The Pat Metheny-ish 'Morning Train' had a harder edge than in previous gigs. Stuermer makes playing the guitar look so easy. When he solos, his runs effortlessly fly off the fret board. It's no surprise as to why he's been Phil Collins' right-hand man for over twenty years. 'Urban Islands' featured tight ensemble playing with the guitar and keyboards executing some nimble runs together. Bassist Hervey was tight and funky as he traded licks with Stuermer.
The gorgeous ballad, 'Copenhagen,' is from Stuermer's forthcoming release, WAITING IN THE WINGS. Again he proved to be a master of melody. With the right air play, this song could be a huge hit. He followed this with the Genesis mega-hit, 'Follow You, Follow Me.' Drummer Calarco was punching out the big beat, sounding like Phil Collins himself. His powerhouse drumming really drove the next song, Genesis' 'Land Of Confusion,' where the band pulled out all the stops and rocked out. Who better to play Genesis' songs than Stuermer, who spent some fifteen years as the band's guitarist. He has to be one of the most complete guitarists anywhere. His soloing here was stunning. He can pull off textures like Andy Summers from the Police one minute, play legato melodies like Allan Holdsworth the next, and then full out shred like Jeff Beck'and this is all in one song.
'Waiting In The Wings' was next. Kostia delivered some jazzy flights up and down the keyboard and showed himself to be a keyboardist to reckon with. From there, they went into the gentle new ballad, 'Wherever You Are.' This beautiful song features one of Stuermer's most memorable melodies. It has 'hit' written all over it. As Stuermer related to the crowd, at the insistence of his band members, he had sent Phil Collins a basic recording of the song. Phil called him up from his cell phone in Switzerland asking, 'I'd like to write lyrics for it, if it's OK with you'' How can you say no to that' So we may benefit from a second version of this on an upcoming Collins recording.
'Festival City' had the band rocking out again with tight interplay between the keyboards, guitar, and bass. Calarco's drumming was driving, a combination of both taste and technique. He's a drummer to watch out for. The closing 'American Fields' is a fast shuffle feel with an almost Big Country-ish bagpipe sound to it. The rousing song had the crowd cheering for more.
The band's encore was the Genesis hit, 'Turn It On Again.' And turn it on they did. Close your eyes and you'd think it was Genesis. The band took things up another level or two, delivering a rousing performance. With Genesis currently inactive, Daryl Stuermer is the next best thing to fill their shoes. Catch them on tour this summer.