Written by By David Redmayne, CNN
Genesis is possibly one of the most recognizable bands to have emerged from the then-British colony of Australia.
Their debut album, released in 1970, became an instant classic, attracting universal acclaim across the globe — but not simply for their triumph of brooding guitar pop — as demonstrated by their 1984 smash hit hit, “Somebody To Love.”
The song remains one of the biggest, most successful singles of all time and its immortal television advert also helped cement Genesis’s reputation as musical royalty.
That’s not to say that they haven’t performed live. They have and they still do.
Several times. Just last year they celebrated the 40th anniversary of “Somebody To Love,” with a sold-out concert at Dublin’s Croke Park Stadium, which they called “one of the greatest shows” they’d ever played.
During that performance their two original members, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, reunited to perform all of their classic hits alongside a 22-piece orchestra. It was quite a spectacle, certainly worthy of Genesis at their peak.
This time, however, the only one who performed with Genesis was founder singer and guitarist Genesis P-Orridge , who recently celebrated his 50th birthday. He’ll turn 60 later this year.
Mixing words with music, Genesis were a prolific and notorious hit-making machine — alongside fellow bands Queen and The Rolling Stones — and their fans have endured a great deal of disappointment over the years.
But unlike their contemporaries, the former PiL (and Echo and the Bunnymen) frontman created his own shock value not to announce a comeback, but to confront public opinion. The statement accompanying his first tour in 2016 declared that after 40 years he was “canceling my retirement.”
“My engagement with the fans is no longer taken for granted and I want to continue to provide a viable outlet for their positive response,” he said in a statement . “However, I am a different man than I was forty years ago. My only interest is to hear the songs and to work with my virtuosos to deliver songs to the fans that will resonate with them all.”
Guns N’ Roses also revisited their glory days in Toronto. Credit: Courtesy 1001 Fireballs
Indeed, Genesis’s reformation was greeted with not merely a revival, but a possibility of redemption: something that was sorely missing from the music scene since Guns N’ Roses sacked Axl Rose years ago.
Gone were the flamboyant showmanship of Bill Wyman, an all-too-revealing leather bodysuit of Tommy Bonham and singer Izzy Stradlin’s wild drum solos. Now, the occasional collection of band members put on strong performances, whether it be the likes of former Polyphonic Spree member, Gerhard Richter, who joined them for “Get Cracked,” or another former PiL member, the late Johnny Thunders.
Izzy’s daughter, Karen, took to the stage in a bright yellow cowgirl shirt, clanging the occasional cowbell for a song about the crisis of confidence in modern women.
Without mentioning or even acknowledging the reason for his eagerness to perform, however, P-Orridge’s performance on Tuesday showcased the singer at the highest level of his career. He’s long been a spectacular showman with a ringmaster persona, but never on this scale before.
The performers were also smart about promoting their final tour with different, but complementary shows.
They weren’t done with P-Orridge: they later invited Courtney Love to appear in the audience to sing “Soldier.” The recent drug addict star and ex-wife of P-Orridge’s new partner and bandmate, Billy Corgan, has taken a leave of absence from her current run of My Head Is An Animal tours to focus on the passing of her husband, Frances Bean Cobain, who died of suicide in 2014.
So Genesis got to celebrate a new era with Love. The good news is she had everything to say.
She sat on a stool, surrounded by bottles of bubbly, and threw bottles from her high heels onto the speakers as the song unfolded. She explained later that she thought about Cobain, who was to be her father’s muse when he released his final album, “Love.”
That said, Love’s appearance, which generated a raucous applause from the crowd, raised a few eyebrows after the star recently told Rolling Stone magazine that she felt only a