January 2nd, 2010
I always put up a Genesis show to start the new year and recently a listener asked to something from the Calling All Stations era of the late 1990s. Being the nice guy that I am, I am happy to finally oblige.
It’s been nearly 13 years since Genesis released Calling All Stations, their first album since Phil Collins’ departure, and it hasn’t gotten much better with age. To my ears the songs still sound like very complete demos and not fully realized pieces of music. New singer Ray Wilson does a great job but it feels like drummers Nir Zidkyahu and Nick D’Virgilio weren’t given much leeway. The title tracks has a great melody and some nice guitar work but I find myself always waiting for the drums to do something more, for a fill here or a ride cymbal there to take it somewhere else. It’s like the drum machine part was simply replicated by a human being. And the instrumental break before the guitar solo is just boring, although the solo itself is quite good. Indeed, the album has some of Mike Rutherford’s most interesting playing.
As the listener above remarked, Calling All Stations has a darker tone than the past several Genesis albums and we both appreciated this. But it was for the most part squandered on songs which didn’t deviate from their past three albums all that much. One thing that has gotten better as time has gone on is Tony Banks’ keyboard sounds. I appreciate the timbres he chose a bit more now that back in 1997. But they’re pretty sparse. Perhaps this is a case of a bad mix and, hence, why I think of the songs as almost being glorified demos.
Generally speaking, the CAS material sounds better live. The songs gain a little more heft and sound much less staid. For the tour, Nir Zidkyahu manned the drums while Anthony Drennan was recruited to replace Daryl Stuermer on guitar & bass. Although Chester Thompson and the dual drumming escapades are missed, the band was quite solid onstage. For the tour, the band resurrected some old Peter Gabriel-era songs and Wilson handles these, as well as the Collins stuff, very well. This show features what is probably my favorite version of “Domino” from any tour and Nir Z gets a chance to show off on “The Dividing Line” which is a solid piece of music live.
Almost three years ago I posted a Genesis show from this era but it was only the acoustic set from these concerts. While this isn’t the entire performance, we get to hear the electric side of the band. It was recorded at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, UK on the 25th and 26th of February 1998. The BBC broadcasted this material but the source is supposedly a pre-FM DAT.
No Son Of Mine
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Calling All Stations
The Carpet Crawlers
Domino (In The Glow Of The Night)
Domino (The Last Domino)
Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
Lover’s Leap (Acoustic)
Not About Us (Acoustic)
The Dividing Line
Turn It On Again
Genesis’ performance on 31 January 1998 from Katowice, Poland was broadcasted on TV. Here’s the CAS song “Alien Afternoon” from that concert.