February 3rd, 2015
It’s been a long, long time…
I start every year with a Genesis or Genesis-related show and for 2015 I am kicking things off (a bit tardy, I admit) with Genesis’ performance here in Madison from 9 February 1977.
The band rolled into the Dane County Coliseum fairly early in the North American tour in support of Wind and Wuthering. Genesis were on the road for basically the first half of the year trying to consolidate the success of their previous album, A Trick of the Tail. Commercial success came slowly. If memory serves, each Gabriel-era album did slightly better than the last. After Gabriel left in 1975 the band reorganized and proved they weren’t dead yet with ATofT which sold better than any album before it. WaW kept the momentum going. The album would eventually place a few spots higher on the American charts and a few spots lower in the UK. However, “Your Own Special Way” charted at #62 here in the States and this show took place at about the time the began its ascent.
The band seemed to be playing wherever they could as this tour had about 50% more stops than that for ATotT. This probably explains why they stopped here in Madison in between Minneapolis and Milwaukee dates.
When I began collecting Genesis boots back in the mid-80s, the Wind and Wuthering tour seemed to be very well represented. You had a few FM broadcasts and many an audience recording to choose from. It was really fun for me to hear these shows because I was so familiar with Seconds Out and I think this experience was really why I got into collecting in the first place. For starters, recordings like this one give you a chance to hear the songs in the order they were played. While the sequencing on Seconds Out is by no means intolerable, I rather do like to hear new songs interspersed with old ones instead of having them all clumped together on either end of the album. Another great thing was that, sinceSE had only one WaW song on it, “Afterglow”, I actually get a chance to hear the band performing the then-new songs. Plus you get to hear song introductions and get an idea of Phil Collins’ stage presence. For instance, his intro to “Supper’s Ready” is the story about Romeo and Juliet at the drive-in and you have Mike Rutherford introducing his “hit single”, “Your Own Special Way” while Steve Hackett prefaces “Firth of Fifth” with a few comments.
With the profligate number of shows available from this tour, I got burnt out at some point. Years later, however, I am enjoying concerts from ‘77 once again. It was, after all, Steve Hackett’s final tour with the band but also Chester Thompson’s first. In a sense, you get the best of the old and the new on this tour. Hackett’s unique style and sound would be gone before the end of the year while Thompson’s playing added some swing and has a very loose feel in contrast to that of Collins and Bruford.
As for this show, it finds the band in pretty good form though Collins seems a bit hesitant with his intros. “All in a Mouse’s Night” was played at the UK dates in January but didn’t make it across The Pond while “Inside & Out” was still three months away from being added to the setlist. There is a funny moment at about 3:30 into “Supper’s Ready” when you can hear the taper or someone near the taper take a couple big hits from a joint. From people I know who saw many shows at the Coliseum in the 1970s, this was perfectly common and reputable behavior.
One for the Vine
Robbery, Assault, and Battery
Your Own Special Way
Firth of Fifth
…In That Quiet Earth
I Know What I Like
Eleventh Earl of Mar
Dance on a Volcano/Drum Duet/Los Endos
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway/The Musical Box (closing section)
Famously in Genesis circles there exists a promo video called Seconds Out which about a half an hour of the band’s performance in Dallas on 19 March 1977. It’s easy to find and is on YouTube as well, although I couldn’t find the whole nine yards in one video. This is the “Lamb/Musical Box” medley which closed the show. Here you can get a glimpse of lighting rig the band invested in for the tour. There were 50 jumbo jet landing lights above the stage and I believe they also had some lasers too.