THE CARPET CRAWLERS - OXFORD, O2 ACADEMY 30/09/17
1987. Wembley Stadium. Genesis. 4 sold out gigs, of which I was at 2, each in front of 70,000 people! Brought to you 30 years later in a much smaller venue, but somehow, when those lights go down and ‘Mama’ hits the airwaves, you can just imagine you are back in London, only this time played by Chris Watt, Raymond Pitt, Daniel Saleh, Ged Hawksworth and frontman Brian Cummins.
Just for the record, Brian Cummins doesn’t look anything like Phil Collins. He doesn’t pretend to either, but there is a familiar tone to Brian’s voice, with echoes of Phil in much of what he sings and that’s where the magic of Genesis stays alive. Through the songs Abacab, That’s all and Follow Me Follow You, The Crawlers take you on a journey through some of Genesis memorable history, even back to Peter Gabriel’s final Genesis album from 1974, with a medley from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.
This tour was originally used to promote the album Invisible Touch, the most commercialised of all the Genesis albums, with 5 successful singles coming from just 11 songs. The Crawlers played the hits Land Of Confusion, Domino, Throwing It All away, Tonight, Tonight, Tonight and of course the title track itself, Invisible Touch, almost allowing you to feel the presence of original stars Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer on stage.
Brian, worked the audience with his version of the Collins script. He threw in some of his own humour and most obvious of all, sweated his 1980’s style trousers and shirt into a soaking wet mess. Leading the audience participation as had been done in 1987, the venue was levitated above the ground. The voices had connected with ‘the other world’ and remained a introduction to Home By The Sea.
Now it has to be mentioned that this tour nearly didn’t happen. Brian had been ill a few days before and been wired up to a drip in hospital. You would never have guessed this if the man himself hadn’t text you 12 short hours before, as he loaded the tour bus. In the two hour show Brian danced, joked and played percussion on many of the numbers, culminating in a drum duo
with the same energy you saw between Collins and Thompson, recreated here with Ged Hawksworth.Time curfews prevented Firth Of Firth and I Know What I Like, and so the Turn It On Again medley becomes the last track of the night, complete with the 60’s mix of fun and shenanigans.
Many tribute bands avoid the Collins era Genesis. For those Genesis fans that missed this extraordinary night, you missed something very special. As the tour continues, and Brian promised more British dates across 2018, find some time to catch this unique show. Take a glimpse at a show that was as good on this night, as it was back 30 years ago.