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The Many Faces of Peter Gabriel

As my readers know, I am an enormous progressive rock fan.  Now, as all my readers also know, Yes is, by far, my favorite band (you can read more of my writing about Yes here), but my second favorite vacillates, depending on the day, between Genesis and King Crimson.  As I am too young to have seen Genesis in their progressive rock prime, I have taken the opportunity to see their world class recreation band The Musical Box several times about which you can read about here where I include things like concert reviews, tickets, tour books, and the like.

When Genesis was in its prog rock prime, their lead singer was none other than the great Peter Gabriel.  Peter Gabriel gained a lot of notoriety by dressing in costumes to represent the themes and/or characters in the Genesis songs to bring those characters to life.  Some of his masks and costumes became strongly identified not just with Gabriel but with the music itself.  After having seen some of these costumes up close at The Musical Box shows, I began investigating into how many different costumes and masks Gabriel would don during his years with Genesis.

In the summer of 2016 Gabriel went on tour with former Police singer Sting for a joint tour called the Rock Papers Scissors North American Tour.  Instead of each performing separately, Sting and Gabriel were both on stage with their respective bands at the same time for the entire show.  The set list for the show alternated between Sting songs, Police Songs, and Gabriel songs.  Notably absent were Genesis songs as Gabriel has, unfortunately for the fans, more-or-less left Genesis behind when he left in 1975, and has almost never looked back.  The only nod to Genesis in the set list were the first few lines from “Dancing with the Moonlight Knight,” but those lines were sung by Sting not Gabriel.  Since 1975, Gabriel has all but extricated himself from Genesis.  By all reports, there is no bad blood between the Genesis members (indeed Phil Collins (Gabriel’s replacement in Genesis) was Gabriel’s best man at his wedding in 2004).  Gabriel just, for one reason or another, feels he needs to move on from Genesis and cut ties from that music; indeed (again), he did not even appear at Genesis’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010!  Some interviews make it seem like Gabriel looks at his time in Genesis as an embarrassing youthful time in his life that he cringes about when he sees photographs.

Since his departure in 1975, Gabriel’s connections with Genesis have been very very thin and rare; they are as follows: (1) in 1979 he joined Phil Collins in singing “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” at the Reading Festival (see here); (2) in 1982 he performed a benefit concert with Genesis for his charity WOMAD called “Six of the Best;” (3) in 1983 Gabriel had an impromptu performance of “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” at a (former Genesis guitarist) Steve Hackett show (see here) which also included Genesis member bassist Mike Rutherford; (4) in 1998 he helped touched up his old live vocals in the studio for the release of The Genesis Archive 1967-75; and, (5) in 1999 he recorded “The Carpet Crawlers 1999” with the band for release on the compilation album Turn it On Again: the Hits.  This is why what happened on July 24, 2016 is so significant.  On the last date of the “Rock Paper Scissors North American Tour,” Gabriel, instead of Sting, sang those few lines to “Dancing with the Moonlight Knight (see here)!  This was a very exciting moment to Genesis fans all over the world as it is only his sixth nod to Genesis in over 41 years.

Gabriel’s recognition of Genesis, however brief, inspired me to resume researching the costumes and masks Gabriel would wear with Genesis.  After spending some time, I think I can finally create a comprehensive list.  To that end, I think the photograph list below represents, for the most part, all of the various looks Gabriel had during his years with Genesis.  If you know of, or have found, any others, please let me know in the comments section and tell me where to find them.  When I get them I will add them to this list.

Thanks and enjoy!

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Hair (reverse Mohawk)

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Standard face paint.

Foxtrot for “The Musical Box

Old Man from “The Musical Box

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The Watcher from “Watcher of the Skies

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Beginning of “Supper’s Ready” (black show only)

Flower from “Supper’s Ready”

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Jesus crucified from “Supper’s Ready”

 

Magog from “Supper’s Ready”

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Jesus resurrected from “Supper’s Ready”

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Britannia from “Dancing in the Moonlight Knight

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Lawnmower from “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)

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Gang member from “The Battle of Epping Forest

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Rival gang member (“Reverend”) from “The Battle of Epping Forest”

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Rael, the main character in The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

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Slipperman from The Colony of Slippermen

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Lamia from “The Lamia

“Death” during “The Waiting Room

Worn for a photo shoot only (never for a live performance).

Decorative flower (never worn)

You can find most of these in action here:

 

 

The Musical Box Tickets Through the Years

As my readers know, I am an enormous progressive rock fan.  Now, as all my readers also know, Yes is, by far, my favorite band (you can read more of my writing about Yes here), but my second favorite vacillates, depending on the day, between Genesis and King Crimson.

To that end, I have seen the absolutely amazing Genesis recreation band The Musical Box several times, and every time I am completely blown away as to how precise they are in transporting their fans back to the days of classic Genesis.  I have written extensively about their shows and what they do here and posted other tour books, photographs, and such, from their shows here.

