A Song For Our Apocalypse

Editors have a new album. It's their sixth. And it's good. I would rank it as their fifth best in an overall strong and diverse discography. Yeah, Editors hold a special place in my heart. Their worst album, despite some poor arrangements and nods to Journey and Phil Collins, is still pretty good.  

I like 7 of the 9 tracks on the album. One song, No Sound But The Wind, was originally inspired by Cormac McCarthy's The Road. But it has gone through two different iterations.

The first recorded version was a demo that somehow made it onto the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack. You can see how it fits into a teen vampire romantic drama. Lyrics are below the video. 

We can never go home
We no longer have one
I'll help you carry the load
I'll carry you in my arms
The kiss of the snow
The crescent moon above us
Our blood is cold
And we're alone
But I'm alone with you

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
It will light our way forever

If I say shut your eyes
If I say look away
Bury your face in my shoulder
Think of a birthday
The things you put in your head
They will stay here forever
Our blood is cold
And we're alone, love
But I'm alone with you

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
It will light our way forever

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Now help me to carry the fire
It will light up our way forever

If I say shut your eyes
If I say shut your eyes
Bury me in suprise
Where I say shut your eyes

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me carry the fire
It will light our way forever

The band never formally recorded the song as it was originally written, with lyrics inspired by the premise of The Road. They started playing the original version live in 2010 and finally recorded it in 2017. But the world has changed quite a bit from 2010. And hearing this song for the first time in March 2018, I interpreted it as a song for a world with a broken EU and a US being driven into the ground by Donald Trump's GOP. It's a song for our Theresa May and Donald Trump apocalypse. Lyrics are below the video. 

We can never go home
We no longer have one
I'll help you carry the load
I'll carry you in my arms
We walk through the ash
And the charred remains of our country
Keep an eye on my back
I'll keep an eye on the road

Help me to carry the fire
To keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
This road won't go on forever

If I say shut your eyes
If I say look away
Bury your face in my shoulder
Think of a birthday
The things you put in your head
They will stay there forever
I'm trying hard to hide your soul, son
From things it's not meant to see

Help me to carry the fire
To keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
This road won't go on forever

Help me to carry the fire
To keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
This road won't go on forever

If I say shut your eyes
If I say shut your eyes
Bury me in surprise
When I say shut your eyes, eyes

Help me to carry the fire
To keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
This road won't go on forever

Just What Was Tom Smith Thinking?

The stages of finding the first bad song by one of my favorite bands:

1. A grandiose breakup song. Okay.

2. Sustained falsetto. That's....different.

3. Holy shit, it's a Journey song!

4. But it's got a hook. Play it again. And again.

5. Singing along is actually possible, and fun, so long as you act sincere.

6. Oh hell, this is a cheesy Phil Collins song!

7. Some country band could cover this and make it a smash country hit. Just maybe.


Trent Reznor gets it. Always did. This is Copy of A, from Nails' first album in 5 years.

I am just a copy of a copy of a copy
Everything I say has come before
Assembled into something into something into something
I am never certain anymore

I am just a shadow of a shadow of a shadow
Always trying to catch up with myself
I am just an echo of an echo of an echo
Listening to someone's cry for help

Look what you had to start
Why all the change of heart?
Well you need to play your part
A copy of a copy of a
Look what you've gone and done
Well that doesn't sound like fun
See I'm not the only one
A copy of a copy of a

I am little pieces little pieces little pieces
Pieces that were picked up on the way
Imprinted with a purpose with a purpose with a purpose
A purpose that's become quite clear today

Look what you had to start
Why all the change of heart?
Well you need to play your part
A copy of a copy of a
Look what you've gone and done
Well that doesn't sound like fun
See I'm not the only one
A copy of a copy of a

I am just a finger on a trigger on a finger
Doing everything I'm told to do
Always my intention my intention your attention
Just doing everything you tell me to

Look what you had to start
Why all the change of heart?
Well you need to play your part
A copy of a copy of a
Now look what you gone and done
Well that doesn't sound like fun
So I'm not the only one
A copy of a copy of a

Look what you had to start
Why all the change of heart?
Well you need to play your part
A copy of a copy of a
Now look what you gone and done
Well that doesn't sound like fun
See I'm not the only one
A copy of a copy of a

(Look what you had to start) Look what you had to start
(Why all the change of heart) Why all the change of heart
(You need to play your part) You need to play your part
A copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a
(Look what you've gone and done) And look what you've gone and done
(Yeah, that doesn't sound like fun) That doesn't sound like fun
(Yeah, I'm not the only one) See I'm not the only one
A copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a

Guns N' Roses Return To New York With Three Memorable Shows

Guns N' Roses returned to New York City for the first time in two years for a three show "residency," that coincided with the year's first Fashion Week. This latest GNR tour, which celebrates 25 years since the band's major label breakthrough (with Appetite for Destruction), has critics nationwide agreeing that it is the band's best outing since Slash left the band 16 years ago. It is also the band's best lineup since that time, as it seems that positive chemistry and fun is back in the band. Axl's current band is so good, in fact, they seem capable of producing a quality album if they commited to the project. And it is this lineup that will probably take the podium when the band is inducted into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame this April.

On Friday February 10th, they rocked Roseland Ballroom with a three hour set.

On Sunday February 12th, they stepped up their game at Terminal 5.

And on Wednesday February 15th, they returned to Webster Hall for the first time in nearly 24 years (23 years, 10 months to be exact), when they took the Appetite for Destruction tour to the venue then known as The Ritz. The Webster Hall show lived up to its high ticket price as a once in a lifetime chance to see the band perform a four hour show, which added five songs to the Terminal 5 setlist, including You're Crazy, Civil War, and My Michelle. 

I attended the second show, at Terminal 5 in Hell's Kitchen Below is the review I originally sent out to friends the next morning.

The concert was a bit surreal. We never thought we'd see Guns N Roses live (they virtually broke up in 1996, but Axl never let the band die). Only Dizzy Reed on piano has stayed with Axl since the glory days. I do have to say, the rest of the band is immensely talented. They have four 6 string guitarists replacing the original two (three power guitarists and a backup/tech backstage who got credit), and the solos were Rock God quality, I think. Slash's late replacement, DJ Ashba ( ) worshiped Motley Crue as a teenager and his distorted Les Paul guitar seemed to fill in for Slash perfectly.

Axl is not fat. He's still fit. But his face is bigger and shows signs of botox work. His blue eyes are electric. And he has become quite a good piano player. Twenty years ago, he would lay down some riffs in a ballad. Now he can play jazz and blues on the keys. We were impressed. And yes, he played on a baldwin baby grand.

We had to freeze outside of Terminal 5 on West 56th Street from about 9pm to 9:40. Once inside, we took our places on the main floor as the balconies had filled up. But the floor was the place to be. The show was sold out with a crowd of 3,000.

A sub par hard rock band called the Chelsea Smiles opened the show shortly after 10pm. Now that I think about it, a more appropriate band would have been Powerman 5000 (led by Rob Zombie's brother), or the Dutch 1960s style band, The Hives. But we take what we're given. And the uninspired 6 songs served by the Chelsea Smiles were forgettable.

