But if prog rock has come back into favor, Tuesday's Genesis show served as a reminder of why it fell out in the first place. As one shapeless, interminable jam followed another, the evening deliquesced into a soup of guitar wizardry and keyboard whoosh. (The band plays the last of a three-night stand at the Wachovia Center this evening.)
Reuniting Phil Collins with core members Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks (as well as touring stalwarts Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson) for the first time since 1996, the Turn It on Again tour shares a name with the band's best-of disc. But the nods to their string of synthesizer-driven '80s hits were terse and convictionless. Even the sold-out crowd couldn't seem to get worked up for "Land of Confusion."
The mood brightened when Collins sang the first notes of "In the Cage," from the band's double-LP opus The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Kicking off a four-song, 15-minute montage of live staples from the band's early days, the mini-suite notably energized their playing.
Although drum solos have been known to strike fear into the heart of the stoutest jam-band fan, Thompson and Collins' behind-the-kit duets provided some of the evening's highlights. Effortlessly slipping into sync, they stopped the show for a propulsive four-handed introduction to "Los Endos." Perhaps it's just a side effect of Collins' pop stardom, but air drummers far outnumbered air guitarists in the crowd.
Wearing wind pants and a long-sleeved T-shirt, both black, Collins belted out ballads with the verve of an American Idol contestant, occasionally thrusting his face into the footlights to spooky effect. But despite the fireworks that erupted at the climax of "Invisible Touch," the band generated more heat than light, turning it on without turning it up.
© The Inquirer, by Sam Adams