penchant for odd time signatures and broad dynamic stylings – which are the essential elements of prog (with perhaps a hint of jazz-rock fusion)– matched with The Musical Box’s ability to replicate said genres seamlessly. And throughout the entire show there is another element that absolutely sets the stage for the time machine that we were all in: TMB’s super period-accurate multimedia slide show and video presentation. As good as it was, there was something atypical about the multimedia presentation that one could not quite put one’s finger on; it was a bit ineffable. And then it hit me. It was all analog. All of it. And not only the presentation on the screen, but everything, down to every guitar pedal, every keyboard, the mellotron, every amplifier, everything. You won’t find a single LED light within the lighting rig that the group brings, because yes, it’s all analog, yet still the group was able to effectively recreate the famous Seconds Out album cover with the look of those Boeing aircraft landing lights that a few fog machines always come in handy for. It’s also notable that the sound at the Arcada has improved with the dramatic 2021 remodel of the venue.

After TMB performed the much loved “Ripples’ and “Los Endos,” there was a short intermission. After the 15 minute break, TMB left the Phil Collins-era Genesis material and launched into the most welcomed Peter Gabriel-era staples which included “The Fountain of Salmacis,” “Stagnation,” “Can-Utility and the Coastliners,” “Looking For Someone,” and then finished up with the incredible trilogy of “Firth of Fifth,” “The Cinema Show,” and “Aisle of Plenty,” significantly featuring the impressive talents of “Tony Banks” TMB member Ian Benhamou, whose chair in the band is probably the most significant if not the most difficult in its comprehensive range and requirements of dexterity. The prog rock audience of TMB fans that filled every seat at The Arcada Theatre was likely impressed by the sheer demonstration of accuracy in performance, staging, sound, and visuals of the evening. vocalist Denis Gagné announced at shows end that the next time they come through, TMB will be performing the 1974, acclaimed Genesis double album The Lamb Lies down On Broadway, which garnered a positive reaction from the audience.

The current line-up of The Musical Box consists of singer and performer Denis Gagné (Peter Gabriel), guitarist François Gagnon (Steve Hackett), bassist Sébastien Lamothe (Mike Rutherford), keyboardist Ian Benhamou (Tony Banks), and drummer Bob St-Laurent (Phil Collins).

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