Guns N Roses took the stage at 11:40, and played pretty much straight with minor breaks until at least 2:30. Yes, a three hour epic. Did I mention we were impressed? Here is the set list:

00 - Intro [Recorded music: Dexter]

01 - Chinese Democracy (they opened with Jungle two nights prior, and we were puzzled by this selection)

02 - Welcome to the Jungle (it was 1988 all over again)

03 - It's So Easy

04 - Mr Brownstone (highlight of the show's first half)

05 - Sorry (At this point, the computer generated video behind the band was replaced by Karaoke style live action videos, featuring suicidal teenagers, Sunset Strip pole dancers, and Formula One footage from the early 2000s (for You Could Be Mine). So....cheesy? Rush invests six figures into their graphics, man! "That's not Tom Sawyer, that's Huckleberry Finn, stupid!!" 

06 - Rocket Queen

07 - Estranged

08 - Richard Fortus guitar solo (who resembles Adrian Brody a bit) - James Bond Theme (which was spectacular)

09 - Live and Let Die

10 - Instrumental Jam - A reprise of ZZ Top's La Grange 

11 - This I Love

12 - What's Your Motivation (led and sung by bassist Tommy Stinson, who resembles a young Rod Stewart, who can play bass very well, but unfortunately can't sing)

13 - Dizzy Reed piano solo - The Who's Baba O'Riely, possibly the first hard rock hit single in 1971, the crowd should have sung every line, but most were too young to know the lyrics, or too stoned to care

14 - Street of Dreams

15 - You Could Be Mine (which they did not play Friday night, one of the reasons this show was so long)

16 - DJ Ashba guitar solo - The Ballad of Death

17 - Sweet Child O' Mine (THE highlight of the show - Axl briefly swaying his hips to "Where do we go now")

18 - Moving the baby grand to the stage, the band plays Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall, and Axl sings the chorus once he is able to sit at the piano, which led to the most abrupt transition of the night -

19 - Axl Rose piano solo - a bluesy medley of Gran Torino and Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

20 - November Rain (of course)

21 - Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal guitar solo - The Pink Panther Theme (yes, and it was very 60s psychedelic and loud - good, unorthodox choice)

22 - Knockin' on Heaven's Door (great, even as Axl's wireless microphones began to fail him)

23 - Night Train



24 - Instrumental jam

25 - Madagascar

26 - Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal guitar intro / Don't Cry

27 - Better

28 - Whole Lotta Rosie

29 - Instrumental jam

30 - Patience

31 - Instrumental jam

32 - Paradise City

33 - Outro [Recorded music: My Way]

Got home at 03:30. What a concert. Did that just happen?

Goodbye, R.E.M.

I've had two weeks to digest R.E.M.'s inevitable breakup announcement. I have to say, they went out with class. While they lost of lot of listeners after New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996), the last four R.E.M. albums were all very good. They were true to the band's roots, involved a fresh dose of Brian Wilson influences, and a few times went back to the sound of perhaps their most loved album, Automatic for the People (1992).

R.E.M. spent over 10 years as a consensus choice as one of the best rock bands in the US. They shared that title with other acts that have come and gone, including Talking Heads, The Pixies, Living Colour, Soundgarden, Metallica, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Luna (and some that have stayed, such as Wilco and Interpol). They were not only one of the best bands in the US, but they were also part of the New Wave. They entered the scene thanks to airplay on American college radio alongside the likes of Talking Heads and U2. And they were simultaneously part of the Athens Georgia music scene, which, along with Boston, Chicago, and Seattle, is a founding city of the Indie music scene of the 1980s and 90s (later to be branded "Alternative" by the music industry). R.E.M. is one of the few bands (the only band?) to bridge the New Wave movement and the American Indie movement, and arguably helped to found the Indie movement. While their Athens counterparts, the B-52s, remained in the New Wave movement, R.E.M. established the framework of how a small band from a college town could get radio airplay nationwide and music videos on MTV. In just four short years, R.E.M. went from having a critically acclaimed, yet underground album (Murmur (1983)), to a breakthrough video on MTV in September, 1987 for The One I Love:

I entered high school with Document, graduated college weeks after drummer Bill Berry suffered a ruptured aneurysm on atage (and bought a Georgia farm in preparation for his retirement), and firmly settled into New York to the sounds of New Adventures in Hi-Fi. I rocked out in my dorm room to the contemporary, distortion pedal sounds of Monster (1994) and enjoyed drinks in a bar in north Amherst with friends and the occasional female to the sounds of the honest, somber masterpeice, Automatic for the People.

There have been magnificent articles and books written about R.E.M. I close this post with some recent articles I've read in the past few years.

 Josh Modell, Spin:

Here, [in Collapse Into Now], they discover the glow of middle age, warmly acknowledging the past -- hello again, Peter Buck's mandolin -- while realizing that the present can feel just as comforting. The sober, pretty "Uberlin" sounds like a happier cousin to "Drive." Twinkling ballad "Every Day Is Yours to Win" updates "Everybody Hurts" for the other side of despair, when optimism seeps back in. "Discoverer" and "All the Best" deliver sexy crunch for Monster fans. It's R.E.M.'s many faces, collapsing into now.

Annie Zaleski, Salon:

Even as the band’s popularity increased — Top 10 Billboard hits, MTV heavy rotation, arena tours, mainstream radio airplay — there was nothing overtly contemporary about their music.

 Chris Sullentrop, Slate:

From almost the beginning, there's been something backward-looking about R.E.M. fandom, a secret wish that R.E.M. never become more than a heralded but middling-selling college band from Athens, Ga.—even though such obscurity would mean that the vast majority of R.E.M. fans engaged in this Edenic pining would never have discovered them.

 Dan Kois, Slate:

Even R.E.M.'s "political" songs of the era, like "Fall on Me" or "Exhuming McCarthy," are tricky to parse. " Fall on Me" could maybe be about acid rain, or maybe air pollution in general, or maybe, uh, missile defense? Whereas U2's political songs of the 1980s are a little easier to work out: "Pride (In the Name of Love)" is about Martin Luther King Jr., for example, and "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" is about Bloody Sunday. Stirring as those songs are, there's very little a listener can bring to them; they are Bono's take, not yours, unlike "Fall on Me," which, for me, in 1987, was a deeply personal song about the crushing whatever of existence.


WBCN Goes Digital-Only

I wish I had learned about this sooner. But news in Boston seldom travels out of the city (unless it's an embarrassing episode involving Mayor Menino).

Boston's most legendary rock radio station, WBCN, ended its 41-year analog broadcast run just after midnight on Wednesday, August 12th (here's how the station went out). The station will continue to stream classic and alternative rock from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s on HD digital radio and the Internet. It is most easily accessed on iTunes, in the Radio folder, under the 'rock' category.

I worked at WBCN's original Boylston Street location in the summer of 1993 as a sales / copywriting intern. I was in the only office with windows, facing north, overlooking the brick and mint green facade of Fenway Park. I mostly did traffic reports and put together media kits. But eventually, I got to cover the switchboard (Peter Wolf once called with, 'Hey this is Peter Wolf, who's this?'), write a couple of radio commercials, and attend a Lansdowne Street block party to send off Mayor Ray Flynn, who was chosen by Bill Clinton to become ambassador to the Vatican ('natch).

