Reviews and photos by John A. Wilcox

Free Comic Book Day - Everywhere, USA 08/14/21

John Lodge - The Warehouse, Fairfield, CT 03/06/20

It was an odd evening. A bit cool, raining on & off. My Mom used to describe such weather as "raw." Inside the venue, it was a great crowd. Super-friendly and in good spirits. I'm pretty sure that the last time I saw John Lodge was back in 2005 with the Moody Blues, so it had been a while! Much further back than the 6th row center seat I now occupied. Lodge brought a spectacular band out with him. 2 Moodies: Billy Ashbaugh on drums and Alan Hewitt on keyboards. Duffy King on guitars, and Jason Charboneau on cello rounded out the line-up. Things got underway with Steppin' In A Slide Zone. Vocals were strong, band was tight. In My Mind and Lean On Me (Tonight) followed. Excellent energy. Not just tight players, but there was a definite chemistry! Nervous was next. Quite a treat!

All through the evening Lodge was full of stories. Now he told tales of working on Days Of Future Passedas he played a clutch of songs from it starting with a propulsive Peak Hour. Next up were (Evening) Time To Get Away and The Sunset - just marvelous! Lodge told a tale about Graeme Edge recording a new recitation of the goose-bump inducing Late Lament. The band played live to Edge's poetry reading and this took us into Nights In White Satin. Adding to the glory, the band were joined on stage by former Glass Hammer / current Yes vocalist Jon Davison who took the lead vocal beautifully! Quite a moment! Excellent acoustic guitar by Davison as well. Set 1 ended with a roaring take of Legend Of A Mind. The crowd sang along (of course!) and the lights went up on a stratospheric note!

Candle Of Life Opened set 2. Lodge changed from a white to a black jacket. So nice to get a track from the Justin Hayward / John Lodge album Blue Jays in the form of Saved By The Music. It sounded just gorgeous. 2 newer tunes came to bat: 10,000 Light Years Ago and Get Me Out Of Here. Full of color and energy, they fit perfectly with the rest of the set!

The crowd got on their collective feet for an especially energetic Gemini Dream - a Wilcox fave! As was the gentler Isn't Life Strange with an especially fine vocal. Set 2 closed rather appropriately with I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band). The crowd was boisterous and really earned their encore! The band obliged with Departure taking us straight into Ride My See-Saw. The band were once more joined by Jon Davison on harmony vocals. A memorable celebration of all things John Lodge and the indomitable spirit of the Moody Blues!!

The Genesis Show - Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield, CT 01/04/20

So, this year The Genesis Show chose to perform the 1981 ABACAB show at the Ridgefield Playhouse. I saw Genesis perform it at the Hartford Civic Center on December 2, 1981, so I was excited to see it again as it is a show I remember fondly. Having settled into my seat, as the system was playing Submarine, the lights went down and the band launched right into Behind The Lines. A few minutes in, I was surprised to find myself crying through it and through Duchess as well. Emotions were stirred. It was just...beautiful. As the phrase goes, they caught that lightning in a bottle. Magic. The crowd whooped it up upon hearing the opening strains of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. Who could resist? We were off to a fantastic start!

Nex tp was a trio from ABACAB: Dodo / Lurker / ABACAB. Vibrant and full of imagination. They always translated well to the live stage. Cool lights, too!! Back to 1974 for the ever-welcome Carpet Crawlers featuring some sublime guitar. When I saw Genesis back in the day, we got Like It Or Not - a seldom-played rarity on that tour. On this night, we got the delightful Me And Sarah Jane. It made me smile as it touched my heart. Of course I sang along!

The ladies in the crowd were stoked to hear both Misunderstanding and No Reply At All. Genesis with a groove! Bright, poppy numbers. In complete contrast was the classic Firth Of Fifth played flawlessly with those solos taking us all to a new realm! With such a rich catalogue, Man On The Corner sometimes gets unnoticed. This evening it was solid and full of color and texture. Great keys and vocal. Who Dunnit? was the comic relief for the night and made me grin. Yes, it;s a throwaway tune - but it was meant to be! Pure fun!

Next up was the prime meat of the show: the supermedley of In The Cage / Cinema Show / Raven / Afterglow. A meeting place for musicianship, drama, theatrics, and emotion. terrific vocals, stunning playing. Turn It On Again fit well here. An audio clap-and-sing breath mint to take us to the end of the main set. Dance On A Volcano / a drum duet / Los Endos packed a wallop. So very satisfying!

I was pleasantly surprised to get Follow You Follow Me as an encore as it was not a part of the 1981 show I saw. A fine mellow groove to take us all into I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe). It featured bits of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight and Stagnation as well as some tambourine tomfoolery. 39 years has dimmed exactly none of the thrills, power, and glory of this show. An audio kiss for my ears and heart! See you all next year!!


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