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.

Phil Collins, A Birthday Appreciation

1339I just wanted to acknowledge the sixty sixth birthday of one of my musical heroes, Phil Collins. His music has been a large part of the soundtrack of my life for a long time. His work as a singer, drummer, songwriter, pianist and producer have brought a great deal of joy to my life.

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My introduction to Phil Collins came in 1981, thanks to MTV and the music video for the Genesis song Abacab. I was immediately hooked and soon discovered other Genesis music videos for the songs No Reply At All, Man On The Corner, Keep It Dark, Misunderstanding and Follow You Follow Me. Also in heavy rotation on MTV were music videos for the songs I Missed Again and In The Air Tonight, from his solo debut Face Value. I have been a huge lover of the music of Genesis and Phil Collins ever since.

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His Birthday is a great opportunity for me to reflect on his music and his career. 2017 promises more live performances from Phil Collins. He has hinted at the possibility of new music in the future. If he never records another note of music in his lifetime I will be satisfied. As a fan I feel that I can not ask for more from this man. He has given up so much for his love of music. He has spent a lifetime creating an impressive back catalog of music. But that work came at a heavy cost to him emotionally and physically. If he does one day decide to create new music I will be ecstatic. If not I will continue to enjoy his lifetime labor of love, his wonderful music. With that, here are my top ten favorite Phil Collins solo songs.

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We Fly So Close
Survivors
I Don’t Care Anymore
If Leaving Me Is Easy
You Know What I Mean
Can’t Find My Way
Against All Odds
In The Air Tonight
Come With Me
The Same Moon

Song Spotlight: Cul-De-Sac By Genesis

Cul-De-Sac is the ninth song on the Genesis album Duke, released in 1980. This very dramatic track could have been right at home on the band’s Wind And Wuthering album, released in 1976. I will forever argue that Duke is a progressive rock album and this great track helps to illustrate that point.

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The song opens quietly with just keyboards and a brief vocal. The band then spend nearly one minute setting the mood of the song instrumentally. The bulk of the music coming from Tony Banks’ lavish keyboard play. When the main vocal begins the bass and drums drive the song musically, with the keyboards complimenting. Mike Rutherford plays some fantastic bass lines that, along with Phil Collins’ drums, really propel the song. Aside from a wonderfully melodic, but brief, guitar solo the guitars really take a back seat.

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At the 2:54 mark the band slows the pace and brings the drama down a notch. They than slowly rebuild the tension and drama. That drama comes to a head as Phil belts out, “No, not even one!” This leads to Mike’s guitar solo and one last chorus before it all ends in a very dramatic instrumental flourish.

I must say that Cul-De-Sac features one of my favorite vocal performances from Phil Collins. It’s a very serious vocal that perfectly compliments the dramatic feel of the music and the lyrics. Phil takes a slightly different approach to the vocals. His delivery is restrained, but strong, controlled but forceful.

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Overall Cul-De-Sac is a great example of three man Genesis. The song is drenched in keyboards, but all five instruments, (keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals) are important to the music. The three band members play for the song, there is not a need for any over the top playing here.

Duke is my favorite album by Genesis. I feel that everything came together for this album. All aspects are top notch, from the songwriting to the production to the energetic performances. For me it is a near perfect album.  Kudos to David Hentschel who co-produced  the album with the band.

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Cul-De-Sac is a song that the band never played live. Unfortunately this great song tends to get overlooked. I feel that it is a very special song that deserves a bit more attention.

Troy T.

Happy New Year And Thank You

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I just wanted to say thank you too all that have read and followed this blog.  2016 was quite a year, one for the history books.  Years from now when people talk about the various news stories and events of this past year I can say that I was there.

Personally it was a year of challenges and much change.  This blog was one of the constants in my life throughout the year.  I started this blogging journey a little over a year ago with a post about Phil Collins.  At the onset I was very excited, but a bit fearful as well.  I had a few ideas, but would anyone care about the things that I wanted to write about? Once those few ideas were done could I keep this thing going?

It’s been a year plus and so far I have been able to publish 80 blog posts. I must say that I am extremely grateful for everyone who have supported this blog.  And I am humbled and amazed at the response to the blog’s most viewed post, Genesis 2016: The Outline Remains.  It was posted in October 2016 and is far and away the most popular post over the last year.  A big thank you to all of the Genesis fans out there.  The post that I am most proud of is Five Great Albums Influenced By Queen, published earlier this month.  A lot of passion, time and revision went into that post.  I am so very pleased with the responsible.

Once again thank you all for taking the time to read this blog, it has been a wonderful creative outlet.  My original vision for this blog was to share my thoughts on the things in life of interest to me. Music, movies, television, books, art, life and occasionally politics. The latter topic I tend to stay away from and leave to the experts. I look forward to continuing this journey and sharing more in 2017. Happy New Year and God bless.

Troy T.

My Highlights Of 2016

As the year comes to a close various top ten and  best of  lists will be published. Many of these lists can be fun to read. This is not really a true top ten list, plus it contains eleven items.  It is an brief overview of some entertainment highlights that come to mind from 2016.

Unfortunately 2016 was a year full of far too much bad news, negativity, hate and division. At times during 2016 the world seemed like a very dark place. At the end of the year it’s good to reflect on some of the entertainment that brought some light into my life in 2016.