It was an unforgettable be 20 years old and working (albeit part-time) at the most popular radio station in Boston, a city that was undergoing a healthy economic, cultural, and architectural boom that continued into this decade. The current stream at WBCN captures a lot of songs from that era by such bands as Stone Temple Pilots, The Breders, Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins and so many others. I love my XM Radio, both in my car and online, but I do hope CBS Radio keeps WBCN alive online. The online stream acts as a kind of live memorial or historical archive (the classic WBCN station ID's from the 1990s continue to be used). I can see CBS shutting it down in a few years. But until then, we have a fairly good rock radio stream that captures the 90s rock revivl (the 'alternative rock' era).

It was Boston's first full-time contemporary rock station. It was the first commercial US radio station to play U2 songs. And it had the best morning show (The Big Mattress) for 28 years.

Just listen to the voices in this MP3 clip that closed out the analog broadcast.

The Technics Brand Is Going Away

This was a long time coming. Matsushita, the parent corporation of Panasonic, has decided to rename itself and all of its brands as "Panasonic." This will close a major era in popular music and dance culture. The Technics SL-1200 turntable, the staple of DJs for over 20 years, will be renamed the Panasonic SL-1200. Come October, the Technics name will be no more.

My grandad had a consumer / non-DJ version of the SL-1200 when I was a kid. The thing was indestructible. The SL1200 will live on under a different name, but the Technics name will live in infamy. Whenever I hear a rap song that mentions Technics, I will remember that I once used a few examples of products under that brand.

In fact, I'm going to spin the Analog Brothers CD and play the track, Analog Technics before I go to bed tonight.

Technics will be missed. If you ever wanted a Technics-branded turntable, go out (or login to Amazon) and get one now.

M's Review Of Genesis At New York Madison Square Garden, 09/25/2007

M reviews last night's Genesis show at MSG:

Saw the show...and I got almost exactly what I expected.

Here were the pleasant surprises:

1) Phil's banter the crowd was at times amusing
2) Tony's keyboards sounds were significantly better than expected
3) the overall sound was better than expected
4) the visuals were cool
5) DS died of massive heart failure while ruining Firth of Fifth (ok that didn't actually happen)

Show opened strong. I liked the Behind the Lines instrumental. Turn it On Again was good but the tuning a whole step down hurts the song...although live it still packed more of a punch than the VH1 special or YouTube clips (but that isn't really saying a lot). I still think the Three Sides Live version kicks ass...original key, slightly up-tempo.

No Son of Mine and Land of Confusion were also good. I knew what would be my favorite part of the show was coming next. In the Cage/Cinema Show/Dukes' Travels was great...the live setting again helping the obvious key change. I've never understood why people like Afterglow so much but it was performed well.

Hold on My Heart was fascinating for me. Of course I don't like the song but what struck me was the need to extend it and jam on it a bit. I can't even get the original length of my favorite tunes but I can get an extended version of a shitty one. In a word...awesome.

Home by the Sea/Second Home by the Sea. First part good...Second Home was great. Definitely a high point of the show and basically what I had hoped for when the tour was announced. A great performance of one of the great tunes from the three man era.

Follow You, Follow Me. I can't complain. Not one of my favorites but obviously knew it was coming when the tour was announced.

Firth Of Fifth/I Know What I Like. I walked out during this as the anger overcame me. Tony's keyboard solo sounded horrible. Phil's drumming (while good for most of the show...Chester was the doing most of the drumming during the show...even when Phil was behind a kit) was totally lame here.

Even from the concession stand DS's performance was horrendous. I kept looking on the menu for thorazine to kill the pain but they didn't have it.

Read my previous rants about this. In short never ever perform this song again....(unless its the original five and the song is performed in its entirety). And kill Darryl Stuermer. This is not a joke. Kill DS. REDRUM!! REDRUM!!

And yes Phil you can still play the tambourine with your bald head and your feet. But so can a trained monkey. And to see images of Steve Hackett on screen while listening to the band rape his music was really more than I could take. I'm still seething.

Mama - yes it was good...very good I guess...but couldn't save the pattern of the show which was good song, shitty song, good song chopped to shit and ruined by DS, shitty song

Ripples - excellent. Not one of my favorites but at least they did it complete and DS restrained we're up to two good songs in a row

Throwing it All Away. Ok I guess. Yes a hit but not one that really was essential to play (like Invisible Touch) Not one of my favorites but the camera thru the audience was entertaining. It made the joy of the rest of the crowd somewhat infectious...although a "Kill Darryl" chant would have worked better for me

Domino - the anger started to swell again. I have no understanding for this. Its a long song off an album that was thoroughly represented that evening. And Phil's head with the Doctor Who swirl on the screen was tough to take...but maybe that's just me. Nothing about the performance of this song quieted the screaming "why the fuck are they playing this" voice in my head. But let's cut Cinema Show a little bit shorter to fit this in.

Drum Duet - yes it was very good...but for me couldn't make up for the good/bad back and forth of the night.

Los Endos - also was good but not enough to win me over

Tonight Tonight Tonight - we're going to make it right tonight...too late for that. I think was performed in the Key of Zzzzz

Invisible Touch - great crowd pleaser (for most) brother and I made it to the screen during the camera shots. I think my enthusiasm was the catalyst for the crowd here

I Can't Dance - wow they did the funny walk thing. That was awesome. And it was really fucking awesome when some drunk NYC dudes starting doing it in the aisle daisy chain style. Wow I love being surrounded by cool drunk dudes. Especially when its clear they get the actually lyric of song. I had to keep telling myself, "you have a beautiful wife and child at have a beautiful wife and child at home". Its the only reason I didn't go out in a blaze of glory last night.

Carpet Crawlers - ok. The only reason I didn't leave after the In the Cage bit.

So yes the show was better than 92...but so is a Solo Ray Wilson acoustic performance. Yes the sound was better than expected....but shouldn't it be good considering the technology available and the ridiculous $$$ being made on this tour. I'm tired of giving performances credit for what should be a given. And Phil sang great (if you can forgive that he's not 30 anymore...which I can). The visuals for the show were good too. But the set list is fucked beyond ridiculous. Two hour show, 20 minutes of enjoyment.

Yes part of that is my responsibility because I'd be a fool to think they're going to skip their hits. But I Can't Dance was never really a hit. Domino was never a hit. Firth of Firth was never a hit and this performance was a complete fucking disgrace as was I Know What I Like, and Tonight, Tonight, Tonight was also dull as hell. And extending Hold on My Heart...WTF? How long do I need to pee?

Rejuvenated Genesis Excite Hartford

Genesis at the Hartford Civic Center, 09/16/07. All photos courtesy of my girl, taken with her Sony T100 compact camera.

Considering how my last post was meant to lower expectations, this is fantastic news. I am very happy to report that whatever lack of energy or enthusiasm Genesis seemed to have in YouTube videos posted in Europe, the band has arrived in North America with their best performances in 20 years.

That's right. They are better than they were in 1992-1993. They were absolutely fantastic last night. Oh, and a mind-blowing drum duet didn't hurt their show, either. Last night could have been a candidate for the DVD. It was that good.

Let's get the weak points of their performance out of the way:

  • Daryl Sturmer still plucks annoying, extra notes into the Firth of Fifth solo.
  • They still perform Hold On My Heart.
  • Medleys still have the effect of pleasing the long-time fans in the audience and annoying them at the same time.
  • Tony's keyboard setup is very good and compact overall. However, while the low-range sounds (organ, mellotron, bass synth) are awesome and inspiring, his high-range sounds (mini moog, In The Cage solo) sound cheap and underwhelming.

