Watcher of the Skies
Music/Lyrics: Tony Banks/Mike Rutherford
Original Artist: Genesis
Original Album: Foxtrot (1972)
Historian: Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
“Watcher of the Skies” is the lead track on the 1972 Genesis' album Foxtrot. Perhaps the signature song from the earliest stages of Genesis’ career, “Watcher of the Skies” often opened their live performances with its haunting extended opening keyboard segment.
Genesis, “Watcher of the Skies” – 4/20/74, Montréal QC, Canada
With all the original members of Genesis in attendance except the band’s early driving artistic force, Peter Gabriel – a conspicuous absence that made the whole affair more than a tad uncomfortable for long-time Genesis fans – Phish performed “Watcher of the Skies” to open the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at the Waldorf Astoria in New York on 3/15/10.
Phish, “Watcher of the Skies” – 3/15/10, New York, NY
Who else but Phish would be asked to step up and nail such a difficult, complex piece in front of (most of) the original artists? They performed the song flawlessly, after which Trey gave the induction speech bringing Genesis into their rightful place in the R&R Hall, which was then followed by Phish covering the (much) later Genesis hit “No Reply at All.”
Trey Anastasio’s induction speech for Genesis into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – 3/15/10, New York, NY
Given Trey’s well-documented love for Genesis it’s a wonder that they haven’t performed a Genesis cover in any official live performance to date, though careful observers will note the “Watcher of the Skies” tease by Mike toward the very end of the 6/26/10 “Tweezer.” The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway was one of the finalists for the album to be performed at Festival 8 in 2009 that eventually yielded the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St. so clearly anything is possible.
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"Perhaps the signature song from the earliest stages of Genesis’ career" --- Mmm, I'm gonna go out on a limb and note the little ditty that takes up 25 minutes of side 2 of Foxtrot is probably the correct answer there.
It's a testament to how bad ass Phish is that they pulled this off and didn't sound silly. Although nobody can nail this like Genesis, Phish did as good a job as any golden age Genesis fiend could ever hope for.
I'd give years off my life to see them come out and open up a show with this (indoors of course, can you imagine CK5 during this!?) even before they did it here I wanted that. Now I CRAVE it.
And it makes up for that awkward attempt at No Reply at All that's best left forgotten.