In the Hall of the Mountain Fame - March 10
Steve with his award
Steve's thank you speech
Chester, Steve and Daryl
Make no mistake, the continuous howling symphony that haunts New York City is a shock to the virgin visitor at the best of times, but imagine that augmented by hurricane force winds ripping flag poles from the top of King Kong's favourite building, the Empire State, and it'll give you some idea of the weather that greeted our arrival two days prior to Genesis' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Despite the turbulence, Jo and I enjoyed exploring the art deco interiors of both the Empire State itself and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel which was to host the event.
Visiting the place that never sleeps like its fictional doppelganger Gotham City is both overwhelming and extraordinary. Gershwin's famous intro to A Rhapsody in Blue as the clarinet apes the omnipresent sirens is arguably where the New York soundtrack begins. In '74 we just picked up where Gershwin, the Drifters and many others left off...
The night before the ceremony Mike, Phil, Tony, Chester, Daryl plus wives, partners, friends and manager Tony Smith all met up at Soho House for a shindig and a chance to catch up with each other's news. It's still a thrill to touch base with them and to break bread together.
On the big day itself the skies suddenly lifted as if the scenery was being shifted around just for the benefit of the music community who were arriving in droves. The gala evening started out as formally as you might imagine with everyone dressed up as if for the Oscars. It was an incredible honour to be the first act celebrated and inducted that evening, introduced by Trey from Phish and what a great rendition they did of one of Genesis' most complicated numbers Watcher of the Skies. There were so many fantastic performances of much loved songs, it was like seeing the whole emotional calendar of your life flashing past you. No-one was unmoved. This wasn't a self-satisfied business congratulating itself for the sake of media... it was an unforgettable moment when time stood still and brought back so many memories as perennial hits were once more paraded by the musical heroes who had originally brought them to us.
When Jimmy Cliff sang Many Rivers to Cross there wasn't a dry eye in the house. I've seldom heard a more soulful song - delivered in his soaring tenor voice undiminished by time. The Hollies plus Graham Nash reminded us what a wealth of songs they did, even before Graham teamed up with Crosby and Stills. I can't mention all the performers who were present - there just isn't time. Hopefully it'll be possible for someone to track down a video recording of the whole evening from Fuse TV and if you do I'd love to have a copy, as it's an evening I'd love to re-live!
Along the way I got to meet and personally congratulate Jimmy Cliff, Graham Nash and Robby Robertson to name a mere handful of people who have thrilled us all over the course of a lifetime.
A great evening, a great moment, great performances, great songs, and above all a chance to spend time with great friends. Although I've now landed back in Blighty, I still feel I'd like to raise a glass again to the Genesis boys... Back in New York City.
A windy wuthering Empire State!
Central Station meets the Chrysler Building