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Peter Gabriel as RaelGenesis, Peter Gabriel as Slipperman

The intensely convoluted narrative of the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (which the band performed live over 100 times in its entirety) follows teenage Puerto Rican graffiti artist Rael (above left) who is pulled into a netherworld beneath the streets of NYC. A lot happens, but eventually Rael makes his way to a colony of shambling figures where he discovers that both he and his twin brother John have come (through a woman-snake cannibalistic ritual) to physically resemble the deformed Slipperman (above right). The only way to regain their original bodies? Castration. Unfortunately, a super-sized raven swoops down and snatches their severed members, prompting Rael to follow John, who chases after the bird, down the ravine and into the rapids where the ultimate revelation finally takes place.

Peter Gabriel, of Genesis, employs masks and costumes

While historically it’s been easy to scoff when someone who’s not someone’s dad says they want to listen to Genesis, in this contemporary climate of AM Gold nostalgia, the band’s pre-Invisible Touch work is becoming more acceptable every day; credit adventurous area DJs, Phil Collins’s amazingly patient turn on a (semi) recent This American Life, and my pal Russ’s band’s recent cover of Take Me Home at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

But give them a break, the career of Genesis represents, if anything, the trajectory of an entire generation: wildly progressive and far out collaborative work forged in the late ’60s and early ’70s eventually, as artistic excess fed individual egos, overwhelming the original nature of the group dynamic, redefined itself as an insanely successful Adult Oriented Rock machine. A vaguely yippies-to-yuppies marriage both mommy and daddy have stepped out on, but it’s all the kids, now clad in gold shirts, know.

Genesis, Peter Gabriel in the Foxtrot mask and costume

There’s almost 20 years between Foxtrot and I Can’t Dance and, despite retaining its three core members, the band has changed more dramatically than any other big rock act I can think of.

Back in the old days, Peter Gabriel fronted a phenomenally inspiring live band. The pictures gathered here, which I discovered at the incredibly informative Genesis Museum, represent the make up and dramatic costuming that characterized Genesis performances until Gabriel’s departure (for a mildly successful solo career) in 1975, when a then-bearded Phil Collins took over the mic.

Genesis, Peter Gabriel, live

Genesis, Peter Gabriel in a flower costume

Genesis, Peter Gabriel, live

Genesis - Peter Gabriel in the square headed cloak

Peter Gabriel, of Genesis, performs in costume

Peter Gabriel performs live with Genesis

Posted by: on April 16th, 2009 | Tagged with: , , , | Comments (0)
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