Three years before “Sussudio” would saturate the FM airwaves, Genesis were at their commercial peak riding high with the success of such classic albums Duke, Abacab, and Three Sides Live. Now leave it up to a group of French Canadians to resurrect the entire set list from Three Side Live. Enter vocalist/drummer Martin Levac who, along with keyboard player Jean-FranÃ§ois Laprise, guitarist Jean-Pierre-Roy, drummer Joey Ayoub, and bassist Francois Larouche, completely recreate the entire 1982 Abacab tour set list.
The show took place at the comfortable Tribeca Performing Arts Center located on the campus of BMCC (Borough of Manhattan Community College) only a few blocks away from Ground Zero on Chambers St. in NYC. The opening special guest was singer-songwriter Ronnie Caryl who is both a longtime friend of Phil Collins as well as one-time band mate in the pre-Genesis outfit Flaming Youth. Caryl, who resembled David “Dawg” Grisam, kicked the night off with a great acoustic set of folk tunes and left the audience wanting more. After a brief intermission Turn It On Again took the stage and launched into “Dance on a Volcano.” As soon as Levac took the stage it was apparent how uncanny of a resemblance and how so dead-on his Phil Collins circa ‘82 is, that you’ve got to pinch yourself.
True to Collins’ role in Genesis, Levac took the drum kit for duel drumming on the intro to “Behind the Lines,” which was followed by crowd favorite “Follow You Follow Me.” But I wasn’t completely sold of Levac’s Collins until the group offered up the combination of “Dodo” and “Lurker,” which had the group Canucks firing on all cylinders and Martin’s vocals warmed up to where he sounded exactly, and I mean exactly, like Collins.
The group then broke into “Abacab” and followed with the jaw-dropping Gabriel period “Supper’s Ready” in which guitarist Jean-Pierre-Roy channeled the spirit of Dave Hackett into his fingers and played with the same fluid style. In between songs Levac even talked and cracked jokes to the crowd in Phil’s voice. They wasted no time in treating the audience to such Genesis classics as “Man on the Corner” and “Misunderstanding.” Then group really showed off their chops by tackling the medley of “Cage/Cinema Show/Raven/Afterglow,” during which Levac and Ayoub battled it out on the drums back and forth, which had the crowd in complete awe.
The guys then jumped right into “Turn it On Again” and then closed with the intense “Los Endos.” They received not only a standing ovation but also a loud roar of applause that had the Levac the band back on stage and offering up two encore’s including “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway/Watcher of the Skies” and “I Know What I Like.” As the band stood in front of the audience and took a bow it was only then that Levac took off his receding Phil wig to reveal his shinny chrome dome. Going into the show I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Turn It On Again totally surpassed my expectations, transporting me back to 1982 when “No Reply At All” was all over the radio and Genesis were at the top of their game.