Back in 1973, Genesis was supposed to perform for the very first time in Toronto, Canada. But, that became more complicated as they were opening for the all-time punk Lou Reed.
Back then, Reed was very famous. He was the lead guitarist and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground, and his solo career spanned five decades. His distinctive gravelly voice, poetic lyrics, and unique brand of rock and roll made him one of the most influential artists in popular music history.
And, for Genesis fans, it was the very first time they were performing in Canada. This led to a very big complication as the two fan groups didn’t get along. Fun was further heightened by the presence of a teenage Geddy Lee, who would go on to become a rock legend, who was eagerly anticipating the arrival of Genesis. The lead singer of Rush was a devoted follower of the British group, especially during their formative years when Peter Gabriel was their lead singer. Lee adored everything about their music, including their inventiveness and their conceptual albums’ apparent mysticism.
At the same time, when Genesis took the stage, it overtook the whole show. The band’s opening song was “Watcher of the Skies,” the leader recalled, and the rest of the performance was a remarkable one that would live on in Lee’s recollections. The situation for Reed wasn’t as good, either, since more Genesis fans than Lou’s followers left when the band finished playing. After the show, Lee even said that he felt awful about Reed.
He said, “All these massive Genesis fans came to the show. They far outnumbered the Lou Reed fans at that show, and the show was late. I don’t even think all their gear arrived. The light show didn’t arrive in time. So they came onstage, and they played their set, and we were still blown away to hear.
I think they opened with ‘Watcher of the Skies.’ After their set, we all left [laughs]. Poor Lou Reed had to come in when people were basically leaving. I felt bad for him, but it’s just a strange mismatch.”
Back in 2013, he had also talked about how his friends were the ones who got him not Genesis. While chatting with Sirius XM, he revealed.
“I got into Genesis early. A friend of mine turned me on to them right around when they were doing ‘Nursery Cryme’ and ‘The Musical Box,’ those early Genesis records. Much more than the later records for me; those early ones were amazing because they were concept albums, and they were so intricate.
They had beautiful moments, complex moments, and Peter Gabriel’s voice in the sense of showmanship. I remember when they came to Toronto to play for the first time. They were opening for Lou Reed, if you can believe that.”
The Rush legend believed that while the early Genesis albums and concerts had their own distinct moments, Peter’s powerful voice and stage presence were what really made it remarkable. His favorite performance came from Gabriel. It was the 1970s, a time when rock was blossoming and you could undoubtedly stroll into a venue and witness one rock icon opening for another.