While the legions of Genesis fans await the decision, Genesis tribute band The Musical Box continues to successfully mine the Gabriel-era concert performance. As with its five previous stops in the Philadelphia area, The Musical Box played a near flawless set Saturday night at Upper Darby's Tower Theatre. The stop was part of a 100-city, three-continent production of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Tour."
The band uncannily recreates note-for-note and prop-for-prop the massive "Lamb" production that wrapped up in May 1975 and marked Gabriel's last tour with the band. Gabriel and Genesis licensed it all to the band, and it's as close to the real thing as you can get.
The Montreal-based Musical Box features singer Denis Gagne (dead-on Gabriel), guitarist Francois Gagnon (Hackett), bassist Sebastien Lamothe (a left-handed Rutherford), keyboardist David Myers (Banks) and drummer Martin Levac (really left-handed, like Collins) to re-create all the glory of an early Genesis show.
They play the album from start to finish and never, ever break out of character. Gagnon repeats, word for word, Gabriel's rantings that introduce the individual songs. He appeared first as Gabriel's "Rael," clad in black leather jacket and white T-shirt to familiar notes of the album's title track. Like Gabriel, he also sang from within a 20-foot-high revolving cone and later was encased in a larvae suit. All the while, there was an entertaining slide show on three big screens that featured the actual photos and artwork presented during the mammoth 1973-75 "Lamb" tour.
No doubt, this is a show for old-time Genesis devotees only, especially since this album is a far cry from the future Collins-fronted commercial hits.
That being said, most in the baby-boomer audience were singing along with Gabriel, er, Gagnon. After wrapping "The Lamb" in its entirety and accepting a well-deserved five-minute standing ovation, the band went into Gabriel-era classics' "The Musical Box" and "Watcher of the Skies" to close out the evening. Staying in character, it was "thank you and good night" and that was that.
Genesis has long given the band its stamp of approval. Collins recently played with them in his hometown of Geneva. The Musical Box also has visited Philadelphia during its "Foxtrot" and "Selling England by the Pound" tours. They're worth a look until the actual Rael and real thing come along again.
© Zwire.com, by Michael Beirne