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The Musical Box

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It was a throwback to the heyday of progressive rock music as the Montreal-based The Musical Box brought their A Genesis Extravaganza show to the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix on April 14. The show featured favorite cuts from the albums Genesis released in the early to mid-'70s, presented in three acts. The first act, cleverly titled "The Wind's Tail," featured cuts from the Wind & Wuthering and A Trick of the Tail albums and began with a medley of "In That Quiet Earth," "Robbery," "Assault and Battery" and "Wot Gorilla?" For the medley lead singer Denis Gagné was actually at the back of the stage, fervently and constantly shaking a tambourine and adding to the piece's percussion. The first act also included takes on "Blood on the Rooftops," "Entangled" and "Los Endos," with the set's clear high point being a take on fan favorite (and progressive radio standard back in the day) "Dance on a Volcano."

The show's second act was called "Broadway Melodies" and consisted entirely of songs from the double-disc release The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Very much a set of heavy prog, songs included "Fly on a Windshield," "In the Cage," "Back in N.Y.C." and "The Waiting Room." Also in the Lamb segment was the poppy "Counting out Time," a cut that would presage the radio-friendly road that Genesis would soon take to great success. The band took a short break after the Lamb segment.

The show's third and final act began with "A Place to Call My Own" performed by only Gagné and keyboardist Ian Benhamou. The rest of the band --- guitarist François Gagnon, drummer Bob St-Laurent and bassist/guitarist Sébastien Lamothe --- returned and launched into "Seven Stones," where Gagné broke out the flute for the first time. The flute would play a part in most of the remainder of the show, which included "Can-Utility and the Coastliners" from the Foxtrot album as well as "Looking for Someone," "Firth of Fifth" and the delicate "The Cinema Show." In a rarity, The Musical Box performed the instrumental "After the Ordeal" which was just added to their set for this tour; Genesis themselves never performed the song live. "Aisle of Plenty" finished out the regular portion of the show; the band returned to play an encore of "The Musical Box," the song from which the band takes its name.

Graphics expanding on Genesis album art was projected on a screen behind the band for many songs, and a photo montage of Genesis was screened near show's end. With minimal stage patter and a note-perfect performance, Genesis fans left the theater sated, and no doubt for some audience members, with fond memories of the past drifting through their heads.

Upcoming shows at Celebrity Theatre include:
May 2 - Robin Trower
May 20 and 21 - Willie Nelson & Family
June 26 - Todd Rundgren
July 11 - Howard Jones
July 28 - Ted Nugent
July 31 - The Alarm
Aug. 17 - George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic
Aug. 26 - Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band

For a complete list of shows coming to Celebrity Theatre go here.

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