Monday, July 09, 2007

Genesis at Twickenham - gig review.

You may or may not have seen the photos I posted at 2AM this morning - they are posted below this in the previous entry - click on any one for a full sized version. I was too knackered to cobble together any worthwhile prose, and needed to eat and get to bed. Much refreshed now, I am ready to do my Sheridan Morley bit on yesterday's Genesis concert at Twickenham Stadium.

Twickenham Stadium looks a right old mess from the outside. They have the builders in, and it shows. Once inside however, the venue is excellent, and far better than the old Wembley (though I cannot yet comment on how it compares to the new version). They allow drinks and food to be taken onto the terraces, and no - one bats an eye at a camera. Times have changed for the better in this respect. Anyway, what about the band and their performance?

The Good.
The sound was awesome - easily the best concert sound I have ever heard by a mile. The band employ the very best sound and lighting techies, and the best equipment and it pays off in spades. The sound was of almost audiophile standard - the nearest comparison I could make was that the sound was like HD video for the ears. However there were a couple of occasions when for an unexplained reason it became muddy for a few seconds. Overall it was excellent though.
Set design - you will see from the photographs that the entire set was a giant video screen with live footage mixed with archive and custom CGI animation. There were a couple of huge oval video screens which would blow away any domestic plasma screen - goodness knows what these units must have cost. Giant VariLite columns were like the monsters from War of the Worlds, looming over the stage below. It would appear that no expense had been spared to show that no expense had been spared.
The set list. Always a difficult choice as the band have to please both the fan of the 80's pop stuff, and the more traditionalist fans of the band's earlier symphonic Prog Rock period. I felt that they got the mix about right, but that is just my opinion.
The spectacle - Genesis do stadium rock like few others, they really show the divide between ordinary rock combos and the true supergroups.

The Bad.
Phil Collins did at times seem to be mentally running through his shopping list; his mind was elsewhere and I have heard the same stage patter from him before. Still the consummate professional - and the rest of the band were on top form - Tony Banks even managed a couple of smiles! I am used to just seeing the top of his head hidden amongst vast swathes of keyboards. He has thrown in his hat with Korg now, and dumped the analogue synthesiser gear. I think this may have made some practical sense, but nothing sounds like a Mellotron choir like the real thing.
The whole gig was very well organised - in some ways too organised; there was absolutely no spontaneity or improvisation (except when Daryl Steurmer's solo during "The Firth of Fifth" went a bit wonky and he used some widdly noodling to try and cover it up) - I don't think he fooled many people. I understand the need to have split second timing for the lights and video effects, but it does take the edge off a performance. This is one area where the best of the Genesis tribute bands have an advantage.
The seating in Twickenham is atrocious - I had to get out and walk around on four occasions as there was absolutely no leg room and my dodgy knee started to ache naggingly. The view, accessibility, food outlets and loos were all top form though. Parking would have been a real problem had I not had the kind offer from Russ to park in his front garden, less than a mile from the venue.

A full set of gig photos in a number of different freely downloadable sizes can be found on my Flickr website (link).

Overall it was an excellent gig, though at £89 per ticket after booking fee, it really needed to be. Tour programmes were £15 and T-Shirts £20 - £25; I gave both a miss.

1 comment:

  1. Hey!
    That first picture of the post isn't from the gig it's you standing on one of the lower floors of the southwest facing aspect of Pewty Acres surveying the Lorries that carry the Generators that supply the back up power for your Servers!
    The people milling about are the few you allow in every Sunday to enjoy the spender of Pewty Acres.

    Then you enjoy the splendour of setting the dogs on them...

    Must admit I enjoyed the gig but thought it was abit...flat?
    Everything was perfect but that’s half the problem, it was abit soulless. Empty.
    Ok I’m not really a big fan of “Corporate Rock” events but thankfully the concert seemed to be refreshingly free of “sponsored by McCoke Industries PLC” although as there was no support band they could have had a better choice of music and videos before the band came on also £15 for a programme is waaaaay to much.
    Musically the band were superb, echoing what you said the more complex stuff was obviously played by people who are at the top of their game and as they haven't played them live in 20 years they seemed to enjoy it, whereas the "pop" stuff where Phil Collins had to sing as opposed to drum he sounded and looked bored and going through the motions.
    Unfashionable as it's always been I always liked his "cheeky-chappy" persona as it came across as natural and almost at odds with the seriousness of the music (well the old stuff anyway..) but for the gig on Sunday it just seemed like he was just bearing the audience. This may sound pretentious but I know when I’m bored of playing a song how I act and saw exactly the same thing in Phil Collins performance, no spontaneity and hanging on to the mic stand. Drum solo’s or duets also usually bore the pants off me but I thought the fact that it was done on two breakfast bar style leather seated, chrome tubing stools was amazing and showed abit of a spark there!
    I looked at this gig as the last time the band is going to play live and as a HUGE fan wanted to see them live before they shuffled off this mortal coil…

    For some reason I’m still knackered.
    I was like a bear with a sore head yesterday as I was so tired, went to bed about 3am and got woke up at 4am by smallest sprog happily chatting and singing (at the top of her voice) then when they woke up at 7am and went downstairs with Grandma, then at 8am when one hurt the other one, then finally I got up at 9:30am and I felt drunk all day (not in a good way but in a “glass of water” * type way), all wobbly and unable to co-ordinate. Going to get an early night tonight!

    ”What’s wrong with being drunk?”
    “Ask a glass of water…”