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Shepherds Bush Empire,London 13 March 2004
Well the Shepherds Bush Empire (2000 capacity) is a little bigger
than the Queen Elizabeth Hall (850) that Hackett filled last October
and tonight it was still some way off being sold out. I missed the
October gig since it coincides with Camel's last visit to London, but
given the good press that Hackett's Fall tour garnered, I was keen to
catch him this time around.
Backed by the same band that which played on the last tour, the whole
set was very tight indeed, mixing up Steve's more recent material
with songs from more than twenty years ago. While some of Steve's
solo material is quite well known - including tunes such
as `Clocks', `Ace of Wands' and `Spectral Mornings' which were
performed as part of this set, I suspect that many fans of old
Genesis. Like myself, were also there to see which tunes from his
Genesis career would get an airing tonight.
In fact, we were in luck as Steve plucked out tunes like the
acoustic `Horizons', `Blood on the rooftops' (actually sung by
current drummer Gary O'Toole), `Fly on a Windshield' from `The Lamb
Lies down on Broadway' and the ever-present `Firth of Fifth' - well
he couldn't really get away with NOT playing THAT solo, could he? In
between, some of the newer tunes alternated between the lighter, more
Post-Gabriel-Genesis type material and darker material
like `Darktown' and the, at times almost industrial, `Mechanical
Bride', which showed Steve's willingness to incorporate more modern
ideas into his music.
It was also pleasing to see the members of his band share the
spotlight and though all made a great contribution, it was the
woodwind of Rob Townsend which particularly caught my ear. In
addition brother John (celebrating his birthday) made a brief
appearance to play `Second Chance' with Steve and super Special Guest
John Paul Jones (of Led Zep) contributed some pedal steel-style
guitar to a finale of `Squonk'.
I couldn't quite make out the audience. A lot of people there didn't
seem interested in the music at all and a substantial number left
well before the end of the 2hr set. Nevertheless I thought it was a
damn good show and if Steve continues to revamp his setlists like
this for each tour, you can bet that I'll be back to see him again.
Setlist (incomplete): Valley Of The Kings ; Mechanical Bride ; Circus
Of Becoming ; Frozen Statues (Inst) ; Slogans ; Serpentine Song ; Ace
Of Wands ; Hammer In The Sand ; Acoustic Set: Horizons Etc. ; Second
Chance ; Blood On The Rooftops ; Fly On A Windshield / Broadway
Melody ; Please Don't Touch ; Firth Of Fifth ; A Dark Night In Toy
Town ; Darktown ; Brand New ; Air Conditioned Nightmare ; Every Day ;
Encores: Spectral Mornings ; Los Endos ; Squonk (with John Paul Jones)
Review: Charlie Farrell