Genesis shows Toronto fans that nostalgia is the balm that heals all wounds in show at Scotiabank Arena

For what was potentially its second last performance ever in Canada, Genesis turned it on again for the Toronto crowd for the first of two shows at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday night.

It was a bittersweet event.

On one hand, the core trio of singer and ex-drummer Phil Collins, bassist Mike Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks, in their first local appearance since 2007, celebrated a half-century legacy that has made them arena-and-stadium filling favourites, selling an estimated 150 million of their 15 studio albums over an astonishing career that has seen them evolve into mainstream hitmakers.

On the other, it was a reminder that age and related health issues eventually catch up with all of us, particularly Collins, 70, who now gingerly walks with a cane, is unable to wield drumsticks for any length of time and had to sit in his chair for nearly all of the band’s nearly two-and-a-half hour concert.

But that wasn’t the only encumbrance that Collins exhibited: vocally, he often sounded flat and his overall range was limited on songs like “Turn It On Again” and “Land of Confusion,” his overall intonation impacted due to the fact that he is forced to remain sedentary. As it stands, he was probably most grateful for the backing vocal support of Daniel Pearce and Patrick Smyth, who effectively bolstered Collins’ leads and also masked some of his tonal inconsistencies.

Phil Collins of Genesis performs on the opening night of their North American "The Last Domino?" tour at the United Center in Chicago, on Nov. 15.

Yet, nostalgia is the balm that heals all wounds. Collins was never so off-kilter that you grimaced when you heard him reach for the deep notes on “Carpet Crawlers,” or slightly misfire on pitch during the occasional “That’s All” line, and as the amenable master of ceremonies, his charming “Uncle Phil” role was played to a tee, even throwing in a slightly ribald joke at the expense of a band member.

If Collins seemed a little frail, both Banks, 71, and Rutherford, 71, were pictures of health, ably dishing out performances on their respective instruments that ranged from simple to intricate, depending on what the passage demanded. Rutherford alternated between guitar and bass with the band’s veteran tour guitarist of 40 years, Daryl Stuermer, filling in all the six-string nuances whenever he was required. The drummer’s chair is now occupied by Collins’ son Nic, and needless to say, he’s a chip off the old block.

All in all, the show was a jovial occasion and as one might expect, the set list of the reunion tour christened “The Last Domino?” covered a lot of history: veering from landmark albums as far back as the golden Peter Gabriel years with snippets from 1973’s “Selling England By The Pound” and 1974’s “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” to their last big studio hit, 1991’s “We Can’t Dance.”

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