In the beginning, there was light, spotlights actually, scores of them. And sound, layer upon layer of thick, synthesized sound, swirling amid rolling banks of artificial fog. And there was a group. And the group was good.

The group? Genesis, of course.

Genesis' show, last night at the Capital Centre, was a grand affair, filled in equal degrees with lofty pretention and manic charm. Stately keyboards glided throughout the hall while guitars and drums echoed in the background. Fogging machines fogged away madly and a phalanx of lights danced playfully over the participants.

Musicians paraded through a series of songs that represented a kind of group history. The early, theatrical numbers were contrasted by the more recent, pop-derived pieces. There were extended instrumental breaks and spritely vocal passages, all of which displayed the melodic flair that has made Genesis one of the more listenable art-rock ensembles.

If at times the bombast became a trifle oppressive, then lead singer Phil Collins was always present to save the day. Collins, a nimble, mischievious munchkin, ambled about dispensing ribald stories and excruciating jokes while brandishing a trumpet (which he never got around to playing) and delivering high, sweet vocals of the most engaging sort.

Collins and his cohorts in Genesis combined to produce a performance that was side-splitting and earth shaking.