The lamb lies down on Broadway. It is a sentence that stirs the soul of hard-core progressive-rock fans who know the days when Peter Gabriel fronted Genesis while Phil Collins concentrated on complex time signatures on an intricate drum kit. Those fans also know The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
as the 1974 album created before Gabriel left the group to raise his first child with his wife and "grow cabbages."
Of course, Gabriel would return to music as a solo artist so recognizable in British pop, the notion of his fronting Genesis almost seemed like it happened in a parallel universe. Though the Lamb
lingers in the shadows of Pink Floyd's The Wall
, some hard-core prog fans rank it among the greatest early concept albums ever produced.
The only double album by Genesis, it features intricate
musicianship, ranging from atmospheric and luscious to bombastic and
cacophonous. One of the many straws that led to Gabriel's departure was
his campaign for complete control over the album's lyrics, which cover a
surreal, metaphysical journey of self-actualization for a Puerto Rican
New York street punk. The twisting, dreamlike lyrics cover
existentialism, death, the afterlife, and sex on an almost mythic level.
spawned no hit singles, and staging it proved a challenge beyond all
other previous Genesis shows, known for Gabriel's complex costumes and
occasional levitation on wires. There was the complexity of the
accompanying slideshow, multiple projectors, dangerous pyrotechnics,
and one costume that proved difficult for the singer to hold a
microphone to his mouth.
The shows, which were
never filmed in their entirety, became legend. With Gabriel showing
little interest in a reunion and Collins retired from drumming due to a
back injury, here comes The Musical Box
the only officially sanctioned Genesis tribute band, who had
unprecedented access to the band's master recordings of the album and
the original slides used during the 1974 Lamb
the Montreal-based band, which has been covering Genesis and restaging
the band's shows for about 20 years, takes the stage at the Hard
Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on May 2, it does
not want to offer a reinvention or its own take on the album. It wants to transport fans of Genesis back to 1974. "The whole point of the
show is to give the audience the illusion they are watching Genesis in
'74," said singer Denis Gagné.
Gagné knows this
period of Genesis well, even if he was too young to have ever seen
Genesis live with Peter Gabriel. When I spoke to him over the phone
ahead of the show, I could have sworn I heard his French-Canadian accent
shift into Gabriel's southeast English accent at one point. "One of my
dreams when I was a kid was to play 'Supper's Ready' once in my life,
and now I can't count how many times I've played that song," he said
with a laugh, referring to the epic 25-minute song that takes up the
entire second side of Genesis' 1972 album Foxtrot.
and his band mates have since performed around the globe as the '70s-era Genesis. They have even had members of the original band
in their audience, including Gabriel. The Musical Box, named after
Genesis' "hit" 1972 ten-minute song, have already performed Lamb about 200 times, according to Gagné.
2001, the band has toured as Lamb-era Genesis three times, and it does
not seem to be slowing down. "We'll do the Lamb for a couple of years,
and then for a couple of years, we're gonna be playing another show, like
Selling England [By the Pound] or something," Gagné explained. "Most of
the time, we'll be playing a show for two years, and then play another
show for a couple of years. Of course, every time we do one show, every
fan is asking, 'When are you guys going to do the other one?' Well, we
just started this one. You missed it [laughs]. Just wait for it."
Musical Box. 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, at the Hard Rock Live at the
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Call
954-797-5531, or visit seminolehardrockhollywood.com. Tickets cost $59,
$49 and $39 plus fees via ticketmaster.com.
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