David Randall chatted to Steve Hackett in October 2014 on the eve of his UK ‘Genesis Extended’ tour. Their conversation takes in the impact of Genesis and Steve’s own interpretation in more recent times. With tracks from the ‘Live At The Royal Albert Hall’ album released in 2014.
Perhaps the surprise, or shock, of this two-and-a-half hour show was the amount of time devoted to a further ‘Genesis Revisited’. At the outset it appeared that Steve Hackett’s autumn tour would celebrate his solo work in a year that ‘Voyage Of The Acolyte’ became 40 and Steve himself had indicated that whilst retaining the Genesis canon he wouldn’t be doing it quite as he has done in recent years.
This gig was split into two halves, with the first taken up with his solo material and the second devoted to his original band. A tremendous ‘Spectral Mornings’ ushered in the “solo” set with pepperings from the new album ‘Wolflight’ sitting well with highlights from his seventies albums, and tieing in with the just-released ‘Premonitions’ box set.
Hackett always surrounds himself with great musicians – a point he made tonight in his always friendly and engaging banter – and his present band, now bolstered with Flower King Roine Stolt on bass and occasional guitar, is simply magnificent.
Once again, Roger King excels on keyboards whilst Rob Townsend (sax, flute) adds the spice and a great deal of colour to the overall audio palette. Credit must also go to drummer Gary O’Toole who with or without main vocalist Ned Sylvan adds to the multi-layered harmonies that are a characteristic of many songs and almost choral in nature.
Photo: David Randall
Hackett – and the band – really excel on the set-pieces with the characteristic repeated motifs played in unison. The effect – as on ‘Every Day’ or ‘Ace Of Wands’ – is quite dazzling but one of the encores ‘Firth Of Fifth’ edges them all: m-a-g-nificent.
The all too brief cameo appearance from Steve’s brother John on ‘Jacuzzi’ reinforced the historical credibility of the first set but you couldn’t help thinking that it was all really a preparation for the second half.
To Hackett’s credit the Genesis set was completely refashioned from previous outings and it was plainly obvious too that the capacity Manchester crowd were here for it, judging by the way – at least in my vicinity – several were beside themselves with each announcement of a “new” piece. Others singing out the lyrics as if at a football match. Whether it would have made more sense to integrate the Genesis pieces rather than keep them a separate entity is debatable. Amongst the highlights were ‘Can-Utility And The Coastliners’ and ‘Cinema Show’ with its extended instrumental section.
Photo: David Randall
Steve Hackett has done so much to keep the Genesis flame alight in recent years but I couldn’t help thinking tonight that it is to the detriment of his very admirable solo back catalogue and may even deflect attention.
As my GRTR! colleague Pete Whalley previously commented, the Genesis genie is well and truly out of the bottle. The music is so well executed, and so well received, Steve will struggle to contain it or let it resume a less overt position in the proceedings in the future.
Review by David Randall
Photos by Steve Goudie (except where stated)
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
Set 1 Solo: 1. Spectral Mornings 2. Out Of The Body 3. Wolflight 4. Every Day 5. Love Song To A Vampire 6. The Wheel’s Turning 7. Loving Sea 8. Jacuzzi 9. Icarus Ascending 10. Star Of Sirius 11. Ace Of Wands 12. A Tower Struck Down 13. Shadow Of The Hierophant
Set 2 Genesis: 14. Get ‘em Out By Friday 15. Can-Utility And The Coastliners 16. After The Ordeal 17. The Cinema Show 18. Aisle Of Plenty 19. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway 20. The Musical Box
Encore 21. Clocks – The Angel Of Mons 22. Firth Of Fifth
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Each week David Randall presents ‘New to GRTR!’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, with the emphasis on independent artists and labels. During December he replays favourite tracks including power plays featured during the year. This show covers the period January-March and was first broadcast on 1 December 2019.
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