The Musical Box–Live at Center Stage

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This was my second concert by The Musical Box, the last being a full presentation of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in 2012. I don’t get excited about seeing cover bands, but if you like music enough, and the original band isn’t around to play it anymore, AND no one else plays their songs, you accept the passing of time and pay tribute by seeing a tribute band.  And, of course, music played in concert, when played well, is very enjoyable regardless of who is kicking the drum or picking the strings. 



The Musical Box is a Genesis cover band – not the 1980’s Phil Collins pop schlock stuff (fine for radio I suppose) but rather the 1969-1975 Peter Gabriel era, equally embarrassing in another way – lyrics that were silly or non-sensical, but to a degree “expected” for prog rock.  In any case, the music was often fantastic, and when you ignore the words and accept Gabriel’s voice as an instrument in the mix, it works just fine.

Interestingly, Wiki notes that The Musical Box is the only tribute band that is “approved” in a sense by the original band, as evidenced by warm comments by original members, an occasional sit-in during performances and the loan of costumes and back screen videos.

Lamb Lies Down on Broadway costuming

A Gabriel era costume by an eager fan
The band started the show with two albums into the Phil Collins-as-vocalist period, when the band was still creating longer form music rather than pop songs.  This tour is called “The Genesis Extravaganza,” stretching the era of the songs to be included and less focused on a specific album.  Lead singer Denis Gagné has a credible Collins voice, but as a starting point, this was “nice to hear” music rather than what the crowd came to hear.  And it was nice to hear.  They then played several songs from a Trick of the Tail, and they were off and running for the remainder of the show.

Sound quality was only average for a Center Stage show, due to an underwhelming audio mix of the lead electric guitar.  As much of their best music involves lengthy solos by keyboards and guitar, this was a big negative in that it could barely be heard if other instruments were playing.  In that regard, the keyboards, bass and drums were amped up – fully enjoyable with the “loudness” one expects in concert.

The Musical Box encore
The band played a number of songs that were surprising choices, “Looking for Someone” (with perfect Gabriel voicing) and “Seven Stones” chief among them, both superbly played.  I would rather have heard more from their earlier work, as Lamb was overly sampled, all things considered.  Other highlights included the Ian Benhamou’s keyboard solos for “The Cinema Show” and “Firth of Fifth,” deserving fan favorites representing the best of what Genesis accomplished musically.  And musically, the band did impress, displaying a versatility beyond their lead instruments.  Overall, a very good show, and I’d see them again when I get the Genesis “itch.”

Kudos!

Setlist:



The Wind’s Tail
  • In That Quiet Earth, Robbery, Assault and Battery, Wot Gorilla? – Wind and Wuthering
  • Blood on the Rooftops – Wind and Wuthering
  • Dance on a Volcano – A Trick of the Tail
  • Entangled – A Trick of the Tail
  • Los Endos – A Trick of the Tail
Broadway Melodies (all songs from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway)
  • Fly on a Windshield
  • Broadway Melody of 1974
  • In the Cage
  • Back in NYC
  • Hairless Heart
  • Counting Out Time
  • The Carpet Crawlers
  • Lilywhite Lilith
  • The Waiting Room
Before the Ordeal
  • A Place to Call My Own – From Genesis to Revelation
  • Time Table – Foxtrot
  • Seven Stones – Nursery Cryme
  • Can-Utility and the Coastliners – Foxtrot
  • Looking for Someone – Trespass
  • Firth of Fifth – Selling England by the Pound
  • After the Ordeal – Selling England by the Pound
  • The Cinema Show / Aisle of Plenty – Selling England by the Pound
Encore
  • The Musical Box – Nursery Cryme

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