April 1972, Genesis arrived in Italy, the country that first understood their music. Two stages of that adventure will remain in the history of the group, because Watcher Of The Skies was born here.
The date of Reggio Emilia on April 12th, in fact it is officially considered the birthplace of Watcher Of The Skies.
According to the memories of Hackett, Rutherford and the others present, it was precisely in the Emilian city that an embryonic version of the unforgettable piece was performed for the first time during sound check.
«In the Palasport of Reggio Emilia, a huge horrible place full of echo, in the middle of the sound check, Tony played those two initial chords on his mellotron. They worked very well even though, even today, I'm not sure how aware he was of how good they were. " (From The Living Years by Mike Rutherford. My translation)
In the tour to present Nursery Cryme, Genesis took advantage of free time and also of the rehearsals on stage to compose parts of songs that would later form the Foxtrot album.
«It was a normal thing in Genesis. Some of the pieces were composed of fragments written by individual members and the problem was how to adapt them. In Supper's Ready, for example, Willow Farm, is in A flat major, it was supposed to lead to a small flute melody in A minor. So we had to work hard to harmonize the different agreements. Sometimes it's a completely natural change and it happened without our realizing it. "
Perfume recalls that"It is indeed a work in progress like confirmation without hesitation Steve Hackett: “In reality Watcher Of The Skies was not composed exactly on the occasion of the rehearsals for the Reggio Emilia concert, we had already prepared a very rough and a little different version but it can be said that we played it almost completely and for the first time during that soundcheck. I remember that I was in the bathroom, in the basement of the sports hall, I heard the intro and the whole structure began to tremble, they were magnificent and powerful notes. The whole group followed the execution and it was at that moment that, at least for me, in my imagination the band sounded like and more than an orchestra "».
And quote the words of the promoter Maurizio Salvadori: "" I remember that every now and then they made improvisations in the soundchecks, even half an hour and they put in things just tried, I think they also did the reaction of people who were always appreciable. They tried a preview of a couple of pieces that they would later insert into the next disc. ”»
On April 19th Genesis are live at the Mediterranean Theater of Naples.
A double concert that closes the first part of the Nursery cryme Tour of Genesis in Italy.
A second stop in this Genesis story, because on the roof of the Hotel Domitiana, which houses the band, Mike and Tony write the text of Watcher Of The Sky. From the hotel terrace, in fact, you can see the whole complex of the Mostra d'Oltremare, the Arena Flegrea and the Mediterranean Theater, a foreign body with respect to the city, which could give the impression of a landscape of an unknown planet.
“We were sitting on top of this building, it was a warm sunny day and we were just looking out across a large area of buildings and fields; there was not a living soul around. It seemed that the entire population had just deserted the planet and this is what 'Watcher of the Skies' says: an alien being who comes to the planet and sees it completely deserted. And so the story unfolds with a bit of science fiction. I like Arthur Clarke's 'Childhood's End' and books like that. "
«Tony and I together wrote the text, sitting on the roof of our hotel in Naples imagining that the world was over. Quite strange, considering it was a pleasantly sunny day. "
In Naples, therefore, the song is completed and, as we know, the next Genesis album will open, to be released the following October: Foxtrot.
But in his autobiography, Mike tells another background, which happened in Naples:
«In Naples we discovered another therapeutic pastime ... Concluding a tour with a group fight was a classic. The unusual thing about the quarrel-of-end-tour in Naples was that there was an amusement park just around the corner from the hotel where we slept. We got to the point of being so fed up with each other that we decided that the only thing to do was to throw ourselves on the bumper car track and bump into each other wildly and repeatedly. I have to say that I have never experienced such an effective way to clarify. "
For many Italian boys - like me, who are from 1963 - it is the first live of the Genesis, which they had not been in concert since March 25, 1975. Then there was still Peter Gabriel, he was the The Lamb Lies Down On BroadwayTour and that of the Ruffini Park in Turin, would have been their last concert, for many years, due to the clashes with the police. The Italian tour was in fact canceled after the accidents and scuffles in other live shows, which are about to condemn our country to a quarantine without foreign artists that lasted for years. In fact it remains one of the last of that period. WATCH AND LISTEN TO THE SPECIAL OF HORIZONS RADIO ON THE 1975 TURIN CONCERT.
There is therefore great anticipation especially for the old songs, from Supper's Ready a The Lamb, while the interest in more recent albums is significantly lower, especially Abacab.
The first date is in Tirrenia (Pisa), at the National Unity Day. Here is a long RAI report, which has not escaped the importance of this event for many Genesis fans.
It is a magical summer, that of 1982. We in 63 took the high school exam, studying in the moments left free by the unforgettable World Cup of Spain, won by Italy. Then we enjoyed the well-deserved rest. These first days of September, with the Genesis a few kilometers away, are yet another wonderful piece of that period.
