Here is the inside text from the program. The rest of the text is a reprint of the Rael story from the album.
Back in the late sixties progressive music seemed all but dead, barely kept alive by the faint spark of a lingering mellotron. Rock audiences had overdosed on loud electric psychedelic riffs and gentle acoustic flower-powertunes, wondering all the time if there was anything more to progressive music than strobe lights, incense and the odd synthesizer. Just when adventurous rock seemed forever moving backwards, Genesis began flirting with multi-media concepts. The sixties had taken rock music through a natural evolution where technical equipment and musical proficiency had been developed toit's sophisticated best. The obvious goal for forward moving seventies rock bands then, was to fuse the two together in a working relationship where music, words, lights and visuals would ideally come together forming a unified whole.
Respected today for albums of surreal musical tales and a striking stage act Genesis began strictly as songwriters determined to sell- their pop masterpieces to open ears. While at school Peter Gabriel, Michael Rutherford and Tony Banks began a song writing relationship that to this day forms the bulk of the Genesis fantasy. Confident that these early tunes were ideal top forty material, success eluded them. Left with no other alternative, performing the songs themselves became the only solution.
Enter the bubblegum gun Jonathan King who bestowed upon them a name Genesis, and an album, From Genesis to Revelation, which sounded more like a Moody Blues/ Procol Harum synthesis than the usual Top of the Pops one hit wonders. Despite the early recording effort, the group's surrealistic feel comes through the vinyl.
After securing a record deal with Charisma in 1970, Genesis recorded Trespass, an album that spurned the stage favourite The Knife one of the few Genesis compositions to resemble anything remotely similar to rock'n roll. Trespass is a frustrating album to listen to in retrospect, for one can easily see and feel the direction the band were moving towards, and the difficulty they were having getting there. The bands present strength in both popular acceptance and artistic accomplishment is no accident for the group have evolved gradually.
From their earliest concerts and records, the group stubbornly insisted on doing everything their own way, an individuality that today separates them from other 'progressive' groups. Genesis were the naive rockers who brought tea and toast to sleazy backstage concerts as Gabriel began miming to some of the more story-book lyrics in a last ditch attempt to reach the audience. Record companies demanded traditional single releases that they refused to create. Genesis headlined before they reached headlining status as a problem quickly evolved, what kind of band could they possibly open for? This same problem was to plague them during their first few American visits, where a relatively unknown group found themselves in the unique position of headlining concerts Whether there were 400 or 4,000 people in the audience, Genesis worked hard, hypnotically pulling the listener into their own formless world. As the lyrics began to take on a more animated form, as the music became a soundtrack for a film that was happening on stage, a clear direction evolved for the group, merging theatrical stage visuals with the music. Seventies rock was at last moving forwards.
After Trespass, drummer John Mayhew and guitarist/songwriter Anthony Philips left the group. Phil Collins arrived at a time when Genesis badly needed a healthy injection of fresh blood and revitalized energy. His musical adeptness and percussive proficiency on drums made it that much easier for Genesis to create the time changes so integral to their world. Enter also Steve Hackett, a guitarist capable of playing with a band, capable of colouring various passages and textures instead of only being able to play the archetypal guitar solo. With Rutherford on bass and acoustic guitars, Banks on keyboards, mellotrons and synthesizers and Gabriel onstage an occasional flute, Genesis had gone through a necessary transformation, emerging unscathed as one of the few seventies bands moving towards tomorrow instead of being merely content to recall what was once yesterday.
From this transitional 1971 period, Genesis began moving closer to bridging the gap between theatre and music> both onstage and record. Yet the bands visual attempts at clearing u p Lyrical discrepancies created some dire misconceptions which followed the group like the plague, and begged for clarification. The most common problems revolved around the group's position in the rock 'n roll hierarchy, for both fans and enemies were confused about just where Genesis fitted in the rock family tree. And it came to pass that people wrongly assumed that Genesis bore a strong resemblance to bands like Yes, ELP musically and people like Alice Cooper and David Bowie visually. Musically all that bound those groups t~ "ether was the keyboard based instruments used to colour different sounds. Time changes, chord structures, song construction, vocals and Lyrics differ between them so much so that no obvious similarities exist. Visually Genesis share no bonds with other popular rock posers of our time. Unlike his contemporaries, Gabriel's stage movements bear a direct one to one relationship to the lyrics.
