Home Current Two Nights of the Musical Box-March 24th/25th, 2018

Two Nights of the Musical Box-March 24th/25th, 2018


The Musical Box

The Calvin Theatre, Northampton, MA and Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield, CT

March 24 and 25, 2018

Story, photos, and video by Kelly D

It’s always a good sign when a tribute act has been endorsed by the musician or band said act is emulating. Take the Musical Box, for example- exalted not only by Phil Collins but especially Peter Gabriel, the Quebeçois troupe has been faithfully recreating Genesis shows using their eccentric frontman’s costumes!

I saw two back-to-back Musical Box shows in late March thanks to my location in New England (have I mentioned lately I love where I live?) and I left each time absolutely floored by the musicianship and dedication to detail on display. Denis Gagné IS Peter Gabriel as he was in the 1970s, down to the strange monologues that preceded a few of the songs they performed, slightly perverse dance moves during certain tunes, and running around the stage behind the giant props during the extended instrumental portions. He even learned how to play flute and speak in a British accent. How many tribute performers take it to THAT level?

My companion and I saw a pair of Selling England by the Pound shows that also had a special encore of a medley of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway songs. I would consider SEbtP to be my second favorite Genesis album (Foxtrot probably holds that title for me) so it was a real treat to see many of the tunes, including perhaps my favorite Genesis song (“I Know What I Like (in Your Wardrobe)”) performed as Genesis would have done them back in ’70s, before I was born. Wearing a bell-shaped hat, face slathered in pancake makeup, Gagné totally WAS “the cosmic lawnmower.” Shoulders hunched, a flower in his teeth, wild eyes glinting through thick eyeliner, Gagné was the living embodiment of Gabriel making the same moves as he did so often back then.

I have to give huge props not only to frontman Gagné but also to the guitarist François Gagnon, who nailed Steve Hackett’s parts. Sebastien Lamothe, Marc Laflamme, and Guillaime Rivard also more than held their own as the analogs to Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, and Tony Banks. It was one of those “close your eyes and you’re listening to the real thing” kind of shows- but at the same time, you wanted to keep your eyes open for the sheer theatricality involved.

. . . And the costumes! My God. As I mentioned before, Peter Gabriel actually donated his stage gear to the Musical Box to add to the authenticity. The show began with the eerie, moody Mellotron of “Watcher of the Skies,” with Gagné wearing the famous bat wings, rainbow cape, and glow-in-the-dark eye makeup as he sang about “the end of man’s long treaty with Earth.” He quickly shifted into his Roman galea and Union Jack tunic for perform “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight” and later on in the evening donned the gigantic flower petal headgear for the “. . . A FLOWAH?!” part of “Supper’s Ready.” Yeah, that kicked ass. I don’t want to spoil EVERYTHING for those who are newbies like I was, which brings me to my next point-

I took a good amount of video at the Northampton show and I was glad I did, because the next night in Ridgefield, recording was strictly forbidden. The setlist was the same, however, so if you were at a Musical Box show recently where filming was verboten, please enjoy my footage!

If you’re at all a fan of Genesis’ early stuff, do yourself a favor and catch a Musical Box show. On an amusing note, the guys in the band saw fit to end their sets with “Counting Out Time,” a funny tale of Rael, the protagonist of the bizarre The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, attempting to lose his virginity. While the song ends with Rael defeated and sexually frustrated, those of us in the audience were anything but.

Check out more of Kelly D’s video on the LMNR Facebook page HERE.

The Musical Box setlist (both nights):

  1. Watcher of the Skies
  2. Dancing with the Moonlit Knight
  3. The Cinema Show
  4. I Know What I Like (in Your Wardrobe)
  5. Firth of Fifth
  6. The Musical Box
  7. Horizons
  8. The Battle of Epping Forest
  9. Supper’s Ready


  1. Fly on a Windshield
  2. Broadway Melody of 1974
  3. In the Cage
  4. Counting Out Time

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