And Phil Collins knows it. He knows that we have been waiting for many years and he knows that we are the world champions. And he plays with us, makes us scream and laugh, knows that he can make fun of us and joke with us, that we are "hungry" for them.
In fact, in the second stage, two dates: on 7 and 8 at the Palaeur in Rome, his presentation is enthralling. Listen to it at 16.00 of the audio recording of the concert:
Of course, I have not listened to Genesis since I was 14 years old. Those of Nursery cryme, the first I found out about them or about Foxtrot, the first one I bought. They are not even those of The Lamb, which surprised me at the first listening and which I re-evaluated later in the years, a cornerstone of the history of prog and not only or of To Trick e wind, those without Peter, but still excellent, up to the live masterpiece Seconds Out.
Now Steve is gone, too, and the latest albums are not in the least up to those of the golden years, but the Genesis are before us, in flesh and blood (LOOK AT THE PHOTOS OF ROME), still capable of making us dream with Supper's Ready, I Know What I Like, long medley evocative of the best times, like The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway + Watcher Of The Skies o In The Cage The Cinema Show + + + The Colony Of Slippermen Afterglow.
Supper's ReadyPrecisely, still in the Genesis lineup, but now and then and with the concerts counted. Phil presents her remembering her birthday, because she is 10 years old in these days. Indeed, it seems that the whole tour take inspiration from this anniversary, in addition to advertising the third live album Three sides live. For those who are there with one, or rather two stone guests, Peter and Steve, and for those who evoke the ex-singer in the choirs, it is an apotheosis. I loved it in Foxtrot, but I also liked the version of Seconds Out. And I must say that this does not disappoint at all, also because Daryl Steurmer is now on his fourth tour with Genesis, the second in which suite is present (missing in the Duke and in 'Abacab Tour).
The two absentees, in fact: Gabriel and Hackett. We certainly didn't miss Peter two years before, I loved him on September 28, 1980 at the Parco delle Cascine, in Florence, (the next day in Genoa and the 30 in Turin, see video above). Gabriel was among the first to arrive in Italy after the "reopening of the borders".
And then we appreciated Steve less than two months later, six Italian dates, I saw him on November 26 at the Palaeur in Rome. The other three were therefore missing to ideally reform the base quintet, those who for some are the real and unique Genesis (including many of those who are in Tirrenia and Rome and who make it understood in many ways, even if not very civil, at times).
That's why the atmosphere is very hot. Impossible to stay seated, we all crowd towards the stage and Phil begs us to back off, there are those who embrace and those who push themselves (a mini-brawl develops right in my sector of parterre). But in the end we are all sweaty, voiceless and happy, even those who have not liked certain songs, because "our" Genesis have been able to mix old and new expertly.
September 9, 1972, at the Seloncourt Festival in the Halle Polyvalente of Montbeliard in France Genesis starts on Foxtrot Tour, full of twists and historical moments for the group. Here is the story of those days.
Listen to the podcast (in Italian) on the occasion of the 45th anniversary:
Stories of summer: September 9, 1972, the Foxtrot Tour begins DB
Il Foxtrot Tour of Genesis touches the United Kingdom, Europe and North America.
The show at the National Stadium in Dublin, on September 28th, will remain in the history of Genesis because, in the finale of The musical box, Peter Gabriel shows up on stage wearing a fox head and a red woman dress of his wife Jill, unbeknownst to his companions. The beginning of an era of theatricality and costumes, which gave the band a hitherto unknown visibility and popularity.
In fact, the 9 February, at the Rainbow Theater in London, Peter Gabriel wears a full trunk in the dressing room and wears his famous costumes and masks on stage . On the notes of mellotron di Watcher Of The Skies, Peter comes out for the first time in a black suit and bat wings on his head.
Here's the effect (in a video from the following tour, October 1973 Live Shepperton Studios):
"Before this there had been no indication that Peter wanted to start dressing up. How, later, he won't warn us of the flower mask he will wear for the part of Willow Farm in Supper's Ready, and not even for the triangular box that you put on your head for the next part, Apocalypse in 9/8. We also see them at the same time as the public sees them. He does not want to know how to decide in a group in these cases. (...) These are the very unconventional things that Peter Gabriel is now doing on stage with Genesis. After Dublin, Ms. Volpe reappears at every concert, always in the same spot. We get used to it early, and it's better for us: a photo of Peter in the new costume ends up straight on the cover of the «Melody Maker», and adds a zero to the Genesis engagement rate. We go from thirty-five pounds to three hundred and fifty pounds a night. "
"Others did something with the costumes, but we used all the space on the stage. When you went to a Genesis show you saw the veiled curtains, and then the artificial smoke, which yes now is a cliché but then it was not at all. bat wings and painted eyes. You could hear the sound of the Mellotron, practically the first stereo effect. There were no other gigs of that level in the world. The first ten minutes were incredibly powerful. I think we were among the first bands. to grasp the beauty of the fusion of music and visual effects. Partly it happened by chance and luck, partly because Peter's ability in that sense was truly unique. "
READ AND LISTEN TO THE SPECIALS OF HORIZONS RADIO ON THE TOPIC:
It is during this tour that the Genesis land for the first time in the United States, for a troubled Christmas concert at the Philharmonic Hall in New York on December 13 1972, preceded by a live for a few students at Brandeis University in Boston two days earlier. Phil Collins again:
"As soon as we arrive we discover that our American manager, (...) has organized a concert for us at Brandeis University near Boston, Massachusetts. At lunchtime. So our first performance on American soil is an atrocious and hasty disappointment. . To New England students English rock, or at least ours, cares even less than we thought, and they seem more interested in their studies or their sandwiches. This does not bode well for Genesis' good fortune in the United States. 'America.
