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Budapest gig review

ufries@metronet.de

Two days after the first official Genesis gig with Ray in Budapest I'll try
to write a review. It took a little time for I'm still absolutely stunned
and overwhelmed by the experience. To put it in a short form: Since I saw
the Berlin album launch I was sure Ray was the right choice for the job,
and after this show I'm absolutely convinced that once people get aware of
Genesis being still around, the band will find its way. Ray is a very
charismatic frontman. But enough of this, here's the review. I split it in
two parts for it's going to be a little long:

We, the paperlaters who went to Budapest, met with Tibor, Zoltan and his
girlfriend in the hotel where we were staying at 7 o'clock to go and see
the concert. We arrived at the Sportshalle at about 7.20 pm. Tibor and
Zoltan had informed us that ticket sales didn't go too well and that only
about 3000 tickets were sold. What was very surprising to me on the one
hand was the quite large number of younger people (between 20 and 30) and
the many girls we saw there, and on the other hand the stage: there were no
Jumbotrons there. I later got to know that the show in Mannheim on Feb. 4th
will be the first one having the Jumbotrons. Lucky me, another premiere
then:-)))

At 8.15 Genesis finally came on stage. They started with NSOM and LOC.
During this second song it was really very obvious that Ray became more and
more comfortable in his role, for he noticed the crowd was on his side.
There were even people in the front row with a banner saying "Welcome Ray".
Even Mike's face relaxed more and more and he started to smile, which he
didn't stop until the end of the concert.

After TLLDOB Ray talked to the audience for the first time. He thanked them
for being there and being so kind and he said "This is my first gig
tonight, but it won't be the last!!" Then they played a song Mike and Tony
gave to him at his audition where he should improvise some lyrics on the
music. The song was CAS.

After that they played HOMH which to me sounded very good although I don't
like this song too much. It was followed by AA which replaced That's all
which they had played at the rehearsal the week before.

TMBSOW was another new song which was even more powerful than on the
record.

I was a little concerned about the next one, Domino, which is my all time
favourite, but it was simply incredible. And when Nir took of for The Last
Domino, he built up a speed which was so fast and powerful that Mike went
over, looked at him and had such a big grin in his face that you could see
it way back in the last row. I'm sure about that!

After that another little talking by Ray to introduce CC which he said was
the first Genesis song he had deliberately listened to about 14 years ago
when he was 15. He then joked a little about Tony's and Mike's age and they
played the song like it is on Second's out without the original intro and
first verses.

Ray went off the stage and the other four played FOF. Just the instrumental
part like on the Old Medley from the WCD Tour, but without connecting it to
another song. Antony's guitar solo will cause many controversial
discussions here, I'm sure about that. (And I wait for the first post which
says something like "We want Daryl back".)
It is a mix of the original, atmospheric part of Steve's solo and a very
agressive in its style, but not fast part which Antony improvises. To me,
these two very different parts don't really fit, although they are great on
their own. And Nir is simply amazing, I can't say anything else about his
drumming. He doesn't have to hide behind anyone, not even PC.

They immediately started the intro to Congo where at first Tony's keyboard
refused to work, when he wanted to join on the drumbeat, but the second
time everything was allright.

Again Ray introduced something, this time the four coloums with the lights
on top. He said they were the girls of the four musicians, Antony, Mike Nir
and Tony. And he even made Tony laugh. (Yes, Tony did really laugh at a
concert, maybe also because of the crowd going "TONY, TONY" when Ray went
over to him). But unfortunately there were only four girls, because Ray
himself has nobody. He were still looking for someone, which he said two or
three times. I thought they were going to play that song, but Ray went on
to go in a different direction by saying he wanted a girl who would come to
his homecountry of Scotland to visit him at his Home By The Sea. They
played it including SHBTS, where Nir was once again simply king fabulous.

After SHBTS the stage changed a bit, they put four chairs on and the band
started their acoustic set, again introduced by Ray and with some problems,
this time with Antony's guitar which could not be heard over the PA, but it
was quickly fixed.
They started the acoustic set with DWTMK, which was another song which I
thought I would never see being played live. It was great except for the
end where Ray changed the text and sang again "Selling England by the
pound". Personally I like the Duke Tour version better, but that's just
because of the end.
FYFM was also a little different, which does NOT mean worse than the
original.
The acoustic set was closed by Lover's Leap from SR. It was just the same
as on the Berlin or NASA show, so you should know that one.

