The Musical Box: Selling England By The Pound – Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, Thursday March 8
Unlike other tribute bands, Genesis disciples The Musical Box take their devotion to the absolute extremes of historical accuracy. Every last detail of the band’s 1973 Selling England By The Pound tour is faithfully reproduced: not just the music, but also costumes, masks, backdrops, slides, and Peter Gabriel’s eccentric little speeches between songs.
The problem with this approach is that it kills any chance of spontaneity. Consequently, the show felt frozen in time, as if we were watching moving waxworks. However, for the real Genesis, the 1970s were a period of experimentation. This was, after all, “progressive” rock. To have their music portrayed in this way felt oddly regressive, and perhaps against their original spirit.
There again, as one of the old songs has it, “I know what I like, and I like what I know.” Thirty-four years on, the prog-rock crowd has inevitably become more conservative. There’s a comfort in hearing the familiar, and rolling back the years. And in any case, classic epics such as Supper’s Ready still deserve to be heard live, where their full power can be unleashed.
This crowd certainly knew what they liked, giving the band a standing ovation and roaring their appreciation.