(...) As we approach New York for the first time, we are overwhelmed by the enormity of the metropolis that falls upon a group already beaten by the failure of Boston. But as you enter at dusk from the George Washington Bridge, the Manhattan skyline gradually lights up, illuminated by millions of lights. New York! We've seen it in the movies, and now we're here. (...)
And then we go to Philharmonic Hall to test and discover a very big problem: the different electrical system in America implies that electromechanical instruments go to 60 hertz and not to 50 as in England. This means that the Mellotron (a new toy that we bought from the King Crimson) and the Hammond organ are out of tune compared to the guitars.
Listen to i Genesis live at the Philharmonic Hall in New York:
We find an improvised solution and, that evening, we play the concert at the least worst possible way. The audience doesn't seem to notice anything strange, but even though the five of us are telepathically synchronized, for Genesis the concert is a mess. We get off the stage, take the elevator to the dressing rooms and the air is green with anger. Even years later, just naming that first concert in New York puts us all on edge and brings back horrible memories. "
A first stage in the United States that was not particularly successful, perhaps due to the unripe times and the notoriety of the band that is still scarce overseas, despite the expensive promotional campaign organized by the Charisma's US branch, Buddah Records. The technical problems certainly had great importance. Again Mike:
"The Rickenbacker bass I was playing emitted a hideous hum: I didn't hear a note all evening. The others didn't hear anything either and the feeling was that we were throwing away an opportunity. (...) Immediately after the show I hurled to the ground my bass in a fit of rage, cursing and cursing. "
An experience that is repeated ai early March, with some dates in the USA and Canada, this time with more success.
Il 20st January 1973 the Italian part of the Tour begins in Reggio Emilia. READ AND LISTEN TO THE SPECIAL OF HORIZONS RADIO ON THE TOPIC:
The album Genesis live was recorded in February 1973 during the English part of the tour.
Started on September 9, 1972, in fact, the tour ends on August 26, 1973 at the Reading Festival, UK. LISTEN TO THE GENESIS EXHIBITION:
And also the location of the concert on August 18th it is not the original one. In fact, programmed at Dancing Rose Lake of Arquà Petrarca (Padua), the live instead takes place at the sports field of Feltre (Belluno). An apparently unexplained variation, although some say it was due to accidents that occurred a few days earlier during a Van der Graaf Generator concert.
But even here the concert was in doubt until the last minute due to the uncertain weather. But then Genesis can finally perform. Here is the registration:
This is Piero Gai's story on Horizons Radio:
"Unfortunately, even though it happened 800 meters from my house, I had to collect the information as I was too young to go there.
In the afternoon, there was also time for a mixed-team soccer match between those present and them, with a recovery ball and using one of the doors of the field. After hitting the net several times, Peter he threw the boom of the microphone still on the poor net, which took its revenge by entangling itself around it. It took some beauty and goodness to recover it.
The intro of "Watcher of the skies"caused a stampede between staff and relatives of the sick in the neighboring civil hospital (just a few meters away), given that the rumble that precedes the earthquake was thought of.
Last thing, but I could not verify it. Due to the problems that occurred during the concert, Peter had the money returned to those present. To some, he delivered them in person. "
So he remembers it the Belluno drummer Franco De Poli at the Gazzettino del Nordest and quoted by Rael Matrix in Genesis Forum Italy:
"He was at the sports field, with the lawn covered with sheets of panforte and in the middle of the field a kind of wooden house with a cellophane roof that served as a stage with the Genesis instruments inside, with Mellotron already on because it needed to warm up. In all we would have been two hundred. about twenty arrived from Belluno, ten from Feltre, the rest from all over the Veneto. Seeing them in that poor situation ... it's wonderful to remember. Gabriel had already kidnapped his forehead, put on his eyes, still didn't use masks ... and in the crescendo of "musical box", the stage was six meters from the net that divided it from the audience, it began to run towards us and to give big hits to the net with the microphone boom. Many ran away frightened! I remember they did everything"Nursery Crime", two tracks from"Foxtrot"and a preview of" Selling England By The Pound ".
