The Musical Box, Gig Review. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

It is somehow easy to dismiss the creativity of people, the stroke of genius that inspires others, that captures the zeitgeist and in which something truly incredible can arise, a spectacle, theatre of the mind. It is easy to dismiss it because to some eyes it looks like fun, that the players are solely reaping the applause for having performed a song, written a poem, created a play in which political leaders quake.

The approach of modern society is such that most insidious of emotions, jealousy, is always ready with the quick retort, not based in truth or wit, but in the resentful, the envious tongue and it is a cheerless state of affairs when it happens.

For Genesis fans the stroke of genius has never been in doubt, the band have suffered their detractors, their cynics and the so called wit but as the music they created between 1971 and 1975, the classic line up of Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and Phil Collins, what comes across is art at its finest, scathing, powerful, dogmatic, ritualistic, beautiful; if dismissing the creative mind is easy for some, then celebrating what was a group of men in their early 20s at their absolute powers, should be seen as positive reinforcement.

The Genesis fan is always bombarded with the period in which they became radio friendly, never the past, never the experimental, never the true Progressive; however, in The Musical Box, such moments are always laid bare, they are given the limelight, even in the stark black sheets that surround the stage, which they truly deserve.

The Musical Box don’t come to Liverpool all that often but in arguably one of the biggest gigs they performed at the Philharmonic Hall, the abundance, the sincerity of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway was given so much life that the foundations would have shook with glory. The recreation of the Black Show, the name given in America to the Selling England by the Pound Tour was arguably just as stunning and complete, it may have alluded to the sparseness, revelled in the low light and the illuminated flash but it was nonetheless just as spectacular.

With the crowd reeling, mouthing the words as if praying at a Progressive alter to songs such as The Battle of Epping Forest, Watcher of the Skies, the intricate nature of the instrumental Horizons, The Cinema Show and the epic, almost gargantuan Supper’s Ready, the pressure cooker valve of admiration was soon released and these songs, the ones that Genesis will always be remembered for, soon were lauded a new.

There will surely and realistically never be another Genesis tour involving the five men who lit up the stage in the early 70s, to take advantage of Canada’s The Musical Box is the only logical course of action, a memory of intensity and theatre that those who witnessed it will long revel in the night at the Philharmonic Hall.

Ian D. Hall