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When I last saw Mike + The Mechanics on their UK tour in the spring of 2017, I felt as if they had produced the perfect show. From pacing to performances, it was superb, but that meant that I approached this current tour with a great deal of curiosity as to how and whether they could take it further. This time around I saw the band a total of four times, at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall, Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall, Oxford’s New Theatre, and finally in Mike’s hometown at Guildford’s G Live.

From electricity usage by state the start, this tour is already markedly different from the previous one. There is no support act, and the show is done in two sets with an interval (so don’t arrive late!). The stage is set with four large hot air balloons suspended above the band, each depicting a different album from the band’s catalogue, onto which various light effects will be displayed over the course of the show o gastronomo. The balloons evoke the cover art of their forthcoming album Out of the Blue. It is a dramatic choice in design, and one that works well in combination with the lighting to add depth and texture to the space.

The band end the night with their usual closer, Word of Mouth, complete with extended solos from each member to the band to showcase their talents. It is always a pleasure to see the smile on Mike’s face as he watches each musician take their turn, as you can see he truly appreciates what they do. It’s a huge high on which to end the show.

In the end, my curiosity as to how the band would manage to improve after the 2017 tour was thoroughly sated. Mike is a master of the setlist, and the division of the show into two parts works very well gas and bloating pain. The new songs at once fit into the Mechanics catalogue, but also stand out through their more modern, fresh beats. As for the old songs, this line-up has well and truly made them their own and it was great to see that this time around none of the band felt under-utilised. In 2017, it was as if the band knew the rules of the songs and obeyed them to perfection, but now they have become so comfortable that they can creatively break the rules in order to give us a show that is lush, lively and at times unexpected.

‘Who needs another blooming book about a bunch of public schoolboy prog rockers from the 1960s?’ Richard Macphail asks in the opening of his memoir My Book of Genesis. It is true that over the gas problem in babies years there have been many written accounts of the band’s history, not least of which the recent official biographies of Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins. Co-written with former Melody Maker journalist Chris Charlesworth, My Book of Genesis offers a new and valuable perspective on the early Genesis years and life on the road that goes further than being just “another blooming book” about the band.

Those who are already familiar with Genesis lore will indeed find some overlap between the stories presented here and those we have heard many times before, an overlap which helpfully puts Richard’s adventures (and there are many) into a recognisable timeline. When writing about life alongside such almost mythic characters as Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, it could be very easy or even tempting, for some, to lean on their stories instead of telling gas in oil car your own, but My Book of Genesis never falls into that trap. Despite its title, the book is very much Richard’s own story, and is all the better for it.

From the very start Richard draws us into his life, from his childhood, through to the unexpected twists and turns of his truly unique career working with Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Brand X and others. The writing is witty, warm and smooth – you feel as if you are spending an evening with an old friend, an effect which is especially apparent in listening to the audiobook, which is read by Richard himself. My Book of Genesis is a delightful read that would be enjoyed as much by longtime fans as it would by those with even a passing interest in rock electricity experiments for high school history.