Genesis gets ready to kick off first North American tour in 15 years

"We always appreciated that the Canadians, with a bit of a French connection to Europe, had a bit of a sort of affinity for us," Rutherford said as he sat alongside Collins and Banks.

"Those tours were quite hard, people didn't really know us, so I think having those shows in Canada where you felt they actually liked you was really important."

The band's 20-city North American show will offer a 2 1/2-hour set that spans the entire Genesis catalogue, the guitarist said.

Rutherford said it took band members a while to get a handle on their vast material, noting that much has changed since Genesis first topped the charts decades ago with songs like "Invisible Touch," "Turn It On Again" and "In Too Deep."

"We were younger and fitter and we were playing faster then, so when we started rehearsing, it took us a while to get us back to speed again," said the slim 57-year-old.

Genesis is just the latest group of aging rockers who've launched tours this year, joining the Police and Van Halen on the road after a long absence from the stage.

Collins said the band's only motivation for returning to the spotlight was simply to play music, noting they aren't hawking a new album and the tour has no sponsor.

The band has already done 25 shows in Europe but could have easily done 60 if they were after more money, said Collins.

"I feel remarkably clean, actually. Wrinkled, but clean," Collins quipped.

"Because we're not here for any reason. There's no other reason to do this other than the fact that we just want to do this. We just want to play together."

Fans who had been invited to the private performance hooted and clapped with approval when the trio took the stage with longtime sidemen Chester Thompson on drums and Daryl Stuermer on guitar.

It was an extra special day for Tina and Hank Olenick, who drove up from Chicago after winning a contest online and decided to get married during the ride to Canada.

"We drove up, got married here and came to the show," said Hank Olenick. "This is our wedding band."

"We'd been planning on doing it in Chicago and then ... we said, you know what? Let's just do it when we're there."

The couple said they had to return to Chicago on Thursday evening but hope to return to explore the city.

Genesis kicks off their tour Friday in Toronto.

© The Canadian Press

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