Then a well known drum machine sound blasted through the hall, Mama. I had
never heard this song before at a concert, just on records, videos or
bootlegs. The power hit me right away, and Ray's voice sounded really
great, until the often mentioned laugh was to come. And then the moment,
and the sobering. Ray's voice was so low in the mix that you could hardly
hear him laugh! So I'll have to wait for the next concerts to see if this
is intentional or if it was just an "accident".

TDL was next, and it was an incredible version, even about three minutes
extended compared to the album version. And the next problem occured:
during the beginning of his drum solo Nir hurt his finger and so he started
quite restained, but really took off later on.

They continued with IT on which Ray once again proved that he can handle
the poppier songs as well.

TIOA should also be known to you from Berlin and NASA, but the electric
version is much better than the acoustic one. It was almost like on the
last tour with Ray doing the introduction of the other musicians. Although
I would have preferred Mike or Tony to introdue Ray, and not he himself by
simply saying "And me" just like Phil did. That was virtually the only
obvious copy of Phil's performance during the whole show.

After they finished and said goodbye, Mike threw his right arm in which he
held the guitar so energetically into the air that it seemed as if he
wanted to throw the instrument against the ceiling of the hall. I've never
seen such an emotional outburst from Mike before (not that I have seen him
very often, but it was pure joy and relieve speaking out of this gesture).

They came back for the encores.
TIAA, where Ray skipped Phil's sing sang at the beginning, but came back to
it later to interact with the audience, was brilliant, too. And it didn't
seem to be a copy of Phil, it was just a natural thing given by the song,
not by its original performer.
Another new aspect on ICD: Ray came down to select a woman from the
audience which the took up on stage. There she should teach him how to
dance. The famous walk was just indicated in little gestures by Ray, and
where Phil played a face mouth organ, Ray pulled a real one out of his
pocket and played it!

Then it was over and they took their well deserved applause. A fantastic
night was over, and it will definitely not be the last show of this tour
that I will attend. I'll see them in Mannheim on Feb. 4th, in Amnéville on
Feb. 8th and probably in Straßburg on March 26th.

My conclusion:
The set list is great and quite fluently without any low point except for
HOMH, which is by far not bad, it simply doesn't really fit the other songs
around it.

During the whole show, from time to time Mike went over to Tony and talked
a little to him. Both looked very pleased with the way the show went and
the crowd participated and accepted Ray.

Ray, to me, has a great potential as a performer and as Genesis frontman.
He never tries to copy Phil or Peter, and he obviously tries to avoid
things in his performance which are directly linked to Phil (the sing sang
at the beginning of TIAA, The Other World introduction to HBTS, the ICD
walk, ...). The only think he copied was the "And me" during TIOA when he
introduced the band members. He's very nice and charming which could
attract more younger (female) fans in the future.

Nir was simply amazing. I can't tell you more, I can only say this: I never
ever missed the second drummer. Don't get me wrong, I saw the WCD tour
twice, and the drum duet was certainly a highlight, but the time saved for
there's no extra drum duet is filled with another song. And I like this
better. The duet with Chester was so organized and planned. There was no
real surprise to that for it was virtually the same since 1977, only
extended and changed a little bit. (The Drum Trio on Phil's DITL tour was
unbelievable, full of surprises and unexpected things happening.)

Antony is a very good guitarist as far as I can tell. I must admit I did
not pay too much attention to him, for I was more interested in Tony's and
Mike's behaviour, in Ray's performance and in Nir's drumming. Antony also
was the one being the most distanced from my place and therefore he was the
most difficult to see. And, as Tibor already mentioned, his playing was not
very prominent in the soundmix.

I would like everyone of you to go and see the concert before you form any
opinion or even go and condemn Ray or any of the other "new" guys. I'm
absolutely optimistic about the band's future and I can only say:

GENESIS LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for reading this far

Uli

PS It was a great concert and it was great to meet some of the paperlaters
and put faces to well known names. Greetings to Duncan and Lisa, to Volker
and Tom whom I will meet on Wednesday in Mannheim and, last but not least,
one more BIIIIIGGGG THANK YOU to Tibor and Zoltan who organized the whole
thing, made it possible for me to come to Budapest and who made it such a
pleasant and fantastic experience.