As I have seen The Musical Box several times, and after posting my NEARFest tickets (see here) and my Yes tickets (see here) – and seeing the positive response it got – I thought it would be fun to post my The Musical Box tickets too, so here you go!

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Musical Box Concert Program: 2007 Foxtrot Tour

As my readers know, I am an enormous progressive rock fan.  Now, as all my readers also know, Yes is, by far, my favorite band (you can read more of my writing about Yes here), but my second favorite vacillates, depending on the day, between Genesis and King Crimson.

To that end, I have seen the absolutely amazing Genesis recreation band The Musical Box several times, and every time I am completely blown away as to how precise they are in transporting their fans back to the days of classic Genesis.  I have written extensively about their shows and what they do here and posted other tour books, photographs, and such, from their shows here.

I saw them on December 15, 2007 at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA.  They were playing the black Foxtrot Tour (all of the props and instruments were painted incandescent black).

The venue created a program for the show and I have taken photographs of each page and posted them below.  Enjoy!

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Musical Box Tour Book: 2006 Foxtrot Tour

As my readers know, I am an enormous progressive rock fan.  Now, as all my readers also know, Yes is, by far, my favorite band (you can read more of my writing about Yes here), but my second favorite vacillates, depending on the day, between Genesis and King Crimson.

To that end, I have seen the absolutely amazing Genesis recreation band The Musical Box several times and every time I am completely blown away as to how precise they are in transporting their fans back to the days of classic Genesis.  I have written extensively about their shows and what they do here and posted other tour books, photographs, and such, from their shows here.

I saw them on October 10, 2006 at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.  They were playing the Foxtrot Tour.

The band put together and sold a tour book from this tour and I have taken photographs of each page and posted them below.  Enjoy!

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The Musical Box Posts and Reviews Roundup

As my readers know, I am an enormous progressive rock fan.  Now, as all my readers also know, Yes is, by far, my favorite band (you can read more of my writing about Yes here), but my second favorite vacillates, depending on the day, between Genesis and King Crimson.

To that end, I have seen the absolutely amazing Genesis recreation band The Musical Box several times and every time I am completely blown away as to how precise they are in transporting their fans back to the days of classic Genesis.

I have posted multiple reviews of The Musical Box related things and I thought it would be convenient to catalog them all in a single post.  I will update the lists below with each I post I make about The Musical Box.

The Musical Box concert reviews:

Tour Books or Programs:

Other:

Musical Box Tour Book: 2004 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Tour

As my readers know, I am an enormous progressive rock fan.  Now, as all my readers also know, Yes is, by far, my favorite band (you can read more of my writing about Yes here), but my second favorite vacillates, depending on the day, between Genesis and King Crimson.

To that end, I have seen the absolutely amazing Genesis recreation band The Musical Box several times and every time I am completely blown away as to how precise they are in transporting their fans back to the days of classic Genesis.  I have written extensively about their shows and what they do here and posted other tour books and such from their shows here.

I saw them on December 17, 2004 at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA.  They were playing the The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Tour.

The band put together and sold a tour book from this tour and I have taken photographs of each page and posted them below.  Enjoy!

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Musical Box Tour Book: 2004 Selling England By the Pound Tour

As my readers know, I am an enormous progressive rock fan.  Now, as all my readers also know, Yes is, by far, my favorite band (you can read more of my writing about Yes here), but my second favorite vacillates, depending on the day, between Genesis and King Crimson.

To that end, I have seen the absolutely amazing Genesis recreation band The Musical Box several times and every time I am completely blown away as to how precise they are in transporting their fans back to the days of classic Genesis.  I have written extensively about their shows and what they do here and have collected my Musical Box posts here.

The first time I saw them was February 26, 2004 at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA.  They were playing the Selling England by the Pound Tour.  Although I saw them a number of times after this, this concert was, and remains, my favorite The Musical Box show that I have seen.

The band put together and sold a tour book from this tour and I have taken photographs of each page and posted them below.  Enjoy!

 

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The Musical Box: Genesis Recreated!

As my readers know, I am an enormous progressive rock fan.  Now, as all my readers also know, Yes is, by far, my favorite band (you can read more of my writing about Yes here), but my second favorite vacillates, depending on the day, between Genesis and King Crimson.

Now many of you, who may not be familiar with the history of Genesis, may be a little bewildered by the fact that a prog-rock fan would be a fan of Genesis, but that is likely because your contact with Genesis is only their 1980s material when Phil Collins was its lead singer.  Unbeknownst, unfortunately, to many people is that Genesis finds its origin in the late 1960s when Peter Gabriel was their lead singer for many years over several albums.  The Peter Gabriel-era of the band was one of the giant pioneers of the progressive rock movement and it is that music which makes me a Genesis fan.