In Marina di Ravenna, on August 19th, there are two shows and in the afternoon Genesis perform for the first time (they will do it again in Genoa three days later) Seven stones.
August 21. The Albenga concert, the first of the two in Liguria, has no musical recordings either memorabilia to show off. But the reported testimonials of the excellent Genesis in Italy. The 1972-1975 concerts of Mino Profumo, they tell of a Palasport that is actually a bowler, complete with screams from the players, a few hundred people and use of pyrotechnic material, never used before.
Almost 900 people are part of the audience of the Genesis concert at the Alcione Theater in Genoa, one of the major audiences on this tour.
Here the audio recording of the evening of 22 August (not integral):
And some moments of the concert, the presentation of Can-utility And The Coastliners:
And the absolute rarity, the execution of Seven stones, never recorded live in other concerts, instead of Get'em Out By Friday:
The concert is open by the Milanese group Jumbo and the Neapolitans Osanna, whose singer and keyboard player Lino Vairetti said:
"I remember that Peter was particularly impressed by our disguises and by the fact that we went on stage with painted faces and when two years later at the concert in Naples I saw Gabriel's masks I thought that perhaps he had at least partly taken inspiration from us". (from Dusk of 28 April 1999, quoted in: Genesis in Italy. The 1972-1975 concerts of Mino Profumo)
And here is the memory of Nanni Iguera on Horizons Radio:
Collectible materials of this concert (click on the image):
Too bad there are no audio recordings, since at the end of the concert, together with the Osanna shoulder group, Genesis (or rather, three of them) they improvised one jam session, as he tells in detail and with various testimonies of the protagonists Genesis in Italy. The 1972-1975 concerts of Mino Perfume.
Enrico Paganelli's story on Horizons Radio:
«I attended the Genesis afternoon concert at the" Locanda del Lupo ". Unfortunately I lost the 90-inch cassette on which I recorded the first 45 minutes.
In the afternoon the Hosannas did not open. At first Gabriel (with silver mask and shaved forehead, said in good Italian "We have trouble with electricity" and Phil Collins started "Volare", then set the pace for Peter Gabriel for "Let's Twist Again".
Finally "Watcher of the Skies" started. The concert ended with a magnesium flash that left me blind for a few seconds, I think during "The Knife". "
The stage of Travagliato, perhaps on August 24, marks the end of the two Italian forays of the Genesis in theirsNursery cryme Tour. But the proof that this concert really took place lies in the research carried out by Mino Profumo in the archives of the Giornale di Brescia, where he found two advertising boxes on 20 and 24 August and re-published on Genesis in Italy. The concerts 1972-1975.
Also there is the testimony on metallized.it by Richard Milella,present at the first concert in Travagliato on April 16th.
About the execution of Watcher Of The Skies, Milella can only refer to August, the period in which the song is permanently inserted in the lineup already in the form that will see him open the upcoming Foxtrot, while in April, as is known, the song is in the process of gestation during the Italian tour. Here is what he writes:
"Peter speaks in his language but makes it clear that he will now perform a song recorded a few days ago and that it will be released on the next LP entitled Foxtrot. I remember the song very well because it moved us all from the first listening with its majestic gait between the keys of the Hammond: Watcher of the skies it is a milestone and Gabriel also played it theatrically crouching in the chiaroscuro of the organ and literally jumping high in the orchestral explosions.
Some literature says that the song was conceived during this first tour in our house; wrong, when they performed it on Italian dates it was already so beautiful, so complete and so arranged as to certify a painstaking preparation even if on disc it will actually come out months later. "
Over 170 rare prints white label from bands like Genesis, Rush, Rick Wakeman, Hawkwind, 10cc, Mike Oldfield, Moody Blues, Brian Eno and more have been auctioned for charity. Those of the Genesis have raised £ 340.
White Label auction in Aid of The BRIT Trust was handled by music memorabilia and vinyl record specialists Omega Auctions from their Greater Manchester office.
Among the objects of interest, a collection of limited edition vinyl records for promotional purposes, also called "test pressing" by Genesis for Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, Selling England By The Pound, The Lamb Lie Down On Broadway and ... And Then There Were Three.
The funds raised will go to support the work of the music industry charity The BRIT Trust, which since 1989 has donated around £ 28 million to charities and causes that promote education and well-being through the power of music and of creative arts, such as the BRIT School and Nordoff-Robbins music therapy. The White Label Auction raised nearly £ 60.000 for The BRIT Trust in the previous two editions - around £ 25.000 in October 2019 and up to £ 34.000 in May 2021.