Gig review: STEVE HACKETT – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, 16 May 2017

STEVE HACKETT – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, 16 May 2017

Over the last few years Steve Hackett’s profile has risen significantly with his Genesis Revisited tours. The lure of hearing the early Genesis classics played as they should be has proven to be a big success. Again on this current tour the set is split into two halves, the first half was billed as ‘Classic Hackett’ with the second half featuring the aforementioned Genesis back catalogue gems.

The hall wasn’t quite sold out, this may have been due in some part to the fact that Iron Maiden were also in town playing a sold out gig at the Hydro, but there was a good crowd in attendance. Steve and the band took to the stage with little fuss and kicked things off with ‘Every Day’.  The sound was spot on as was the playing onstage which never failed to impress.

STEVE HACKETT – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, 16 May 2017

This first part of the night also contained three new songs from Steve’s latest album, ‘The Night Siren’, the highlight of which was the heavy drum-led ‘El Nino’. Other highlights were the eastern sounds of ‘The Steppes’ and ‘Serpentine Song’ which Steve dedicated to his father Peter who sold paintings along the Serpentine in London.

The climax of the ‘Hackett’ set was the stunning ‘Shadow Of The Hierophant’. This song was a glorious cacophony of sound which built over the piece with drummer Gary O’Toole throwing in every time signature in the prog rock drummer handbook. Adding to the spectacle was bassist Nick Beggs who was on the floor throughout the song playing his bass pedals by hand. As the song came to its final crescendo the crowd rose to their feet as one to show their appreciation, this was musicianship of the highest order.

STEVE HACKETT – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, 16 May 2017

After a short interval the band returned to the stage, this time augmented with vocalist Nad Sylvan, for the Genesis section of the show. As the guys kicked off with ‘Eleventh Earl Of Mar’ Steve immediately ran into guitar issues which were, thankfully, quickly resolved. He joked afterwards that the guitar was one of Gary Moore’s old Les Pauls and that the late guitarist was making his presence felt in Glasgow.

On this tour the main focus of the Genesis Revisited set is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band’s ‘Wind And Wuthering’ album with the bulk of the set taken from the album. ‘One For The Vine’ followed with Nad doing a great job on vocals, channelling his inner Peter Gabriel. Nad then stood aside to let Gary O’Toole take the lead vocal on ‘Blood On The Roof Tops’ accompanied by impressive acoustic guitar work from Hackett. How O’Toole can appear so calm and collected whilst thrashing his kit in 7/8 time is a mystery.

STEVE HACKETT – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, 16 May 2017

‘Afterglow’ always transports me back to my first ever gig, Genesis in Edinburgh in 1982, and tonight was no different.  As Nad hit the high notes at the climax of the song the hairs were raised on the back of my neck, funny how certain songs get you every time!

‘Dance On The Volcano’ was up next and again the band excelled. The kilted Nick Beggs on bass and guitars has formed a killer partnership with Gary O’Toole to form one of the best rhythm sections I have witnessed. Roger King was faultless on keyboards as was Rob Townsend who turned his hand to sax, flute and the odd bit of percussion.

One of the surprises of the set was the inclusion of the song ‘Inside And Out’, a track which originally appeared on the ‘Spot The Pigeon’ EP. Steve joked that the track should have made the ‘Wind And Wuthering’ album but that some band members thought otherwise, no hint of bitterness there! Of the three songs which made the EP ‘Inside And Out’ was by far the best and listening to it live I can only second Steve’s view that it would have made a great album track.

STEVE HACKETT – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, 16 May 2017

‘Firth Of Fifth’ was as majestic as ever but the set highlight for me was the final song of the set, ‘The Musical Box’. Always one of my favourite Genesis tracks, tonight the band brought the track to life from the quiet strumming of the opening bars to the final heavy chords.  Beggs on rhythm guitar was rocking out as Steve took the lead to round off things in bombastic fashion, the standing ovation that followed was well deserved.

The band returned for an reworked version of ‘Los Endos’, again highlighting Hackett’s amazing fretwork, which rounded off a night of great songs and first class musicianship.

Steve Hackett continues to keep the vintage Genesis catalogue alive and kicking. but it would be amiss to overlook his own solo material. With ‘The Night Siren’ just released it is a good time to investigate Steve’s solo work, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Review by Dave Wilson
Photos by Steve Goudie

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