5 March 2016

The Lamb Lies Down in Putney

Somehow I never really got into Genesis in the way that I got into bands like Yes and Pink Floyd. Most of that was probably down to lack of exposure during my formative years and the first time that I really listened to them was at university in 76 with the Trick of the Tale album which I absolutely loved, and still love.

This prejudice has carried forward to the present day and when I see prog rock tribute bands like secondSight or INdisciplineD I enjoy the Genesis songs but I enjoy the other songs more.

That said, I did go and see Genesis tribute act Carpet Crawlers at The Peel in 2010 and that was alright.

It was through secondSight and INdisciplineD that I was persuaded to go and see ReGenesis. The common link was bassist Nick Loebner who has been in all three bands. It is Nick playing the double neck guitar in the photo below.

While Carpet Crawlers covered the whole of Genesis' career, including the later middle of the road stuff, ReGenesis only cover the early period when Peter Gabriel sang and Phil Collins just played drums. Oddly, that period included the concept double album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway from which the song Carpet Crawlers comes from. And this concert by ReGenesis was The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in its entirety.

The venue for their first performance of their new show was The Half Moon in Putney, conveniently close yet far enough away from the station for me to get some steps in. I got there not long before the advertised 8pm opening time and fought my way through the busy pub to get a pint of something wet before going in to the concert area. The gig had sold out and the pub was very busy, lively without being unbearable. Unfortunately it was far too busy to wander around looking for familiar faces, I am sure that there were a few there, but I did manage to exchange a few words with Nick when he popped out to test the mood.

Without trying too hard I managed to get, and hold, a spot somewhere near the door to the concert room and so I was one of the first in. It surprised me that the very first ones in ran for some seats against the wall on one of the wides and so the space next to the stage, where I wanted to be, was free. I chose a spot just to the right of the centre.

I had not been there long when somebody came up and said hello. He followed this with, "You do not recognise me, do you?", which I had to confess was true. He quickly admitted to being formed secondSight lead guitarist Norman Leader, then resident in Dorset, who I failed to recognise despite having seen and spoken to him many time simply because he had gained a significant amount of hair and lost a significant amount of weight since I last saw him. We talked for quite a while about music and Dorset and that was a fine way to fill the gap before ReGenesis came to the stage.

I was not entirely sure what to expect. I had bought The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, eventually, but I knew it much less well than the albums either side of it. I deliberately avoided doing some research beforehand by playing it a few time as I was quite content to go into the concert knowing just the general sound of the piece, i.e. early Genesis, and some of the highlights.

ReGenesis tried to recreate the original sound rather than reinterpreting the songs their way and that meant matching the original band man for man. Obviously Peter Gabriel was the hardest role to fill because of his distinctive voice and with Tony Patterson they had an able frontman who sounded like Gabriel, engaged well with the audience and even wore a little makeup. ReGenesis also do full costumes concerts, this was not one of those but Tony's effort was appreciated.

For the next hour and a half or so we got The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and everybody in the packed room loved it. It was what we had all come to hear and that is what we got skillfully delivered to us.

There was an encore of two songs and the final one had to be I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) from 73's Selling England by the Pound. My first exposure to Genesis may well have been seeing this on The Old Grey Whistle Test. We were encouraged, not that we needed much encouragement, to sing along and that was when by position in the front row became a liability and Tony's mike was thrust at me as I delivered the line "Getting better in your wardrobe" badly.

That one badly sung line apart it was a brilliant evening and while I am not yet fully converted to the Genesis faith I am enough of a fan to go and see ReGenesis again. Good music played well is always worth going to see.

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