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Pacific Road, Birkenhead, 27 November 2010

Photos by Lee Millward

Steve Hackett, photo by Lee Millward
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Steve Hackett's UK tour reached its latter stages on a cold night in Birkenhead whose faithful were not deterred by the -5 degree temperature.

First impressions tend to set the scene. And what a scene Nick Beggs set for the opener, 'Valley of the Kings.' He provided a visual foil which was of course prevalent in early Genesis.

Nick Beggs, photo by Lee Millward

In Beggs, Hackett has found more than a fine bass player. Last year we were confronted with a Bohemian sage and now we encounter a kind of Gothic necromancer. Add Amanda Lehmann to the landscape and many cockles (of hearts) were instantly warmed.

As promised in his recent interview with me at Get Ready to Rock Radio, the Genesis back catalogue was sifted and the result was the welcome reintroduction of 'Watcher of the Skies' and 'Carpet Crawlers', drummer Gary O'Toole earning his wedge for handling both the Gabriel and Collins parts.

Gary O'Toole, photo by Lee Millward

One chirpy scouser did ironically enquire whether Mr Hackett was going to do any Motown (a reference to Phil Collins' Christmas offering) to which a Harry Enfield 'calm down calm down' was the appropriate retort.

My own favourite from the back catalogue was 'Shadow of the Hierophant' from the last classic Genesis album in all but branding. In fact we were treated to 'Ace of Wands' from the same work and this too was not only dusted off but given a nice lick of varnish by this tight and polished team of artisans.

Rob Townsend, photo by Lee Millward

Rob Townsend's sax and flute work blended well to an immaculate mix while stalwart Roger King added to the atmospherics.

Steve Hackett obviously warmed to the reception he got for the non-Genesis stuff too. 'Fire on the Moon' from 'Out of the Tunnel's Mouth' has quickly become a modern classic with its heartfelt dig at the legal situation in which he found himself.

Amanda Lehmann, photo by Lee Millward
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'Sierra Quemada', as promised by Steve Hackett in the interview, was a treat with Amanda Lehmann trading guitar harmonies to bolster the original refrain. During 'Sleepers' from the same album, I closed my eyes and let the sound drift over me like sonic waterfall. Sounds corny but true nonetheless.

Steve Hackett, photo by Lee Millward
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In fact I could ramble on for another 20 lines and still not waiver from my basic premise that Steve Hackett has a band to die for and a back catalogue which no other ex-Genesis man will revisit any time soon. I mean who needs 'Firth of Fifth' when you can play 'Invisible Touch' I rest my case.

Steve Hackett, photo by Lee Millward

The former provided the first encore followed by the seminal 'Clocks', speaking of which 2 hours 20 minutes is not a bad return on twenty quid in my book. London will see John Wetton and Steve Wilson join the maestro on stage. You know what? I am sorely tempted.

Review by Keith Thompson

Photos by Lee Millward


Steve Hackett, photo by Lee Millward

Video interview

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