And really, everything else was great. Even if you hate Throwing It All Away, it was one of the most amusing and fun parts of the evening, with candid videos of the audience members on the big video wall. Follow You Follow Me was appropriately sentimental, with the video wall showing animations of some of their album covers (Nursery Cryme, Selling England By The Pound, Trick of the Tail, Duke, and We Can't Dance) along with archival photos of the band dating back to 1970.

Their performance of Mama was a highlight, as it was their best performance of the song in 20 years.

It was the band's technical superiority, musicianship, humor, and interaction with the audience that made this a truly great show. Genesis are back!

Phil had to take it easy on his voice in Europe. Here, he is belting out the songs, restraining himself only occasionally, and certainly not on the very old songs.

The set list remains the same from the European leg:

Behind The Lines / Duke’s End (medley)
Turn It On Again
No Son Of Mine
Land Of Confusion
In The Cage (complete) / The Cinema Show (truncated) / Duke’s Travels (truncated)
Hold On My Heart
Home By The Sea
Follow You Follow Me
Firth Of Fifth (truncated) / I Know What I Like (complete)
Throwing It All Away
Drum Duet
Los Endos
Tonight Tonight Tonight (truncated) / Invisible Touch (complete)
I Can’t Dance
The Carpet Crawlers

That's about a two-and-a-half hour show. They took the stage at 20:30 (the scheduled start was 20:00).

Surely I would have loved to hear more material from the great 1976-1982 box set that was released this spring. I would have wanted to hear a song from Abacab, a complete song from Duke, and another song from And Then There Were Three. But essentially, they took the 1992 set list, dropped the long 70s medley in favor of three small medleys (two of which included complete songs, In The Cage and I Know What I Like), kept the biggest hits, cut the number of songs from WCD from six to three, kept Domino and Home By The Sea, and then squeezed-in Ripples, Follow You Follow Me, Afteglow, Los Endos, and Carpet Crawlers.

I should be excited to see so many old songs squeezed in. But I feel let-down because these are old songs they have done before (if you are old enough to remember). I'm not really into Afterglow. I love Ripples, and it was their best song of the night, along with Mama. Follow You Follow Me is good, but what would really make me excited is any (and I mean ANY) other song from And Then There Were Three.

And there were two surprises (surprises if you don't read all the Genesis blogs, that is). First, Daryl Sturmer used a beautiful Les Paul for Ripples and Carpet Crawlers. The warmer sound of the Les Paul was very welcome, and according to Archetype, it was the first time he had ever seen Daryl play a Les Paul in a Genesis show. When I closed my eyes during the Ripples solo, I pictured this guy. Daryl did a fine job when he used the Les Paul and remained faithful to the way Steve would have played it. Otherwise, Daryl did not respect Mr. Hackett's music.

The second surprise was the drum duet. Everyone knew it was going to be good. I simply had no idea that it would be faster, more athletic, and more impressive than the 1992/1993 version. Phil and Chester are simply incredible. Their speed, technique, stunts, and the resulting reverb through the arena were all breathtaking. It was the Cirque du Soleil of drum duets. You just have to see it for yourself.

Maybe Genesis were rusty in Europe. Maybe Phil did complain about being on-tour. Perhaps he is still bitching. But their hard work to get back out there is paying off. What I saw in Hartford on Sunday night was a band that is getting stronger, and could be preparing for a bigger tour in the near future. They still have tricks up their sleeves and seem to know that the fans are going to expect more old songs the next time around.

Well done, lads, well done. That shit I said earlier? I take it all back.

The purpose of this tour is to get the rust out and get back into form. Apparently they had gotten back together last year in case Peter Gabriel was able to join them and work on a new live production of The Lamb. Of course that fell through, but they decided to tour anyway. We can only hope that this tour is in preparation of Peter Gabriel's eventual return. Archetype dreams of a reunion of the classic 5-member lineup for a live performance of The Lamb in Central Park next summer or in 2009.

So long as they are all alive, the demand for a reunion will remain.

It would be incredible, but I have to keep my expectations in-check. Peter seems to be fine with the idea, provided it does not involve recording a new album or taking too much time away from his future solo albums (he has enough material for two new albums, and is working hard on the one he hoped to release two years ago).

The hurdle in getting the classic Genesis lineup back together is the 30 year-old spat between keyboardist Tony Banks and former lead guitarist Steve Hackett. That's my opinion, but consider how Tony talks about Steve. Here is how I imagine it:

Hi, I'm Tony Banks. I founded Genesis in 1967 along with Mike Rutherford and Peter Gabriel back in high school. Members have come and gone, but one thing remains constant - this band belongs to me and Mike. Let's make that clear.

"It's my band. Mine. I didn't have to go to Phil. He had to come back to me!!!11"

Now regarding that classic lineup. The way I see it, Peter had a good reason to go. He got married young. Had a baby soon afterword. He had new pressures of family life and removed himself from the band for his own good. Although he didn't tell us he was leaving until we were in the middle of our 1975 tour, I forgive him. Besides, I could see it coming. I can ready my friends fairly well. I knew Peter was distracted and was going to go. It was a sad time. But Mike and I decided to keep Genesis going. Phil and Steve could come along or not.

Now as for Steve, his departure was different. He wanted to contribute more acoustic songs to our two post-Peter albums. But I felt that we had some singles that deserved to be committed to wax. It's what the fans wanted. It's what the majority of us wanted. I like to think that Genesis is a democracy, and Steve would just have to wait to get more of his songs on our albums. Still, he got songwriting credits for a third of the songs on his last album with us. And looking back, Blood on the Rooftops is one of the best Genesis songs ever. Steve and Phil wrote it themselves.

But Steve couldn't wait. He was writing more songs and had more material. So he stopped-by the studio one day in 1977 and told me and Mike that he was leaving the band. And that was that. He was gone. And Mike and I were left with a crisis. Then Phil walked in and he was clueless about what had just happened. Mike and I once again had to decide the future of Genesis.

Now being the quiet gentleman that I am, I didn't hold a grudge. Oh, I did make sure that Steve didn't appear clarly on the cover of our 1977 live album. The photo I selected had him in a dark shadow most fans would not notice. But he and I are still friends. I still see Steve in concert. I always go backstage to shake his hand and say hi. He's not an egotistical front man. I'm certainly not. It is interesting how he tries his best to sing songs with some good results. I guess he has found his happy place. So I'd be, um, surprised if he came back and performed with us.

From my perspective, once you quit, you quit and can't come back. You have to preserve your pride and not ever get caught with your tail between your legs or something. That's how we upper classes do it. Never talk out your problems, or talk to people we don't like. If I didn't like you, I wouldn't be talking. Cheers.

Now that is something Tony would never say out loud. He keeps it all inside. The silent treatment means you are out. I used to admire that about Tony. He is still my favorite member of Genesis. He lacks the technique and strength of Keith Emerson, but is arguably a more successful composer and songwriter. His solos have evolved over the last 35 years, and I like them all. Tony's great. And I hope someone gives him another chance to do a television theme song or movie soundtrack.

