Well, I was in Paris two weeks ago to see The Musical Box playing the whole "The lamb...". They do it superbly, I assure you. Not surprisingly, I got back home in Majorca totally lambed. And of course I've had a few days of obssessive research. Sometimes painful. As the times when I discovered "The lamb..." on my own, not having the chance to tell anyone how this overwhelming collage of sound and imagination made me feel. Maybe I shouldn't have gone there to see it. Because those early records, not records, really, but pieces of art, went so deep inside me that very often it is too painful for me to listen to them now. And you have described so vividly and beautifully that feeling, the feeling of kind of being trapped by that beauty, which goes farther than the individuals who contributed to create it, and also the difficulty to transmit that sensation to others. Maybe it's a bit insane, to feel so strongly, but at least now I see I'm not alone in that. Something I already suspected, I must say.
Well, thanks for those sensual bursts of voluptuous delight in your face during your analysis. There's no doubt you enjoy yourself enormously when examining the most hidden details of that wonderful work of art.
Reply from Lil (Leigh):
Hello Onofre ~
I wanted you to know that despite the fact that this reply comes more than a week late...your touching and, emotionally, very, very etching description (of how this particular piece of music reaches into the very soul of each of us who share its piercing melodies, as a specific, international demographic group) has stayed with me, since I read it.
My sincere apologies for not being able to answer you, in a timely manner.
I am currently providing some much-needed audio engineering to two American Major League Baseball teams, here in Arizona - as they conduct their spring training season.I've not had a day off in nearly 3 weeks from the Colorado Rockies & the Arizona Diamondbacks - but, it has yielded a much appreciated paycheck (since my beloved hobby of filming/editing Genesis videos is just that...a labor of love).
One which seems to have struck a nerve within a very unique assemblage of individuals who feel much like you ..and me.
The way you described the *organic* way it seems to affect us...the "almost painful" perceptions of the way it makes us feel & react - when coming upon it, once again - was astoundingly real and profound.
And, I thank you for reaching out and sharing this extraordinarily moving experience with me. For I assure you, I understand exactly of what you speak, my dear.
(I am so very thankful you were able to make it to Paris - from Majorca - to see TMB's most recent recapitulation of our favorite concept album!)
I must tell you - I've been able to discuss this similar reaction (we all seem to share) with many of the people I've been able to meet at the various performances of The Musical Box's LLDOB I attended, last Fall...and we all agree that it was both the "layered" musical & philosophical raw genius of what was released on that particular album AND the age at which we all absorbed it - which seems to be responsible for this remarkably comparable "echo"resounding within all of us.
The discussions have become quite lively and intense, I assure you - following those concerts...and the varied backgrounds & professional/life achievements of these, our Lamb "peers", is quite impressive, btw. *wide smile, nod of head*
The consensus has generally been (once everyone relates their own personal Lamb story)...that the reverberations of that glorious (but, near "painful") feeling we get upon listening once again to the Lamb is very much akin to the almost-visceral peeling back of one's own (onion-layer of) personal developmental history.
Music of any type certainly calls this into play...this "flashing back" to the important moments of our life and what was being played or broadcast, at that time.But, why is the Lamb so different than so much of what we normally ascribe to our life's soundtrack - compared to others of our generation?
I personally believe it is because of what the group was going through, at the time of its inception & recording...especially Peter.The decision for Tony, Mike, Phil and Steve to write (most of) the musical score...and for Peter to concentrate on both the story & the lyrics - just after Peter's decision to leave, then rejoin the group (* William Friedkin's offer to have Gabriel join him in Hollywood - as his "ideas" man) and the subsequent difficult birth/near loss of his first child - made something very raw and VERY human force its way *eloquently* and *truthfully* to the surface of this work.
Something which spoke very plainly to ALL of us - in an extraordinarily intense way, obviously!
Tony Banks admits he doesn't feel as much of a kinship to the Lamb - as do the rest of us...but, he very much acknowledges that "what hits you at age 13...is quite different to what it could do to you when you are 24!"
I think he is wise to admit that...for not only did that VERY talented group of 24-year-olds craft a unique work of existentialist melodic art .... they ended up sewing into a very specific demographic layer of the Baby Boomer generation - the seeds of a tri-tiered allegorical story which we could better fathom, with each listen, as the years rolled on.
Sure, as teenagers - we could understand the *far-out* Kurt Vonnegut-like, psychedelic head trip this poor dude (Rael) was caught up within (complete with absolutely bizarre characters to boot).
But, it was the other, much more philosophical and metaphysically-erudite layers (which required the maturing years of experience - Life eventually dealt all of us) which was left for us to discover - as we, individually, achieved those years (and the awareness to know exactly what Peter was putting forth within his crafty layering of lyrical allegory).
I am hoping to put out - in another month or so - a trilogy of videos focusing on the "Chamber of 32 Doors" - which I filmed, last month, while visiting with (fellow Lamb fanatic and Gabriel collaborator) Grammy award-winning audio mix engineer Tom Lord-Alge.
Within these videos, we take on the onus on trying to address the various components of what made this composition (and ALL of the Lamb) so revolutionary..and rare.
I hope that this serves to help you (and all of us) find the answers...and the insightful salve of knowledge of nearly all that is woven into this work.
I say "nearly" - in that we shall never really know all that Peter truly meant by his poetic allusions - within his story's lyrics - since he is loathe to really discuss all its meanings.
But, in reading through his only official biography...and many of the philosophical books/treatise he was studying, at the time of the writing of the Lamb, we can at least take more educated, interpretive guesses as to his impetus to create a character which strongly served as his "alter ego" for nearly 2 years (from conception to final concert tour date).
In this, I must admit that Rael travels along much the same journey of the "emerging soul" as it seeks the path of self-realization..as we all were (and still are) as maturing individuals.
And, this...of all...is why I believe we identify SO strongly with all that is The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
With all my most heartfelt thanks for your incredible e-letter...