It isn’t quite the reunion Genesis fans have been pining for, but it’s still a reason to celebrate: The beloved quintet lineup from the band’s classic prog-rock era (Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford) has joined forced for a new feature-length BBC documentary, Genesis: Together and Apart. Gabriel’s team confirmed the news today on his website, noting that no official air date has been announced.
The project – which features previously unseen and rare footage – will trace the band’s evolution from their early prog days to their transitional period following Gabriel’s departure (and Collins taking over as frontman) to their radio-friendly commercial success in the Eighties. All five members even appeared together in a press photo – the first time since a 1998 event promoting their first box set.
Of course, this non-musical reunion will likely stir rumors of a full-band tour. Gabriel quit Genesis in 1975, and the last time all five members played together was in 1982 at the Milton Keynes Bowl, with the goal of helping Gabriel escape mounting debt after the commercial failure of the first WOMAD festival. For the show, dubbed “Six of the Best,” the frontman joined forces with the then-trio line-up (Collins, Banks, Rutherford) and touring members Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson; Hackett flew in from South America, making it in time for two encore songs, “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” and “The Knife.”
Ten years ago, Gabriel and his former bandmates met in a hotel room in Glasgow and discussed a possible reunion tour centered around their 1974 double-LP concept album epic The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The idea fizzled out, however, when Gabriel got cold feet – he was only interested in playing a few shows, but the others had plans of a bigger tour, which would have conflicted with Gabriel’s intense schedule.
“It was growing into this bigger thing, and I had all these other ideas that I wanted to do, and I could feel the suction of the black hole,” Gabriel told Rolling Stone in 2011. “I get on pretty well with everybody – it wasn’t personal issues – I just didn’t want to lose that sort of light-footedness that I enjoy now. . . You know, we had a great run. They did way better after I left anyway. So I don’t think anyone has anything to complain about.”
The Eighties line-up of Collins, Banks and Rutherford came together with Stuermer and Thompson for a massive world tour that drew from the band’s entire discography. Following the jaunt, Collins suffered nerve damage to his hands, making it nearly impossible for the musician to play drums (and seemingly crushing the hopes of another reunion). While Collins has been in a state of semi-retirement in recent years, he’s changed his tune over the last few months – even hinting vaguely at the chances of another Genesis tour.
“I have started thinking about doing new stuff,” he recently told the press. “[Maybe playing] some shows again, even with Genesis. Everything is possible. We could tour in Australia and South America. We haven’t been there yet.”
Meanwhile, Gabriel maintains that his involvement would be unlikely, though his stance is still “never say never.” “It really didn’t happen last time,” he told Rolling Stone in April. “I think there’s a small chance, but I don’t think it’s very high.”