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At TD Garden, Genesis answers their own question

On what might be the band’s final tour, these veteran rockers delivered, and maybe that’s a good way to go out

Genesis performed at TD Garden Wednesday.Ben Stas for The Boston Globe

When Genesis embarked upon The Last Domino? Tour that brought them to the TD Garden on Wednesday for the first of two nights, the name announced two things: It might be the last time audiences will have the chance to see them live, and it might not be. After all, if they’d chosen different songs to name their tour after — “That’s All,” for instance, or maybe “Throwing It All Away” for the more snarkily-inclined — then there’d be no question as to the finality. But there’s that punctuation, leaving the door open just a tad. Wednesday’s concert suggested that perhaps it’s time to close the door.

Which isn’t to say that the band that took the stage didn’t deliver when it needed to. Genesis is, of course, two distinct bands in one — a hit machine, yes, but also prog veterans — and the setlist bore out both sides of its split personality, the processed effervescence of “Invisible Touch” sharing the same air as the frenzied uplift and odd time-signature shifts of “The Cinema Show.”


But whether a result of being too well-oiled a machine or running on the vapors of inspiration that has long since dissipated, Genesis was sturdy and stolid, dependable to a fault. With a frail-looking Phil Collins seated for most of the show, the only time it seemed there was any movement on stage was when Mike Rutherford and Daryl Stuermer swapped guitars and basses with one another. Songs like the multi-part “Domino” were busy but boring, while the frenzied barrage of images in “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” were turned into a casual recounting thanks to the keyboard wash and plinking acoustic guitar that reframed the song into something more akin to Sting’s “Fields of Gold.”

Even so, Rutherford’s atypically dirty and aggressive chords in “I Can’t Dance” were a jolt, and a still-rascally Collins was in fine voice, playing up the characters in “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” and tearing into the cackles of “Mama” with redfaced glee when he wasn’t linking the 35-year-old “Land of Confusion” to the modern day, turning a Cold War song into a COVID ward one. His drummer son Nic proved more than up to the task of filling the rather large shoes of his father, providing the most consistently dynamic and detailed musicianship of the night.


And more than a few songs lived up to or surpassed their promise. Ghost story “Home by the Sea” had clarity and drive and “No Son of Mine” had drama and build, while an excellent “Throwing It All Away” bit harder than the recording. And both “Afterglow” and closer “The Carpet Crawlers” were stately and perhaps majestic, a fine way for Genesis to go out, should they decide to remove the question mark.


At TD Garden Wednesday. Repeats Thursday. www.tdgarden.com/events/detail/genesis

Marc Hirsh can be reached at officialmarc@gmail.com or on Twitter @spacecitymarc