Phil Collins joined Genesis for its third album, Nursery Cryme, as a drummer and backing vocalist.  To be fair to post-Gabriel Genesis, it is worth noting that it retained its prog rock credentials in full for two albums after Gabriel left, after which its long time guitar player Steve Hackett left.  Genesis made another album, …And Then There Were Three…, which had a lighter but still prog rock approach, but its subsequent album, Duke, was only about half prog rock, and after that the band pretty much left its prog rock roots behind, except for the occasional album track and some songs in live sets.

Aside from excellent music, Gabriel-era Genesis was known for Gabriel’s extravagant stage theatrics.  While the rest of the band was sitting still looking at their feet while expertly playing their instruments, Gabriel was all over the stage acting out the scenes and dialogue found in their music while wearing all manner of strange costumes (a sample of which you can see here), in front of psychedelic scenery.  Gabriel’s antics became the stuff of legend and made legions of dedicated fans.  Of course, the attention he got, sometimes at the expense of the rest of the band, due to his antics led to some discord between he and the rest of the band which, in part, resulted in his departure from the band.  Upon Gabriel’s departure, the band’s live performances became much more typical for a band playing arenas and, therefore, the crazy artistic live spectacle as an aspect of Genesis disappeared.

Of course, Genesis fans and/or progressive rock fans the world over were saddened by the loss of such unique and exciting stage performances, doubly so as no official videos survive from this era, and assumed that this era of Genesis was lost to history.

Suddenly, though, as if an answer to prayer, the band known as The Musical Box (“TMB”) (official website here) appeared in about 1993.  TMB has been called a tribute band but I do not think that moniker is entirely accurate as it seems rather incomplete considering what it does.  TMB is more than a tribute band.  It is a recreation band.  TMB does more than merely play old Genesis music.  It is more than merely inspired by Genesis.  TMB literally reproduces old Genesis concerts note for note and scene by scene, even down to the in-between song banter!  The musicians take on the roles of the members of Genesis as if they were actors.  The concerts TMB plays follows a set list – song by song – from one of the shows from a Genesis tour with Gabriel.  The mannerisms of the musicians playing the roles of the members of Genesis are replicated through the painstakingly tedious effort of combing through thousands of photographs and hours of footage to ensure they literally act and look like Genesis would have when it played a particular set on a particular tour and these songs originally, not to mention their use of authentic and vintage instruments from the Gabriel-era.  In addition, TMB also combs through hours of recordings to ensure that the inter-song dialogue during a TMB show reflects what the Genesis would have done.  Furthermore, Genesis and Gabriel have given TMB license and permission to use their scenery and stage sets and costuming in order to ensure that they can reproduce the complete Gabriel-era Genesis experience.  One of the features of a TMB tour book are side-by-side photographs of TMB and Genesis and, unless one has a keen eye, they are virtually indistinguishable.  TMB presents itself on stage not as band playing Genesis music but as Genesis itself.

Needless to say, as a prog rock and Genesis fan, I was disappointed at being much too young to have had opportunity to experience Genesis in its prime (let along with Gabriel), but when I discovered TMB – I admittedly was suspicious at first – I simply could not believe my eyes and ears.  TMB sounded and looked exactly like I expected Genesis would.  It was absolutely amazing and I truly felt like I can say I saw Genesis after I saw TMB.

My first time I saw TMB they were performing the Selling England By the Pound tour on February 26, 2004 (which is when the photos below were taken) and I was transfixed.  I have seen hundreds of concerts and this concert still stands out as one of the greatest concerts I have ever seen, from the music, the scenery, costuming, and presentation.  In short, it was amazing.  My wife, who was then my girlfriend, attended this show with me.  She was being a good sport and attending various prog rock concerts with me at this time in our relationship.  This was our last of these concerts together.  I will never forget that moment, at the beginning of the show, when “Peter Gabriel” appears in bat wings with incandescent face paint around his eyes glowing in front of a black light to introduce the classic show opener “Watcher of the Skies.”  What was happening on the stage put her over the edge and she turned to me and said “this is it, I’ve had enough, I am not going to any more of these concerts.”

Since then I have also seen TMB perform the Selling England By the Pound a second time (at NEARFest 2004, see here), the Foxtrot tour show (three times, two normal and one black where all of the props and instruments were painted incandescent black), and the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour show (twice).  The most recent time I saw TMB was at Yestival in 2013 when they played the Foxtrot tour set.

Whenever I get a chance I try and see TMB and I highly encourage you to do so too!  This band is very protective of its (due to the nature of the shows) so the “no photographs” rule is strictly enforced.  I have only really been able to get a good picture of the set up once on February 26, 2004 (the Selling England By the Pound Tour show described above) at the Keswick in Glenside, PA.  The photographs from that show are below for you to check out.

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