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29 June 2011 @ 08:55 pm
Bp's Song of the Week #121: Genesis "In the Cage/Afterglow" Medley 1984  
There are a number of different reasons for my weekly ramblings, I mean, well constructed and eloquent musings on music. I’m a musical nerd for one, but also there’s so much music out there these days it’s hard to find the good stuff without spending hours and hours – it’s not as easy to find it as it was when I was growing up, but it is still out there, and that’s one of the reasons I’m in your mailbox. You might not know of the musical brilliance of Matt Nathanson, The Civil Wars, etc. because your paths just might not cross, and I’m here to help you out! I’m immersed in it every day, so it’s easy for me to do some of the heavy lifting and give you all the pleasure of my discovery!

Another reason is that from a young age I was bitten by the musical bug – best bug bite ever – fueled by my older brother, Mark. He was always listening to WOUR from Utica and sometimes WPYX from Albany when it would come in clear. I remember my Dad took us both to a local radio station in Oneonta one summer morning to see what a radio station was all about – I think I requested Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” after the DJ talked and showed us what he did. Mark went on to spin records & CDs for many years as a professional DJ and of course, I had to follow his lead in college and spent much of my college career in our college station as Program Director. Our formative years were filled with MTV, it hit our cable box in the fall of 1982 and we were hooked. Def Leppard’s “Photograph” is the song I credit with having turned my world upside at the age of nine in early 1983 – it was my Beatles on Sullivan moment. But instead of picking up a guitar like so many did after the 1963 Liverpool invasion, I picked up what was available – a tennis racket or waffle ball bat – until our Dad fashioned a piece of ½” plywood to look like the Ibanez Phil Collen of Leppard used at the time (somewhere down the line it was repainted in the scheme of Scorpions’ Matthias Jabs Gibson Explorer). I can’t remember if I wanted a real guitar or not….but when folks talk about the 10,000 hours needed to become an expert at something, I spent maybe that amount of hours playing air guitar, air drums and singing well out of tune with the Emerson boom box turned up to 11. Hours upon hours singing into a microphone from an old tape recorder that was affixed to a broomstick with a clip on the end so it could be taken off and put back depending on the versatility needed for the performance – or how closely we wanted to copy the video from MTV. I remember sitting on the top bunk of the bunk beds, feet dangling and hitting the imaginary bass drum pedals, as it made for an awesome drum riser and I did my best Gil Moore impression as Mark was Rik Emmett of Triumph as we replicated the March 1985 live Westwood One simulcast from Los Angeles over and over.

That was a fun tangent! But back to the point….another reason why I do these little things is that I just love little musical moments and from time to time I point them out in these posts, but this one will be very heavy on the pointing out of moments. It’s most likely the teacher part of me passed down from my Dad (a Social Studies teacher for 33-years) and a combination of a vision of myself at some stage helping people through music therapy and using songs and moments within songs as a tool for positive use. Probably though, it comes down to the basic human desire for people to like the same thing you do. I want you to see the beauty and wonder of the things I find amazing. And there is a lot to find amazing in this week’s pick.

Finally, another reason is that there are lots of things in my head that I’ve never spent the time to write down and through dropping these songs out there every week it’s a good opportunity for me to get those things down as it’s fun to go back in time and revisit every once in a while.

So anyway, back to the story. Genesis wasn’t a big draw for my brother and I until around the time of Invisible Touch, at least I don’t remember him owning anything on cassette until then. What I do remember most was a white folder with a piece of paper taped to the outside with a hand-drawn Genesis logo. Inside were a bunch of typed lyric sheets to Collins-era ‘70s and early ‘80s material that was given to Mark by Steve Fredette, a school friend who was a year older than Mark. I remember “Deep in the Motherlode,” “Many to Many,” “Heathaze,” “Burning Rope,” “Afterglow,” were some of the lyric sheets included. It was that folder and I believe a couple of cassettes that Steve let Mark borrow and tape (Live from the Mouth of the Monster – Chicago 1978 bootleg I remember being one), that got Mark hooked. He started to buy tapes from the local record stores, I can still see the ATCO logo on the black insert cards of A Trick of the Tail, Duke, and others. The Invisible Touch album and tour were in full swing at this point, but without a venue close by, he wasn’t able to catch a show, so we followed the news via MTV which was all over Genesis at the time – I think we even entered the “Roadie for a Day” contest they ran. I remember him playing the 12” version of “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” a lot – as if the 8 minute studio version wasn’t enough, this was around 10 or 11 minutes!

