Gig review: STEVE HACKETT – The Lowry, Salford, 25 October 2015

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.

STEVE HACKETT - The Lowry, Salford, 25 October 2015

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.

Roine Stolt - The Lowry, Salford, 25 October 2015

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.

Nad Sylvan - The Lowry, Salford, 25 October 2015
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.

STEVE HACKETT - The Lowry, Salford, 25 October 2015

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.

STEVE HACKETT - The Lowry, Salford, 25 October 2015Photo: 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

Album review (Premonitions box set)
Album review (Wolflight, incl. audio interview)

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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One Response to Gig review: STEVE HACKETT – The Lowry, Salford, 25 October 2015

  1. The Curse of St. Custards says:

    I was probably the only one there who was slightly disappointed about the amount of solo Hackett stuff played in that I would’ve liked a bit more. Nothing from the 90s or the 00s at all and the 80s only represented by Jacuzzi and part of Overnight Sleeper at the end of it. My view is Firth of Fifth should’ve been in the second set proper, (although I wouldn’t've minded if it had been swapped out for Eleventh Earl of Mar or Ripples say). As for the encores, an instrumental I would’ve gone with Sierra Quemada or Please Don’t Touch rather than Clocks, (it’s always been a bit of a filler in my opinion), and for the second encore how about Lost In Your Eyes, Camino Royale or even Rise Again?

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