After countless postponements, we were finally set for what would be Genesis’ very last three concerts. The entire tour had been postponed several times, and the band were also hit by Covid-19 midway through the British part of last autumn’s tour, resulting in the London concerts being postponed until now.
Genesis – O2 Arena, London. 25 March 2022
Words: Geir Amundsen, Norway Rock Magazine
Photography: Robert Sutton
There was a worry that these dates might not happen, so it was a relief when I sat in my seat along with 19,999 others.
The band are pretty much the same ones who have played together since the ’70s. Phil Collins walked on stage with a cane and remained seated throughout, joining keyboardist Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford, who shared the bass and guitar job with American Daryl Stuermer, who has also played in Phil Collins’ solo band.
Since Collins can no longer play the drums, his son Nic carries the task in some style. Collins junior was naturally raised with these songs and played very well, respecting a lot of his dad’s groove. Phil had probably given a clear message that the boy should get attention because no one else got more camera time on the big screens than Nic. In addition, two singers on stage supported Collins’s vocals.
The show started with the instrumental Behind The Lines / Duke’s End from Duke, and the ’80s releases dominated the setlist. Over half of the songs were from the trio Duke, Genesis and Invisible Touch. We first hear Collins’ voice on Turn It On Again, which was followed by the song that made a pure young Amundsen a Genesis fan almost 40 years ago, Mama.
“This is the last stop of the tour,” Collins says. “After this, you have to make your own entertainment.” Land Of Confusion has gained new relevance with a Covid19-related background film, with Collins relating that “stupid fuck Putin” to the track. Home By The Sea followed, with its fascinating ghost story, which was a welcome feature.
For hardcore fans who have heard more than the radio hits, two of the highlights were probably Fading Lights and a beautiful version of Afterglow.
Halfway through, an acoustic segment saw everyone crowded in the middle stage performing alternative versions of That’s All, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and Follow You Follow Me.
The encore was a big contrast. First out was the most atypical Genesis song of all time, I Can’t Dance. I shed a small tear listening to Rutherford’s guitar and Collins singing, “Can you tell me where my country lies?” If they had played the whole Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, I could have died with a smile on my face.
The final song was The Carpet Crawlers. An impressive finale, many hoped that a certain Peter Gabriel would join them on stage, but it was not to be. The entire band took the rapturous applause, with Phil, Tony and Mike last to leave, bowing and thanking all.
This was a magical experience. It is hard to be critical on a night like this when the band heads into the sunset at full speed. It could hardly go wrong with a setlist like this, with songs like this, and star musicians like this. Even though he had good help from the backing singers, Phil Collins got to the finish line.
Genesis lived for 53 years, leaving behind some of prog rock’s most unforgettable records. I am so glad I got to see them on stage before it was too late.
And thus, the last domino piece has fallen. Thank you for the music.
Behind the Lines / Duke’s End
Turn It On Again
Land of Confusion
Home by the Sea
Second Home by the Sea
The Cinema Show
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Follow You Follow Me
No Son of Mine
Firth of Fifth
I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
Throwing It All Away
Tonight, Tonight, Tonight
I Can’t Dance
Dancing With the Moonlit Knight
The Carpet Crawlers