Genesis - The Last Domino Tour:
Designing the legendary band’s first tour together in 14 years
After a long and much anticipated wait, the legendary British rock band, Genesis, reunited after a 14 year break for a sold-out arena tour with a show designed and directed by Woodroffe Bassett Design. WBD first began work on the project in 2019 and finally saw the first show open in September 2021, with a further 37 shows planned across the UK and North America. Lighting Designer and Creative Director, Patrick Woodroffe, has had a long relationship with Genesis, creating their past spectacular tours, Turn It On Again (2007) and Calling All Stations (1998) and also directing all of Phil Collins’ tours of the last 20 years. After working with the band for so long, Patrick had a good understanding of how they might be presented on stage and how their music needed to be interpreted in the show design.
“I’m not sure we actually gave Patrick a brief, it’s not really like that, having worked on the last tour we had a good starting point a) working together and b) what the songs need to come to life.” - Mike Rutherford
The band have always been actively involved in the creative decisions that form their shows and were pioneers for innovative stage designs from early on in their careers. It was also Genesis who advanced the art of lighting design so crucially with their investment and commissioning of the Vari-Lite for their tour in 1980 and it was this bold and innovative move that completely elevated the role of lighting in the live events industry. Forty years on from the band’s commissioning of the VL1, we knew that the design for this significant tour needed to reflect the band’s legacy and that again, moving lights should be a focal point in the design.
Working with long-time collaborator Roland Greil, the team conceived a show with a series of movable lighting pods suspended over an open stage, with a backdrop of tracking and rotating video panels. Roland, has worked with WBD for a number of years on many projects including Adele, Phil Collins, Rammstein and the Rolling Stones.
Wonder Works were brought on board to take care of the technical design and coordination. As well as working together with the company on many ambitious projects including Rammstein’s 2019 Tour, the Rolling Stones #NoFilter Tour and the UAE 49th National Day Ceremony, Jeremy Lloyd and Piers Shepherd had both worked with us on previous tours with Genesis. It was a great opportunity for the team to come together again to realise a new and creative vision for the band’s spectacular reunion tour.
Wicreations were approached to build the stage flooring systems, risers and stage motion assets. Their design concepts for the automation system used the very latest technology to allow complete freedom of movement for the 5 x lighting pods and the animated back video wall.
The imaginative and spectacular video content came from Treatment Studios who have also worked extensively with Genesis and Phil Collins over the years. Producer Giles Maunsell and his team were also onsite for the whole rehearsal period allowing Patrick and the band the freedom to make instant edits to their material as the creation of the show took place.
For Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks, and their manager Tony Smith, the impressive visuals were an extremely important part of the performance and they were all heavily involved in the creative decision making during the rehearsal period.
“We’ve always taken interest, particularly Mike and I...in terms of the visuals. We felt visuals were quite important with this group” - Tony Banks
In November 2020 and using the strictest of Covid protocols, the crew took on the remarkable challenge of being the only people in the world to rehearse a big rock concert. The band was originally due to have their first performance following directly on from the rehearsal period, but even though this was postponed due to Covid, they decided to go ahead with the rehearsals and hoped that one day the show would see the light of day.
“It’s a sort of existential exercise that we are doing here, in a world where there is so much uncertainty, we’re just creating a beautiful thing. I mean how strange is it that we should put all this energy into something not knowing if it will ever exist or not. There’s a sense of poignancy about it.” - Patrick Woodroffe during rehearsals
But there was a strong sense of optimism leaving the rehearsals on the final day and a real sense that the show deserved to be seen. No one was sure where or when but everyone hoped that one day in an arena, somewhere in the world, the houselights would go out and the show would begin. Much to everyone’s relief and to the joy of Genesis fans everywhere, that moment occurred on the 20th of September 2021 at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham. The Last Domino tour finally opened for the world to see.
Genesis – Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins
Genesis Management – Tony Smith
Creative Director - Patrick Woodroffe, WBD
Lighting and Set Design - Patrick Woodroffe + Roland Greil
Technical Consultancy and Coordination - Jeremy Lloyd, WonderWorks
Video Content Creation – Sam Pattinson and Giles Maunsell, Treatment Studio