Tribute bands are a strange phenomenon. At best they provide a chance for those of us who weren’t old enough to catch a live glimpse of what a band might have been like in their live heyday. At worst they are an excuse for a nostalgic knees up at the expense of anything genuinely original, especially in light of the fact there are not too many venues left playing, or even paying, original bands, most venues making their money out of the fast turnover of nostalgic 70′, 80’s and 90’s nights where people can get dressed up and relive their shallow “happier” times before they grew up and got jobs and kids and left the music behind. Obviously there is a place for the latter but it’s not here and not now.
I have though always been fascinated by the former idea of being able to at least see a ghost of a band that sadly is no longer in the present day. A good such example is the Peter Gabriel era Genesis. From various recordings that were made, and snippets of film and photographs from the time, and we’re talking 1970 to about 1976, which is a good 50 years ago now, it seemed that Genesis in full flight were a thing to behold live, with full on musical dynamics, costumes and theatrical lighting. It is a shame that many of us were too young to witness such a thing and this is now the only way we can come close to that experience. There are a handful of bands who present various facets of the material, from interpretations to full blown stage shows, with even ex-member Steve Hackett getting in on the act. Regenesis lie somewhere in the middle, traversing a line between musicianship and spectacle, and presenting a snapshot of a now lost moment.
The band have been together as a tribute act now since 1994 and this sadly is their final tour, although at nearly 30 years they lasted six times longer than the original band! The lead singer and flautist Tony Patterson (who has in the past worked with Steve Hackett) does bear a slight similarity to Gabriel and vocally sometimes is uncannily similar, who traverses the hard line between respectful masking and pastiche very well, while still retaining an individual identity. He plays the flute better than Gabriel did though!
The band present a greatest song package tracing the history of the band from 1970’s “Trespass” right through to the Phil Collins led “Trick Of The Tail” album, and this is where things take an interesting turn, because Peter Gabriel had left the band before the recording of this album, prompting drummer Phil Collins, who had previously dabbled with the odd vocal here and there and could obviously sing, to step into the vocal limelight, but I have often wondered what the album would have been like had Gabriel remained, and tonight’s rendition of “Entangled” shows us what the world was missing. Don’t get me wrong I love the song and don’t have a problem with the Collins original, but Patterson sings it in full Gabriel voice and it’s a revelation, and surprisingly seamless, like it was written for him, which it may well have been.
It has to be said that most of the audience were over 50’s getting teary eyed and nostalgically emotional over hearing these songs brought to life again, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I was one of them at times, especially in the ‘new Jerusalem’ section at the end of “Supper’s Ready”, but it was nice to see some younger people there too just experiencing, albeit second hand, what a great band Genesis were in their prime, and perhaps there the future of the tribute band lies. I hope so.
ReGenesis: Website | Facebook |
Review by Andrew Wood
Images by Ali Blair