JENNINGS: Phil Collins-led Genesis returning to Buffalo

Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and Phil Collins are bringing Genesis back to Buffalo on Nov. 27. (AP photo)

On March 28, 1976, Genesis performed at Buffalo’s New Century Theatre. It was not the progressive rock band’s first appearance in Buffalo, but it was their first in the U.S. with Phil Collins as the group’s lead vocalist. Collins landed the job after the group had 400 responses to an advertisement seeking a singer to replace Peter Gabriel.

Genesis survived the loss of Peter Gabriel, and while some fans saw the departure of Gabriel as the beginning of the end for the band, it was Collins, the group’s drummer, who would propel the band into superstardom. Gabriel went on to have a successful solo career, rarely performing songs from his Genesis days.

Phil Collins and Genesis return to Buffalo for the first time in 14 years on Nov. 27 at the KeyBank Center. Collins performed at the arena on Oct. 4, 2019 with his solo band.

It has been 47 years since Peter Gabriel left Genesis, but his name comes up every time Genesis reunites for a tour. And while Gabriel deserves credit for building a fan base for Genesis, the Collins-era Genesis sold millions more records and became a guaranteed sellout wherever they performed.

When Collins left Genesis in 1996, the band continued on with a new lead singer, Ray Wilson. While the band survived the transition from Gabriel to Collins, the Wilson-led lineup failed to resonate with American audiences, and the group scrapped plans for a U.S tour in support of their “Calling All Stations” album due to lack of ticket sales.

In 2007, Genesis reunited for their first tour with Collins after his departure. Initially the band had tried to coax Gabriel and former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett into joining them. Neither one of them committed to the tour, so in 2007 the lineup only included the trio of Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks along with touring musicians Daryl Stuermer on guitar and bass, and drummer Chester Thompson.

The 2007 tour would be the last opportunity for fans to see Collins perform on the drums. Even though Collins only drummed for a portion of the show, he damaged his spinal cord. These days, Collins performs most of the show seated, and his son Nicholas Collins will be handling the drumming duties. Guitarist Daryl Stuermer is returning on guitar. Former touring drummer Chester Thompson and Collins had a falling out and have not spoken in years.

The 2021 tour is billed as “The Last Domino?” named after the song “Domino” which appears on their “Invisible Touch” album. While the tour is not officially billed as a farewell tour, it seems highly unlikely that Genesis will ever tour again. It’s even less likely they will tour with Gabriel and Hackett again as both of them have successful solo careers.

It is also unlikely the band will record any new music with Collins. The last time Genesis released an album with Collins was 30 years ago. That has not seemed to impact the band’s popularity.

And with little competition for major live classic rock shows, Genesis will be the hottest ticket in town.

Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for Night and Day.

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