Count Arthur Strong presents himself and Genesis Visible Touch toast the Phil Collins era in new York Barbican dates for 2022

Count-down to to the Strong stuff in 2022: Count Arthur Strong’s poster for And This Is Me!

COUNT Arthur Strong presents himself in And This Is Me! at York Barbican on June 3 2022 to mark still going Strong after two decades.

“After many years of giving his wonderful lecture talks of his he does, Count Arthur Strong has at last bowed to substantial pubic demand and allowed himself be talked into making the show about himself for once,” his tour spiel pronounces.

“And that had never occurred to him before because of him being highly magnanimous,” it adds, as tickets for his 20th anniversary tour go on sale at yorkbarbican.co.uk or on 0203 356 5441.

From his breakthrough Edinburgh Fringe show Forgotten Egypt in 2002, to turning the spotlight on himself in 2022, the droll creation of Leeds comic Steve Delaney has two decades of memories from his ten national tours, 15 years of his multi award-winning radio show and three series of his BAFTA- nominated self-titled TV sitcom.

Ticket sales start at 10.30am tomorrow for Genesis Visible Touch, “the ultimate Phil Collins-era Genesis show”, at York Barbican on March 3 2022.

For their 2022 Greatest Hits And Fan Favourites Tour, Genesis Visible Touch will be doing “exactly what it says in the title”: replicating Follow You Follow Me, Invisible Touch, In The Cage and myriad older fan favourites and live classics. The verdict? “The best exponents of Collins-fronted Genesis I’ve seen,” says Genesis producer Nick Davis.

The Genesis Visible Touch tour poster for their 2022 concert at York Barbican

Meanwhile, another Genesis tribute gig at York Barbican is on the move from this year to next, this one focused on the Peter Gabriel era . The Musical Box: A Genesis Extravaganza – Part III has been rescheduled from February 14 2021 to February 4 2022.

All tickets remain valid for the new date, but ticket holders should contact their point of purchase if they have any questions.

The Musical Box, the only group in the world granted a licence from Peter Gabriel and Genesis, will re-create “the greatest rock opera ever created” in its entirety, namely the original 1975 performance of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, staged in painstaking historical detail, right down to the original slide show.

The final collaboration between Gabriel and Genesis is to be “revived one last time in the end-of-an-era final chance to witness this unique live experience” in this 8pm show.

The Musical Box have performed to more than one million spectators worldwide, playing such prestigious venues as the Royal Albert Hall, London, and the Paris Olympia, and the group have had the privilege of hosting Phil Collins as a performing guest.

“The Musical Box recreated, very accurately, what Genesis was doing,” says Peter Gabriel. “They’re not a tribute band, they have taken a period and are faithfully reproducing it in the same way that someone would do a theatrical production,” reckonsPhil Collins.

“I cannot imagine that you could have a better tribute for any act,” says Steve Hackett, lead guitarist in the Genesis line-up of that era. “It was better than the real thing,” concedes fellow guitarist Mike Rutherford.

The Musical Box: Re-enacting the Genesis works of the Peter Gabriel era. “Very accurately,” says Mr Gabriel

Hackett seeks a light to the future while celebrating Genesis past

“I still remain cautiously optimistic about being at the edge of light,” says Steve Hackett

FOR the first time, former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett is on the road performing his old band’s 1973 album, Selling England By The Pound, in its entirety.

Now 69, Hackett will be performing the venerated likes of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, Firth Of Fifth, Cinema Show and I Know What I Like (In My Wardrobe) at a sold-out York Barbican on Tuesday (November 19).

This will be complemented by further Genesis numbers, selections from Hackett’s Spectral Mornings album to mark its 40th anniversary and highlights from this year’s At The Edge Of Light release.

“The idea to do the whole of Selling England By The Pound came from recalling that, at the time, John Lennon said it was one of the albums he was listening to that year,” says Steve.

“By the time Sgt. Pepper came along, there were surprises around every corner in The Beatles’ music, so the challenge for me was always there, and I was rather hoping that Genesis would expand to an orchestra, but in fact they did the opposite and got smaller and smaller!”

He looks back fondly on Selling England By The Pound. “It was my favourite Genesis album that gave us our first hit,” he says.

“Then something special happened with Spectral Mornings, with my first touring band, and now I feel this year’s album, At The Edge Of Light, is special too, doing something political that I knew would be uncommercial, doing something that I wanted to do at a certain point, like when Queen and Led Zeppelin did creative things in an earlier era.”

As the title would suggest, At The Edge Of Light is a place still shrouded in darkness. “Much of the album does centre on that: the populist world view evinced by politicians, that dark times are ahead. It’s very worrying,” says Hackett.

“Look at the situation in so much of America. The man who was ‘going to make America great again’ has put 800,000 people out of work. That’s haunting.

“We don’t mention names, but much of the album is symbolic lyrically, but there are other things on there beyond politics: love songs and travelogues, so I don’t think it’s a one-horse-race album.”

Songs for this fully orchestrated album partly came out of conversations with his wife, Jo, suggesting lyrics, then Hackett coming up with melodies. In addition, he drew inspiration from the music of his youth. “I was born in 1950, and by the time the Sixties were in full cry, you had Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Buffy Sainte-Marie, doing wonderful versions of Dylan songs, with music carrying a deeper meaning without being didactic…though there’s nothing wrong with boy-meets-girl songs, but music changed for the better.”

Hackett urges people to make friends across the world, rather than for Britain to become insular in these toxic Brexit days. “The idea that we can just exist on our own, sailing off into the Atlantic…if that happens, I think there’ll be a rude awakening, once people realise what they have voted for. Be careful what you wish for. Look at what’s happening in America, with people queueing up for food in Washington. I don’t know what to say about that, but I hope people come to their senses.”

Nevertheless, the choice of the word ‘light’ in the album title indicates Hackett’s view is not all doom and gloom. “I still remain cautiously optimistic about being at the edge of light, rather than the edge of an abyss,” he says.

At The Edge Of Light is an album where Hackett “pulled no punches, gave it everything, but not in an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink way”, and he had a “great time doing it as I thought ‘let’s give it the full monty’.”

He brought such a scale to his Autumn 2018 tour too, performing Genesis and Hackett material with a 42-piece orchestra, including an October show at London’s Royal Festival Hall recorded for the newly released Steve Hackett – Genesis Revisited Band & Orchestra: Live double album and Blu-Ray digipak.

Now he re-visits Genesis again, this time Dancing With The Moonlit Knight at York Barbican.

Steve Hackett, Selling England By The Pound, York Barbican, Tuesday 19 November, 7.30pm.

Charles Hutchinson