It was also around this time when MTV aired the Mama Tour video which we recorded on VHS and I continued to watch religiously for years. It was from watching this video that I first became aware of the impact of concert lighting and how it can enhance a show as well as the effect it can have on the audience. This in turn piqued my curiosity and led to me become in charge of lighting design for our high school musical productions. My interest in lighting made it possible for my interviews with Rush and Queensryche Lighting Directors over the years. I still think that the best seat in the house for most shows is at the Front-of-House lighting/mixing area. It’s where the magic happens and the best place to experience that magic.

Getting back to this week’s pick, for many years I would tell people that the best song ever performed was the Genesis Mama Tour version of “In the Cage/Afterglow” medley (Rush’s “2112” would challenge it at times as well). I seriously contemplated taking piano lessons as well, inspired by the work of Tony Banks in these clips, but I had too many things on my plate already to get involved with that in Jr. High and High School.

Mark and I saw our first and only Genesis show in Syracuse in 1992, just weeks before I graduated High School. He went to the June 5th show and myself and a handful of friends were at the June 7th show – way in the back of the Carrier Dome – an experience I still can vividly recall (along with the booming terrible sound from that inflatable ceiling). What an amazing production and to see it in person finally was spectacular!

To bring this full circle with the ‘older brother turning on younger brother’ theme, in the Spring of 1992, I was working with Steve Fredette’s older brother, Bill, on a school TV project with the local PBS affiliate and he was asked to help work the Syracuse June shows. Memory fails me of the details, but it was on their video screen production side of things. Bill had turned on Steve to Genesis and fueled my brother’s interest in the history of the band. Paying it forward with amazing music.

Oh, right, there’s supposed to be a link to a song in here somewhere, right?! I have had a love affair with this particular piece of music for almost 25 years, so as long as that intro was, the actual song ramblings will be equally as long (but by all means, equally riveting!).

“In the Cage/Cinema Show/In That Quiet Earth/Afterglow”

Part 2

When they filmed this in Birmingham at the NEC in late February 1984, there was no additional lighting brought in for the filming as is normally the case with concert recordings. Many times extra lighting is brought in to illuminate the crowd, so it doesn’t look like the band is playing to an empty hall, and to enhance the performers as well as brighten the dark spots on stage. On this particular filming though, that was not the case and I think the end product is better for that decision. The darkness provides an ambiance of actually being there and really shows off the superb light show that was designed by Alan Owen. Three years earlier, the band had invested in the development of the Vari-Lite, the first automated moving light fixture, and on this tour they used a massive pie-shaped truss that was filled with these programmable and highly versatile (at the time) lighting fixtures which could really enhance and alter the shape of the stage.

For the uninitiated, or those needing a refresher, Genesis at the time of this live recording was Phil Collins – vocals and drums, Tony Banks – keyboards, Mike Rutherford – bass and guitars (he’s using the double neck in this clip), with live touring members Chester Thompson on drums and Daryl Stuermer on guitar. The song “In the Cage” with lyrics by Peter Gabriel appeared on their 1974 concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, “Afterglow” appeared on the 1977 record Wind & Wuthering with some instrumental bits from various albums stitched in between.

