May 312013
 

UPDATED!

Look at what I just stumbled across! This was the moment leading up to the moment detailed in this old post, which originally ran on March 7, 2007. Listen to how excited the crowd was. Listen to all those Philly kids with their distinctive shouts of “Yeah!” You cannot, however, hear my friends and I scratching our heads as this went on (and on and on).

With the recent buzz over the reunited Police, it took me a few seconds to register the news that Genesis had announced a reunion tour. If you’re not old enough to remember the band that preceded Mike + the Mechanics, check out this quote from the press release:

“Genesis is absolutely one of the world’s most exciting bands of all time,” said Michael Cohl, tour promoter. “They have always been an amazing concert experience and I’m thrilled that fans will be able to see them perform again live for the first time in 15 years.”

Absolutely! Townsman Andyr and I saw Genesis’ Light Show at the band’s commercial peak, in 1983, at Philadelphia’s long-gone JFK Stadium. We went to see the opening acts, Elvis Costello & the Attractions (hot off the release of Imperial Bedroom) and Blondie before them. JFK was enormous – a bare-bones, old-school oval football stadium that held 100,000. The place dwarfed Blondie, but not so much that we couldn’t clearly see an ongoing hissy fit between keyboardist Jimmy Destri and drummer Clem Burke escalate until Burke took off a cymbal and flung it at Destri, Frisbie style!

Costello was awesome. Of the 5 or 6 shows I’ve seen him perform, this was by far the best. Watching Steve Nieve cover all those keyboard and string parts from his keyboard bunker was a show in itself. This was exactly the point at which I could see Costello and know I’d be getting no stinkers and no mediocre retreads: the mediocre Punch the Clock and the bad and the ugly that would follow were just sparks in their creator’s eye.

Andy and I and maybe one other Costello fan (Fingeroff?) attended this show with another group of friends from our old high school who were there strictly for Genesis. “You’ve gotta see the light show!” they kept saying, whenever our dread of the headliner came up in conversation.

Along with having attended the same high school, the one thing we all had in common was a huge ball of hash and a bag of good weed. The Costello contingent took care to conserve the stash to help tolerate Genesis. The Genesis contingent took care to conserve the stash to better enjoy the light show.

The band came out in their bright pastel suits. The light show surely dazzled the faithful as it reflected off Phil Collins’ pate. The band played “ABACAB” and all the other Collins-era hits of that time. Chester Thompson was a solid drummer, and for one stretch of songs Collins joined him. I think the band played some Gabriel-era songs then, stuff like “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” and that post-Gabriel, Gabriel-style song with a nonsense title like “Squonk” or whatever. Musically, I had to hold on for dear life to the fine drumming of both Thompson and Collins, because I hated almost every song they were playing.

Then a quiet song began and our Genesis-loving friends and most of the crowd went into a frenzy. The Costello contingent had no idea what was happening. “‘Supper’s Ready’!” our friends shouted as they gathered around us and offered high fives. I had some major munchies, but I didn’t get what they were talking about.

“‘Supper’s Ready’!” they repeated before explaining that it was the classic era-band’s signature tune. “You guys are gonna love this one! It goes on for a half hour!”

I can still see and hear this friend Nick telling us that. I can still remember the immediate feeling the 3 of us suffering through the Genesis portion of the show felt: We need to finish the hash! We were breaking up the hash over bowls of pot at a furious pace. To fend off this nightmare of a prog-rock epic and light show I wished I’d been under glass. If the song went on for 20 or 30 minutes it seemed like an hour. No matter how much we smoked, it felt like we couldn’t get high. Our Genesis-loving friends were higher than the Himalayas, but for us, Genesis playing “Supper’s Ready” live was the ultimate buzzkill, worse than thinking of Cagney & Lacey while in the middle of making love.

So there you go. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see Genesis “Turn it On Again.”

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  23 Responses to “Genesis Reunites: Supper’s Ready; Pass the Hash, Please”

  1. The place dwarfed Blondie, but not so much that we couldn’t clearly see an ongoing hissy fit between keyboardist Jimmy Destri and drummer Clem Burke escalate until Burke took off a cymbal and flung it at Destri, Frisbie style!

    Making me laugh! But in all seriousness, the guy who I know who loves Genesis probably even knew before I sent the link. Hardcore. I’m getting the picture that all Genesis fans are, hardcore fans that is. That high-fiving at that moment as you describe it sounds incredibly funny!

  2. Wow…so many things to respond to…

    1. I was a Genesis fan in high school but also a Blondie and Costello fan too. I have no idea I missed this show (though I graduated in 80 and by 83 the Milkmen were getting started; I was probably “too cool” to attend a show like this…

    2. I saw Blondie open for Rush at the Spectrum. I was probably one of the few there that liked BOTH bands at the time! Clem Burke is still one of my all time favorite drummers.

