Hackett's UK tour reached its latter stages on a cold night in
Birkenhead whose faithful were not deterred by the -5 degree
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.
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
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's sax and flute work blended well to an immaculate mix
while stalwart Roger King added to the atmospherics.
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.
'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.
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.
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.