0:00 – the pulse of the drum, driving the isolation of the lyrics to follow
0:56 – the little keyboard lick is the first on many great keyboard moments
3:20 – holy wonderful keyboards Batman – Go Tony Banks!
3:39 – nice little bass lick by Mike Rutherford, continue listening for him, especially in the 3:50’s
3:42 – ooh, lovely keys – and interplay between Mike & Tony
4:06 – the lead up to the majestic….
4:15 - the lights form a cage and the dry ice is pumped out
4:36 – we take it for granted these days that lights move, but this was full scale pan to Phil on the riser was pretty effective back then – note the leather jacket – an homage to Peter Gabriel – listen to that passionate vocal as well – brilliance!
5:05 – “so I shout out ‘John, please help me!’ but he does not even want to try to speak” – most people have never seen Phil like this
5:10 – listen to the keys underneath this section – just stunning and then opening into the instrumental break – Banks is superhuman
5:41 – “raindrops keep falling on my head…” haunting and wondrous
6:01 – there’s that little haunting guitar line again…seemingly so simple, but it adds so much
6:06 – the intensity is building and building… “pressure’s building I can’t take more, my head is charged and my earaches roar….”
6:58 – “without any reason, my body revolves…WHOOOP” – that whoop, let me tell you, with such intensity mounting and building, that ‘whoop’ mixed as loud as it is in the overall mix is startling and unnerving
7:04 – we’ve got Vari-Lite madness now with turning colored beams mirroring the lyrics – again, it seems simple now, but in 1984 this was a spectacle! The overhead shots show the relatively simple arc of the back and forth – brilliant! Listen for Daryl’s wonderful guitar-work under this section as well!
8:00 – Phil takes a seat on the drum stool – next to Neil Peart, he is the best drummer on the planet in my book
8:20 – the three core members – Phil, Mike & Tony
8:49 – bass pedals = bass wash!

Part 2
0:13 – the lead up to…
0:21 – …one of my favorite keyboard runs ever…look at those fingers!
0:28 – …into absolute bliss - what a beautiful section – watch Phil & Chester make beautiful drum magic and Tony’s keys…
0:51 – another amazing keyboard run (he’s not even breaking a sweat)
0:59 – listen for some great bass licks underneath all the action
1:20 – and another great keyboard melody and dual drumming from Phil & Chester
1:48 – powerful riff from Mike
1:59 – awesome tom-tom drum tone with those big ‘booms’
2:43 – drum fill
2:56 – spooky keyboards – love it
3:18 – more master class with Tony Banks
3:37 – another amazing drum fill with more to follow
4:10 – get ready for this drum fill – brilliant transition
4:13 – Is Tony Banks a real human or a keyboard playing machine
4:41 – check out the triplet cymbal hits – love that moment
4:50 – Tony again – absolute bliss
5:10 – The beautiful guitar melody that transitions into “Afterglow” as Phil returns to the microphone
5:35 – “like the dust that settles all around me, I must find a new home…” Phil’s vocals are so poignant and emotional
6:37 – “then the sun reflecting off my pillow, bringing the warmth of new life…”
7:08 – I love the bass here
7:37 – The Lights – a sudden change to being lit from behind at the bottom of the stage – with the dry ice – it’s other worldly almost – such an amazing moment! Combined with the musical swell – ecstasy! A combination of brilliance – one of my all-time favorite musical moments! I feel like I’m being enveloped by the dry ice and the lights and it’s a gigantic musical embrace…. “I would search everywhere, just to hear your call, and walk upon stranger roads than this one, in a world I used to know before, but now, now, now I’ve lost everything, I give to you, I give to you my soul, and the meaning of all that I’ve been living for, escapes me, in this world of none, I miss you more, you know I miss you more”
8:23 – “I miss you more, you know I miss you more” – and Mike delivers that gorgeous bass line that takes over the melody
8:32 – as the lights pan up listen to the crowd roar – this was one of my first experiences where I realized the impact of lights and production on an audience – this single moment had a HUGE impact on me, it changed the whole way I look at concerts and how I see music in my mind
9:02 – look at that beautiful light cue – the stage is almost totally dark, just some backlighting and illumination above the upper lighting truss
9:20 – a drum fill (one of my all-time favorites) that Chester used to do with Weather Report that Phil loved so much that they stole it and put it here, where it remained almost every time they played the song.

To me, it doesn’t come much better than this! With this music, or any music that gets to you like this, at the end you feel alive, empowered, ready to take on the world!

More Amazing Genesis:
Same medley – audience shot from Montreal 1984 – you really get a clear sense of the impact of the lights with the various crowd roars instigated by the lighting cues on this clip!

Old Medley 1992 tour (Dance on a Volcano/The Lamb/Firth of Fifth/Follow You/I Know What I Like) – Live Knebworth
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Heathaze

Domino (Part II) – Live 1992

Duchess