In the autumn of 1973, a musical event was about to re-define the concept of a rock show. Five British musicians, under the name of Genesis, began touring Europe and North America to promote the release of their fourth album, Selling England by the Pound.
Both the theatrical imagination of Peter Gabriel and the intricacy and intensity of Genesis’ music reached their apex, and were enhanced by surrealistic sets and special visual effects, leaving the audience spellbound. For what proved to be one of the first-ever multimedia performances, Selling England by the Pound remains a vivid memory for those privileged to have attended it.
The timelessness of the artistry was such that almost 30 years later, the show is still contemporary, and enjoys a cult-like following. It has become a Classic…
To pay homage to the artistic genius of Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford, that Classic is being restaged by The Musical Box.
A team of musicians, technicians and collectors invested years of work in reproducing the original Selling England by the Pound concert in painstaking detail.
Both the mandate and inspiration of the team were clear: to attempt to re-create the magic of the concerts, and give people an illusion of being at the actual Genesis show. The role of The Musical Box, then, was to function as a kind of medium between Genesis and their fans.
The reconstruction of this ambitious project was based on hundreds of photos and slides of the original concerts, videos, amateur films, articles from papers and magazines, as well as information offered by numerous people who either worked on or attended the Genesis shows between 1973 and 1974.
All these sources allowed for the masks, costumes, make-up, accessories, sets, lighting design, special effects, choreography and musical presentation to be meticulously duplicated.
The construction of certain scenic elements demanded extensive research, as a number of materials used by Genesis at the time have since become extremely rare. Access to the original slides used by Genesis in their tour completed the visual recreation.
To do justice to the intensity of Genesis’ music, the show reproduction was based on the studio versions of the pieces.
In view of the fact that no printed music of Selling England by the Pound exists, there was no choice but to work it all out ‘by ear’, which proved to be quite a challenge. It also became necessary to acquire the instruments that characterized the Genesis sound: among others, the Mellotron sounds, the Hammond Organ, the Hohner Pianet, Rickenbacker double-neck guitars, bass pedals, Leslie cabinets, etc.
Since 1993, The Musical Box has been presenting Selling England by The Pound in North America and Europe to an audience of more than 200 000 people.
In 2000, The Musical Box received a license from Genesis and Peter Gabriel for the reproduction of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. No other band ever obtained these rights. Genesis also supplied the 1 120 slides used during the original 1974 tour. On the weekend of the first show in Montreal in October 2000, people from 23 different American States and 6 European countries attended the concerts.
For the first time since 1974, the Genesis’ Selling England by the Pound show was performed in England in the Spring 2002. Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett attended the show. The itinery featured some venues from the original tour and ended at the London Royal Albert Hall with Steve Hackett playing an encore with the band.
In the fall of 2003, The Musical Box performed 23 concerts in 7 European countries in front of nearly 40 000 people and the Spring 2004 tour will include about 50 concerts in Europe.
These facts alone testify to the great success of the show, without even mentioning the astounding amount of media coverage hailing the quality of the production. The Musical Box has shown that an original show can be recreated successfully.
– Acoustic and electric guitars: Denis Champoux
– Lead vocal, flute, percussion: Denis Gagné
– Bass, bass pedals, 6-string and 12-string guitars, backing vocals: Sébastien Lamothe
– Drums, percussion, backing vocals: Martin Levac
– Keyboards, 12-string guitar, backing vocals: David Myers
– Musical Direction: Sébastien Lamothe
– Artistic Direction: Serge Morissette