Genesis Last Domino tour in Raleigh, Mike Rutherford Q&A


Singer Phil Collins leads Genesis as they play in their “The Last Domino?” tour at the United Center on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in Chicago.


You might be excused for mistaking Genesis, the 1970s prog rock and 1980s pop group, with the solo careers of its lead singers, Peter Gabriel and then Phil Collins.

But Genesis, with Tony Banks on keyboards and Mike Rutherford on guitar/bass, is different. Formed in 1967, the band has sold more than 150 million albums, and according to Billboard, is the first group to have all five singles from one album, “Invisible Touch,” enter the U.S. in the top five. The individual artists who also accomplished that by June 1987? Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Madonna.

Now, 25 years after Collins left the band, and 14 years after their last reunion tour, the band is coming to Raleigh for the first time ever with a concert Friday at PNC Arena.

The North American leg of the Last Domino? tour kicked off Monday in Chicago with two nights of shows. After Raleigh, Genesis will head to Charlotte for a concert at the Spectrum Center on Saturday.

Collins is back with the band, though will perform while sitting down. Collins’ son, Nic, 20, plays drums during the tour.

Phil Collins dislocated a vertebrae in his neck during the 2007 tour — the last time Genesis toured in the U.S. — causing lasting nerve damages and making it incredibly hard to hold drum sticks. Subsequent back surgery resulted in foot issues, making it hard to stand for long periods.

The News & Observer spoke with Rutherford, now 71, after the first two Chicago shows to talk about the American leg of the tour.

Q: Talk about the lineup and staging with Phil and Nic Collins.

A: Firstly, Nic on the drums is fantastic. We had 41 years with Chester (Thompson, the touring drummer) but of course Nic is more like his father so it is a bit of Phil playing the drums again … So it brings something new to the stage, which is great.

And we discussed last year, would be it good enough? Because Phil has always been running around the stage. I mean he is static now. Is this going to work? And we thought, it does work … And especially we have quite a big production with screens and storytelling. An awful lot of stuff is movement on the screens the way you are shooting the players and so it looks pretty good.

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Guitarist Mike Rutherford plays with Genesis as they perform in their “The Last Domino?” tour at the United Center on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in Chicago. Matt Marton AP

Q: With so many different songs from different eras, how hard was it to put a set list together?

A: It is not that hard. You start with the pretty obvious ones you think you want to do. A few of the long ones, “Domino,” “Home By the Sea,” and then some of the hits.

It is sorta the last 25% where you can choose, and this time around, we do a little three songs unplugged, which actually is a first for us. I had to convince Tony it would work, and it is a really nice moment in the set. It is a brand new thing for us to just sit down on stools and do slightly different versions of three old songs.

Q: How did you choose those last 25%?

A: We had a few which we rehearsed and didn’t quite make the grade. It is a mixture of how the set sits right in a sense. It wasn’t that hard. But obviously there are things I would like to do. But the set is about two hours 15 anyway, I think. It is a long set, so that is quite enough for me. (Editor’s note: “Apocalypse in 9/8” was one of the songs rehearsed).

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Keyboardist Tony Banks plays with Genesis as they perform in their “The Last Domino?” tour at the United Center on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in Chicago. Matt Marton AP

Q: What are you listening to right now?

A: Actually not so much at the moment. I have to say Spotify… I love. Because you get in the car and you play. You play in the ‘60s, do some R&B stuff, do current stuff. I mean there is always good stuff on the radio. Bands like Elbow. There is always good songwriting out there.

Q: Can this tour expose a new generation to your music?

A: Yeah, a family in front of me last night. And the daughter must have been about 17. I mean she knew every single word. Obviously came from the parents… What I find with families these days since the internet, kids find what they like. In the old days parents would play them to death. It is a younger crowd in America actually. Which I like.

Rutherford spoke about performing for American audiences after the second concert in Chicago.

We were all surprised by the energy coming off American audiences. I forget that. They are a rock ‘n’ roll audience, which is great.

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Singer Phil Collins leads Genesis as they play in their “The Last Domino?” tour at the United Center on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in Chicago. On drums in background is Collins’ son Nicholas Collins. Matt Marton AP

Q: Is this the Last Domino? Tour. Does the “?” in the tour name mean there is a possibility of touring again?

A: I have no idea. We always used to say, that you know, people say, when do you stop? When the Stones stop, we’ll stop. Well, the Stones are never going to stop. Ever. So. Possibly is. We are doing a European tour next year and that could well be it. It probably is it.

But I mean, I thought it was (the last tour) 14 years ago (during the Turn It On Again Tour).

Q: What will it feel like at the last show?

A: I have sorta been there before. Hollywood Bowl (which was the last show for the Turn It On Again Tour). I don’t take it as such a sad thing. I just take it in a way: how fantastic, here we are 50 years later, still playing with Tony and Phil. Still doing it. How wonderful is that? That many years of doing it. How lucky we really are.


Genesis will perform at 8 p.m. at PNC Arena in Raleigh on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Tickets are still available at pncarena.com.

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