Genesis celebrates a half-century as a rock band with a concert at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto

By 10:00 p.m. Monday, the arena was filling up. The crowd at Scotiabank Arena, for the latest Canadian leg of Genesis’s 46-year career, was reminiscent of an E! Movie Awards red carpet, with Naomi Watts, Rosario Dawson, David Sedaris, and Bryan Cranston in attendance. Here, Toronto was gifting Genesis fans the most bankable show in town.

With a line of people outside in a sea of sweaty hand bands, Genesis fans assembled for a Monday night show that was meant to be a nostalgic “thank you” of sorts to their hometown. “I’m so lucky to see this band. It’s so beautiful to see and not get paid,” said Alejandro, a thirty-something fan from Brooklyn, where Genesis has a residency at Brooklyn Steel. “It’s definitely the nostalgic moment. It’s like [a] 10th year reunion.” He took in the show, in a makeshift fair for fans outside the arena, through a yearning haze of Stelma (Gospel Album), “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”

Genesis is no longer the band they were back in the ’70s. They admit that rock music is different, and they acknowledge that their concerts don’t play on the same scale anymore. “We have to stay out of the spotlight,” said Mike Rutherford, recalling the decades-long legacy that was once paramount in Genesis. “We were in the spotlight, not with the Clash — we were the stars. So we were part of a trend.” Today, he admits that Genesis never had the opportunity to explore the many sonic textures of music from the ’70s because they were trying to catch up to rock giants like Queen and The Who. “We wrote lots of music in those days, but it wasn’t like music for rock radio, it was like music for guitar bands,” Rutherford said.

Watch: Genesis celebrates a half-century as a rock band with a concert at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

After ten decades, the members of Genesis say they are realizing what a singular moment it was that made them a reality in Toronto. “I’ve been going to all these concerts for years, but I’ve never seen this,” Eric Clapton recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s pretty cool.” Some fans are leaving wanting to feel like this again: Genesis’s longtime frontman Mike Rutherford described the atmosphere of the sold-out show as “transient.” “We get a couple of songs out to start, get the crowd on their feet, then we fade out,” he said. “I think we’re embracing what we always thought was happening and that’s when we change.” While memories are fleeting, it’s nice to know that some things are golden to fans — from great merch to a loyal audience. If this is any indication, Genesis’s forty-six years together may be close to its last – but it’s hard to imagine any music coming in the pipeline that could rival the classics that define Genesis as a music group.

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