Almost 40 years on there is a seemingly never ending market when it comes to early Genesis music. Mention ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’ to gentlemen of a certain age and they can talk wistfully for hours on every aspect of the original gatefold sleeve and the story of Rael and that’s before you get them started on the music ( I do include myself in this category).
When Steve Hackett released his first ‘Revisited’ album it was well received but most of the tracks were heavily reworked and the project didn’t really lend itself to the live arena. With the release of ‘Revisited II’ though, Steve lovingly recreated the tracks in original form and, much to the delight of old codgers like me, decided to take the album on the road. With shows selling out quickly up and down the country it proved to be a popular move.
With the hall filling nicely, proceedings were opened by stalwart of the prog scene Anne Marie Helder. Armed with just an acoustic guitar and some classy on-stage lighting, Anne Marie ran through a few numbers which went down well. Her vocals shone through and with some tasty guitar work she provided the perfect warm up set for Mr Hackett and crew. Finishing her set with ‘Wheels Within Wheels’, Anne Marie left the stage to warm applause.
With the hall now at capacity Steve Hackett and band took to the stage and the familiar opening strains of ‘Watcher Of The Skies’ heralded the start of what was to be a fantastic night of nostalgia for Genesis fans both young and old. For this tour Steve has gathered an amazing group of musicians together who have no trouble in recreating the complex melodies and rhythms that are the signature of early Genesis tracks. By the end of ‘Watcher…’ you were left in no doubt of the band’s abilities!
Next up was ‘The Chamber Of 32 Doors’, this was augmented with excellent on stage lighting and back projections which were both used to great effect throughout the night. I especially liked the giant angle poise lamps at the back and sides of the stage which moved independently, like some giant Pixar animation.
Main vocalist for the evening was Nad Sylvan who sounds uncannily like Peter Gabriel but looks like Gene Wilder when he portrayed Willy Wonka in the 70’s movie, even his stage persona was similar. He did though have company as Steve introduced former Genesis vocalist Ray Wilson on stage to sing on ‘Carpet Crawlers’, this he has recorded with Steve for inclusion on the ‘Selections’ album which also includes choice cuts from ‘Revisited II’.
One of the night’s highlights followed in the shape of ‘The Musical Box’ which was stunning. There was a bit of humour during the closing section when two guys in the audience donned the Foxhead and Old Man masks, once sported by Peter Gabriel, and danced along furiously, much to the band and crowd’s amusement.
The band then got the opportunity to demonstrate how good they were over the course of the next four tracks, kicking off with ‘Blood On The Rooftops’ and the third vocalist of the night, drummer Gary O’Toole, putting in a great performance. This was followed by ‘Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers’, ‘…In That Quiet Earth’ and finally ‘Afterglow’. During this selection Steve’s guitar playing was exceptional. Whether sitting with an acoustic or rocking out with his Les Paul he was the consummate musician and didn’t miss a beat all night.
Ray Wilson then reappeared for a rousing version of ‘I Know What I Like’ and then shared vocals with Nad on ‘Entangled’. It was the appearance of a 12 string acoustic guitar though that sent things into fever pitch as it signalled the beginning of the epic ‘Suppers Ready’. From Steve’s intricate opening guitar passage to the bombastic ending the crowd sang along to every word along with Nad. I am sure most people would agree this performance of ‘Suppers Ready’ was worth the entry fee alone, absolutely stunning.
Two encores followed, ‘Firth Of Fifth’ with Steve again taking centre stage with electric fretwork, and the night was rounded off with a reworked version of ‘Los Endos’ which opened with some jaw dropping rapid fire interplay between Steve’s guitar and Lee Pomeroy on bass who was amazing throughout the set.
The standing ovation at the end of the set was well deserved and Steve and the band seemed genuinely and pleasantly surprised at the level of appreciation shown. This was a fantastic show and proved how the tracks aired had stood the test of time and how much interest there still is in the early Genesis catalogue. When played with this level of commitment and enthusiasm it would appear that the Steve Hackett legacy has plenty of life in it yet. Catch this show live while you can.
Review by David Wilson
Photos by Steve Goudie
Steve Hackett Tour Dates (October 2013)
22/10 BIRMINGHAM Symphony Hall 23/10 BRISTOL, Colston Hall 24/10 LONDON, Royal Albert Hall 26/10 MANCHESTER, O2 Apollo 27/10 NEWCASTLE, City Hall 29/10 LIVERPOOL, Philharmonic 30/10 SHEFFIELD, City Hall 01/11 CAMBRIDGE, Corn Exchange
On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.
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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)
Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
JAMES STEVENSON Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over (2013)
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