Friday, 31 October 2014

Live in 2014: Steve Hackett - at St David's Hall, Cardiff on Thursday October 30th 2014

I've been looking forward to this gig since I saw Steve Hackett play the first half of this extensive tour last year at the same venue. I thought last year's show was just exceptional - this one was even better.

The support for tonight's show was a nice surprise too - Vocalist/guitarist Bryan Josh & the ethereal Vocalist/Flautist Olivia Sparnenn from the band Mostly Autumn came on and performed songs from the Mostly Autumn back catalogue and included 3 songs from their latest album, Dressed In Voices. I was so impressed I went out and bought the CD after the set.

The new album has an intriguing concept and some lovely musical moments- if you like Prog, check it out, I'm sure you'll be impressed.

Last year's Genesis Revisited 2 show was a large production with back screen projections - today's show just concentrated on the music, with an excellent light show to boot.

With a set list very similar to last year's show - the audience were in for a treat - but with a few surprises thrown in too.
The show began with Dance On A Volcano and was quickly followed by Squonk - both from A Trick Of The Tail. Right from the start the sound and light show were just superb. 

For this Tour - Steve was again joined by Vocalist Nad Sylvan who was just excellent throughout the whole show.

Steve is now the 'Keeper of the Flame' for all early Genesis fans. With Tony Banks now pursuing a classical music career and Mike Rutherford still flogging the Mike & The Mechanics route, (Phil Collins still in retirement) it is left to Steve Hackett to give the early Genesis fans what they want - we know his importance to the band and the music - and he doesn't disappoint as he reignites the early Genesis catalogue such as Dancing With The Moonlit Knight & The Return Of The Giant Hogweed - Nad especially got to indulge in his more dramatic leanings (but more of that later).
It was especially good to hear The Fountain Of Salmacis, which is especially dramatic and gives Steve a chance to show just what a accomplished guitarist he actually is. On Genesis albums, he quite often gets buried in the mix due to the prominence of Tony Banks' keyboards. But on this tour, we get to hear what IS actually on the albums but isn't often visible.

Of the many highlights of tonight's show - one of the songs I was anticipating most was The Musical Box. And it didn't let me down. It was just superb building into one of the best climaxes to a song ever committed to vinyl. 

On this tour, bass player Nick Beggs has joined the band. And he was a revelation. Gone is the 80s popster, he's now an accomplished bassist/guitarist who's musicianship just blew me away. He made the complicated passages of the music look just so effortless.

The crowd pleasing I Know What I Like followed quickly followed by Steve showing his classical guitar chops with a delicate version of Horizons. You could hear a pin drop. 

Firth Of Fifth was another highlight with Steve's soaring guitar now taking centre stage.

At this point in the set came of of the surprises of the night. Last year's set featured a Wind & Wuthering segment which included Unquiet Slumber For The Sleepers - ....In That Quiet Earth - Afterglow, this was replaced tonight with a sparkling version of The Lamb's , Lillywite Lillith & Trespass', The Knife. Totally brilliant with Steve proving that he can solo with the best of them.

A word here about vocalist Nad Sylvan. Since last year, you can see that Nad has relished the role of interpreting these classic songs and I, for one, love it when he becomes the actor/dramatist. He is a striking stage presence and should do this more often - you can tell by the reaction of the audience that they think the same way.

By now, we had listened to over 1 1/2 hours of quality music. Then the 12 string acoustic guitar came out and the enlightened knew what was coming next - the one song that the majority of the audience had been waiting for. The majestic Supper's Ready from Foxtrot - all 25 minutes of it.

This is where the band really showed their skills and Nad really showed what an excellent front man he is. It must be difficult for Nad as this is Steve's show (he is centre stage) but Nad is the 'real' interpreter of the songs, especially this epic. But he does a superb job within the constricts of his placing within the stage and you can't take your eyes off him during the song.

The band leaves to a 8 minute standing ovation and then return with a scintillating version of Watcher Of The Skies. Nad is once again the centre of the song.

The band finishes the show with a reworked version of Los Endos which brings the 2 hour 20 minute musical extravaganza to a close and a huge standing ovation.

With Steve now working on a new solo album, it may be a while until we hear these songs together again, but suffice to say, when it happens, I'll be there. And you should be too.

setlist care of

Twitter - @HackettOfficial

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