Since no one
else on this list has done it yet, it looks like I am going to be the
first one to rave about last night's G.P. show in Mt. Prospect.
All in all it was a fantastic adventure for someone like me who has never seen any Genesis tribute band before. I use the word "adventure" because it was actually a little scary when my roommate and I first looked through the windows of Ye Olde Town Inn where the gig was supposed to be held. We had not expected it to look like a pub, and more importantly, neither of us had ever gone into a pub or a bar before. Why is it so dark inside?? Are we at the right place?? Fortunately we were there 3 hrs early, so we decided to go to a nearby Chinese restaurant to eat first. After gaining some much-needed courage from fuller stomaches, we went back again and this time finally stepped into the door.
We were charged a measly 5 dollars each for entrance fee, much to our delight. Between the two of us we had a little chuckle when the guys at the door spent a long time checking our birthdates on the driver licenses to verify that we were indeed over 21 yrs old. We were still 1 hr early, but the band had started to set up and the place was already starting to fill up. The band did part of Firth of Fifth during their soundcheck. Behind us were some people making Paperlate-style conversations about PG and the Lamb tour. Someone sitting in front of us had a Musical Box T-shirt on. These reassuring signs of Genesis fanhood instantly made me feel much more at home and those initial jitters were rapidly subsiding. The significance of it all suddenly hit me, this was the first time I had ever found myself physically in proximity with other Genesis fans.
"Can you tell me where my country lies?" A voice eeriely similar to a young Gabriel began. Dancing with the Moonlit Knight was followed by other favorites from SEBP such as Firth of Fifth and The Battle of Epping Forest (although a few groans came from the crowd as soon as this song was announced), as well as the only B-side played the whole night, Twilight Alehouse. The bass player Brad Stensland dazzled the audience with his remarkable skills on the flute at the end of TA. After a short break, the band started anew with a thrilling performance of most of the Lamb including the entire CD1 and the second half of CD2 starting with the Colony of Slippermen. Riding the Scree was definitely a highlight, showcasing the delicious talent of Sally Freels on keyboard. A second break followed, then those who stayed were rewarded by selections from Nursery Cryme (The Musical Box, The Return of the Giant Hogweed and the Fountain of Salmacis) and Foxtrot (Watcher of the skies, Get'em Out by Friday, Horizons, and yes, Supper's Ready). Actually I couldn't remember if the NC selections were done before the first break or after the 2nd break, oh well. Regardless, I was amazed that the band could do a 4 hour show without looking tired. The singer's voice held up very well throughout the show, not to mention wowing everyone by an enthralling performance of Horizons on classical guitar. Supper's Ready, being the last song of the show, was everything it should be, complete with appropriately cheap-looking costumes. Audience participation reached a climax as well, with everyone singing along and some went as far as jumping out in front and re-enacting every line with creative body language. I was so wrapped up by the incredible atmosphere that I completely forgot about my poor roommate who had no idea what the fuss was all about.
Just a few small gripes:
1. Can we do something about the smokers? I have never been in the same room with that many smokers before. There were three standing right in front of me. I thought I was going to die of second-hand smoking at one point, but I stayed anyway since it was a location where I had a good view of the band.
2. Why is the place so small? There was hardly enough standing room for most of the night. I had to look through cracks between other people more than half of the time, it is a good thing that I am not very short.
3. Omission of some personal faves: Lilywhite Lilith, The lamia, The Cinema Show, Can Utility and the Coastliners (I will take this song over The Return of the Giant Hogweed anyday).
4. I was really quite disappointed when I found out nothing from the Trick would be played. The band's website mentioned ATOTT which had gotten my hopes up. Is the band working on any song off of it? Considering how close the sound was between ATOTT and the preceding albums, I hope this is not a PG vs. PC thing again.
5. Perhaps the drummer needs a little more work on Apocalypse in 9/8, since even to an untrained ear like mine it sounded as if some drum beats were missing when compared to the Genesis studio or live versions.
A great big thanks to David Veldhuizen for self-introducing during the first break. You have the distinction for being the first Paperlater I have met in person!! I have always wanted to be able to talk about Genesis with a fellow fan face-to-face. Thanks for making my dream come true!
Last but certainly not least, lots of thanks to Grand Parade for bringing this altogether excellent live Genesis experience to Chicagoland. Your hard work and dedication to the music are highly appreciated. Attending your show made me feel so much more complete as a true fan!