Revisiting the Last Time Genesis Reunited for a Tour
As Genesis prepare to reunite for a 2020 tour, it seems appropriate to look back at the last time the classic trio lineup of Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford reconvened.
In November 2006, the musicians hosted a press conference in London to announce their reunion. Collins was quick to reject suggestions that Genesis’ return was a cash grab, noting that the band had already earned plenty of money.
"We're all loaded enough not to worry about where the next million or two is coming from," the singer joked, instead insisting that the reunion was more about old friends coming back together.
"I just felt now was the right time to have a go at it," Collins explained, adding that even while he pursued solo work, he “missed the camaraderie" of Genesis.
Watch Genesis Announce their 2007 North American Tour
The singer and drummer departed the group in 1996, leaving his bandmates on amicable terms. Banks and Rutherford attempted to keep Genesis afloat, auditioning new singers and eventually enlisting Scottish vocalist Ray Wilson. The singer was featured on the 1997 LP Calling All Stations and toured with the group through 1998. However, poor album sales and waning interest doomed that incarnation of Genesis.
As the millennium came to an end, Banks and Rutherford confirmed the band would no longer tour or record new music. In the interim, all parties focused on their own endeavors. Banks released a classical orchestral album in 2004, Rutherford revisited his other platinum-selling band, Mike and the Mechanics, and Collins added three more LPs to his solo catalog.
Even though they no longer worked together, the former bandmates stayed friendly. Collins admitted the idea of a reunion would routinely come up in conversation. "We would bring it up every time we sat down together,” the frontman confessed during their 2006 press conference. “Sometimes we talked ourselves out of it, and finally we decided this was as good a time as any to do something."
As Collins revealed, the band's initial reunion discussions also involved former bandmates Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett. The early '70s quintet lineup originally met in 2005 to discuss a potential tour framed around its classic 1974 prog-rock concept album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, but that idea fell apart after Gabriel failed to commit. The trio then carried forward with the Turn It On Again trek, organized into two separate concert runs in 2007: a European stretch in June and July, followed by a North American run in September and October.
Genesis delved deep into their catalog on both tours, playing classic hits and progressive deep cuts. Naturally, chart-toppers like “Follow You Follow Me,” “I Can’t Dance” and “Land of Confusion” made the set list, but so to did the elaborate 1973 opus “Firth of Fifth” and their 1974 single "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)."
Watch Genesis Perform 'Fifth of Firth' in 2007
The tour's final performance took place Oct. 13 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Before the evening’s final song, Collins expressed his heartfelt gratitude.
“As we stand here right now there is nothing else planned, so that adds a lot more emotion to this evening than this being the last show of the last tour,” the frontman explained.
“I’m 56. I joined this band when I was 19, so you can work that out. But Tony and Mike were already in it, and they’re older than me. So this is very much a family group. We grew up together. I’ve never said it privately or publicly, but Tony, I love you. Mike, I love you too. Now being British, we’re going to carry on with things. That’s enough of that.”
Watch Genesis Onstage in Los Angeles in 2007
By all accounts, the Turn It On Again tour was a monumental success. The jaunt grossed in excess of $129 million over 46 performances, easily ranking among the Top 25 concert tours of the decade.
Unfortunately, the toll of life behind the drum kit caught up with Collins shortly after the tour’s final bow. The rocker suffered through serious back pain, multiple surgeries and severe nerve damage that dramatically affected both his playing ability and day-to-day life.
In a 2009 message to fans, Collins detailed his afflictions. “Somehow, during the last Genesis tour, I dislocated some vertebrae in my upper neck and that affected my hands,” he explained. “After a successful operation on my neck, my hands still can't function normally. Maybe in a year or so it will change, but for now it is impossible for me to play drums or piano.”
Collins recoiled from the limelight for some time, seemingly embracing retirement. But, in 2017, he made his triumphant return to performing with the announcement of the Not Dead Yet tour. Though still limited, he seemed reinvigorated by getting back onstage. The occasion even led him to ponder another Genesis reunion — especially if his teenage son Nic, who played on the solo tour, could take over the drum parts. And it turns out the younger Collins' professionalism was an essential catalyst for the band's 2020 comeback run, which is called The Last Domino?.
""[I think] both [Banks and Rutherford] were kinda taken with the way [Nic] kind of understood what was needed," Collins told BBC Radio 2 upon announcing the tour. "He plays a bit like me when he wants to – he doesn't when he doesn't want to. But I'm one of his many influences, of course, being his dad. But he plays like me, and he kind of has the same attitude as me. So that was a good starter."
Though Genesis didn't detail their upcoming set list to the BBC, Collins teased a probable mixture of obvious staples and "songs that maybe we haven't played for a long time." No matter what they play, let's hope the raw emotion of their 2007 tour — including that could-have-been-final show — remains intact.
Genesis, The Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, 10/13/07
"Duke's Intro" ("Behind the Lines" / "Duke's End")
"Turn It On Again"
"No Son of Mine"
"Land of Confusion"
Medley: "In the Cage" / "The Cinema Show" / "Duke's Travels" / "Afterglow"
"Hold on My Heart"
"Home By the Sea"
"Second Home By the Sea"
"Follow You Follow Me"
"Firth of Fifth"
"I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)"
"Throwing It All Away"
"Tonight Tonight Tonight"
"I Can't Dance"
"The Carpet Crawlers"