Although the rock band Genesis’ “official” formation date is 1967, it wasn’t until the early to mid 1980s that the band hit it big. For some longtime fans, it’s the time the band sold themselves for success. Many prefer the songs the band produced during the era they were considered a progressive rock band with Peter Gabriel front and center.
Genesis: Live at Wembley Stadium was filmed during the height of the band’s top 40 success in 1987. This series of sold-out performances in London featured Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, and Phil Collins as the official band, although there are plenty of other musicians onstage with them.
The DVD opens with the entrance of Rutherford, Banks, and Collins along with Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson to the arena and onto the stage. The immense size of the arena and the crowd are captured quite well. Wembley Stadium is huge, and there are screens on either side of the stage so the people in the back can actually see the show and it doesn’t look like little ants on a stage.
Collins opens the concert strictly on vocals; he doesn’t go back on the drums until the instrumental part of Abacab. Collins does play an excellent instrumental piece with Chester Thompson in between Invisible Touch and Los Endos. For the majority of the concert, he is content to be on vocals while leaving Thompson on the drums.
The show is terrific in that it’s not like they just come out and play the songs. These are full songs often modified a bit with added instrumental time for many of them. Long instrumentals were such a great part of shows when they were done right. I love the long one on Abacab. It may seem to some who watch the DVD like there aren’t that many songs, but it’s because they go into these long instrumentals.
The audience gets involved in the intro to Throwing It All Away. When Land of Confusion is performed, there’s a nod to the video. If you haven’t seen it, check it out so you’ll get the references. Rutherford pokes a bit at his own solo project at the time by singing a couple of lines from Mike & the Mechanics songs when Collins is introducing the musicians and gets to Rutherford.
Collins looks pretty funny by today’s standards. He was losing his hair but was not quite bald yet, so he has this bushy hair running down the center of the scalp with it bare on two sides. It’s really freaky, and I don’t remember noticing this back in 1987. It’s sort of A Flock of Seagulls meets Billy Ray Cyrus.
I can’t say enough about the quality of the picture on the DVD. The lighting is terrific and shows up well. Unlike other concert DVDs I’ve seen, this doesn’t blind the camera often. I was really able to see what was happening on stage without distortion and bleeding from the lighting. The sound is terrific and as much of a pleasure to listen to on DVD as any mp3 I’ve heard.
The DVD extras are decent. The documentary is good, especially listening to Rutherford talk about how he wrote Land of Confusion as the closest he’d get to a protest song. The documentary covers a little bit of everything about the band, not just the tour or this show.
Genesis: Live at Wembley Stadium is a terrific concert DVD and it’s something other concert DVDs can aspire to. It really captures the band’s sound at the time as well as the enormity of their popularity at the time. Fans of Genesis’ earlier years might be disappointed, but this is really a great DVD.
Land of Confusion
Tonight, Tonight, Tonight
Throwing It All Away
Home By the Sea
Turn It On Again
Someone To Love/Satisfaction/Twist & Shout/I’ll Be There/You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling/Pinball Wizard
“The Invisible Touch Tour” Documentary