Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Musical Box, February 17 at the Commodore

I had a dream…I had a awesome dream…that I saw Genesis on the Selling England by the Pound tour.

Wait, that wasn’t a dream. That was last night at the Commodore. It might as well have been Genesis on stage. After seeing Quebec’s The Musical Box, I can’t really call them a tribute act. What they do goes beyond that. Their show is more like a historical re-enactment or (and this is the first and last time you’ll see this word in this blog) LARPing. It’s not “Hey, guys, you wanna get together and play some Genesis tunes?” it’s “Hey, guys, let’s BE Genesis.” The level of detail was astounding, from the lighting to the drum kit (I’d wager even the cymbals matched the specs on Collins’ early '70s setup) to the clothes (right down to the white denim overalls that “Phil” sported). An immense amount of research and devotion to this period of Genesis has obviously gone into this production.

Good thing I believed the advertised 8 PM start time, because although I didn’t get a floor seat—yes, there were rows of chairs on the dance floor—I did get a good spot to stand behind the last row. I was glad to not be the oldest old fart in the crowd for once. The place was packed with geezers, many of them sporting shirts from the last King Crimson show.

Musically, the performance was beyond criticism. I haven’t done my research, but I’m guessing this was the exact setlist from the Selling England by the Pound tour. Every nuance was captured; nothing was glossed over. Even Peter Gabriel’s between-song stories were recited word for surreal word. The material is part of my DNA by now, so there were no big surprises during the show, just little revelations here and there. For example, “The Battle of Epping Forest” really isn’t that great of a song. It earned the politest applause of the night. And I never knew that the whole last section of "The Cinema Show" was performed by just the core trio of Rutherford, Collins and Banks. This was actually the highlight of the night—a passage of pulverizing beauty. The crescendo moment was too much for one lady, who jumped up and ran up and down the aisle in an ecstatic frenzy. It was all I could do to not join her.

Overall, I rate this show 5 GIANT HOGWEEDS out of 5.

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