Gig review: Genesis at First Direct Arena, Leeds

NEEDING to be helped onto the stage and then being sat for the entirety of the set is not how Phil Collins would have hoped to feature in Genesis’ long-awaited comeback tour.

Genesis lead singer Phil Collins, who remained seated throughout the show due to his health issues, performs at First Direct Arena, Leeds. (ANTHONY LONGSTAFF)

Nevertheless, for all the 70 year-old’s much-publicised physical frailties are plain to see, there is no doubting his vocal qualities have remained largely undiminished.

This was evidenced as Genesis - in their latest reunion show that had already been postponed twice due to the pandemic - delivered an absorbing and polished two-and-a-half hour performance in Leeds.

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With original band members Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks alongside, they opened with the drum-infused Turn It On Again before the angst-filled Mama, where Collins’ haunting vocals were at their best and sounded as good as they did in its heyday.

Genesis in action in Leeds. (ANTHONY LONGSTAFF)

Collins then introduced Land of Confusion by saying how - despite being written more than 30 years ago - it was particularly apt for current times, a clever video montage behind them showing toilet rolls raining down and animated masked figures.

Collins, of course, can now sadly barely hold a drum stick.

With that in mind, it was particularly poignant when he moved slightly across stage to sit close by Genesis’ current drummer - his 20-year-old son Nic - who, with an impressive solo, showed that skill very much runs in the family.

The manner in which Genesis delivered Fading Lights suggests they are anything but.

Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford. (ANTHONY LONGSTAFF)

Gathering closer together in centre stage, a stripped back trio of That’s All, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and Follow You, Follow Me changed the pace somewhat.

However, for a group that has been around the best part of half a century it felt fitting, after so many years of mainstream rock, they could afford themselves such an intimate interlude.

That was quickly fired back up by one of their stadium-filler favourites You’re No Son of Mine which Collins delivered with all his customary gusto.

Fans of the Peter Gabriel progressive rock and experimental early years certainly endorsed I Know What I Like before Domino and a sentimental Throwing It All Away led into more crowd-pleasers Tonight, Tonight, Tonight and Invisible Touch and I Can’t Dance.

If this is the last Genesis tour - which seems likely - they undoubtedly signed off their musical odyssey in style.