Land Of Confusion
Genesis may be stalling in the UK, but in the Czech Republic,
the progressive rock hoardes still wear their hair long. At the back.
A glance at The Prague Post tells the recent arrival to Europe's
capital that Genesis are not the only British attraction in town this week.
Pragues cineastes are flocking to Do Naha! or Towards Nakedness the
"rumbustious British comedy". Admittedly it sounds a lot more rumbustious in
its English title of The Full Monty, but you follow. At minus eight degrees
however, no-one is going anywhere remotely towards nakedness and the confines
of the Sparta Prague Ice Hockey Stadium is Q's first ever experience of a gig
where muffler and furry hat would be more suitable attire than promo T-shirt.
Central Europe is still the heartland for progressive rock and though
market for acts of the Genesis pedigree may have "softened" in the UK,
appetites are voracious as ever around the Danube and the Vistula. The band
arrive in Prague from Katowice and before that Warsaw. A measure of the
group's clout in this part of the world is the fact that the Warsaw gig wasshown live on Polish national TV at prime-time on a Saturday evening. "There
must have been some very unhappy elderly Polish ladies," comments guitarist
Mike Rutherford ruefully.
Genesis have never played in Prague before. Few bands did before the
Revolution of 1990. To commemorate their visit, the band hold a press
conference on the seventh floor of the Hotel Inter Continental, Pragues only
major international hotel. Here every remaining hippy in Europe emerges
blinking into the light reeking of patchouli to ask questions via an
interpreter. Many of these questions concern Ray Wilson, hirstute and youthful
new singer taking on the diminutive mantle of Phil Collins. At tonight's gig,
Wilson, along with fellow new boys Anthony Drennan (guitar, Irish) and Nir Z
(drums, Israeli) gives the group a rawer, rockier edge than they've had in
some time and certainly much more than their last live outings in 1992. Old
favourites such as Land Of Confusion and Mama seem positively sinister whilst
there are a few daring new moves which will delight stalwarts such as an
acoustic segue of Lover's Leap, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, Follow You,
Follow Me and a resurected Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.
Wilson pronounces the Czech crowd "politer and a bit harder work than
Poles" but seems pleased. The young man who was not born when the band formed
30 years ago heads off now to Germany where he has sold several million albums
already, both with previous group Stiltskinand half a million of new
Genesis set Calling All Stations. Towards Mannheim. Towards nakedness possibly.
But only if it gets warmer.