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Fusion of early gems, hits, keeps fans turned on again

Likewise, those who love the band’s mid-to-later ’80s pop hits and fans of the solo sap that got Collins ridiculed on “South Park” lack the patience to appreciate its artsy core.

And yet, at the TD Banknorth Garden last night, Genesis did its best to balance all the things it’s ever been, with largely impressive results - “Against All Odds,” as it were.

Rather than singing the recognizable opener, “Behind The Lines,” Collins kept it instrumental and sailed into “Duke’s End” from behind his drum kit before stepping out for a righteous “Turn It On Again,” leaving additional drummer Chester Thompson to hold down the fort.

For every misguided pop moment (we really didn’t need to hear the cocaine anthem “Invisible Touch, did we?) there was an obscure nugget to match.

The baroque “Firth of Fifth” allowed room for guest guitar/bass man Daryl Stuermer to stretch out while keyboardist Tony Banks and double-ax-armed Mike Rutherford got to show off their instrumental dexterity.

The fused suite of “In the Cage” with “Cinema Show” and “Duke’s Travels” segued like a downward-drifting feather into “Afterglow,” helping keep one foot firmly anchored in the band’s progressive origins.

Meanwhile, passionately crooned r & b-spiked tunes such as “Hold On My Heart” and “Throwing It All Away” showcased the slick Top 40 mechanics that brought Genesis its latter-day commercial success.

Sprinkled between was post-Gabriel and pre-pop confection transition material. In particular, “Ripples,” from 1976’s “A Trick of the Tail,” was sublime, as was “Follow You Follow Me,” which Collins sang and drummed simultaneously.

“The Carpet Crawlers,” from the Gabriel-era epic “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway,” was the parting gift - perhaps a way of saying thank you to old fans for enduring filler like “I Can’t Dance” and “No Son of Mine.”

Despite nothing from “Abacab” and no “Misunderstanding” either, I’ll take a mediocre set list and indulgent video display over no Genesis at all.

And judging by the enthusiasm of last night’s sold-out crowd, I’m not alone.

© Boston Herald, by Christopher John Treacy

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