Two hours back in 1973

On Saturday May 29, 2010, I was transported back in time – to 1973. My time travelling catalyst, a band called The Musical Box, a Genesis Tribute band formed in 1991, that produces exact replicas of many of Genesis’  iconic shows.  Genesis had been my first ever experience of a live rock gig; they came to play at the Technical College,( aka. sixth form college aka grade 11)  in the small town in Somerset UK. where I grew up. At the time I wasn’t aware how significant their music was to become in my life, and because they were so – to my  tender ears – earshatteringly loud,  I spent my time alternating my attendance to sitting inside with paper tissue stuffed in both ears and sitting outside in the hall to give my ears a rest. Ironic also to think that at that time I was sat next to my first ever boyfriend who was air-drumming throughout, whereas now I am watching a replica Genesis band with my last boyfriend (now husband), who actually is a drummer.
Back to 2010, and the Musical Box;  such is their painstaking attention to detail as regards every facet of the original show, that  members of Genesis have brought their families to see the performances. Genesis also donated thousands of the original slides and movies that were the hallmark of their later shows and provided archive materials such as original recordings and  access  to a number of Super-8mm private movies which enabled The Musical Box to accurately choreograph and outfit their shows, right down to the lead man, Denis Gagne ,who plays both Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins – depending upon which show/album is being performed –  managing to recreate both the accent and physical persona of both characters (pretty amazing when you consider that he, like the rest of the band members are French Canadian).
The whole experience would be nothing without the sound of the original instruments, the Mellotron, Hammond Organ, double necked Rickenbacker guitars, Gretch drums and Leslie cabinets.
I saw this band two years ago at the Music Hall on the Danforth, reproduce the “Selling England” show when “Peter Gabriel”  fronted the band.  Two huge hourglass projector screens backdropped the performance, with the most amazing art deco style slides. I sang at the top of my voice, as this had been my favourite Genesis album, and I still play it a lot. Denis Gagne wore all the ‘Selling England” costumes  and masks and mimicked Peter Gabriel’s quirky physical presentation of the show.
This time the band was playing at the very much larger Massey Hall and the show was headlined as the “Trick of the Tail” tour, with nods to songs found on both the “ “Selling England” and “Foxtrot” albums.  I was completely mesmerized by the powerful haunting images on the slides that backdropped every song, the most evocative of which were the ethereal black and white photos and movie that accompanied the song “Entangled”
I cannot even begin to describe the feeling of nostalgia and sentimentality that welled up inside me upon hearing the first chords played on the mellotron. I was simultaneously 17 again with my life ahead of me and 53, looking back with the knowledge that the intervening 36 years had been beyond anything my 17 year old brain could conceive of at the time. I felt like the Roger Moore character in the film “the Man who haunted himself”
The emotion was such that my hair was standing on end for most of the performance; it was almost traumatic as an experience.  I spent much of the performance with my eyes closed just letting myself drift back to the 70″s  and living beyond the current moment. Brilliant. 
Breaking the mood completely and as an aside, a great place for supper before any of the shows at Massey Hall, Cannon Theatre or Elgin/Winter Garden Theatre, is “The Senator ” diner on Victoria Street, one block east of Yonge and couple blocks north of Shuter (where Massey Hall is situated).  Founded in 1921, you won’t get more authentic than this in the whole of Toronto. With around 20 booths  and a long thin bar built in typical but understated -in this case- art deco style, the Senator serves simple “deli” fare from a short but robust menu. Cheapish but very classy in it’s unpretentiousness, the Senator is what it is, or should I say what it was.  You cannot book so leave enough time before a show to allow waiting time for a table. www.
Over and Out

One thought on “Two hours back in 1973

  1. visited and read all your posts – I loved it – so reminded me of you though x

    Oh and I’ve bookmarked you so I don’t have to remember website address

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