Songwriters: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford
Original Release: Abacab
Definitive Version: Three Sides Live, 1982
Less than a year after I discovered Genesis, they toured to support the geometric figures album. In Columbus, as I mentioned, there was no place for them to play. Fortunately, there was Indianapolis, which was on the schedule in February 1984—smack in the middle of my sophomore year at Wabash. Even better, they were scheduled for a nonbasketball night, so I could go.
I bought three tickets—for myself, Eric and Mike, who said he’d be more than happy to drive over from Columbus for the show. The timing of the concert was perfect, because that following weekend, Jim, Ed and I were throwing our big house party. Mike could see the show, hang out and party a bit. That would require him skipping two days of classes, but he said he could pull it off.
The show was at the late, great Market Square Arena on the East side of town. It wasn’t the first concert I’d seen without parental supervision—it was the second—but it was the first one I’d seen outside of Ohio. It also was the first show I’d seen so soon after really getting into a band, so I was particularly geeked for it. I assumed it would be lots of stuff from the geometric figures album and Abacab and—hopefully—some older stuff.
Our seats were in the upper bowl of MSA, stage right. They weren’t the best seats, but I certainly have had worse. I still have the ticket stub from that show; I found it recently. Our tickets cost $10 apiece. Think of that: It cost only TEN bucks to see Genesis in 1984. It was a while ago, but it wasn’t that long ago. Nowadays, you can’t see anyone even in a local bar for less than $12.
I don’t think Mike had seen Genesis before, but you wouldn’t have known it otherwise. When the band hit the stage, Mike called out, Dodo! And sure enough, this was the opening song. As it was ending, Mike yelled, Abacab! Yup. Two-for-two. What, did you invent the Internet so you could read setlists, bud?
The concert was great, and I remember it like it was yesterday. Early on, Phil Collins went into a long and jokey introduction about how the band was sitting around the other day and they got all their old records out (huge applause) and then they put them back (huge boos). Got them out (Yay!) Put them back (Boo!) He did this several more times before saying, Got them out … and then we kept them out. (YAAAAAY!) They did a killer medley of Lamb Lies Down on Broadway/Firth of Fifth/Musical Box. That satisfied my hopes.
Aside from being really into Genesis at the time, I never had seen a concert in person that had anything like the visual effects that Genesis brought to the stage. I think The Doobie Brothers had a little bit of fog at one point in their show, but Genesis seemed to have the smoke machines working nonstop.
Then were the Vari-Lites, which still were fairly new and unlike anything I’d ever seen in terms of the different colors they had and how they changed the shape of the light and stage for that matter. Before, a lighting effect meant a spotlight. Genesis had no lasers, alas, but it was a new experience in terms of spectacle. With The Who and Led Zeppelin officially out of the game, there was no question who was my favorite active band after that show.
After the show, we drove back to Wabash, and Eric and I took Mike to The Snacker, our favorite late-night diner, for a celebratory burger.
The next day, however, cooler heads prevailed. Mike decided he needed to head home rather than stay an extra day for the party. He sat in a couple of classes with me just to get a bit of the Wabash experience and split while I subbed an afternoon DJ shift at WNDY. I’d like to say I played this song as a tribute while he headed home, but I instead played a live version of Centerfold by J. Geils, another of Mike’s faves from high-school days. Hey man, gotta stay on format, you know.