The Last Domino Has Fallen: Genesis Brings One Of The Greatest Careers In Rock To A Close
Genesis played the last three gigs of their career last weekend at the O2 in London, March 24-26, promoted by Live Nation. Pollstar spoke with Genesis agent and Solo Agency founder John Giddings, who confirmed that this wasn’t some stunt just in order to stage a comeback in a few years’ time.
Giddings had just landed back in London, the day before Genesis’ last concerts ever: three sold-out nights at the O2, which got postponed in October after two band members caught COVID. “Nick [Collins], the drummer, couldn’t go home, he isolated at our house, which was hilarious, because Caroline, my wife, had to do room service. She was brilliant,” Giddings recalled.
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But Genesis came back to finish what they started and bring one of the greatest careers in rock history to a well-deserved close. What was remarkable about the band’s O2 performances, aside from the fact that the audience on March 26 was the last to ever see Genesis live on stage, was the fact that it was their first time performing at the O2. So, right at the end of their live careers, original band members Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins were presented with a First Time Award from the team at the O2.
Emma Bownes, vice president of venue programming at The O2, said, “It was a real privilege to host the final three Genesis shows. With a set that featured a huge back catalogue of songs across the different eras of the band, combined with spectacular cinematic visuals, it was a very special run of shows for everyone at the venue. Thank you to Genesis, Live Nation, Solo and everyone who made these shows happen.”
Giddings is not usually one to get emotional, but one can sense that this wasn’t just any old tour for him. “I grew up listening to them, they’re one of the greatest rock acts of all time. I first booked them back in university. And they, Tony, Mike and Phil, are as good on their instruments as ever,” he said.
The fact that “The Last Domino” tour even happened is quite incredible, given the state of the world in these past two years. How does one even contemplate a tour spanning the UK, North America and Europe under such adverse circumstances? “We did it by the seat of our pants,” said Giddings, adding, “it was a gamble, if I’m completely honest with you. Thankfully, [Genesis manager] Tony Smith isn’t afraid to gamble.” The gamble turned out to be the best bet any act dared to make in Q1, according to Pollstar’s box office data.
“We ended up being ahead of the pandemic,” Giddings said, recalling how first Holland, then France, and then even Germany opened up just in time for the tour’s March dates. Germany has been the most restricted touring market in Europe, for many German fans, the Genesis concerts at Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Area (March 7-8), Hanover’s ZAG Arena (March 10-11), and Cologne’s Lanxess Arena (March 13-15) were the first live experiences since two years.
Lanxess Arena CEO Stefan Löcher commented, “Three times Genesis, three times sold out – it doesn’t get any better than this! We are finally on the right track, which will lead us out of the dreary times and the pandemic’s endless loop. What a start for the Lanxess arena, with a grandiose farewell to these legends.”
Recalling the Germany concerts, Giddings said, “You could feel how happy everybody was to be back at a show. Sure, it also was the last time to see Genesis, but the energy felt special.” The March 21 concert at Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam only confirmed this. “It was an all-standing show. We were worried about what the people would do during the slow songs, but they absolutely loved it. The atmosphere was fantastic, it’s just a great show.”
A show that was seen for the last time on Saturday, March 26, at the O2 London. The entire team has completed all but one concert originally announced on the entire “The Last Domino” tour. Giddings assured Pollstar that this wasn’t one of those farewells that are only set up to launch a comeback: “The last domino has fallen, it’s over.”