There was a mini Genesis reunion Thursday night in London at the Progressive Music Awards 2015 ceremony.
One of the evening’s most prestigious honors, the Prog God award, was bestowed on Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks — andBanks’ former band mate, Peter Gabriel, who won the same honor last year, was on hand to present the award.
In introducing Banks, Gabriel recalled starting to write songs with him when they were both teenagers and arguing over how long his keyboard solos should be. Peter described Tony as someone who "has made his shape on our country’s music," adding, "He’s generated extraordinary lyrical melodies, wonderful songs, beautiful chord sequences and I’m very happy and proud still to be able to call him my friend."
Banks began his speech by jokingly poking fun at how the singers in Genesis, Gabriel and Phil Collins, had both lost their hair, while pointing out that he and other well-known prog-rock keyboardists — specifically, Rick Wakeman of Yes and Keith Emerson of ELP — have kept theirs.
Tony went on to thank his various Genesis band mates over the years, including Gabriel, Collins, Mike Rutherford, Anthony Phillips, and Steve Hackett, as well as his wife and the group’s longtime manager, Tony Smith. Banks finished by mentioning his recently released solo box set, A Chord Too Far, noting "if you like Genesis there’s a lot of stuff to like there."
The ceremony also featured a video tribute to the late Chris Squire that included appearances from several of his Yes band mates, including Wakeman, Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Alan White, and the late Peter Banks.
In addition, the event featured the presentation of the newly rechristened Chris Squire Virtuoso Award, which Wakeman — after telling some off-color jokes — gave to acclaimed jazz-folk bass player Danny Thompson.
Among the other Progressive Music Awards honorees this year were Gentle Giant, who took home the Lifetime Achievement award; ex-Elecric Light Orchestra member Roy Wood, who was presented with the Outer Limits award; and Yes album artist Roger Dean, who received the Guiding Light prize.