Phil Collins’ Reemergence

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Phil Collins’ slow and steady reemergence from retirement. Not one event, but a series of live appearances, interviews and the release of his autobiography Not Dead Yet. All of this is leading up to some large scale concerts in 2017. At 65 years of age Phil Collins may look a little rough around the edges. But he is still one of my favorite musical artists. The man’s music has brought a lot of light to my life over the years.

Xiphea – Once Upon A Time

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Xiphea are a fantastic symphonic metal band out of Germany. They call their brand of music Fairytale Metal. With song titles like Beauty And The King, Masquerade, Cinderella and Power Of The Dwarfs one can understand the label. Do not let the song titles fool you, this is a serious and heavy band.  Once Upon A Time is Xiphea’s third release.  So far they have released one EP and two full length albums.  The future looks bright for this band.   I plan on writing more about them in a future blog.

The Genesis Show

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The Genesis Show are an absolutely amazing and talented Phil Collins era Genesis tribute band that, for now, focuses on Genesis live circa 1976-1977. Tribute bands can be hit or miss, either really good or downright silly. The Genesis Show are a serious band that are passionate about playing the music of Genesis. I had the great pleasure of seeing them live this year. As a huge Genesis fan since 1981 I was extremely impressed by The Genesis Show. The musicianship on display was incredible. I highly recommend seeing them live.

Kansas – The Prelude Implicit

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I count Kansas among my top 20 favorite bands. Their newest release, The Prelude Implicit, is a strong argument for classic bands continuing to record new music. I would definitely place The Prelude Implicit on my top ten favorite Kansas albums list. The band’s new singer Ronnie Platt has some incredibly big shoes to fill. He does so quite well. I look forward to more new music by this great band.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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A very, very good Star Wars film that falls short of being great by playing it too safe in the second half of the movie.  But I will say that the movie contains one of my absolute favorite scenes from any Star Wars movie. I just hope that the success of this film will allow for more ambitious Star Wars movies in the future.

Arrow: Season Five

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A fantastic rebound from the disappointment of season four. It would seem that in the off season the creative team revisited the things that made the show great in the past. Half way through season five and  I would say that Arrow is back on track.  Stephen Amell, in the title role, continues to play this character with such conviction.

Metallica…Hardwired To Self-Destruct

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It’s been eight years since Death Magnetic, but overall it was worth the wait. The double disc release showcases a collection of fast and heavy songs by a rejuvenated band. Unfortunately all of the songs are not equal. I would say that if the band had trimmed the fat and lost two songs they would have had a killer single disc.

Captain America: Civil War

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A movie that contained not only great action, but also great drama. Civil War and the prior Captain America movie The Winter Soldier have really brought superhero movies to a new level. There is a lot going on in this movie, but the performances of Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. provide a solid foundation and help keep the movie grounded.

Doctor Strange

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Doctor Strange is Marvel’s latest superhero movie.  It stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role.   Benedict Cumberbatch joins the ranks of actors  like Hugh Jackman, Christopher Reeve, Harrison Ford and Patrick Stewart. What do they have in common?  It seems that they were born to bring to life certain iconic characters. Wolverine, Superman, Indiana Jones, Professor Xavier and in Cumberbatch’s case Doctor Stephen Strange. A great movie with a fantastic performance by Cumberbatch.

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

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I know it had it critics, but I loved this movie. Henry Cavill is super as Superman. Ben Affleck really nails the true essence of Bruce Wayne/Batman. His portrayal of Bruce Wayne is my favorite of any actor to date. I love Diane Lane as Martha Kent. Gal Gadot’s fantastic performance as Wonder Woman may be my biggest and most pleasant surprise of the year. The only real downside for me was Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Lex Luthor.  His was a different take on the character that did not really work for me.

Epica – The Holographic Principal

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I feel that Epica, a symphonic metal band out of the Netherlands, are the best band in their genre. The Holographic Principal is their seventh studio album and it is phenomenal. Epica continues to grow and evolve with each new album. Their unique and dense mix of thrash metal, opera, progressive rock, classical music, death metal and soundtrack scores continues to delight this metal fan a great deal.

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.

Phil Collins: Passion

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One of my favorite attributes of Phil Collins is that the man sings with passion. From his early days in the mid 1970’s fronting Genesis too now that passion is ever present. His recent television appearance singing Another Day In Paradise is a great example. It is apparent that he is still recovering from his recent health issues and surgeries. His mobility seems limited and he looks a little rough around the edges. Dare I say that he looks a bit older than his 65 years. Vocally he has lost some of his range, but overall his distinctive voice is still there. The one thing that remains in full force is that passionate delivery. In some ways this makes up for what may be lacking.

I found myself watching this performance with a smile on my face, I couldn’t help it. Critics didn’t get it and many fans overlooked it. This man and his music have brought a lot of joy to a whole lot of people. I believe that a big reason for his success is his passion. The man loved to play drums and he sang about what he knew with passion and conviction. The song If Leaving Me Is Easy, from his first solo album Face Value, has got to be one of the greatest examples of pure, raw emotion ever recorded.

Whether he’s singing about Blue Girls, Carpet Crawlers or the dissolution of his first marriage the man sings with conviction and passion. Over the years he has chosen to use his own triumphs and tragedies to tell stories. Whether playing  drums or singing songs he has done so with great passion. I am quite pleased that he has chosen to continue to share his musical gifts with the world again.