In The Rapids, An Overlooked Gem By Genesis

In The Rapids is a Genesis song that really does not get much attention. It is the penultimate song from the band’s superb concept album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974). At two minutes and twenty two seconds the track is short, but it sure is not sweet. The band packs an incredible amount of music and emotion into this compact gem.

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Peter Gabriel certainly had his fair share of great vocal performances during his time with Genesis. Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, The Lamia, The Battle Of Epping Forest, Back In N.Y.C. are just a few that come to mind. I would say that In The Rapids stands as one of my favorite vocals from Peter Gabriel.

It is amazing how much the band packs into this song. There is more brilliance on display inside of this short song than many bands are able to put onto an entire album. Every member of the band shines here adding their musical parts and pieces to enhance the collective whole.

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The song has a deceptively low key intro, just clean guitars. Peter Gabriel enters soon after, initially delivering a reserved vocal.  At the 0.54 mark the rest of the band slowly enters. They spend the remainder of the song slowly building layer upon layer of musical tension, emotion and drama. To fully appreciate this gem you really have to listen to it with headphones on.

The band puts on an absolute clinic in subtlety and finesse. Initially the music is a foundation for Gabriel’s vocals. But as the song progresses there is so much going on, the music feels as if it is swirling around Gabriel’s vocals.

At the 1:29 mark Steve Hackett’s electric guitar wails and the rest of the band bring up the intensity. At this point there is less than one minute until the song segues into the album’s finale with the song It. The desperation in Gabriel’s vocal is nearly heartbreaking. Steve Hackett’s guitar adds to the melancholy felt during this end portion. It almost sounds like his guitar is weeping. Phil Collins is at the top of his game here and throughout The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. Not content to just display his considerable skills on the drums, Phil always had a musical approach to the drums. His drumming is not merely keeping the time, his playing elevates the somber mood of the song.

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Before you know it the song is over. The tension is released with the siren like intro of the album’s final song.  As a stand alone track In The Rapids is very emotional. But taken in context with the rest of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway the song is so much more. At this point of The Lamb’s storyline as a listener you are emotionally drained by Rael and John’s journey.

For me In The Rapids is the most overlooked gem in the entire Genesis discography. At 2:22 it is all too easy to miss this track. After the tour for The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway the band never played this song live again. It is to bad that in later years Genesis never really explored much of The Lamb live beyond the title track, In The Cage, The Carpet Crawlers and a section of Colony Of Slippermen.  Granted, In the Rapids is an unusual song to play on its own. Perhaps it would have worked best in the context of a medley. I have included audio for both In The Rapids and It.  Since one goes directly into the next, it is hard to play one without the other.

Troy T.

The Genesis Show: A Tribute Band With Their Own Special Way

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The Genesis Show are a New Jersey based Genesis tribute band. I just had the great pleasure of seeing the band live at The Newton Theatre, in Newton New Jersey.  Their show is billed as The Wind And Wuthering Tour Live. After seeing the show all I can say is WOW!!!  What an experience, this band is phenomenal!  If you consider yourself a Genesis fan and The Genesis Show is playing in your area, do yourself a favor and buy a ticket.

Tribute bands can be hit or miss. Some look a bit silly trying to resemble the band that they are celebrating. Others just do not have the talent to adequately  reproduce the music. Some others may be talented musically but lack any kind stage presence. None of these scenarios apply to The Genesis Show. Musically they are phenomenal. The light show is great and they are a band that you will enjoy watching. In Jeff Giulanni the band have a charismatic and extremely talented singer/second drummer. The fact that he is very funny is an added bonus.

There are quite a few Genesis tribute bands floating around, and that’s a good thing. What sets The Genesis Show apart from others is that their singer is not trying to sound like Phil Collins or Peter Gabriel. He is not dressing up in costumes or trying to replicate the movements and mannerisms  of Gabriel or Collins. There is nothing wrong with these things, but there seem to be quite a few tribute bands in this vein.

During the show Giulanni stated that he and his band mates are Genesis fans trying to play the music of Genesis  to the best of their abilities. Overall they were quite successful.  Aside from a few minor sound and technical issues the band’s presentation  of  the Wind And Wuthering tour was progtastic. The band played for about two and a half hours and never seemed to tire. Some of the night’s highlights included Your Own Special Way, Supper’s Ready, Firth Of Fifth, The Musical Box (closing section) and Blood On The Rooftops (an added bonus since Genesis never played it live).  The band really excelled when playing many of the long  instrumental sections.  Giulanni joined main drummer Vince Corda for a thunderous double drum assault. The rest of  the band includes Steve McQuaid on electric and classical  guitars, Andre De Champlain on bass, 12 string guitar and bass pedal and Matt Thomas on keyboards.

In conclusion, I can not recommend this great tribute band enough. Take a little trip back and go see The Genesis Show.

Troy T.

Genesis 2016: The Outline Still Remains

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If you are a fan of the solo careers of the various members of Genesis than 2016 has been a very good year.

Steve Hackett recently finished his highly successful Acolyte to Wolflight/Genesis Revisited tour. He is currently recording his next album and next year he will hit the road to support it. Part of the new live show will be dedicated to celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic Genesis album Wind and Wuthering.

This year Phil Collins has slowly emerged out of retirement with a few live performances. His autobiography, Not Dead Yet, is due to be released later this month. With each live performance he appears stronger and healthier. That is a very good thing to see.

Mike Rutherford is currently touring with Mike and the Mechanics. Their set list includes some new songs that I can only assume are going to appear on the next Mechanics album scheduled to be released next year.