    3. I only ever saw Costello in his later “fat” years – at the Mann. I can’t remember but maybe The Replacements opened? Was Tom Petty the headliner? Townsman Trolleyvox was there with me and maybe he remembers? I am only an fan of the earlier “angry young man” Costello. I will speak heresy in the eyes of many when I say I can’t stand “Imperial Bedroom”…but Costello is blessed with another of my favorite drummers – Pete Thomas.

    4. Saw Genesis a few times (post Peter). They were good if you liked that sort of thing. Yes – Chester is an awesome drummer – glad you were able to see through the purple haze and note that. I was probably too into watching him play because I don’t remember the light show…

    I thought there was talk of Gabriel doing this reunion no? If he was that would have been interesting.

    Thanks for the great story on the show. I never saw a big show at JFK but the wife saw the Stones there before it was all torn down. (see, we’re tying all the posts here at RTH together!)

  3. Mr. Moderator

    Mrclean wrote:

    3. I only ever saw Costello in his later “fat” years – at the Mann. I can’t remember but maybe The Replacements opened? Was Tom Petty the headliner? Townsman Trolleyvox was there with me and maybe he remembers? I am only an fan of the earlier “angry young man” Costello. I will speak heresy in the eyes of many when I say I can’t stand “Imperial Bedroom”…but Costello is blessed with another of my favorite drummers – Pete Thomas.

    We were at that Mann show too. I think it was just Costello and The Replacements – or was Costello so bad that night that we couldn’t stick around for Petty? Most of us left before the encore. Our friends Ken and Judy left about 4 songs into the show, when Costello launched into his 3rd slow song of the evening – some new number from Mighty Like a Turd – and Ken, in his booming voice, said, “I didn’t come here to see fucking Mariah Carey!” One of the all-time great early exits! They were gone. I think only Chickenfrank and Dorothy stayed ’til the end. If memory serves, Dorothy didn’t really like Costello, so she found his fat period better than the rest of us.

    Pete Thomas IS the ultimate, Nixon’s Head-approved drummer! Burke is awesome too. I was listening to a Stones mix on the way in this morning, and the guy on that stuff is really effective!:) What a great, restrained, in-the-pocket drumming on “Monkey Man”.

  4. Don’t forget Flock of Seagulls and The Hooters also played.

    I don’t remember the good pot but I do remember all the baaaad hash we smoked. You’re right – we could not get high enough to enjoy any of the Genesis stuff.

    EC and Attractions were great. They played right around sunset and were really majestic. That was the first time I had seen them and they were great. I thought Blondie were suprisingly good. Plus watching a band melt down at their commercial peak was fun.

    That was my second JFK show – my first was seeing The Stones on the Tatoo You tour (With Journey and George Thorogood opening)

    Good time – though I stii have a headache from all that hash (smoked out of Fingeroff’s metal-pipe bowl)

  5. Mr. Moderator

    Maybe the pot wasn’t good. I thought we had something mixed in with the hash. Fingeroff’s metal pipe bowl won’t get out of our collective memory. I always found hash to be one of the most disappointing drugs. Once or twice I had it “under glass” and got a good high, but most of the time it was just a downer.

  6. Mr Clean wrote: but Costello is blessed with another of my favorite drummers – Pete Thomas

    Oh yeah. He’s the best. really. If I had to pick one drummer to start a band with – he’d be my #1 choice. Topper Headon would be #2.

    Hey Mr Mod – How about a thread of “Fantasy Rock GM” – what band would YOU put together?

  7. I thought Blondie were suprisingly good. Plus watching a band melt down at their commercial peak was fun.

    Actually Blondie’s commercial peak had already passed by that point. From 1978-1981, though, they were one of the biggest bands in the world, especially in Europe and Australia though obviously they were huge in the U.S. too having 2 #1 singles (“Call Me” and “Rapture”) in 1980 alone. Their last album The Hunter, which they were supporting at that time, totally stiffed and when they toured with Duran Duran in 1982, they started out as the headliners but by the time the tour was over, it was the other way around!

  8. BigSteve

    I thought there was talk of Gabriel doing this reunion no? If he was that would have been interesting.

    I don’t see how that would have made any sense. Gabriel era Genesis were not that popular, so, if they played only that material, the audience would be totally confused. Gabriel is obviously not going to sing the pop hits Genesis made after he left, nor would it be appropriate for the current Genesis band to back him on the songs that made him famous during his subsequent solo career. Maybe one of those one-time events where they’d play The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in its entirety at a festival would be cool, but a Genesis reunion tour is not about being cool but maximizing profits.

  9. Jeez, Matt. Chill on the Pince Nez. Were you even out of diapers then?

  10. Mr. Moderator

    That may have been our finest Pince Nez moment since launching the RTH blog! Don’t cramp the man’s style, Townsman Andy.

