WASHINGTON – When the end is near, everything resonates a little deeper.

That feeling of finality shadowed Genesis’ performance at Capital One Arena in D.C. on Thursday, the second city on the band’s North American tour, which launched earlier in the week with a pair of shows in Chicago.

Genesis’s 50+-year-old career is something to be proud of as it makes its final circuit around the country. It has spectacular lights and video that will complement its kaleidoscopic catalogue.

USA TODAY spoke with Tony Banks, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford about “The Last Domino?” The band will be closing down the road with this performance. The tour will end with some makeup dates in London (COVID), March 24-26.

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The health of singer Phil Collins, 70, has been at the forefront of this tour – Genesis’ first since a 2007 reunion – and his initial appearance may have caused some concern in the sold-out arena.

Collins looked a little frail and pale and clasped his cane. He then walked slowly to the throne where he would remain for two hours.

His charisma was not diminished by his inability to remain stationary.

His 20-year-old son, Nic, perched behind him on the drum riser to assume the rhythm duties that Collins so memorably wove into Genesis’ sound since 1970.

Phil Collins (seated)can no longer play drums, so his son Nic is handling the beat on Genesis' final tour, which stopped at Capital One Arena in D.C. on Nov. 18, 2021.

As columns of white lights polka-dotted the stage and a high-def screen flashed close-ups of the trio, they slithered through the taut instrumentals “Behind the Lines” and “Duke’s End.”

An unsound mix obscured “Turn it On Again,” which was cleared for “Mama.” The screens were splattered with lava-red hues as Collins used his theatrical instincts to look at the lyrics and smile, punctuating it with his reptilian cackle.

Collins stated, “It has been an interesting few years, but it’s now we’re here,” from his chair. This was one of many times that he spoke to the crowd as a way of engaging.

Phil Collins unleashes a song during Genesis' Nov. 18, 2021 show at Capital One Arena in D.C.

He noted that “Land of Confusion,” Genesis’ 1986 hit packed with political undertones, was “written about something else,” but still resounds (the song’s video, featuring satirical puppets of the band members and a Ronald Reagan caricature, is among MTV’s most memorable offerings).

This version featured marching masses dressed in masks, raining toilet paper rolls, and a parade. It was reminiscent of today’s point of view, thanks to the crisp licks Rutherford played from his guitar.

Since September’s European tour launch, the band has kept their set list almost unchanged. But the D.C. crowd did experience one mid-set swap: “Duchess” from 1980’s “Duke” album, replaced “Misunderstanding,” from the same release. This was an interesting move considering that Genesis just released their Top 20 Chicago hit.

Its wide musicianship is what remains one of Genesis’ most striking elements. For the tour’s 23 songs, the mix was between prog rock of the band’s 1970s output, much of which was led by Peter Gabriel, and radio hits from the ’80s/’90s. However, the lyrics retained much of their original lyrical content.

From 1973’s “The Cinema Show,” which showcased Nic Collins’ wiry strength while his dad air-drummed from his seat, to the set-ending “Invisible Touch,” its slick drum patterns endemic of its 1986 birthdate, Genesis seamlessly knitted decades.

Mike Rutherford alternated between guitar and bass throughout Genesis' Nov. 18 concert at Capital One Arena in D.C.

Rutherford even donned his specialty double-neck guitar and bass for “Fading Lights,” which took on a new poignancy as Collins sang, “Another time it might have been so different/Oh, if only we could do it all again. But now it’s just another fading memory/Out of focus, though the outline still remains.”

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When Banks, Rutherford and Collins, the younger, and Daryl Stuermer, the long-time guitarist, sat down around Phil Collins to perform stripped versions of several songs in silence, it allowed for a moment of reflection without any flash. “That’s All” – with Rutherford steering with a pumping bass line – coasted on its easy groove, while a recast “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” and relaxed “Follow You Follow Me” appealed to the multiple generations in the crowd.

Tony Banks' keyboards provided a signature sound, especially to Genesis' prog-rock material.

Banks, an elegant man behind the altar of keyboards who conducts himself with grace, navigated “Firth of Fifth,” with Nic Collins. Nic’s instrumental playing projected the uncanny sound his dad made, before taking the difficult time changes of “I Know What I Like” (In Your Wardrobe).

Through the musical calisthenics of “Domino,” accompanied by high-kicking lights, and the beauty and sadness of “Throwing it All Away,” with Rutherford picking out the melody on electric guitar, Genesis flourished.

The band would not be able to say good-bye if they didn’t have expert musicianship and an abundance of songs.

Source: USAToday.com


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