But from the clues he gives in his interviews, I think it is Tony who is blocking the big reunion. Let's see some real Tony quotes regarding a possible 5-member reunion:

There has never really been anything organized...It tends to come from other people more than us, really. I never rule out any kind of reunion thing, it could always happen. We’re all good friends, and we get-on ok. It would be fun to revisit some of these early things perhaps, but there has really never been a plan...I’m not itching to do it, particularly, but I’m not dismissing it either.

That was Tony in 2004. And what did Steve say last year?

Unfortunately I'm not in a position to comment on things...and of course the ideal time would be [now] if there was a band reformation but I don't think anyone is any the wiser. The band isn't any the wiser than the fans are and so with regards to that we have all given our pitch and let's just say that most of us are hoping it is going to come off. I would love to be able to say 'Yes, I'll be there on Thursday!' It is the question on everyone's lips, including mine. If it doesn't happen, I won't be to blame.

Hmmmm. We have someone who would like it to happen, and someone who isn't too crazy about the idea. I think the signs pointing to Tony as being the sticky wicket.

""Well, we managed to sack the lot of you!" - Tony to all former members of Genesis in 1999. At the time, that included Phil.

Now I have to be respectful of the artists I admire. Chances are, a classic reunion will not happen. But surely the fans are dreaming of this the same way I dreamt of the Red Sox winning the world series in my lifetime. And this has been written about by authors far more passionate and informed than I am.

So I will close this post with the obvious - if you are a fan of Genesis and admire their work, you have to get yourself to one of their remaining North American shows. They are well worth your time and money.

Fog on the Tyne

I was not able to post this yesterday due to an afternoon and evening spent out with the boys on the Lower East Side. We all met-up at Nevada Smith's to watch the 5pm Fox Sports replay of Newcastle's home victory against Wigan (we all stayed away from the Internets so we did not know the result). Then I suggested we go around the corner to famed Red Sox bar, Professor Thom's, to watch the Orioles-Red Sox game. Obviously, our sports day went from great to supergreat. Amazing. And we went to celebrate at Libation, where it seems to be stuck in 1999, even though it opened in 2005. And that's a good thing.

So Saturday was great. Besides the Clay Buchholz no-hitter, Newcastle finally won at home. That's the reason I was in the Lower East Side to begin with. So I have to finally post a video I swore I would not post until Newcastle scored a home goal and won a home game this season. They had not scored a goal at home since February, in a game against Liverpool last season (which was also a game they won). The Magpies remain undefeated this season with 2 wins and 2 draws.

Now this fucked-up folk band (and they are really fucked-up) is Lindisfarne, with their #1 hit from 1971, "Fog on the Tyne." The Genesis fans among my readers will recognize the song without ever hearing it before. Today it lives-on as a Newcastle chant, and I heard it briefly sung at Nevada Smith's yesterday.

We can have a 'wee wee'? You mean sip? Gotta love the cowbell.

When I think cowbell, I think of the SNL clip with Will Farrell and Christopher Walken, which makes me think of the Red Sox because that clip was among the many rallies of Red Sox fans and writer Bill Simmons three years ago...which somehow brings me back to two things - the Red Sox and Genesis. Professor Thom's bar shows every Red Sox game, AND they have most Genesis albums on their jukebox. That makes it a winner. They have a regular yacht bell at the bar though, not a cowbell. Maybe we can change that.

The nachos at Professor Thom's. Think there's enough?

Live Earth And Other Circle Jerks

By Archetype:

It's official. I will no longer attend ANY "green" events. You know what I mean, these self-important, self-righteous, self-absorbed, do-gooders who want to tell me that either things are really, really bad and I have to change or that they are really really trying hard and here is the evidence in which a 100-slide PowerPoint presentation outlines everything they have done to protect the environment or at least identified the problems that all these other people have the change (as was skillfully pointed out at an EPA seminar on green building I attended this week). Where is the ownership to this issue? Where are the real leaders?

All I have to say to all of them is, GO FUCK YOURSELVES!

"Compiling the data is hard… it takes time"

"Changing behavior is hard… it takes time "

"Changing policy is hard… it takes time "

Nope. None of those are hard. Complicated? Perhaps, but not hard. There are many things about this issue that are hard. But let me share something that is really very easy, simple in fact.

A collapsing eco-system. Very easy.

Doesn't need consensus.

Doesn't need further research.

And now that we continue to sit on our hands with half-measures at best and a whole gaggle of rhetoric, here is another thing it doesn't need, time.

Time is no longer of the essence. As Living Colour once sang, Time's UP!

Look, I like Al Gore, we should be having retrospectives on his two-term Presidency at this point, but he is part of the hypocritical problem. The time is well past. Happy Earth Day, folks. Al and the many disillusioned thousands (millions?) who attended or watched the Live Earth "festivities" all must face some facts here. We, the people, do not have a say in our future. The rich and, subsequently, the powerful, which have always had that say, will determine our fate. And they give less than a shit about state of the planet. An inconvenient truth? Indeed. Inconvenient because we fat, lazy citizens might have to walk to work. We might have to drive smaller cars or live in smaller houses or even GOD FORBID, use less electricity. Wait, that sounds strangely like sacrifice. Apparently, all you good Christians leave the sacrifice to sons of God and the like.

Well, we reap what we have sown. And we have sown a wonderful world where nature is going to make it really easy for us in the not too distant future. I love the gun-to-the-head analogies. Hey, that only works if people actually know it's a gun and not a finger with the thumb mimicking a trigger. Nature has the gun and has held it to our collective heads for a long time now. But we all look up and obliviously smile like it's all just a big joke. We all have that Iraq-War-George W. Bush-Press-Conference look on our faces. Well, ha-ha…..BOOOOM. Yeah, fucknuts, that's your brains on that wall back there. Nighty-night.

I am an architect, which puts me on the front lines of this debate. Buildings are the number one consumers of energy (the key player in the environmental debate). This means that I am both the uniter and the divider. I let this shit happen. Why? Because I am too afraid to confront superiors and clients with cold hard realities. More of that truth stuff there. Superiors have benndoing this stuff a hell of a lot longer than I so they know what's best for me and world at large. And Clients do not want to pay for innovation. Well, good design needs not innovation. A well thought building will cost the same to build as a less thought one, but will greatly reduce the cost of operation of that building over the life of it. Well hey, clients don't care about later, they have a budget now to worry about. All in due time, right?

I am also a LEED accredited professional. That sounds pretty special, no? What that means is I have taken an exam given by the United States Green Building Council (I know you all are ware of such an organization, right?) regarding my aptitude in their LEED rating system, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Do you know what it really means? Nothing. More than half my current firm are LEED Accredited Professionals. Know how many know really what a green building would look like? Very few. That is the problem. There are so many in the know about these things, but they do the least amount of the actual built work. In our wonderful little profession comes the term "value engineering". "Value engineering" is the art and craft of taking a building that works perfectly and cutting out all of the things that architects and engineers agreed would make the building work effectively and cut those things down so that the price (that some less than expert contractor has priced to build) will be reduced. Inevitably the first things cut from a construction budget? You guessed it, the "green stuff". Why? Because we pussy-architects cower at the clients and their devil-on-the-shoulder contractors wim. Where are the Samuel Mockbees and the Glen Murcutts of the corporate architecture realm? Suppressed and encourage to adhere to the old adage, " young designers should seen and not heard."

