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Review: Newcastle Arena

seconds.out@btinternet.com

Well, what a night down in the toon! Unfortunately I did not meet any
paperlaters there, but non the less I had a great evening.
After phoning the arena to find out the start time (which was quoted as
7:30), I realised I was going to be late. As I approached the arena in the
car there was a large queue of traffic, partly due to the rush of fans and
partly due to some traffic light being out of sinc. Anyway I arrived at 7:40
to find hundreds of people still entering the arena (with tickets still
being sold along the way). It seems I wasn't late after all, I took my seat
in the arena (about 20 row back on the main floor: wu-who!) and tried on my
new G t-shirts. After sitting through the rather poor selection of pre-show
music (Blur, Republica, etc.) the lights went out and a full Newcastle
Arena went wild. The drum machine started and as the rest of the arena
acknowledged it was No Son Of Mine, I wondered where the band were! The drum
machine kept ticking until four crystalised white lasers shone into our eyes
and I could see the silhouette of Tony Banks, que the music and vocals and
the lights. What a great opener, Nir twatted the drums like mad, whilst Mike
cruised through the solo (unlike the struggle on the last tour). It finished
and was greated by applauds and a few muted chears, que Ray's air-drumming
and land of confusion. New sound, but even better than original, god it was
almost embarrassing as the middle aged pricks next to me refused to sing
(oh-oh-oh)!!! A cry of Hello from Ray greated the next track and the biggest
chear of the night to date as Tony began playing The Lamb intro.
Unfortunately it seemed to go a bit wrong, but Tony sorted it out an it
didn't sound wrong (even though it was, as Mike laughed at him), excellent
performance by Ray again, perfectly understood lyrics 'Rael-imperial-aerosol
kid', unlike when Phil sang it, good ending too. Upcame CAS and was even
better than the fantastic album version (again Mike cruised through the
solo). Next came Carpet Crawlers, Ray's sense of humour was excellent as a
chair was brought on for him:-

'I always get a bit worried when a chair gets brought on I don't think people realise I am not as old as the rest of the band!'

Anto sat down and played brilliantly, Ray sang well, probably better then
Peter (on the original) and maybe better than Phil on Seconds Out, but this
was maybe just beause the previous versions wern't as good musically.

I think There Must Be Someother Way was next. Ray talked about his audition
and how it was lucky he had a free date to go and audition and how he had to
come up with some lyrics. The song worked better than on the album,
particularly the keyboard solo, but it was one of the lower points of the
evening.

Domino was next and the bass was very loud, the whole Arena vibrated during
in the glow of the night. Ray sang well, but this time Nir was the best
performer, unortunately the guitar and keyboards wern't loud enough in
sections as the backing instruments took the lead. The closing part was
excellent, just as you thought it had finished it started again, and when
you thought it had finished for the second time it started again, until the
final drum role and finish.

Ray went off stage Mike picked up the bass and Anthony picked up the
guitar, a white curtain came accros the back of the stage and some lights
were shone onto it (rather than having the jumbotrons). No one new what song
it was until the keyboards got going, the lights wern't much good on this
nor was the 'pictures' on the curtain. However Firth Of Fith itself was
excellent, Mike was brilliant on bass and Tony was as good as ever on
keyboards. Nir kept the whole thing together, although he drummed a bit too
hard on the opening section. Anthony's guitar solo was excellent much more
like Steve's original version, but it had a more modern feel and didn't
sound totally different to the Genesis Revisited version. Anthony got plenty
of applauds and cheers once he finished and the song eneded.
Next up was Congo. It started with a jungle beat from Nir and we got
various moving green leaves on the curtain. Ray came back on stage just in
time to sing, with Mike still on bass. It all went well thorugh the keyboard
solo, before another jungle rhythm from Nir and then a slie guitar solo from
Anthony. The song had some of the best moments of the night, but the jungle
beats wern't any good and the final lyrics from Ray didn't sound too good
either (Congo the Congo - if that's what you want for me, etc.). If these
parts had been left out it certainly would have been in the top three or
four songs of the night. It's a shame I was just about the only one singing
backing vocals with Mike and Anthony, AGAIN!

