Gig review: STEVE HACKETT – The Lowry, Salford, 2 November 2014

Steve Hackett chats about the Genesis Revisited and Extended tours (11:16).  This is an edit from an extended interview that was first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, 5 October 2014

The interview is replayed on Christmas Day 2014, at 18:00

Steve Hackett - The Lowry, Salford, 2 November 2014

If Steve Hackett is still smarting from his sidelining in the Genesis TV documentary recently, it never showed tonight.  I chatted with Steve on the very day he attended that show’s premiere but I could tell he was being suitably diplomatic when pressed on the content.  As it turns out the documentary was a travesty with no reference to his solo output or indeed to his Genesis flag-waving for the past couple of years. And Tony Banks appeared a right miserable b—d.

Which brings us to tonight’s “extension” of the project Steve started in 2013 suitably energised with the addition of several new pieces since the previous outing.  In my interview, I mentioned to him that I felt he had brought something fresh to the Genesis canon; updating and convincing any sceptics that Genesis was more than just weird flower-people and seated, somewhat serious, guitar players.

It’s a shame that this tour may be the last time Hackett performs Genesis songs in this context, he’s certainly had a brilliant run and, as previously, we were allowed to glory tonight in immaculate reimagination of carefully chosen catalogue.  From the off, Steve had a big smile and provided us throughout with little insights to some of the pieces, mentioning that when Genesis originally played ‘The Fountain Of Salmacis’ many of the audience would disappear to the bar, or just disappear.  How times change.

Steve Hackett - The Lowry, Salford, 2 November 2014

I wrote in 2009 that keyboard player Roger King looked like “a businessman staring at a very poor set of tour accounts.”  Well, Roger may have even cracked a smile today and I’m sure the tour accounts are now much healthier.  He provides the magnificent backdrop and rich textures to most of these pieces.

Steve Hackett - The Lowry, Salford, 2 November 2014

It’s probably rude to single out individual musicians as they all contribute equally to this Genesis masterclass.  Whether it’s the visual delight and pumping bass of Nick Beggs and his Chapman Stick or the vocal prowess of Nad Sylvan, adding just the right amount of theatricals to his authentic vocal delivery. And not forgetting of course Gary O’Toole, a powerhouse on drums and vocals, and Rob Townsend’s sublime woodwind contributions.

Steve Hackett - The Lowry, Salford, 2 November 2014

This – again – was a gig of many highlights, and the packed Manchester crowd lapped it up.  The early appearance of ‘Squonk’ was book ended (and reprised) by the magnificent ‘Los Endos’ – this never fails to hit the spot, with Beggs’ bass swagger, Townsend’s searing sax, and truly wonderful ensemble playing.

But it was Hackett’s solo during ‘Firth Of Fifth’ that was for me the top spot – emotionally charged and, like much of this gig, redolent of times gone by.  As Steve said to his audience – echoing the words of ‘I Know What I Like’ – “this is your show”, and thereby providing the conduit for his audience to reflect on their formative years and less complicated  times.

Steve Hackett - The Lowry, Salford, 2 November 2014

This tour closes yet another chapter of Hackett’s history and compounds his more recent career renaissance.  He’ll soon be focused on his forthcoming studio album but, for now, tonight’s gig was a lesson in both immaculate musicianship and the sympathetic refashioning – and energising – of a much-loved songbook.  Thank you Steve, it’s been a wonderful and enlightening journey.

1. Dance On A Volcano  2. Squonk  3. Dancing With The Moonlit Knight  4. Fly On A Windshield  5. Broadway Melody of 1974  6. The Return Of The Giant Hogweed  7. The Fountain Of Salmacis  8. The Musical Box  9. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)  10. Horizons  11. Firth Of Fifth  12. Lilywhite Lilith  13. The Knife  14. Supper’s Ready  Encore:  15. Watcher Of The Skies  16. Los Endos

Review by David Randall
Photo and Gallery by Simon Dunkerley
Additional photos: David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

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Steve Hackett - The Lowry, Salford, 2 November 2014
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