Hey, all you mentors in the architecture field….please read the passage starting with the 123rd word of this blog and ending with the 126th. Thanks for your precious time.

So whether its Architects or Should-Be Presidents or even scientists or climatologists, they all say the same things. We need to change. And sure, change is coming slowly. But the fact remains true to a saying that has become my mantra,

Less Bad, Is NOT Good.

Less bad. More Sustainable. They both say the same thing. Our demise is merely slowing. The problem is at what rate? No one can quantify that. How convenient.

So enjoy Live Earth 2, enjoy Leonardo DiCaprio telling us what car we should drive, enjoy being less bad. I will be avoiding these self-congratulatory circle jerks and other back-patting or finger-pointing events and meetings in order to draw up some new plans about impacting real change that is so desperately needed. I will take care of this, I wouldn't want all y'all to be inconvenienced.

- Archytype, July 26th 2007, 13:00 EDT

2007 Genesis Tour: Bad News For Europe; Worse News For The USA

The more I post, the more you can learn about my interests. Not only am I a fan of the golden age of science fiction (1953-1980), space opera (Star Wars, Farscape), and auto racing, but I am also a fan of progressive and art-rock. I don't consider myself to be hardcore. I don't drool at the thought of seeing a Magma or Dream Theater show. I only went to NEARfest once, and it scared me a little. But I am enough of a fan to enjoy most of the works of Pink Floyd, Emerson Lake & Palmer, King Crimson, Rush, some of the Yes family tree, some of the Roxy Music family tree (Brian Eno, especially), and most of all, Genesis.

Now I am not here to provide a history of the band, but let me wind-up to deliver this week's curious and depressing news.

Genesis is a band that has had more than one artistic peak, which makes them an exciting and interesting band to follow. They released six studio albums with Peter Gabriel at lead vocal. The last three of those albums represent the peak of Genesis as a five-member unit (Foxtrot (1972), Selling England By The Pound (1973), The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)). As many pro-rock fans know, Gabriel left the band following the Lamb tour, and after hundreds of auditions, Tony banks and Mike Rutherford agreed that their drummer, Phil Collins, would take-over singing duty. Genesis returned from the studio in 1976 as a four piece, and released two more great albums, Trick of the Tail (1976) and Wind and Wuthering (1977). Following the departure of the great Steve Hackett on lead guitar, Genesis transformed again.

Genesis remained a storytelling band. They had gravitated towards songs about medieval times, Greek drama, English country life, Scottish history, fantasy tales, and apocalyptic and/or futuristic tales. With Wind and Wuthering, they still brought-up cricket, afternoon tea, and 16th century Scotland. But they changed their tone a bit with their next phase. With their 1978 album And Then There Were Three, there were fantasy stories, a song about the gold rush, a complex emo-rock song in 5/4 time (Snowbound), and...a radio-friendly ballad! Follow You Follow Me was the first Genesis song to get the attention of large numbers of female listeners and eventually, female fans. Nothing wrong with that at all. But the narrative of the band from 1978 to this day reflects the band's artistic, personal, and political structure. Simply put, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks, the two former public schoolboys and residents of little castles in Surrey, manage the band. Phil brings-in the most commercial, radio friendly material (which seems to have had an influence over Mike and his contributions since 1983 or so). Tony has consistently provided the best musical compositions. And the band has made sure that at least one long song is produced for each album (the final ones being Driving the Last Spike and Fading Lights in 1991). And perhaps most interesting, the band seems to get together and/or produce new material whenever Phil is going through a rocky phase in his marriage.

Really. That's how it works.

They recorded Wind and Wuthering in Vancouver in 1976. At that time, Phil's first marriage was slowly falling apart after just one year. Phil and Andrea Bertorelli divorced in 1980, after two more acclaimed Genesis albums were released. His angst over the divorce manifested itself in his finest solo albums, Face Value, and Hello I Must Be Going. That's a lot of good material over one failed marriage. In 1984, he married Jill Tavelman. During his second marriage, he released three more best-selling solo albums, picked-up some Grammies, and released two more albums with Genesis, not to mention two enormous singles (Against All Odds, Easy Lover) that helped canonize him into 1980s pop culture. 1987 saw Genesis and Peter Gabriel competing against each other for MTV VMAs and Grammies as the platinum counts mounted higher. The difference is, So was as commercial as Peter Gabriel would ever get. The last Genesis album with Collins on vocals, We Can't Dance (1991), sold a whopping 10 million copies, about half of them in the USA.

Phil left Genesis in 1996 as his marriage to Jill fell apart. Phil had a solo album up his sleeve with Dance Into the Light, which was a financial and artistic failure compared to his previous five solo albums. He found himself being commissioned by Disney to compose songs for both the Tarzan movie and Broadway show. He picked-up an Oscar for Best Original Song for that effort, and met and married the young Orianne Cevey along the way, followed by a move with his then 27 year-old bride to the English-speaking side of Geneva, where she borne him two children.

Phil is not usually as cold or as distant (or as WASPy) as his two public school-educated bandmates, Mike and Tony. But apparently Phil has shown a pattern of transmitting bad news via e-mail or fax. Some of his divorce-related communications were sent to Jill via fax in 1996. Now that's not as bad as Rudy Giuliani breaking the bad news to Donna Hanover in a public press conference, but still, that's cold. She fortunately walked away with a $30M settlement. We later learned that Phil's company ceased paying royalties to two members of Earth Wind and Fire, under the cold explanation that the two were overpaid, and so royalty payments for the Serious Hits Live CD would end. It seemed like an unprofessional way to end a 10-year relationship.

Last year, Phil and Orianne Cevey separated. Many fans speculated that it would lead to a Genesis reunion. And indeed it did.

As for live performances - Genesis world tours since 1986 have all followed a similar template. Whereas their shows of the late 1970s features a mix of lengthy older songs and shorter ballads, the tours over the last 21 years have cut the longer songs into medleys (particularly The Lamb, and the solo of Firth of Fifth). Two long songs from the 1980s have survived: Home By The Sea (parts 1 & 2) and Domino (parts 1 & 2). And the rest of the setlist has been filled with some classic hits (Turn it On Again), recent # 1 hits (No Son of Mine), and recent ballads (In Too Deep (released as a single in 1987), Hold on My Heart (released as a single in 1992). The encore has essentially been the same, which includes a truncated Tonight Tonight Tonight, and their biggest hit Invisible Touch.

In November 2006, Genesis announced that they were going to get back together, release a box set of their best material with Phil on vocals (1976-1982), and play songs they haven't played in years on the tour. They even hinted that they would drop medleys in favor of complete song performances. I didn't take it too seriously, and neither did most fans. When the first setlist was leaked, it was a real downer. With the exception of the Duke material woven into the medleys, it looked a lot like their 1992/93 setlist:

Behind The Lines / Duke’s End (medley)
Turn It On Again
No Son Of Mine
Land Of Confusion
In The Cage / The Cinema Show / Duke’s Travels (medley)
Hold On My Heart
Home By The Sea
Follow You Follow Me
Firth Of Fifth / I Know What I Like (medley)
Throwing It All Away
Drum Duet
Los Endos
Tonight Tonight Tonight (intro)
Invisible Touch
I Can’t Dance
The Carpet Crawlers

Ripples, In The Cage, Afterglow, Los Endos, Follow You Follow Me, and Carpet Crawlers stand-out as pre-1980 songs to be performed in their entirety. Not bad. But three of those above songs were performed in their early 80s tours. So it seems like an easy way to add songs back to the setlist rather than reach deeper into the catalog to play something that would truly be 'new' for even old fans. Granted, Ripples and Carpet Crawlers fit that definition. But being selfish, I would have wanted more. A complete song from Duke or Abacab would make me feel a lot better about this tour.

