Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Musical Box

When it comes to Seventies Prog Genesis is where it's at. As a band King Crimson might have fared better over time as they never had an "Invisible Touch" period but the Gabriel years held better melody driven songs which didn't skimp on the sprawling jams or displays of chops."The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" is an opus which showcased the band at it's creative peak.

The fact Phil Collins has joined the band onstage to play drums on the song the musical box and Peter Gabriel has taken his kids to see the band to show them "What Daddy used to do." should be an endorsement enough.

While I'm a die hard fan of the Gabriel years and a dabbler in the early Collins stuff, I talked to people in attendance who had seen the real deal In seventy four and claimed the band plays the songs better than Genesis use to. This might be an exaggeration as when I hear the songs on the album I am always over comes with the fire the original bands played them with, but being I was not yet wetting diapers then I'll have to take their questionable word on this. The very fact I might even take this into consideration to be true is a testament to the ability of the Musical Box, I was particularly impressed with their lead guitarist and keyboardist though all the members shone as needed.

Marc Laflamme, had his work cut out for him considering Phil Collins is one of the greatest rock drummers ever, despite this fact being sadly buried by his solo crooning which the average joe now knows him for. Not only did Laflamme tackle the task at hand from behind the kit, but he also handled Collins vocal parts admirably. This I consider to be a key element in their sound as Collins harmonies with Gabriel set them aside from the other prog bands of their time who sought to emulate the moody blues or the Beatles. I also was amused by the fact Laflamme adapted Collins beard and the head band look of the seventies .

The Gabriel impersonation of Denis Gagne was uncanny in this mimicry of this era Gaberiel, the mannerisms of his stage present and even the in between song narratives were preformed with the same cadence. Having worked in theater I find his rapid costume changes to be equally impressive, though as touring band of their caliber the whole sowed is intricately blocked and rehearsed as Gagne often alternated singing down stage to elevated platforms behind the rest of the behind on either side of the stage. So next time you see Maynard James Keenan trying to be mysterious and aloof from his platform in the corner of the stage , know he can Gabriel for that.

Francois Gagnon, would be another understated star of the show, his note for note replication of Steve hacketts parts exceeded my expectations. All to often I tend to think of Genesis as being a keyboard driven band , which after hearing this live is a testament to Hacketts ability to serve the songs and manipulate his guitar in odd time patterns to blend and harmonize with the keyboard riffs. Sure there awesome memorable acoustic passage on the Lamb, and those received proper homage as well, but it was the first time I had really paid a lot of attention to the guitar solos.

As previously mentioned, Michel Cloutier ripped on all of Tony Banks keyboard solos which aside from John Lords playing on Deep Purples "In Rock" album I consider to me some of the most memorable keyboard solos ever written. There are many guitar solos you can sing along to as they are so iconic, just think any song by Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin or Black sabbath and the same theory applies to Banks keyboard playing during this time period. So these were some of the largest shoes of the evening to fill particularly on the more virtuostic first half of their set.

I would be interested in hearing their renditions of other albums, hearing it played. Put live did serve as a reminder all of the best songs on this double album were weighed heavily in the first half , so the second half delved into the more experimental and wandering passages . the band gets credit for hitting it note for note, even on the real albums they served better as back ground noise yet the classic nature of songs like the cage make up for this.

The slides used in the show were the exact same ones used by a genesis on this tour with all the lights staging and costumes replicated as well. I have only seen YouTube videos of the real deal on this, though some of the iconic images of Peter Gabriel in make re forever engraved in my mind.

The Musical Box delivered more than I expected, I ran into Brann from who plays drums in this band Mastodon, and we had a prog geek out moment where he was of the same opinion it certainly whetted his appetite for not being old enough to see the real thing. So if you are a fan of Genesis or early prog in general, these guys are a must see.

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