From the start Genesis have operated on the basic principle that the visuals, while often entertaining are merely a vehicle to make the songs themselves more easily understood and accessible. To this day the band insist that they are primarily songwriters who play at being musicians and then only later play at being presenters. The songs are most important, the visuals only an aid in emphasizing the songs themselves. While many of their contemporaries incorporate visuals in a purely transitory nature, content to elicit a round of oohs and aahs with various images and stage antics that are totally divorced from the song, Genesis strive to make the two one, to use the Visuals to expand and explain the song.
"We're closer to cartoons than the conventional rock band", Gabriel once said. "As far as other bands go, I think we're in a little puddle all by ourselves". Genesis are working towards something closer to the Red Buddha Theatre than the rock bands they are so often compared with.
Nursery Cryme was the first album created by the present line-up and from the first disturbing notes of 'Musical Box' right through the last grandiose mellotron chords of 'The Fountain of Salmacis' the difference between this and past albums is apparent. For the first time the band's creative intentions had been captured on vinyl and it became easier to understand exactly what the group was working towards. From the album came stage classics 'Return of the Giant Hogweed and The Musical Box' a definite attempt to fuse storybook fantasies with moody accompaniment. Both lyrics and music began to take on unique qualities; the stories were slightly vague and subtly weird while the music added to the uneasy eerie ness ofthe tune. The group was progressing both as songwriters and musicians.
Not content to remain stationary, the Foxtrot album made fanatics out of fans and friends out of disbeliveers. The album contained an impressive twenty minute futuristic opus entitled 'Supper's Ready' that quickly became the centre of attention of their much talked about stage show. In the beginning Gabriel would don the cover painting fox-head but that caricature was only vaguely connected with the albums lyrical themes. Eventually the band presented the whole piece onstage capturing the rock star as the second coming musically and visually much to the delight of the audience. With gentle, sweet voices, flashing strobe effects, searing mellotron orchestration, and animated visuals the piece would build to a spine-tingling crescendo, crashing to a surprise ending. Genesis were becoming immensely popular, for 'Supper's Ready' transcended the standard four minutes of decorated visuals, becoming a definite theatre piece-complete with recurring passages and themes.
The band's following quickly spread to the Continent and across the Atlantic where Americans were particularly fascinated with their peculiar English surrealism. A transitional period followed, allowing the group to catch their breath and further develop the technical side of production and musical adeptness. Albums were months in the making, as they were a product of not one mind but five, and group equality was always stressed. 'Selling England By The Pound' confirmed suspicions that Genesis were becoming a self-contained unit, capable of creating and sustaining musical imagery both visually onstage and lyrically on record with the musical accompaniment integrated into the proceedings so that the whole equaled a solid, animated fantasy. On this album the stories took a back seat to the music while the group concentrated on developing playing styles. Hackett's guitar weavings became an integral part of the moody atmosphere, as Banks wisely kept his keyboard playing melodic and Lyrical instead of succumbing to the obvious desire to create a Third World War like so many of his peers and contemporaries.
With the release of the album and the subsequent stage show that followed, lighting and sound systems took a giant leap forward and one excitedly wondered what futuristic delights lay ahead. While the 'Foxtrot; tour featured an all white stage backdrop that added to the feel of the music, this tour injected backdrop projections and the use of slides, again coming closer to merging various medias into one. In the beginning the slide show occasionally resembled a family what we did on our holidays' approach but, quickly grew more sophisticated.
Which brings us presently up to autumn 1974 and a new Genesis stage show based around their new double album 'Lamb lies down on Broadway'. Not a terribly wealthy band, Genesis continually feed profits back into the stage show. To convey the complex story line of the new album, visual aids will be used on three backdrop screens. hinting at three dimensional illusions, slowed down slides will also add to an animated feel. As always, these new technical improvements will serve as painted landscapes adding to the fantasy and clarifying the story line. While the emphasis remains on the music and players the show will be theatrical and exciting, the music and imagery will not be separate, but whole, working together to pull the listener into the Genesis fantasy and out of everyday street realities. What Genesis are working towards is the future and their present flirtation with multi-media concepts is only the beginning of a whole new world. Welcome