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Genesis’ Reunion Tour: 8 Questions We Have

There’s much we don’t know about the band’s upcoming “Last Domino?” run. Did they invite Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett? What songs are they going to do? Is this a farewell tour?

Genesis are launching a reunion tour in November that will hit arenas around England, but there is still much about it that we don't know.

Patrick Balls*

Genesis announced a 10-date reunion tour of the U.K. and Ireland this morning. It’s their first tour since 2007, their first time playing since Phil Collins suffered nerve damage that makes it impossible for him to drum or even stand for long periods of time, and their first tour with Phil’s teenage son Nic on drums.

The news is a huge deal for fans of the progressive-rock band, but the original announcement was short on details. It merely lists the five musicians on the tour (Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Daryl Stuermer, and Nic Collins) and the dates, along with basic information about the band’s history. It leaves a great deal of questions unanswered. Here are eight of them.

1. Is the tour coming to America?
As of now, there are just 10 shows confirmed, and they’re all in the U.K. and Ireland. It’s hard to imagine Genesis going to all this trouble for a mere 10 concerts. They probably wouldn’t even break even since they aren’t exactly a band that uses a bare-bones live setup. Ever since Peter Gabriel walked onstage with a fox head and his wife’s red dress in 1972, they have pushed the envelope when it comes to thrilling audiences, even if it costs them a fortune. It’s quite reasonable to expect that this show will go around the globe in 2021 and probably even hit stadiums in Europe, but that’s just speculation right now.

2. What songs will they do?
The Genesis that scored a huge radio hit with “Invisible Touch” in 1986 and the Genesis that recorded The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway with Peter Gabriel a little more than a decade earlier are essentially two different entities with two different fan bases. The Eighties hits are the reason they’re still able to fill enormous venues, but the Seventies prog tunes have a very large and loyal audience. Tribute bands that do nothing but Gabriel-era tunes do very well on the road. That makes it hard for the group to craft a set list that pleases everyone. The 2007 reunion tour was heavy on radio hits, but also carved out space for Seventies songs like “Ripples,” “In the Cage,” and “The Carpet Crawlers.” We’re interested to see how they’re going to walk that line this time.

3. Was Peter Gabriel invited to be a part of this?
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway lineup of Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford secretly met in 2005 to talk about the possibility of a reunion tour. When Gabriel expressed misgivings, it morphed into a Collins/Banks/Rutherford tour. But Gabriel has a lot less on his plate these days. He hasn’t released an album of new songs since 2002’s Up and hasn’t played shows since he went out with Sting in 2016. Did they try to get him on board again this time, or did they figure it just wasn’t worth the hassle?

4. How about Steve Hackett?
Guitarist Steve Hackett was only in the band from 1971 to 1977, but that’s basically their entire progressive-rock era. He makes a very nice living playing Genesis songs on tour these days with his solo band. By coincidence, he’ll be playing their 1977 live album Seconds Out in England at the exact same time as this tour. In some cities, they’ll miss each other by a matter of days. The problem is that it doesn’t make sense for them to have him onstage while they’re playing “I Can’t Dance” and “Invisible Touch.” It really only makes sense for him to return if Gabriel is back too, but we don’t know yet if they even considered it.

5. Is this a farewell tour?
Phil Collins has a history of giving his tours cheeky names. His 2004 tour was called First Final Farewell and the most recent one was Not Dead Yet. This one is called The Last Domino? after Genesis’ 1986 two-part epic “Domino.” The phrase seems to imply that this is the last one, but the question mark gives them a pretty clear out should they decide to do another one.

6. Is Nic the sole drummer?
When Phil Collins moved from the drum kit to the front of the stage in 1976, Genesis hired former Yes drummer Bill Bruford to join them on tour. But there was always a second kit near him, and Collins played alongside him during instrumental breaks. The same thing happened with drummer Chester Thompson from 1978 to 2007. Discounting the brief 1997–98 Calling All Stations tour with replacement singer Ray Wilson and drummer Nir Zidkyahu, they haven’t played a show with a single drummer since 1975. Will Nic handle everything himself, or will someone (Chester Thompson?) play alongside him to re-create the classic two-drummer Genesis sound?

7. Will this lead to a new album?
There hasn’t been a new Genesis album since 1997’s Calling All Stations, and there hasn’t been one with Phil Collins since 1991’s We Can’t Dance. That’s nearly 30 years at this point. Might this tour finally lead to new material? Then again, Collins hasn’t recorded an album of solo songs since 2002’s Testify. We no longer live in a world where a guy his age can sell albums, and he doesn’t seem too interested in trying. That makes a new Genesis album pretty unlikely, but it’s more likely now than it was before this tour announcement.

8. Could this pave the way for a tour with Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett down the line?
Genesis fans have been dreaming about a reunion tour with Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett for more than 40 years. It nearly happened in 2005, but Gabriel’s cold feet stopped it and then Collins’ health problems made it seem impossible. Collins is still incapable of drumming, but he could play very light percussion and help out on background vocals while Nic does the heavy lifting. Might a full reunion of the classic Seventies lineup finally happen after the upcoming tour wraps up? It seems pretty unlikely, but so did a Genesis tour of any sort and look where we are. As with everything regarding Genesis, we’ll just have to wait and see.