Also, Genesis fans would question why Throwing It All Away is in the set list while the songs from Duke are edited into medleys. Also infuriating would be the Firth of Fifth medley, in which guitarist Daryl Sturmer obnoxiously plucks extra notes into the solo, or the bit of The Cinema Show where Tony Banks' keyboard solo is truncated (at least in the European clips I have seen).

Furthermore, fans report that Tony's keyboard setup sounds low-budget and amateurish. Genesis should be supporting their box set and play more songs from the late 1970s. But instead, they continue to play 1980s top-40 hits and reduce Gabriel-era works into lazy and uninspired medleys. For the fans, it does not represent a compromise. It gives them no compelling reason to go to the show at all.

These blokes are hardly working and laughing once again to the bank.

Archetype and I are still seeing the September 16th show in Hartford, despite my argument above. He writes:

The British are coming… The British are coming…

The band Genesis is returning to the North American shores in the coming weeks and with it shocking news…..(warning: sarcasm in use) Rumors are abound of them changing the set list to accommodate the American audience.

Accommodate, indeed! What it really means is "dumbing" the set down to just the ultra-pop hits. Songs like Ripples will serve as the casualties. I am not sure who comprises the demographic that would rather hear In Too Deep over Ripples, but I venture to guess they are not really Genesis fans. Maybe in 1986 In Too Deep thrilled the pop-thirsty Yanks, but for the likes of myself and other hard core fans we saw it as the necessary evil to ring in another chance to see our boys tour.

Lets put aside the overwhelming desire for myself to see the entire quintessential group reunite, that being the current threesome (Tony Banks, Phil Collins, and Mike Rutherford) joined on stage with Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett (lead guitar). No offense to Daryl Steurmer and Chester Thompson but most have us have seen that version more so than the other line up. Perhaps that will come to fruition someday. Though I am reaching an age where it appears that the troubadours of my youth are really just an aged bunch that lacks the hunger of their preceding selves. Unparalleled success, I suppose, can bring that. Even Tony Banks in a recent interview backstage in Europe said as much, that not supporting an album has made the tour more relaxed and since they don't feel they need to win fans the pressure to perform is lessened.

I think something has been lost here. Perhaps I have loftier standards for a band that pushed the music world and especially the live gig presentation. While I am sure the visuals will dazzle, they have slipped a bit in the delivery of the music itself, whether it's the vocal range that slips with age or the virtuosity in the play or even the selection of songs themselves, this is not the Genesis I would necessarily have paid to see.

Truth is, though, I am paying to see them, the 16th of September in Hartford, Connecticut. Not a choice venue for me but they were purchased with the hope of them being true to their words in the press conference, of renewing the idea of Genesis being a band beyond the hits, so to speak. Well the vast majority are just that, the hits. And on the surface that is OK, but news that as they arrive on the North American leg of the tour that more hits will supplant less popular tracks breaks my heart. I have heard that stuff. Ripples is a beautiful song. It is a song that perhaps the majority of the American audiences may not remember in lieu of the popularity of the more recent ones, but it is a chance to re-introduce NA to a truly beautiful song. That is what a live show is about!

Supporting an album might just be what the doctor ordered, only instead of one that has yet to be recorded, how about one that was recorded a long time ago that has been forgotten on American airwaves? Say, A Trick of the Tail, Wind and Wuthering, and …And Then There Were Three , all of which were re-issued with bonus material just before the tour began? But not the tracks that keep showing up as medley pieces, but rather the very beautifully penned pieces that are not instrumentals such as Squonk, Entangled, Blood On The Rooftops, Say Its Alright Joe, Ballad Of Big, and Cul De Sac. Would the audience who is in the know not appreciate this? Would the audience that is not in the know not find these pieces beautiful?

More so than the unknown is the known, and I am referring to the legitimacy of certain songs in the live realm. I am sure Hold On My Heart and In Too Deep are fabulous singles in the catalogue, but they are not compelling live tracks. Live tracks should evoke the very senses not covered in the albums and should be more dynamic than the album cut. Neither of those two do that. Most bands fall short in the live realm, a product of over-production in the studio. Live gigs should ebb and flow with dynamism but to not include a song that proved to ascend beyond the album and basically had it all, Supper's Ready, and include songs that cannot reach further than the album cut seems as though the Genesis has lost track of its roots. They did not outsell Pink Floyd, but they out played them. Maybe "proggers" acknowledged the sheer magnitude of the abilities of Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman when comparing them to Tony banks but Banks wrote better pieces than either of those two. He understood the power in less is more and when that combined with well timed crescendos would create epic moments that Genesis is most known for with the live material.

So, here we are on the verge of a let down. I am trying to remain upbeat about that press conference promise but I have trepidations. I beg the members of Genesis to reconsider any thought of changing the set-list from the European one. Though if you do, consider going the other way with it to re-examine older songs with the same commitment that you have to these newer pieces. Give us here in America another chance.

The latest interview with Mike & Tony supports the post above. They are discussing dropping Ripples in favor of In Too Deep. And my god are they grumpy. Look at that video greeting. Yeah. Thanks for sticking with two guys who were performing with vigor 25 years ago, but today are two grumpy millionaires from Surrey.

It's almost as if I treat them like members of the 2004 Red Sox. Sure, some of them were truly great players (Ortiz, Cabrera, Lowe, Arroyo, Schilling, Foulke). Some were unlikely heroes (Bellhorn, Reese). But others really were idiots. Some were evangelicals I wouldn't want to be seen with (Nixon, Varitek). But if I actually saw any them in the flesh, I would pay for their dinner, buy them a drink, or just thank them.

Genesis' greatest work is behind them and they will always be thanked for that. What's frustrating is how they could get right back on track now if they just dropped the medleys, and added some songs we fans really haven't heard in a while. Ababab. Snowbound. Squonk. Burning Rope. Entangled. Man of Our Times. Dammit.

And just last week, Phil revealed that the tour is a royal pain in the ass because it is keeping him away from his two youngest children, who are back in Geneva with Orianne Cevey. Boo hoo.

As my friend M says:

I'm so sorry I've given Phil over $100.00 of my I owe him an apology too. I'm sorry Phil!! I didn't mean to keep you from your children. As a father I truly sympathize. I'm sorry I dragged you out of your home and forced you to do half ass versions of what was once great music.

I will keep an open mind, and follow this tour through the Genesis blogs. I will comment on the Hartford show after it takes place.

People Are Still Buying CDs. Which Ones?

