The Invisible Touch of Music


In my soul, I was in college again, walking to class on a cold January morning with their music blaring through the old foam headset of my walkman. Something deeper…stronger than nostalgia was stirring deep inside of me. I wasn’t just remembering what it was like to be 18 years old, starting college, and trying to find my way in the world listening to the We Can’t Dance album. I WAS 18 again as I felt the music pulse through me. 

In my soul, I was on my 8th-grade class trip to Washington, DC, sitting on a bus on a warm May afternoon with their Invisible Touch album blaring through the new foam headset of my walkman. I wasn’t just remembering what it was like to be a 13-year-old really finding music for the first time. I was 13 again as the music inflated my lost soul.

In real life, I was in the 6th row of a Genesis concert in 2021 in the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and I was 13, 18, and 48, all at the same time as four decades of memories and music flooded through me and filling me with euphoria.

And I wasn’t alone. I was surrounded by thousands of people, likely all experiencing the same types of emotions, all moving to this band’s music from so long ago.

It wasn’t hard to imagine all of them around me as college students, standing in Veterans Stadium, sun shining on them, bouncing and moving to the music blasting out at them from the band. 

It wasn’t hard to imagine all of them as teenagers in a hot dark high school gym, bouncing and moving to the music blasting out at them from a DJ. 

It wasn’t hard to imagine all of them around me as pre-teens, lying in their beds listening to the music blasting out at them from the vinyl records.

Time has done its work on them, but here they were, teenagers again feeling the music as if it was the first time hearing it. Girls were trying to get as close to the stage, waving their wrinkled hands in the air, trying to get Phil’s attention. Boys in dad jeans with a bandaid from melanoma surgery on their faces are absorbed in the music as they try to keep up with their girls.

I don’t talk about it to make light of the ages of the crowd…I talk about it to make the point about the timelessness of music.20, 30, 40, 50 years could have passed since they last saw Genesis in concert, but it was as if no time had passed. Deaths of friends, loss of love, Covid, fear are all lost in the music, and nothing matters in those moments inside the Wells Fargo Center but the music. Not age. Not surgical scares. Not loss. Just the music. Just those moments. Just being 18 again.

During the concert, as they played Anything She Does, there was one verse that struck me:

But you know
That in twenty years or more
You’ll still look the same
Way, as you do today
You’ll still be a young girl
When I’m old and gray

My mind, right away, changed “look” to “sound.” The music always stays young. Even as the performers age, 20 years or more from now, the music will still be as young as it was the first time we heard it…the first time it swayed something deep down inside of us .. the first time it reached in and grabbed right hold of our heart. The music will never ever get older and will always make us feel younger.

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