The current Genesis tour The Last Domino? has me thinking a great deal about one of my favorite bands. The music of Genesis has been an important part of my life for forty years. Reading the various comments on social media about the tour has my head spinning at times. The comments seem to be overwhelming positive or soul-crushingly negative. The thoughts and opinions of a heavily divided fanbase are what set me in motion to write this blog post. I also want to give credit to Lenny Giardino and his wonderful Genesis blog, Positively Genesis, for also helping to inspire this post. He has recently written several highly positive and thought provoking blog posts related to the current Genesis tour. Check out his blog at: https://positivelygenesis.blogspot.com/
The current tour has brought to life many different discussions on all things Genesis. Topics range from age, health, band lineups, prior tours, the band’s legacy, tour setlists, etc. One big topic of discussion has been Steve Hackett’s current Genesis Revisited tour. Here is something to ponder. Some Genesis fans do not care for Nad Sylvan singing Genesis songs with Steve Hackett on his Genesis Revisited tours. Many fans still want Peter Gabriel to come back and sing Genesis songs. Sylvan has done a fantastic job over the years with Genesis Revisited. With varying levels of success he has ably led songs originally sang by Gabriel, Phil Collins and Richie Havens. That is not an easy task for any singer. Some fans may not care for Sylvan’s voice, but they can not deny that he is a talented singer.
Peter Gabriel has not sung a full Genesis song live since the early 1980’s. He has had plenty of opportunities to include Genesis songs in his live setlist in the years since. It is only in recent times that he sang a short piece of a Genesis song live. This occurred during the recent Sting and Peter Gabriel co-headlining tour in 2016. Gabriel sang the opening verses to Dancing With The Moonlit Knight. Initially Sting was the one singing this bit as a reaction to current political events. It is rumored that Sting had to strongly encourage Gabriel to step up to the microphone and sing the short bit. To the best of my knowledge Gabriel only sang this at one show. Of course Genesis fans around the world went nuts over this unexpected happening. Predictably nothing came of it from a Gabriel/Genesis standpoint. No reunion and no further occurrences of Gabriel singing a Genesis song.
Here in 2021 some fans still clamor for Gabriel to emerge from wherever he has been hiding and reunite with Genesis to sing the old songs. Actions speak louder than words. Gabriel’s actions tell the world that he has little desire to revisit his distant past with Genesis. Yet some fans still desperately desire that Gabriel do something that he seemingly has no interest in doing. I admire Gabriel’s conviction, the past is the past. I can not fault him for not wanting to revisit that early part of his musical life. I love the music that he made with Genesis, but I respect his decision not to perform the music.
Back in 2012 Steve Hackett found a vocalist who is fully capable of singing the old Genesis songs. Just as important, he found someone who truly wants to sing the songs. That man, of course, is Nad Sylvan. Sylvan is a huge Genesis fan, so I am sure this whole experience has been a dream come true for him. The Genesis Revisited tour set out in 2013 with Nad Sylvan at the microphone stand. What originally was meant to be a one-off tour has turned into an on going live experience. Each Steve Hackett tour since has presented some variation on his Genesis Revisited set. Hackett and his exceptional live band, led by Sylvan, continue to reproduce the music and spirit of 1970’s Genesis. The band does so with heart, conviction and a full commitment to the music.
I do understand the immense power of nostalgia. I know that many will disagree with me. Something as powerful as Genesis Revisited could not happen with Peter Gabriel at the helm. Many fans would love it, but Gabriel’s heart would not be in it. As a fan why would anyone want to force one of their musical heroes to do something which is not in their heart? Peter Gabriel has had opportunities to reunite with Genesis. If this was something that he truly desired to do he would have worked hard to make it happen. The exact reason as to why he has not done so is known only to him. If not a reunion then some form of musical acknowledgement of his Genesis days on his own tours. When is comes to Genesis songs in his live setlist, Gabriel has been radio silent since the late 1970’s
Nad Sylvan is not Peter Gabriel, nor is he trying to be. I believe that some fans dislike Sylvan simply because he is not Gabriel. Like it or not, Sylvan is the one who stepped up to sing the songs. This is not about who is better, God forbid. The Genesis fanbase does not need another ongoing debate as to who did it better. Sylvan is a fan who is helping to keep the great music of Genesis alive and well. Sylvan is faithful to the original material, but he is not a slave to it. He is able to put a bit of his own spin on the material, without straying too far. I must give Sylvan and Gabriel huge kudos for their individual convictions, obviously for different reasons. I would rather see a fully committed Sylvan sing Genesis songs, as opposed to watching Gabriel go through the motions for the sake of some fans. I know that many will adamantly disagree with me and that is OK. We are all fans and we all have our own thoughts and opinions about the great band that we love.