Well besides the latest from the White Stripes and Interpol (both of which I highly recommend), people are buying classic rock, pop and hip-hop. I must admit, I only got Metallica's 1991 album two years ago. But I was the first kid on my block to own a copy of Paul's Boutique, which I am very happy to see below. The Beastie Boys brilliantly turned 1989 into 1972, and they did it in their mid 20's. The album's 18th anniversary is this Thursday! Here is the full wire story:

Vintage AC/DC, Nirvana still big-sellers
By JAKE COYLE, AP Entertainment Writer
Mon Jul 16, 5:31 PM ET

Much of the rock 'n' roll and pop canon is well established.

Buying the albums of `60s and `70s acts like the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley is akin to a rite of passage for any young music fan. These are the artists that baby boomers love to keep buying, and with whom seemingly every teenager at some point experiments. (Remember A.J. hearing Bob Dylan for the first time in the "Sopranos" finale?)

Now that the `80s and `90s are ancient history, what albums are people still buying from those decades? Do critical favorites like Radiohead and the Pixies grow more popular with time? Or do the Backstreet Boys and Madonna still rule the charts?

The short answer is that, above all, people are buying vintage Metallica, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Guns 'N Roses and, well, Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

AC/DC's "Back in Black" (1980) last year sold 440,000 copies and has thus far sold 156,000 this year, according to the Nielsen SoundScan catalog charts, which measure how well physical albums older than two years old are selling. (All figures for this article were provided by Nielsen SoundScan.)

Those "Back in Black" numbers would make most contemporary CDs a success. Metallica's self-titled 1991 album is altogether the second-biggest selling album of the Nielsen SoundScan era, which began in 1991. "Metallica" sold 275,000 copies last year.

Bon Jovi's greatest hits collection "Cross Road" last year sold 324,000 copies, while Guns 'N Roses "Appetite for Destruction" (1987) sold 113,000. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve and Other Stories" (1996) continues to be a holiday favorite; it was bought 289,000 times last year.

Greatest hits compilations are counted as catalog releases, and account for the majority of vintage best-sellers. Artists that commercially peaked in the `80s or `90s that have had lucrative best-of collections include Garth Brooks, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tim McGraw, Creed, Queen, Tom Petty, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Def Leppard, Aerosmith and Lionel Richie.

U2, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Celine Dion, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Dave Matthews Band and the ever-touring Jimmy Buffett also all continue to sell large amounts of old records.

Michael Jackson, of course, still has one of the most desirable back catalogs. His best- selling "Thriller" moves over 60,000 copies a year and his "Number Ones" collection yielded 162,000 sales last year.

Avid fans may be buying everything their favorite artist puts out, but there's more than nostalgia fueling vintage sales.

"Young fans aren't excluded from catalog sales — especially the ones who really get interested in music, there's always that sense of discovery," says Geoff Mayfield, the director of charts at Billboard Magazine.

Not everything maintains long-term success. Asia's self-titled 1982 album was the biggest seller of 1982, but only sold 5,000 copies last year. Whitney Houston's 1985 debut, also self-titled, was 1986's top album, but now sells about 7,000 discs a year.

The same trajectory has befallen past mega-hits like Ace of Base's "The Sign," Bobby Brown's "Don't Be Cruel" and the Spice Girl's "Spice." Though one of the best selling artists of all time, Mariah Carey's self-titled debut sold a measly 5,000 copies last year. The Backstreet Boys' "Millennium" managed only 9,000 sales.

Alas, the turning wheel of fortune isn't always kind to boy bands.

"The only thing that kept coming to mind to me was that line in the Bruce Springsteen song: `Someday we'll look back at this and it will all seem funny,'" recalls Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke.

Now, some critical hits that were trounced on their initial release by the likes of 'N Sync can claim a measure of commercial superiority. The Flaming Lips' "Soft Bulletin," often hailed as one of the best albums of the `90s by critics, sold a solid 38,000 copies last year.

Radiohead's legendary "OK Computer," currently celebrating its 10-year anniversary, last year sold 94,000 copies. Nirvana's "Nevermind" has done even better; it sold 143,000 copies in 2006.

Current events can alter the charts. When Ray Charles died, his older albums spiked for months, says Mayfield. A new album from Alanis Morissette would surely increase sales of her 1995 disc "Jagged Little Pill," one of the best selling albums of the past 20 years.

Likewise, recent reunions of the Police and Genesis can be expected to increase sales of their catalogs. The Police's 1986 compilation "Every Breath You Take" has already doubled its already strong 2006 sales by selling 107,000 copies so far this year.

Many well-regarded albums continue to do healthy business, including: U2's "Joshua Tree," Dr. Dre's "The Chronic," Beck's "Odelay," Wu-Tang Clan's "Enter the Wu-Tang," the Clash's "London Calling," Weezer's "Weezer," and the Pixies' "Doolittle." Each sold at least 20,000 copies last year.

Still, many albums that are consistently revered on critic top-ten lists of the `80s and `90s have not sold much. Joy Division's "Closer," the Smiths' "The Queen is Dead," My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless," and REM's "Murmur" all sold 12,000 copies or less last year.

Labels often reissue classic releases to capitalize on the devotion of die-hard fans and to attract a new audience. In the past few years, revered indie label Matador Records has released Pavement's first three albums, including "Slanted and Enchanted," a disc frequently ranked among the best in the `90s.

"It's almost like a new release for us," says Matador founder Chris Lombardi. "We probably sold in a one-year period, pretty much what those records sold in their first year period when they were initially released."

Though hip-hop continues to rule today's charts, many of its most historic albums don't enjoy the catalog sales that those from rock's heyday do. Public Enemy's "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" sold 15,000 copies last year; Beastie Boys' "Paul's Boutique" sold 22,000; and Run DMC's "Raising Hell" sold far less than both.

So far this year, catalog sales are down 11.7 percent, but that's stronger than overall sales, which are down 14.7 percent, according to Billboard. It's a major portion of the music business. This year's total catalog sales of 95.6 million copies accounts for about 40 percent of all albums sold physically.

When people switched from cassette tapes to compact discs, catalog sales received a windfall as people re-bought their collections. The onset of digital downloading hasn't had that affect because CDs can easily be downloaded to your iPod, but digital stores do have the advantage of unlimited (virtual) store space to sell older music.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has pegged catalog downloads as 64 percent of all download sales in the U.S. (Apple declined to share its iTunes data on catalog sales.)

That still leaves illegal downloads unaccounted for, as well as a more important quantity: cultural impact. Though bands like Sonic Youth, the Ramones and Public Enemy may never sell as much as other acts, their influence remains immeasurable.

"Impact is not strictly about sales," says Fricke. "Otherwise everyone would be running around forming bands that sound exactly like Poison."

Can't Get Journey Out of My Head...

...Thanks to the series finale of The Sopranos. But then I found this. I'm very late in coming to like The Family Guy. I had no idea that the fictional setting is in Rhode Island. This is freakin' great! And yeah, that's Adam West. But his joke is lost on me. And I'm usually pretty smaaat.

My buddy, Archtype, informed me that Steve Smith, Journey's drummer since 1979, shares his hometown of Brockton with me. maybe I knew that in 1983, but I certainly forgot.

Oh, I can't resist now. Here is Journey performing Don't Stop Believin' live in 1981. Not only is it one of the most loved rock anthems ever, it could be the most purchased song never to peak at # 1 on the Billboard charts (it peaked at # 9, but has sold millions of copies year after year since). And it keeps coming back. South Park. Laguna Beach. The 2005 White Sox. And now the Sopranos finale. It's a standard.