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Genesis: Opening Night

Slick, not-so-revealing behind-the-scenes look at superstar rock band Genesis might fire up die-hard fans but serves mainly as a teaser for the band's summer "We Can't Dance" stadium tour, their first tour in five years.

Slick, not-so-revealing behind-the-scenes look at superstar rock band Genesis might fire up die-hard fans but serves mainly as a teaser for the band’s summer “We Can’t Dance” stadium tour, their first tour in five years.

Spec is no more enlightening than album liner notes. The backstage antics, the rehearsals, the interviews in which each band member extols the virtue of the others have been reported ad nauseam in every rock media outlet.

Still, part of Genesis’ charm lies in the self-deprecating, good-natured humor of the principals–Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks–and the jokey esprit de corps of the band is in abundance here.

Fans (and non-fans) may feel ripped off by the sound-bite length of many of Genesis’ best songs. Only three are done full-length (one is a video), and the complex, gorgeous early Peter Gabriel-era stuff is given only lip service.

Selling point of spec is the world premiere of the video for “Jesus He Knows Me,” a biting indictment of televangelists but about three years too late to be really topical. The video, though, is extremely well done (thanks to Collins’ charisma and acting ability) and very funny, and should make the heavy rotation playlist on MTV.

What the special tries to show is that even though Genesis is one of the most accessible and commercial rock acts around, they are great musicians. But this fact is overpowered by the elaborate stage show, as excerpted here in Dallas. It looks professional and impressive, yet seeing it adds to the “coming attractions” feel of the spec.

Commerciality of Genesis is hammered home when bits of interviews from the spec are blended into a commercial for Virgin Airlines.

Genesis: Opening Night

(Sat. (13), 10-11 p.m., ABC-TV)

Production: Taped in Chiddingford, England; Houston; Dallas; and Syracuse, N.Y., by FYI Prods. Exec producers, Tony Smith, David Saltz; producers, Paul Flattery, Jim Yukich.

Crew: Editor, Alan Carter; lighting and stage design, Marc Brickman, Morris Lyda; video, Chuck Riley.

Cast: With: Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, Chester Thompson, Daryl Steurmer.

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