The Musical Box, Gig Review. Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

Away from a night surrounded by folk musicians and the odd nervous poet in attendance, everybody from the high end diva tagged performer to the watcher in the wings wants nothing more than the spectacular on stage. The crowd may feel as they have got their money’s worth, the fawned over photograph a hit on social media, a certain kind of artist knowing that if the crowd goes wild then the sales of DVD and all its associated regalia projected to be sellers for the Christmas market; the bigger, the better, the brasher; to be talked about for weeks and have the lights be more vivid than a night in Blackpool.

However, there are shows where the feeling of the stark, the laidback and naked scenes of over indulgence are consigned mercifully to the purity of light and dark, the complexity and unashamed beauty of the lyrics, the arrangement of musician’s thoughts the real star of the show; the result is the same, people, fans, will still talk of the night but it is arguably with much more heartfelt appreciation than a night supplied by the grandiose and the titillation of a hundred dancers of the three ringed circus.

Genesis’s music has always been constant, never wavering across the various times or the fads and fashions that invariably come along, however it is too the early days, the flourish of the dramatic that first brought them the rightful applause and attention and whilst the days of Duke, Invisible Touch and Abacab might have the thrill of the 80s rock vibe, there is arguably no replacement to the sophisticated vintage of the classic line up; a five piece that brought theatrical cool at the front of the stage and with passion unbridled and let loose.

To catch that in its entirety is not just hard, it should be impossible but for The Musical Box, every symbol, every symbolic tale is rooted in the determination to catch the early days of Progressive Rock as spot on as possible.

Celebrating the feast that was The Black Show Tour over 40 years on is an eye opener and for the fans at the Symphony Hall it was one that that was riveting, explosive and as creative as you could imagine, a show, one not over populated on stage but the serious business of story-telling rolled up in the elegance of a Steve Hackett like guitar and the beauty of a drum beat’s serenade.

Songs such as Dancing With the Moonlit Knight, The Cinema Show, the demanding, rarely performed but ultimately satisfying The Battle of Epping Forest and the arguably one of the most important tracks in Progressive Rock history, Supper’s Ready all gave the night the grandness is fully deserved; this was Genesis’s music performed by a group who have studied in every detail what made one of the U.K.’s much loved bands tick perfectly.

A great night in the Birmingham Symphony Hall, one to remember always!

Ian D. Hall