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Genesis reunion is a revelation

At the Times Union Center on Wednesday night, Genesis turned it on again, playing a satisfying mix of songs spanning their four-decade career. Spotlighting cuts from 1973's "Selling England By The Pound" to 1991's "We Can't Dance," the band mixed it up, playing the hits and album cuts such as "Duke's End," "Afterglow" and "Ripples" -- which the band has never played live until this tour.

A crowd of about 8,500, most of them middle-aged baby boomers, shelled out big bucks to see the band; it cost $203 to sit in front floor sections and better lower level seats, and $102 for the remaining lower level seats.

Fans didn't complain -- at least the ones who wanted -- to hear Genesis' prog-rock fare. Anyone expecting to hear only 1980s-era Genesis and lots of Collins' solo songs was disappointed.

It's not that Genesis didn't play its '80s stuff; Collins' vintage vocals were quite nice on "Land of Confusion," "Throwing It All Away" and "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight." And a slowed-down version of late 1970s hit "Follow You, Follow Me," was perfect.

Genesis, augmented by guitarist Daryl Stuermer and longtime tour drummer Chester Thompson, was more about prog rock than pop on Wednesday night, reaching back for long-ago concert staples such as "In The Cage," "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)," "Firth of Fifth" and "Los Endos" -- which included a sampling of "Squonk." And the memories of tuning out in your bedroom wearing heavy headphones rushed back during "Ripples."

The old stuff hit the mark, Banks' swirling keyboards enveloping "Firth of Fifth," punctuated by Stuermer's screaming guitar leads. Collins' voice was so good on the intense "Mama" and "I Know What I Like," the experience heightened as old photos and video of the band scrolled across the screen.

Certainly, the band's light show was up to par, even though it's a slightly scaled down version of their European stadium tour. Still, a huge arc-shaped video screen stretching the length of the stage was enough to create a big effect.

Collins, who wowed fans with a drum duet with Thompson, had some fun with fans at times, but he wasn't the sometimes hammy showman he is when he's out solo. On stage, Genesis was a band, as subdued as always, letting the music, the lights and the video effects create the desired mood.

It all worked on Wednesday night.

© Times Union, by Michael Lisi

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