Genesis took a tiny step towards a possible reunion at a Phil Collins solo concert in Berlin on Friday when guitarist Mike Rutherford came onstage to perform the band’s 1978 hit “Follow You Follow Me.” It was the first time they’ve played together since the end of the 2007 Genesis reunion tour, though it wasn’t a huge surprise since Rutherford’s band Mike + The Mechanics were opening for Collins and the two of them remain very close.
Collins essentially retired in 2010 after a cascading series of physical ailments made it impossible for him to play drums or even stand on his own for long periods of time. But he returned to the road in 2017 for the Not Dead Yet comeback tour in which he sits down for the vast majority of the show and his teenage son Nic recreates his drum parts with amazing precision. Rutherford, meanwhile, has been touring heavily with a reconstituted lineup of Mike + The Mechanics since 2011. This year alone they have done 57 concerts across Europe.
Collins and Rutherford have been asked many times about the possibility of a Genesis reunion and they never rule it out. “I always say, ‘Never say never,'” Rutherford told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “Look, if you asked me two or three years ago when Phil was retired, I would have said, ‘No.’ But there’s no plans. Let’s establish that…But never say never. The fact that he’s back on the road is quite interesting.”
Phil Collins had more to say about the possibility when Rolling Stone spoke to him in August 2018. “If we did anything I think it would have to be with Nic on drums because I don’t think I’m capable of it,” he said. “I think [Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford’s] opinion of Nic is high enough for them to take him onboard as part of the band…I’m saying this to you. I haven’t really said it to Tony and Mike. I did mention to Tony very quietly if we did anything again it would be with Nic on drums. He kind of didn’t say no. But I’m not sure if he heard me or not.”
The discussions always center around a reunion of the post-Peter Gabriel lineup. They haven’t played with Gabriel since a one-off show in 1982 and even though 1970s-era guitarist Steve Hackett is very active on the road playing Genesis songs and always says he’s open to it, the odds of it happening are still quite slim. “If Phil was drumming it might be a different story, but he’s not drumming,” Rutherford said. “People love the idea, but they haven’t thought it out as to what we’d do. You never know, but that’s a harder one, I think.”