The question mark had been removed in 2022 and if you missed it, you missed them. Genesis performed their final concert a year ago, at the O2 Arena in London. It wrapped up their “Last Domino” tour, which had run since September of ’21. Originally it had been announced in 2019, and was due to kick off in 2020, but was of course pushed back due to the pandemic. Interestingly, when the tour was first announced, it had been titled “The Last Domino?” , leaving a bit of wriggle room in case they decided they enjoyed it enough to do one more tour later. But Phil Collins declining health had pretty much erased any hope of that by the time they hit the road this time around, their first time together since 2007.
Collins, the frontman of the band and its famous drummer, was over 70 when the tour began, which isn’t prohibitive for some rockers like Ringo Starr (who’s in his 80s and still going!). However, Collins had been having all sorts of troubles for over a decade. He had a bad back and other issues which made him having to tape the drumsticks to his hands for some shows in 2007, or else he couldn’t pick them up. In 2009 he had neck surgery which seemed to cause more nerve damage, and in 2015, surgery on his back. And to top that off, he’d developed diabetes. The end result was that by this decade, he couldn’t drum anymore and had trouble standing. In most shows, he sat on a stool on stage to sing and walked with a cane.
It was sad to see, but Collins voice was still intact, and most fans were well rewarded by the band including its popular frontman. Of course, Collins hadn’t always been the leader of Genesis, in fact when they formed in 1967 (at a boys school) he wasn’t yet a member. Early on it was Peter Gabriel’s project, and although guitarist Mike Rutherford (who played bass very early on) and keyboardist Tony Banks were there, along with drummer john Silver and guitarist Anthony Phillips, they’d already have an album out and started performing (the first public concert in November ’69 at a London university) before Phil came in, and Silver and Phillips departed. In their early years, they were known for elaborate stage shows, costumes and dense, lengthy prog rock compositions. But after Peter Gabriel departed to go solo in the mid-’70s, Collins took over as the lead vocalist and main driver behind the band, which steered towards brighter-sounding pop. When all was said and done by 1997, they’d put out 15 studio albums (plus six live ones), 17 of which had gone gold or platinum in the UK, and 13 in the U.S., including the 6X platinum Invisible Touch. Between their own hits and Collins’ solo ones, his voice was right there with Michael Jackson’s and Madonna’s as the most prominent ones of hit radio in the ’80s.
For the Last Domino, Collins was on drums… just not Phil. Rather, his son Nic had taken his spot. The 47 shows averaged just a shade under two hours and typically consisted of 20 songs plus a three song encore. The set was a mix of their old prog material and later hit singles. It opened with “Behind the Lines” and “Turn it On Again” , ran through songs like “Mama” and “Land of Confusion” before an acoustic set including “That’s All” and “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”. “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” and “Invisible Touch” finished the regular part before they came back on to do “I Can’t Dance” (with their stage crew doing the video dance moves for them) and then two older tunes, “Dancing in the Moonlit Knight” off Selling England by the Pound and “Carpet Crawlers” from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Notably absent were any of Phil’s solo hits. The final two were originally done with Gabriel singing, and fans were hopeful since Peter was in the crowd for the final show. Collins even pointed him out, joking “maybe he’s the one shouting for ‘Supper’s ready’.” But he didn’t join them onstage. Few seemed overly disappointed by it, although they might have been when Collins announced “tonight is a very special night. It’s the last stop of the tour. After tonight, we’ve all got to get real jobs!”. He was last off the stage, fittingly enough.
For Banks that might include creating more music, but probably not Genesis like. Much of his recent work outside of Genesis has been classical or operatic in nature. It might seem that Rutherford, and the aching Collins may have hung up their instruments for good… but there’s always a “?”.