Were you there when Genesis played in Ipswich?
PUBLISHED: 15:30 07 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:29 10 March 2020
With tickets like gold-dust, fans camped out on the pavement, 40 years ago, and waited for the Gaumont box office to open
Confession: I wasn't a Genesis fan in 1980. I hadn't 'got' progressive rock in the early 1970s. And by the end of that decade - after the pulse and power of disco and punk - prog certainly put me to sleep. So while sixth-form friends slept outside Ipswich Gaumont to guarantee a seat for the group's April 1 concert in 1980, I was warm at home, under the eiderdown.
Although Genesis would later shape Tony Turrell's life, he also wasn't there - because he a) was just nine years old, and b) lived in Blackpool, and his family wouldn't move this way until 1987.
In any case, he didn't like Genesis either! He'd heard their music when he was six, when it was played by older siblings. But the time of that Ipswich concert marked a turning point for both him and the band.
The Gaumont show was part of a 40-date UK tour promoting album Duke. Four days after Ipswich, Duke became Genesis's first chart-topping album, and single Turn It On Again peaked at number eight in the charts. The metamorphosis into a more poppy rock band was well underway.
By the time Tony was 10, Duke was being played by both sister and brother on separate visits home... and he was captivated.
Between 1984 and 1992 he'd see Genesis play live five times. They became his primary musical love, he moved to East Anglia, and music became his profession.
Tony became a pro musician in the mid 1990s, working with artists such as ex-Marillion singer Fish and synthpop wizard (and later Suffolk resident) Thomas Dolby.
And he became part of tribute band Genesis Visible Touch. Tony is keyboard player and tour manager.
The circle is joining: Genesis Visible Touch's own 'Duke at 40' tour plays Ipswich on September 12, at St Peter's by the Waterfront... four decades after that Gaumont show up the road. (tickets.genesisvt.com)
Tony spent 24 years living in our neck of the woods - 'sometimes right in the centre of Ipswich, which I loved'. He felt at home in the Woodbridge Road and Felixstowe Road neighbourhoods.
'There used to be a great feeling in many of the old live music pubs that I used to gig in - many of which are sadly no longer with us - and I remember a time when it was possible to do 12 pub gigs in a month without travelling more than five miles from the town centre,' he says.
'My favourite place in Ipswich, though, would have to be Christchurch Park. It was a retreat to go to when I needed time alone without being stuck inside, a beautiful place to take visiting family and friends to on pleasant - and sometimes not so pleasant! - days, and the site of Ipswich Music Day, which I was lucky enough to play at and be involved in for quite a few years.'
News of the 2020 Genesis tour wasn't a surprise.
'Their music has an enduring quality for many. Possibly because of its many influences - from Ravel and Debussy to Motown; from jazz to pop - that blend into a unique sound. Possibly because in Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel they had charismatic frontmen with distinctive, soulful voices.
'But, possibly most importantly, because they're good-quality, well-crafted pieces of music that a lot of people have managed to relate to at some point in their lives. At least 150 million or so, at last count.'
Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Phil's son Nicholas will play big cities - from Dublin to Manchester, Glasgow to London.
'Those songs are a legacy that's worth celebrating. The band themselves are doing that in November, and other bands playing them - cough-GVT-cough - will be out there to help Genesis's pre-show marketing by trying to remind people just how good some of these songs are! It's all about the music.'