‘It Was A Gamble’ How Genesis’ ‘The Last Domino? Tour’ Came Up Big

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 05: Phil Collins of Genesis performs during the “last domino?” concert tour at Madison Square Garden on December 05, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

There are quite a few remarkable facts about Genesis’ “The Last Domino?” world tour and, in this special mid-year issue, we take a look at seven of them, beginning with the most obvious: the numbers.

The tour ranks second on Pollstar’s worldwide mid-year tours chart with 400,852 tickets sold and $72,038,393 grossed. Across 31 reported shows, this amounts to an average gross of $2,323,819, and average ticket sales of 12,931 per show. The average ticket price was $179.71. Remarkable fact number two: the North American leg of “The Last Domino?” was promoted by a true O.G. of the live business, Michael Cohl, chairman of EMC Presents, with the help of regional promoters only. The list includes Larry Magid and David Chesler in Philadelphia, Andre Hudon at Donald K. Donald in Montreal, Frank Russo in Boston, Seth Hurwitz in D.C., Gary Hinston in Pittsburgh, Arny Granat in Chicago and Columbus, Stuart Green in Buffalo along with EMC itself doing Toronto and New York. The trek also used promoter Louis Messina, who partners with AEG, in Raleigh, Charlotte and Cleveland. Aside from being a lifelong fan of the group himself, Genesis is one of the earliest bands Cohl has worked with. It therefore seemed fitting to go “to all the guys we work with, who I did lots of Genesis tours with, and the ones we used 14 years ago. At the end of the day, this was really just about a group I’ve promoted forever and it turned out great. Once the band started playing, the show was fantastic. I’m a lifelong Genesis fan and this was unquestionably one of the best shows they’ve ever done,” he told Pollstar.

Fact number three: Genesis’ “The Last Domino?” tour was European live entertainment giant CTS Eventim’s first foray into North America. Dr. Frithjof Pils, managing director of Eventim Live, told Pollstar, “We are delighted with the huge success – as evidenced by the Pollstar mid-year ranking – of the Genesis tour of North America organized by Michael Cohl. This was the first major tour in North America for CTS Eventim, and its debut could hardly have gone better. It is also proof of how important North America is for the live entertainment market. The success of the Genesis tour spurs us on to keep expanding our live activities in this market alongside our newly launched ticketing business. We already have a couple of great projects in the pipeline.”

CTS Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg signed the partnership with Cohl, forming EMC Presents, in February 2020. Three weeks later, the world went into lockdown. The fact that Genesis and its team completed all but one concert originally announced on the entire “The Last Domino?” tour on March 26 at The O2 in London, England, is a miracle. Genesis agent, Solo Agency’s John Giddings, told Pollstar, “we did it by the seat of our pants. It was a gamble, if I’m completely honest with you. Thankfully, [Genesis manager] Tony Smith isn’t afraid to gamble.” The tour kicked off in the UK in September, completed its North American run November through December 2021, and continued in mainland Europe in March 2022. Giddings recalled how first Holland, then France, and then Germany opened up just in time. Germany had been the most restricted touring market in Europe; for many 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 in two years. Lanxess Arena CEO Stefan Löcher told Pollstar he had “goosebumps. After more than two years of event bans and drastic audience restrictions, it is, of course, incredible to hear thousands of guests cheer again. We are very grateful for this after all this time.”

Finally, the March 26 closing concert of “The Last Domino?” tour was remarkable because, aside from the fact the audience at The O2 was the last to ever see Genesis live on stage, it was the group’s first time performing at the iconic venue, which turns 15 this week. At the very 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.”

Genesis added a question mark at the end of “The Last Domino?” on both the greatest hits album cover as well as the tour posters, suggesting there might be more to come. Giddings, however, assured us that this wasn’t one of those farewells that are only set up to launch a comeback. He said, “The last domino has fallen, it’s over.”