The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – the worldwide final show!
Canadian Band THE MUSICAL BOX will return to Germany for the last ever performance of the legendary Genesis The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway show on the Loreley, headlining the Night Of The Prog Festival on Saturday.
THE MUSICAL BOX, founded in the early Nineties, are not a typical tribute act. They are specialists and recreate every detail of early Genesis shows. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway was the most ambitious early Genesis show and it was never filmed – so The Musical Box give Genesis fans (and other interested music fans) the ultimate chance to see this show.
BACK IN 1974
In May 1974, the Selling England By The Pound tour being over, Genesis approaches its most ambitious project: writing and recording a concept album.
Many ideas are proposed, including the story of The Little Prince. But finally, the band accepts Peter Gabriel’s proposal to write a contemporary story set in New York City, which he entitles The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
The band set up at Headley Grange in England to write the music. Genesis quickly realized that they had material not just for two, but three good sides, so they decided to produce a double album. Meanwhile, Peter writes the lyrics himself, with minimal help from his bandmates on just one or two songs.
The album is recorded in Wales in August 74 and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is finally released on November 22nd, 1974. Much work went into preparing the show and the entire new album would be performed live. The tour was scheduled to start in October in England, but eventually was postponed when Steve Hackett injures his hand.
The first concert is performed at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago on November 20th. After only five concerts, Peter Gabriel decides to leave the band at the end of the tour.
Even though the tour is a success, mainly in Europe, Genesis finds that the production is not stable enough to be recorded, so the show is never filmed.
After more than 100 Lamb shows [see complete list of tour dates here], Genesis performs its last concert with Peter Gabriel in May 1975 in France. In August 1975, the announcement of Peter Gabriel’s departure from Genesis was officially made.
It was the end of an era.
FROM DREAM TO REALITY
From the beginning of its project in 1993, it was obvious to The Musical Box that recreating The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour would be its greatest challenge. In July 2000, The Musical Box received a 1 year license from Genesis and Peter Gabriel to recreate The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway in Canada. Never before had any other band obtained these grand rights. To fulfill its mission of accurately recreating the original tour, The Musical Box assembles extensive documentation, mainly in the form of more than a 1,000 photos and slides. A few Super-8mm private movies give a better understanding of the choreographies and the general atmosphere of the show.
The Musical Box received (from Genesis) copies of the 1120 slides used in the original tour. More than a month is necessary to put them back in order and situate them in the songs. Finally, thanks to Genesis and to people who worked on the original tour, most of the remaining questions about the show were answered.
For the music and the sound, the same instruments and equipment Genesis used for the album were found. Access to Michael Rutherford’s original guitar and the acquisition of a rare Micro-Fret 6 string bass allowed an exact reproduction to be made. Masks, costumes, make-up, accessories, sets, lights, special effects, choreography and staging of the show are all recreated with meticulous precision. The ‘Slipperman’ alone required nearly 2 months of work, each detail being scrupulously reproduced by hand. To re-create the ‘Lamia’, many models were necessary, including a full size prototype.
The Musical Box’s first presentation of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway was performed at the Spectrum in Montreal on October 11th, 2000 more than 25 years after the last performance of Genesis with Peter Gabriel.
In 2004, The Musical Box has been granted a 2 years world wide license to perform The Lamb and this time they toured North America and Europe with this show. Another license enabled them to present this show one last time. They are currently touring with The Lamb show and this tour was an is the last chance to see that spectacular and unique show live. After they concluded the European leg of their tour in Italy a few weeks ago, the last run of shows takes place in North America until June. But there will be one final show …
THE MUSICAL BOX will perform the full The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway show one last time – on the Loreley at the Night Of The Prog Festival. It will be their last ever performance of that show – worldwide!
What Phil Collins said in 2005 about the show:
“Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends and Fans….
Well 30 years has whistled by and we find ourselves on a celebratory journey back to 1974 to rediscover that ancient work…. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. I remember it like it was yesterday, the writing sessions in the rat infested Headley Grange, near Guildford… Pete in one room with a grand piano with sheathes of blank paper waiting to be filled with lyrics, every now and then joining the rest of us as we thrashed through various jams and unfinished pieces of songs that were floating around. The incredible day we “wrote” what was to become The Waiting Room… then titled Evil Jam, improvising wildly through our dictionary of the nastiest noises we could find, and then, when suddenly our “mood” shifted so did the weather outside, from thunder and pouring rain to sunshine and rainbows….. I guess you had to be there, but it WAS very special!!!
The recording at a Farm in somewhere in Wales. Us set up in a barn, with the Island Mobile parked by the pig sty….. John Burns ever ready with a roll up!!! Having more material than the time to finish it, we ended up doing 24 hour sessions at Island Basing Street Studios, now Sarm West (home of Frankie goes to Hollywood the Band Aid single to name but several). Racing to finish tracks so we could get it all wrapped up in time to go to America and play the entire double album before a bewildered public, who had not heard a note of it as it hadn’t been released yet!!! Now that WAS interesting! It also leads me to why I’m writing this. The Lamb was never filmed for posterity. There are some very short patchy videos, very scratchy quality, taken by fans from an audience P.O.V…. but otherwise nothing to jog your memory, until now that is.
The Musical Box are a group of artists who have, over the years, painstakingly recreated various periods of the early Genesis years, with amazing accuracy and aplomb. In the early days, whenever we were invited to go to a bar to see a band playing some of our stuff, I was always amazed at how they actually played it BETTER than we did. Nowadays there are a few bands out there doing it, but right at the top of the pile are who you have come to see tonight…. The Musical Box.
I’ve heard of them for ages, but never gotten around to ACTUALLY see them. Having done so, I have to say it’s an eerie feeling because they have uncannily captured US BACK THEN in every way. Using the original back projection slides from our old show, they now have the advantage of technology unavailable to us back then. We probably only managed a handful of shows (at most) where everything worked as it should have done. Tonight, God willing, you’ll see the show as it should and could have been back then if the projector hadn’t caught fire, or if the operator hadn’t pressed the wrong button by mistake and fast forwarded the slides to the next song!!! Hey, this was the 70’s remember!!! Anyway I doff my hat to the lads and their crew…. they’ve picked up the baton and run with it, and it’s there for all to see. Enjoy it.”
Phil Collins (the singing drummer)
THE MUSICAL BOX Links
Fan reviews (German Genesis Fanclub website)
Tickets for the Night Of The Prog Festival 2023 are available in the WiV Ticket Shop!