Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Lamb lies down on Hammersmith Broadway

To the HMV Apollo (I used to go regularly when it was the Hammersmith Odeon) last night to witness a re-enactment of the Genesis double lp from 1974 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, a record that affected me greatly when I first heard it that year as an impressionable teenager; it's still one of my favourite records, if not the favourite. I have always given tribute bands a wide berth (although most reformed groups these days are their own tribute acts) but I'd heard good things about The Musical Box from Canada.

The recreation of the group and the show from this period was uncanny and at times I had to tell myself that this wasn't actually Genesis playing. The level of detail even extended to the narration delivered by 'Peter Gabriel' in a pretty good impersonation of his speaking voice (albeit with a slight French accent) including his habitual nervous coughs and hesitations - bizarre. I was interested in seeing the original slides that had accompanied the 'real' concerts in 1974 and 1975 projected onto 3 screens above the group - Musical Box had purchased them off the band. Apparently on the original tour they rarely worked properly but last night seemed to function perfectly, the contemporary shots of New York now look like period pieces, but certain songs such as Counting Out Time benefitted from the visual accompaniment. What do you know - they're also available to view on You Tube.

The playing was immaculate and some songs really came off well live - The Chamber of 32 Doors for example. The Waiting Room, probably the most avant garde track Genesis ever recorded, sounded even better than the one on the lp: a tribute group improvising in the style of Genesis, very strange.

Not as great as the first time I saw the real group in 1977 at Earl's Court but surprisingly good and the only chance I'll ever have to see the live version of the Lamb.