The Musical Box returns to South Florida with ‘Selling England’ tour
July 22, 2014
Miracles! Despite being flipped off at the end of their epic recreation of Genesis’ 1974 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway show by an audience member in the middle of the album’s perky, driving finale of “It” in a half-empty Hard Rock Live, The Musical Box are returning to South Florida. But the one expressive dissenter, who strode to the front of the stage to deliver the salute, was by no means in the majority. I wrote an approving review (read it here) as did a colleague at the blog Salty Eggs (read it here). My companion for the night, experimental musician Ed Matus, also gave his approval.
So when the Montreal Genesis tribute band head back to perform much of the band’s 1973 album, Selling England By the Pound, I will be there (As of press time, Ed is consulting his budget). This time the show will unfold at the more intimate Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale. I did attempt to secure an interview with the band’s frontman/Peter Gabriel impersonator Denis Gagné, but I got no response from the venue’s publicist. I still bought tickets and plan to review the show over the weekend. Also, I had some leftover quotes from my 2012 phone chat with Gagné (read the two original articles here), some of which I was recently able to fashion into a new story for the local ‘zine Pure Honey. Read it by jumping through the publication’s logo below:
As you might tell by that story I still had lots of colorful info about the formation of this tribute band, which is officially sanctioned by Genesis. The British prog rock legends even gave the band access to master tapes for The Lamb and consulted them for the recreation of the band’s Lamb slide show for a DVD version of the album. That deep connection they share with The Lamb would have been interesting to explore further with a follow-up chat. I would have loved to have asked Gagné about that one-fingered salute the band got at the end of their incredible 90-minute production, as it was actually a meta moment considering the original band’s premiere of The Lamb material. They took the full double album on tour preceding the album’s release, leaving many fans who had anticipated familiar material disappointed.
But this is about the reproduction of both the 1972 Foxtrot tour and 1973 Selling England tour (see the tour dates here). In 2012, Gagné admitted to me he prefers these shows because of the amount of costume changes demanded of him. Like many late-blooming Genesis fans (including this writer), he was too young to have attended any of the Genesis shows featuring Peter Gabriel, who would leave the band in 1975 for a noteworthy solo career. Gagné said he first got into Genesis when he was 10 years old, in 1977, but it wasn’t with that year’s Wind and Wuthering, the band’s second album with drummer Phil Collins as frontman. “The first Genesis album I bought was Foxtrot,” he said, “and then I bought Genesis Live because when I saw that cover I was like, ‘Oh, my God, what is happening here?’”
What was happening there was the finale of “Supper’s Ready,” the band’s most ambitious song. At around the 20-minute point of the song Gabriel dons a red geometrical headdress and a black robe for a character he called Magog. Beyond its biblical reference, it was a delightfully weird image for a 10-year-old to process and an inspired alternative to what was on the pop charts then. “I was in the fifth grade,” said Gagné. “Everyone thought I was some kind of weirdo at school. They were listening to Grease, and I don’t know what else.”
He would grow up dreaming of performing “Supper’s Ready” live himself. Now, he has lost count of the number of times he has recreated the song on stage with his mates in The Musical Box, which he joined 20 years ago. As they prepare to recreate Genesis’ live show from the touring era of Selling England By Pound, costumes and all, it means Gagné will indeed play it once more, but this time, for the first time in South Florida (the set list is hidden on this page). The following night, it’s on to The Plaza Live Orlando for a Foxtrot performance, which will also include “Supper’s Ready” (and here’s where you can find that set list). The tour continues to Europe in October where they will again alternate between the two shows through Nov. 29.
The Musical Box will appear at The Parker Playhouse on Friday, July 25, at 8 p.m. Tickets: $37.50 – $47.50. VIP Tickets: $62.50. Get tickets here.