OK, so it wasn’t the original Peter Gabriel-led lineup basking in the glorious glow of “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.”
However, on Saturday, when the trio version of progressive rock pioneers Genesis – Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and longtime tour collaborators Chester Thompson and Darryl Steurmer — arrived in Buffalo for the second date of its North American “Turn it On Again” reunion tour, only a truly hardened cynic could’ve remained unmoved. Saturday’s concert reflected the dichotomy between concise pop and far-reaching, exploratory pieces from throughoutthe band’s history.
Incredible talent as an ensemble, individual virtuosity, and an acrobat’s sense of balance — exemplified by the sort of back-to-back, idiomatic brain quakes created by the placing of a prog-Beatles ballad like “Afterglow” next to the r&b-inflected pop of “Hold on My Heart” — made Saturday’s set a joy to behold.
Opening with the gorgeous, expansive “Behind the Lines,” and fusing it to “Duke’s End,” Genesis arrived like manna from heaven for listeners who have in recent years likely grown both bored and frustrated by the lowest-common-denominator nature of much modern rock.
“Turn It on Again,” another song from the brilliant, sadly underrated “Duke” album, followed, and introduced the tight, taut post-Gabriel pop sensibilities. “No Son of Mine” was less adventurous, but Collins sang with abundant passion, and largely covered for the rather conventional — by Genesis standards — song structure.
Treats abounded for the Genesis faithful, as the band offered up the “In the Cage/The Cinema Show/Duke’s Travels” medley, played “Home By the Sea” and “Second Home by the Sea” as one extended piece, and melded the elegant “Firth of Fifth” to the quintessentially British “I Know What I Like.”
There was only one lame spot in the set, and it came when the group played the massively popular but musically weak “Invisible Touch.” The song was a huge hit for the band, so one can forgive them for playing it.
On balance, this show was moving on many levels. When Collins sang “Afterglow” so beautifully; when “Ripples” was as fantastically transcendent as it ever was; when Collins and Thompson performed a duet solo piece. Name me one band that’s emerged over the past decade that could possibly pull this off.
The band ended with “Carpet Crawlers,” one of “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’s” most moving songs. It was a transcendent four minutes, capping a stellar show.
© The Buffalo News, by Jeff Miers