Not just revisited, but by popular demand, extended and now having taken up two years of recording and touring, the Steve Hackett Genesis extravaganza is approaching its final lap. And how appropriate too that amidst all the bickering over the Genesis – Together & Apart documentary and its lack of balance, that it should be Hackett himself, perhaps the most misrepresented in the piece, that still values the music and the legacy.
Taking the chance to make some changes to the production, the projection screens have taken a rest which allows the simple yet effective light show to come more into its own and also for the music to take centre stage. Someone somewhere, maybe even Steve himself, has said that it’s the music which is the star of the show, although there continue to be some heroic performances from all the individuals onstage.
Over time, the set has evolved and the band become increasingly confident with the material, treating it with due reverence but adding their own bits of magic, such that they now even have moments of playfulness onstage. Hackett himself looks more animated than he ever has before, going from head down earnestness to pulling faces, grinning at the front row and swivelling in all directions to interact with the band.
From the moment they arrive on stage and Nad Sylvan sings the opening Holy Mother of God line, the show remains a little trip back in time, not so much with Father Tiresias, but with a band doing justice to the wonderful music which none of the former members seem to value. Highlight of course are plentiful and too numerous to mention
Rather like Together & Apart, Wind & Wuthering found itself out in the cold on this leg of the tour. A shame that 11th Earl didn’t get picked up again although the Blood… Slumbers… Quiet Earth… Afterglow might have been overdone by now. Having said that, portions of the set which have been in place since day one have retained their strength and position and are still never too much for the fans to hear. Firth Of Fifth still has ‘that’ solo, sounding even more majestic with Nick Beggs’ bass pedals and accompanied by John Hackett’s guest appearance on flute in York. The lack of introduction for the Fly On A Windshield section is quite apt as all Steve had to do was stroke those opening notes for instant recognition, and then with Nick Beggs’ pounding chapman stick, take his own flight into a world of wailing guitar which many could have sat and admired all night.
The Musical Box coming at the climax of a three song run of Nursery Crymes earned the biggest standing ovation of all as it seems to have done constantly through the run of shows, the intensity emphasised by following up with a casual mowing of the lawns on I Know What I Like. It was Lilywhite Lilith which upped The Lamb count on the Extended shows, having played, heard and dropped The Lamia, Chamber Of 32 Doors and Carpet Crawlers this time round; again no introduction and followed similarly by The Knife they seemed a little undervalued judging by the responses.
Of course Supper’s Ready was always going to be the only climax to any Genesis themed show and again, the pounding of the 9/8 section and Nad’s possessed ‘666’ invocations would have remained the climax other than for an extended improvisation over the outro from Mr Hackett as Nad made his way back to the new Jerusalem. Ovations (again), hugs all round and handshakes with the front rows mirroring the images form the Albert Hall show packaging, then a romp through Watcher and the extended Los Endos medley and there’s no business like show business.
The Genesis itch which has been rubbing away at the Hackett solo career might now have well and truly dealt with and it leaves the immediate future open for another welcome return – not of the giant hogweed, but of the Hackett solo tunes, in themselves a pleasure to behold and ones like the Genesis canon he’s been playing, which will be greeted and welcomed with open arms.
Check the galleries from both concerts below. All photos courtesy of Mike Ainscoe.
Live at Barbican, York – 26.10.2014.
Live at The Lowry, Salford – 02.11.2014.