Steve Hackett Royal Concert Hall Glasgow
It is sometimes a fine twist of timing which allows me the chance to attend particular shows. Normally I am committed to doing my regular radio programme each Tuesday however due to a late in the day hospital appointment I had opted out and was able to head over to catch Steve and his fine band in concert. Pretty much a sell out I settled in to my seat ready to enjoy an evening of brilliant memories and fuelled by excellent music. Indeed I felt that excitement of not exactly knowing what extracts might be dug out of this particular Musical Box. Ok sorry about that but I couldn’t resist it. As the show was titled Genesis Revisited & Classic Hackett it was clear that a good span of material would be available and so it proved to be. Split into the two periods of his career, the first including offerings from his current solo outing The Night Siren sitting alongside Classic Hackett offerings from his long solo career. The actual set began with Every Day as the band eased everybody into the evening it was clear that they were on full form and really tight as only a band on tour can be. El Nino, The Steppes and In the Skeleton Gallery followed and the powerful Behind the Smoke. Steve is fundamentally a quiet man who much prefers to let his music speak wasted little time in involving the audience. However even he passed comments on the current state of UK and world politics before getting on with his job telling us the background to Serpentine Song about his late father selling paintings in Hyde Park. Rise Again came next before he closed this opening set with one of my favourites Shadow of the Hierophant which was delivered wonderfully. Music for me has always been a vehicle allowing you to travel places in your mind however at times it is scary when you think on just how long ago an album was first released. Such is the case with the hugely significant Wind And Wuthering celebrating its fortieth anniversary and it was absolutely fitting that Steve took us on a celebratory trip back to enjoy some true Prog Rock. Always one of my favourite Genesis albums and with vocals tonight by the excellent Nad Sylvan personally I was not disappointed to sit and let this glorious music seep into every pore of my body. Looking every bit the persona of a wild rocker with his shock a long blond hair this gentle man brought an element of flamboyance and showmanship to proceedings. The pairing of Eleventh Earl Of Mar followed immediately by the rarely played live One For The Vine set an already high quality bar even higher. Personally I was in musical heaven when we got to Unquiet Slumber For The Sleepers…In That Quiet Earth / Afterglow a truly glorious triple whammy displaying that quality does not dim with age. Just how the naysayers can expound that this kind of music is old fashioned and has no place today is beyond me. What we were hearing sounded so fresh, relevant and exciting and it was great to see that a large number of younger members of the audience were really digging the vibe flowing off the stage. These cuts were quickly followed by Dance On A Volcano, the extremely rare Inside And Out from the same period before Firth Of Fifth, and yes it had a terrific solo from the maestro, raised the roof. The Musical Box brought the set to a close with Nad utilising all his dramatic skills to belt out what is a fairly dark song lyrically. For those of you familiar with Steve as a master craftsman of the guitar it will be no surprise to learn that he was surrounded by an exceptional band of quality musicians so full marks to the aforementioned Nad on lead vocals, Underpinning the whole was the solid drumming of Gary O’Toole and Nick Beggs on all things bass. Layer in the textures supplied by wind man Rob Townsend alongside the keyboard wizardry of Roger King and with all of them interchanging roles you had a brilliant ensemble which brought standing ovations after almost every piece of music. The sound quality was truly excellent throughout and factor in a nice light show and you have an almost perfect evening. The show was not over though and the mash-up encore of Slogans and what else but Los Endos sent the audience home after two and a half hours with a deep sense of joy and a fair bounce in their feet. Thank you Steve for bringing this mighty tour to Scotland, haste ye back.
Graeme Scott K107FM, Blues Matters Magazine, VRN1287