Teatro Diners
della Luna





a review by Roger Salem

It was eight o’clock and time for breakfast…when in came the bad news: Lugano concert cancelled. Where on earth is Lugano? Most of you reading this will ask. In concert-tour-circuit terms it happens just to be a back-alley of the city of Milano, a provincial town of roughly 30’000 souls surrounded by mountains. But in geographical terms it happens to be one of earth’s little delights and certainly one of Switzerland’s most beautiful spots with lush vegetation, spectacular views and even palm trees! The night before TMB had played to a sold-out audience at the Teatro Verdi in Florence. This was there first Italian date ever! The lead singer Denis Gagné was suffering from a bad cold and was having a very hard time with his voice. It was decided that he needed a rest to avoid compromising the next Italian dates which were all sold-out. So Lugano was ruled off the itinerary. A pity, as I had been personally involved in promoting this event for months. If you drove through Lugano a few days ago you would have noticed hundreds of posters on every tree, store window, billboard and public building.  This show may not have sold well but after all one must not forget that it is just a small town and only an hour away from Milano. Clearly the fans from Italy did not need to cross the border to see TMB. Now I have to deal with 60 frustrated Lugano people to whom I personally sold tickets to. They don’t know what they missed!

Anyway, I did in the end manage to convince a few of these frustrated fans from Lugano to join me for the concert in Milano the following night. What can I say other then that it was most definitely the most beautiful TMB gig I have yet seen? Firstly, a few words on the venue. This was the newly opened Teatro Diners della Luna, which is literally face to face to the famous Filaforum. From the outside the place looks horrendous: a tent-like shaped structure with curved metal bars to hold the canvass together and an adjoining rectangular edifice on the end. But once inside you find a beautiful modern auditorium with felt-seats and a fully carpeted floor. The capacity is of 1’700 people and every seat in the house was sold. I went to the teatro early in the afternoon to meet some friends and drink a few beers. I met Winfried Volklein, the tour promoter without whom this tour could not have been such a success. The night before I had diner with him and his colleague Michael in one of those nice Ticino grottos. It is here that I realised the enormous stress that can represent touring for a band, its promoters and the crew in general. I could imagine how 30 years ago Genesis had been going through the same ordeal of touring night after night with little rest and in the end hardly any financial return on this Selling England by the Pound tour. It looks like TMB, thirty years later will reverse this situation.

At the venue I also met Serge Morissette, the artistic director and Denis Gagné, the lead singer. Denis didn’t address a word to anyone. It was like being in front of Marcel Marceau where we communicated in sign language. He was trying to save his voice for the night and hence kept mute the whole day. I then met all the fans from Italy, which included Mario Giammetti, editor of Dusk magazine, Mino Profumo and Stefano Tucciarelli. At one point Mino took Serge Morissette to his car to show him an interesting acquisition he had done on E-bay: a stage light element which was used on the Lamb tour. Serge asked Mino to bring it again to the TMB show in Nice, France so that he could test it out.

My seat was way in the back and that did not please me one little bit. So before the concert started I searched the venue up-front for a better place. There was the whole 5th row empty and it was around 21.15 and the concert was about to begin. I sat there with some friends sweating it out afraid of having to clear out in case the owner of the seat was to show up. But fortunately no one came to trouble us. Practically the whole 5th row in the centre remained free and was happily occupied by my friends. I exploded in joy at the first chords of Watcher of the Skies and the clapping around me nearly deafened me. The audience was warm and enthusiastic and enjoyed every bit of the show. The sound was amazing, crystal clear. I had never heard them as good as this night. The acoustics of the venue was astounding. Bruce, the sound engineer, with whom I spoke after also agreed that it was a great sounding hall. The highlights for me were Watcher, Firth of Fifth, Cinema Show and the apocalypse in 9/8 segment of Supper’s Ready. Also very entertaining was Martin’s rendition of More Fool Me. Not only does he sound like Phil, but he even looks like him…ahhh, that malicious Collins look that he manages to do it so well!! The band was majestic and brought out this monumental work in all its excellence. I want to thank the band, its management, the crew and all who have contributed in bringing this Genesis masterpiece back to life again. You make me feel thirty years younger!