Peter Gabriel recently finished a large co-heading tour with Sting. He also released two new singles this year, I’m Amazing and The Veil.

What a great year, so far, but one member of the band is noticeably absent. Tony Banks where are you? We know that he is alive and well but he is keeping a very low profile. His only recent activity has been the release of older material. 2015 saw the release of his career spanning box set A Chord Too Far as well as remastered reissues of two of his solo albums, A Curious Feeling and The Fugitive. If you are not familiar with Tony’s solo music I would highly recommend purchasing the boxset. But where is the new music?

The extended members of the Genesis family have been active throughout 2016 as well. Anthony Phillips, Ray Wilson, Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson all continue to be involved in studio recordings and/or live shows.

All of this activity makes Tony’s silence that much louder. I do not mean to harp on Tony, but I am a huge fan of his rock solo albums. His two classical albums leave me a bit cold, but at least they contain new music. His last release of new music was in 2012, that’s a bit too long for me. I find it curious that he has chosen to remain so still. It feels like he wants to be incognito, as if he is a fugitive on the run from a music studio. I know that his solo career did not help his bank statement, but I sure would love to hear some new music from Mr Banks in 2017.

Thus far, Tony Banks’ absence aside, 2016 has been quite a productive year from the Genesis camp.  2017 looks to be more of the same.  In my opinion the odds of a Genesis reunion are slim to none, despite the fact that some members of the band seem open to the possibility.   If the band never reforms I am fine with that.  I am happy that the various members of the band continue to produce new music.  And some continue to carry the torch by keeping the great music of Genesis in their set lists.

Steve Hackett’s Secret Weapon

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I was recently listening to some music from an obscure progressive band from the 1990s. During one of the instrumental breaks there was a flute solo, which is not uncommon in the context of progressive rock music. It got me to thinking of the great flute players in progressive rock. Of course the first two names that come to mind were Peter Gabriel and Ian Anderson. The third was a name that does not get enough mention, John Hackett, Steve Hackett’s younger brother.

John Hackett is an extremely talented flautist who just happens to like rock music. Steve Hackett’s first four albums would sound drastically different without John Hackett’s distinctive flute adding color and emotion to several of the early songs. And for a time he proved just as valuable in Steve Hackett’s live band, handling flute, rhythm guitar and bass pedals. Their musical association may have lessened over the years, but it has never ended. Both continue to perform on one another’s albums and still play together live, from time to time. They did record one full album together, Sketches Of Satie, released in 2000, which I would highly recommend it.

Steve Hackett has had a great career as a solo artist that continues presently. His musical artistry continues to evolve and progress. That being said, there is something extra special about his early run of albums: Voyage Of The Acolyte, Please Don’t Touch, Spectral Mornings and Defector. Part of what makes these four album so special is John Hackett. Listen to songs like The Steppes, Kim, Jacuzzi, Lost Time In Cordoba, Hands Of The Priestess (Part 1), Please Don’t Touch, The Virgin And The Gypsy, The Toast, etc and try to imagine how these great tracks would sound without John Hackett’s flute. Overall he only played on a handful of songs, but  his performances are so impactful. To remove these songs would ruin the overall flow and feel of the albums. I believe this is most prominently displayed on what is arguably Steve Hackett’s best album, Spectral Morning.

Steve Hackett’s unique approach to the guitar adds a great deal of different textures to his music. The guitar is complimented by Nick Magnus’ strong keyboards. Add to this the wonderfully dreamlike and exotic sounds of John Hackett’s flute work and you are treated to music that truly stirs the emotions.

Over the course of his great career Steve Hackett has predominantly worked with three fantastic, and stylistically different keyboard players. Those three are Nick Magnus, Jilian Colbeck and Roger King. One of the truly remarkable things about Steve Hackett’s records are the vast amount of keyboards that are present. He is first and foremost a guitarist, but he allows so much room for keyboards. Obviously the combination of electric guitar, acoustic guitar, classical guitar and keyboards have helped to give his brand of progressive rock a unique touch. But the added flavor of John Hackett’s flute work, early on, was Steve Hackett’s secret weapon.

The Curious Case of Tony Banks

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I am a HUGE fan of the band Genesis.  I am also a fan of a good deal of the solo material released by various members of the band over the years.  Focusing on the five main players in the band’s history (Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Phil Collins) and their music careers outside of the band, one thing stands out.  That is the lack of success of one member, Tony Banks.

Phil Collins became a household name and arguably one of the biggest pop stars of the 1980′ and 90’s.

Peter Gabriel was a mainstay of MTV in the 80’s.  He has achieved worldwide recognition as well as a great deal of critical acclaim because of his innovative music.

Mike Rutherford formed Mike and the Mechanics and had a few top 40 hits as well as an #1 single.

Steve Hackett has had moderate success as a solo artist. He has developed a small, but loyal fan base over the years.  But he had his biggest success with the band GTR.  The band produced one successful album which spawned one hit single.

Tony Banks?  A curious case, nine albums, including two band projects, and no success.  Genesis fans and music fans in general seem to regard his solo career with  a collective sigh of indifference.  I wish I knew why, I love his solo recording.  He was arguably the most important songwriter in Genesis.  Throughout the band’s career his keyboards shaped the overall sound of the band.  In most cases his solo recordings are just as good, if not better, than the music that he produced with Genesis.  So, if you are feeling musically adventurous than I would strongly advise that you check out his solo work.