Next was the final song before the acoustic set, which was Home By The Sea
/Second Home By The Sea. Ray introduced the song with the group's
girlfriends (the robotic lights), commenting that we should recognize Tony's
as it once went out with Kevin Keegan! Ray sang well, but the instrumental
section was the highlight of the two songs. Once again Mike played a perfect
solo, before Ray came back on stage to sing. We got some more 'annimation on
the curtain which was some moving walls which changed colour. Not very good,
but it was good as we got for the night.

After the applauds and cheers died down, four chairs were brought on stage
and Anthony, Mike, Nir and Tony sat round in a semi-circle. Three acoustic
guitars were brought on for Anto, Mike and Tony and Nir had some percussion
to play into a microphone. Ray stood at the front and asked if we would
remember this...

Yes, Genesis kicked off with the opening section of Dancing With The
Moonlit Knight, which Ray sang brilliantly and Anto was particularly good on
guitar. Unfortunately the song was disturbed a bit, by some guy just behind
me, who was convinced it was The Musical Box! Next up was 'Follow You Follow
Me', for which Ray sat down on the edge of the stage to sing. I always loved
the TSL version and the original, but this was absolutely fantastic, it has
to be heard to be believed! Next up was Lover's Leap from Supper's Ready,
this got a loud chear and shouted a bit too to make sure Tony and Mike knew
that we wanted the whole thing, even though we wern't going to get it. Not
About Us closed the acoustic set which was better than the original acoustic
version in NASA and Berlin, but may be not as good as the album version, not
sure really.

After plenty of applauds the chairs were taken away and the lights went
out. Another drum machine pattern started and it was the turn of Mama to be
played. This was excellent throughout, Ray performed terrifically on what
used to be Phil's signature song! Perhaps that award should go to In The
Cage or Ripples now, but if they ever come out again, Ray might out do Phil
again! Next up was The Dividing Line, I was suprised when Anto and Mike had
both picked up guitars and Tony was playing the bass line on a synth. I
think Nir broke part of his drum kit during this song, he hit the drums so
hard! Anto and Mike were both impresive during the opening guitar-duel. Ray
came on to sing the mid-section and was again impressive, but an extended
drum solo really showed what Nir was capable of. ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.
The rock classics were now complete and time for a bit of a sing along!
As Invisible Touch started everyone stood up and started clapping and I
found myself singing along, even if no one else was! It's just as well the
sound was so loud no one could hear my singing otherwise a few people may
have taped my mouth up, my voice is that bad! Then the main set was
completed with Turn It On Again, which had some impressive Vari Lights and
smoke. Ray told us it was last song of the evening and Mike siad bye before
they went off stage. Unbelevabley about ten or twenty people left at this
point, whilst everyone else stood and apllauded for more, eventaully Mike,
Tony, Ray, Nir and Anto reappeared for Throwing It All Away, which was
suprisingly a good chioce to kick of the encores with. Finally they played I
Can't Dance. Ray picked up a girl from the crowd and his humour showed
through again:-

Ray: Can You Dance?
Girl: Yes
Ray: Good. Are you nervous?
Girl: Yes
Ray: Good!!!

The song was alright, it wasn't a bad closer as it was good to sing along to
and Ray even forgot his words! However had this appeared in the main set I
would have strongley criticed it. The band had obviosley chosen the song
as their final encore as it surely their 'anthem', as Turn It On Again was
on the last tour.

It was already over. I returned to the car and as I drove back I followed a
large white limozine, I wonder if Genesis were in there. It had blacked out
windows and was trying to avoid going on the main road, unfortunatley, if it
was the band they didn't pull over and give me a free sound board copy of
the show and the box set! Anyway, if Genesis return to Newcastle in the
Autumn, I will certainly be there.