    What year did Imperial Bedroom come out? That was the year we saw this show. Blondie was still riding on a high tide at that point. We could be diving for pearls, Townspeople. Let’s not get distracted by Billboard charts!

  11. My favorite Geneis moment was being scared out of my wits by one of their album covers, — maybe The Lamb? — which had pictures of people who either had no faces or no mouths, I can’t remember exactly which but it gaveme nightmares for days. Yeah, I was probably like 5 and the record belonged to one of my older sisters.

    Anyhoo, I’ve seen Genesis a bunch of times and like somebody said, if you like that sort of thing (which I do), it’s always a good time. My favorite was during a show at the late Veterans Stadium in Philly, while the Flyers were in a playoff game across the street. Luckily the seat I had was near a lux box and I could check out the game on the TVs, haha, though I do remember Collins letting the crowd know when the Flyers had won.

    And I’m becoming very jealous of all these Elvis Costello shows I missed when I was a wee babe — I, too, have only ever seen him during these later years, at the Tower adn Mann. Ah well, born too late and all that.

  12. BigSteve

    Pete Thomas IS the ultimate, Nixon’s Head-approved drummer!

    I heard he didn’t even play on Costello’s first album. When Costello plays songs from that album live, Thomas can’t reproduce the drum parts accurately. He must be a drug addict or something.

  13. Mr. Moderator

    That was a low blow, BigSteve! I thought we were buds.

  14. What year did Imperial Bedroom come out?

    1982, which is when I thought this tour was given the prior description. Oh and for record I turned 7 in 1982, which unfortunately means I was way too young to have seen EC in the earlier years. The first time I saw him, in fact, was in 1995.

  15. saturnismine

    steve, the idea of gabriel touring with genesis needn’t mean that they play only gabriel era genesis. i had heard this rumour, too, and the classic rock dj describing it said that no material would be off limits: all eras of genesis and various solo outings included.

    think of how ‘yes’ toured with steve how AND trevor rabin, and maybe even bill bruford and alan white…

    on second thought, good lord, don’t think of it for too long.

    i was at that jfk show, too. i don’t remember the hooters playing. maybe i showed up late. but they DID play jfk the year before with the who, the clash, and santana….

    pince nez moment or no, berlyant’s right. blondie were past their time by the time of this show. in fact, even as a performing unit, they were floundering. didn’t they have a new guitarist who sounded more like neil schon than someone with his roots in the cb’s scene? i remember thinking that they were trying for a totally overblown sound…

    art

  16. From what I hear, a reunion of the Gabriel-era lineup was almost a go, but everyone’s schedules couldn’t be successfully coordinated in time. And I think this actually had the potential to be a commercially successful venture. You’d be surprised how many guys I know in their late-20s-to-early-30s who are still into that stuff.

  17. mwall

    I can’t imagine ever wanting to see a Genesis show, yet somehow the existence of the band doesn’t appall me. Not my sort of thing, but not somehow inherently offensive.

    Not so for Sting, who pretty much grosses me out.

    Question for Matt: in the year Imperial Bedroom came out, was Costello having regular bowel movements, or did he have growing constipation that was a sign of things to come? I figure if anybody knows this, you will, so help me out here.

  18. Question for Matt: in the year Imperial Bedroom came out, was Costello having regular bowel movements, or did he have growing constipation that was a sign of things to come? I figure if anybody knows this, you will, so help me out here.

    You guys are BAD!!! ;P

  19. hrrundivbakshi

    Oats, for shame! You should know that you don’t need shows that appeal to broke-ass 20- 30-somethings to make money in music these days — what you need are shows that appeal to rich older folk who can afford to spend $300 for a floor seat!

    Interesting how Iggy & the Stooges tix are “only” 40 bucks.

  20. Oats, for shame! You should know that you don’t need shows that appeal to broke-ass 20- 30-somethings to make money in music these days — what you need are shows that appeal to rich older folk who can afford to spend $300 for a floor seat!

    Well, I think The Pixies cleaned up okay on their reunion tour by appealing to that demographic. On the other hand, I’m sure Genesis are looking to earn more money than that.

  21. saturnismine

    BigSteve wrote: “I heard [Pete Thomas] didn’t even play on Costello’s first album. When Costello plays songs from that album live, Thomas can’t reproduce the drum parts accurately. He must be a drug addict or something.”

    and you guys say berlyant’s pince-nezzin’ cause he pointed out that blondie had peaked by ’80?

    sheesh…

  22. Stereogum provides some clarity on the Pete Gabriel issue.

    http://www.stereogum.com/archives/004800.html

  23. […] Genesis albums that he owns, Foxtrot and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, telling the tale of his first experience with “Supper’s Ready” and long nights spent flying on the wings of Pegasus. Won’t you join him on this journey? […]

 
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