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Genesis reach out to a new generation

Genesis have traced a remarkable course through rock and roll. Their early days as a quirky, experimental prog-rock outfit with the flamboyantly eccentric Peter Gabriel as frontman were followed - after he left - by an emphatic lurch towards the pop mainstream and increasingly massive album sales, which peaked with the 15 million-selling We Can't Dance in 1991.

On Tuesday night in Düsseldorf, Collins demonstrated just why, over 30-odd years, his antics and everyman appeal have been key to the band's enduring appeal.

In many ways, this was the Phil Collins Show. Shaven-headed and defiantly dressed-down in plain black T-shirt and grey trousers, he has the look of a bloke from down the road who'd be happy to pop round and fix your U-bend, no problem, squire. But the crowd were entirely at his command for two and a half hours of polished pomp and pop.

He opened his charm offensive by promising there'd be "a bit of German tonight" and proceeded to read awkwardly from a sheaf of large-print notes to which he returned intermittently throughout the show. The fans roared their approval.

Meanwhile, the other two original band members uttered not a word all night. Gangly Mike Rutherford on guitar and bass stalked the stage tentatively, as Tony Banks - looking in profile oddly like our most recently departed PM - sat impassively throughout, seemingly deep in meditation at his keyboards.

The set list was pretty much a satisfying sweep through the greatest hits, ranging from the whimsical, quintessential Englishness of I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) and the jerky, joky I Can't Dance (which was accompanied by a three-man jaunt around the spangly stage set to prove the point), and from the brooding menace of Home By the Sea to the histrionic, clanging machine-music of Mama.

Collins, bathed in soft pink hues, sat Sinatra-like on a high stool and slowed things down for a spot of crooning on the smoochy Hold On My Heart. And such is his place in the fans' hearts that, soon afterwards, his thunderous, clattering drum duet with number-two sticksman Chester Thompson was greeted with a similarly warm wave of affection.

© telegraph.co.uk, by Marc Lee reviews Genesis at LTU Arena, Dusseldorf

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