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Starting in....Budapest Hungary

toaster@mindspring.com

Yes, they are still Genesis, and they are still my favorite band
and live show. That is the synopsis of my 7 gig trip!

Now for the details! Of course if you don't want to hear it, delete
now as I get specific.

Firstly, it was great to meet (in order of appearance, of course)
Volker Warncke (who woke me up in Budapest), Zoltan Sessler,
Duncan & Lisa Phillips, Tibor Molnar, Uli Fries, and Andy Both.
After never really meeting anyone off the net, quite an interesting
experience.

As for the shows, really incredible! Mike & Tony really seem to
be feeding off the new guys' energy. They are more active, maybe even
Tony I think, on the stage. Thanks to the access to the floor (a great
way to see Genesis, general admission) one can actually see Tony
sweating at the end of the gig! And Mike seems to be bouncing around
like I have never noticed before. Ray and Nir contribute great energy
to the new band which I am not sure has ever really been there before.
Phil could only do so much by himself! So you have a rather unusual
setup as although Mike & Tony are in charge it seems, Ray & Nir supply
the energy. Not exactly the norm if you think of most other bands.

The set list rules!! After eliminating That's All and Hold On My Heart
in favor of Alien Afternoon and Shipwrecked, it seems to flow quite
well and the Europeans seem to love Shipwrecked, which gave me a
chance to rethink what I think of it. To me, the set list gets the crowd
really
pumped up, with a chance to rest for the acoustic stuff. So it works quite
well.

Yes, you do have to get used to the fact that it is a stripped-down Genesis
show. The last tour had the moving video screens, and the one before
had the umpteen thousand lights. This time out there are fewer lights,
and no moving screens, but you have to realize that with performing only
for the Europeans (in smaller arenas than the USA has) you simply have
no chance to make money if you over-do the stage set, due to the total
tickets you will end up selling. There is just not enough revenue even
with a sell-out, and if you charge more per ticket, people will not be able
to afford it. For example, the Budapest show was only about $20 a ticket
(without the screens) so people could afford to come see it.

Having said that, they make excellent use of what they have. Vari-lights
dominate and create nice moods and floods create nice colors. So
while i was disappointed in Mannheim the screens didn't move, I certainly
understood why. Still I think the music is the main reason to go, so...

The sound is really great overall! While there are technical glitches
that occur, overall it is extremely good-sounding. The keyboard sound
during The Dividing Line in Amneville was really funny as Tony Banks
launched into his initial solo with absolutely no sound at all. He pops
up from his chair, leans over to the back and yells something to someone,
goes back, tries again, nothing, so he shrugs and raises his eyebrows.
Nir looked like he is wondering what to do, when his cue is to go on with
the next section. Mike is playing along waiting for Tony to recover. Still
nothing. Nir seems to want to something, but Mike just seems to calm him
with a look.

Ant Drennan started grinning and embellished his part a little. Tony seemed
to be be fairly calm of course. And this continued for a minute or so and
was really funny because it showed the youth of the band, while if Phil
had been there he probably would have covered with a drum part perhaps.
Mike held everything together. Eventually the song changes, and Tony's
sound changes, and they just went on very professionally. And when
Ray appeared for the vocal middle section, he walked on by Tony and
grinned at him. The audience loved that song anyway. During the next
song, Mike wandered over and joked with Tony, perhaps saying, "Well,
maybe they never heard the album version!" Amneville was my favorite gig
as we were so close and the show was stunning as well. Add to that the
DL for a laugh made it even better. Also with the raised platform, after all
that happened in TDL, Tony trips coming back for the encore and nearly
lands on his keyboard! Luckily he caught himself however.

My last show, Dortmund, was perhaps the best and biggest crowd. They
were very active and went crazy over TIAA in the encore by waving their arms.
You could tell Ray really appreciated it. That show was the best DL of all
and perhaps the best Home By The Sea as well. Overall, Dortmund was
also probably the one that didn't really have anything wrong with it at
all, except perhaps for Ray straining a bit during Congo. That one seems
difficult for him to sing a bit.

Speaking of that, Ray was also very appreciative of the audience in Budapest.
They were very nice and he was obviously very relieved he was accepted.


The Budapest rehearsal I will not dwell on, except to say it was the most
mind-blowing Genesis experience of my life! To have them do the entire
set right in front of me and 8 other fans was like a dream come true.
Unreal really. I still can't believe it.

The band is getting better as they go on! The drum solo, for example,
in TDL just gets better and better. It was such a different one from what
I heard Phil do so often it was a shock at first. Now in Dortmund it seemed
at least a minute longer than Budapest, and more in tune with the feel of
the song. So in a week and a half Nir has made great strides I think!
The whole band seems to be geeting used to each other quite nicely.

As far as the band now doing Phil-era favorites, I must say without
question Mama is one of the highlights of the show, if not the very
best of all. No Son of Mine is also very good. Turn it On Again
and TIAA are also remarkable how well they come off. Invisible
Touch is an absolute miracle! I thought Ray would botch that one
for sure, but it is great! And lastly, I Can't Dance is absolutely
superior to ANY Phil ever did. The going to get the audience girl
is a highlight, it was especially in Leipzig, as the girl kept dancing
with Ray's behind in her hand and Ray kept moving it. :^) So really
I think, its the songs, not the singer, that rule in the first place.

In all I saw Budapest (and the rehearsal), Mannheim, Leipzig,
Berlin, Amneville and Dortmund. I only wish everybody in the
USA could go get tickets to fly over as it is incredible to see the
band at this point. They are like a fledgling newcomer in a way
if that makes any sense. By the end of the tour they are going to
be on a unbelievable roll. If you are in Europe don't miss it!!

Dortmund also debuted the tour program. In it Ray states that
he will be working with his band of seven years named Cut. So
that certainly points to a break-up or at least a break for the band
I suppose. So you never know this may be your last chance to
see the band EVER. It certainly made me sad at my last show.
I want another record!!

And you know, I listened to the first 4 songs on CAS today for the
first time since the live gigs and I love it more!! So I think that
speaks volumes, and I have gone on too long anyway.