It’s been 14 years since Genesis last played Boston, and by the looks of things this is the end of the line. Phil Collins has been stricken with mobility issues ever since surgery to correct dislocated vertebrae, rendering him on vocal duties only (well, he did get in some tambourine here and there, including a funny solo using his hand, elbow and forehead to play it) while restricted to a chair at the center of the stage. The other two stalwarts flanked him as usual, with Mike Rutherford playing bass and guitar to his right and Tony Banks manning the keyboards on the other side of the stage.
For those who held out with a Gabriel/Hackett or GTFO attitude, they kind of missed out. Genesis is a bit of a strange band that is equally adept at ornate, theatrical and epic progressive rock songs, later finding gold in FM pop radio hits once Collins took over vocal duties for good following Gabriel’s departure. Luckily for both sets of fans, the set list selections had plenty to like. It’s a little strange that the same group of people could write the grandiose “Firth of Fifth” and gormless “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” but that’s Genesis for you.
Collins made the best of his physical limitations, even miming out the ending drum parts of certain songs via burned in muscle memory while his son Nic did a masterful job at the drum kit. Banks and Rutherford were ever silent but still very nimble at their respective key or fret boards, with long time touring guitarist/bassist Daryl Stuermer now into his fourth decade with band and nailing all the bits with the right touch, especially Hackett’s brilliant solo from “Firth Of Fifth” which ranks up there with “Starless” as a truly iconic prog melody line. Collins was also in pretty fine vocal form, surprisingly really. (For a totally unrelated but sweet little view into the kindness of Phil Collins, listen to this segment of This American Life) If you happen to read this review in time to mull over the options of grabbing a cheap re-sale ticket (and there are plenty of options to choose from), I’d definitely recommend seeing the second and final show. It’s probably your last chance to see the band and the trio still puts on a good show with some outstanding material to choose from.