Live Review: The Musical Box at the Arcada Theater • St Charles: Illinois Entertainer

The music Box

The music Box

The Arcada Theater,

St. Charles, IL

Friday, June 10, 2022

The Musical Box, the famed Genesis-with-Peter Gabriel tribute band, have long been a fan-favorite musical export of The Great White North. This Canadian wonder entertained the massive Genesis and Peter Gabriel who followed him for 29 years, with next year marking the 30th anniversary of the band’s formation in Montreal, Quebec.

TMB arrived Friday at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles, following a performance the day before at the newly reopened and renovated Des Plaines Theater. Both theaters are led by Ron Onesti of Onesti Entertainment, known to many in the industry as the “Prog Ringmaster of the Midwest”, and has brought more international progressive rock to Illinois than any other talent buyer in this world. UK side. What made Friday Night at the Arcada even more unique was the content the band are currently playing: Genesis’ double-album concept masterpiece, The lamb lies down on Broadway.

To Genesis fans, The Lamb (synonymous with rock opera to many) is the most ambitious project Genesis has ever undertaken. Same with The Music Box. Being the only Genesis tribute band authorized by Genesis and Peter Gabriel to perform their music live, not to mention the use of their costumes, original multimedia presentation and theatrical props, Lamb has been one of the main objectives of TMB since its creation.

As the concert start time approached, the shared anticipation of the sold-out crowd grew exponentially. The 900 seated Prog fans, many of whom have seen TMB many times, instinctively knew that putting on this state-of-the-art (albeit 1974-style) multimedia prog extravaganza would be quite difficult to pull off, but worth the price of admission. to be able to witness this “authentic time machine” experience.

As the house lights went down, the premiere was a surprise to most viewers – an opening! Matt Keen, a local singer/songwriter/guitarist, had the dubious task of entertaining the laser-focused, prog-hungry crowd straight to the main attraction. Keen immediately registered with the audience and caught their attention with an acoustic guitar, a looper pedal and a healthy dose of charisma. He engaged audiences, alternating between unique covers of songs by various bands such as Pink Floyd and Tom Petty with some original songs he released. TMB audiences enjoyed Keen for good reason. He has an excellent singing voice, admirable guitar skills, and live audience chops that collectively made for a successful opener. According to his dialogue with the audience, he told the crowd that he had just arrived from the Des Plaines Theater, where he set the stage by opening for BoDeans, then headed to the Arcada to open for TMB.

During the intermission, the sense of anticipation took over the audience as conversations could be discerned all around, with various Genesis stories, tales of the making of The lamb lies down on Broadway, and people’s memories of where they were when they first heard this great opus, etc. As most Genesis aficionados know, the lamb marked the end of an era – it was Peter Gabriel’s last Genesis album. Incredibly, the double album was due for release on November 18, 1974 in the United States, with the first US tour date being only two days later. The tour started in Chicago on November 20, 1974 and ended five months later, back in Chicago on April 4, 1975. And here’s the problem – most viewers weren’t familiar with the 94-minute film that just go out. double album! The only thing they knew was the two encore songs: “The Musical Box” and “Watcher of the Skies”, both performed as an encore by TMB at The Arcada show.

The house lights go dark a second time, and so on. Every intricate detail that audiences saw on the 74/75 tour is what we all experienced for the next 94 minutes. We had taken a time machine back to the mid-’70s, when music, audio and video technology was so primitive by today’s standards that it’s hard to believe Genesis and Gabriel could get any equally significant results. TMB had painstakingly recreated the set, the costumes, the instruments, the slideshow, the multimedia ideas on three screens – it was all gloriously there. There were several standing ovations throughout the evening. Every note, dynamic, vocal, playing, and multimedia presentation, whether static or animated, synchronized seamlessly (something that only happened about every four or fifth gigs 48 years ago with Genesis).

Rumor has it that TMB may withdraw its Lamb show for good after this ongoing international tour. At least they had it professionally filmed (unlike the real Genesis who never bought a pro film). At the end of the lamb, as the plot progresses, the main character Rael finally connects underground in a supernatural world with his brother John. Yet, as the lyrics describe, as he gets closer to John, he realizes that it’s not his brother’s face he’s seeing – it’s his own, and somehow another, there are two Raels on stage, one on the far right and the other on the far left. The “second” Rael is a roadie dressed similarly to the main character Rael, and with the use of specialized lighting and a little touch of pyrotechnics, there are two Peter Gabriels playing Rael for a few seconds before the finale called “it” does not begin. . Stunning. Props and congratulations go to the entire production team at The Musical Box. It’s as close as it gets to having what was considered a religious experience by thousands of viewers who saw Gabriel and Genesis together.

The current line-up of The Musical Box is made up of vocalist Denis Gagné (Peter Gabriel), guitarist François Gagnon (Steve Hackett), bassist Sébastien Lamothe (Mike Rutherford), keyboardist Ian Benhamou (Tony Banks) and drummer Marc Laflamme ( Phil Collins). Each member was indistinguishable from their role; everything was perfect note for note, with all the nuances, the musicality and the execution impeccable. Bravo Musical Box, to use a sporting expression, you most certainly “stuck the landing!”

–Steven Kikoen

Key words: Denis Gagné, François Gagnon, Genesis, Ian Benhamou, Marc Laflamme, Musical Box at Arcada Theatre, Sébastien Lamothe, The, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, The Musical Box

Category: Featured, Live Reviews