Steve Hackett: Genesis Revisited, live at Royal Festival Hall – Album Review

Release Date: 25th October 2019

Label: Inside Out Music

Formats: 2CD + Blu-Ray / DVD

The avid Genesis fan can help themselves to a series of Revisited live albums and now here’s another. So why may I ask is the point of another? Well, these concerts sell out and the scores of Genesis fans faithful to the Gabriel era are keen to hear their favourites live again so I assume when you are lucky enough to attend one of these awesome events you want a copy of the concert you attended. Thankfully Mr Hackett mingles in music from Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering, which he was involved in and compositions from his old and newest solo repertoire.

So I wasn’t too worried that on this latest Live concert I would hear ‘same old same old’. Far from it, once the admiring Genesis fans were treated to a splendid arrangement of Dance on a Volcano we are given a track from his solo album Wolflight, Out of the Body. This fast-paced instrumental is enhanced by the Orchestral arrangement and merges seamlessly into the eastern tones of The Steppes, another Hackett composition. This majestic piece portrays a plodding journey across the steppes but the music is far from plodding. Then our hero returns us to Genesis land with two of the best pieces from Selling England by the Pound: Firth Of Fifth and Dancing With The Moonlit Knight.

All his accompanists come to the fore with stunning cameos before the awaited searing, stirring guitar work takes over in its melodious solo, which is top of my list in all of Hacket’s time with Genesis and never fails to amaze. Nad Sylvan expertly delivers the clever lyrics of Moonlight Knight in his own style yet still staying close enough to the original to please the purist follower.

Gary O’Toole takes over on vocals for Blood On The Rooftops, his harsher tones more suited to this song than Nad’s melodic voice, is delivered with power but doesn’t overpower the subtle lyrics, bringing a report from Lords that the Duckworth Lewis Method would be proud of.

The first half of the set ends with the Heart of England Philharmonic Orchestra really coming to its own on Shadow Of The Hierophant from his first solo album, Voyage of the Acolyte and still a firm favourite. Hierophant, a mythical tarot card creature representing tradition and convention. Amanda Lehmann ’s accomplished vocals are a thing of beauty. She’s a regular performer on Steve Hackett solo projects and Genesis Revisited performances yet now branching out to record on her own before we are treated to another magical guitar solo. This would have been a suitable piece to end any concert leaving the audience traditionally wanting more. More is what we get in the second half of the live performance.

CD 2 is well balanced with two Steve Hackett solo tracks and Genesis favourites, 2 post-Gabriel and 2 Gabriel classics. In That Quiet Earth opens setting a joyous and celebratory tone with multi-effect guitar work from Hackett then neatly segues into Afterglow, as we revisit Wind and Wuthering. Harmoniously performed by the band, Serpentine Song is followed by versatile guitar work to end the tune before El Nino, which warms us up for the finale.

Sadly omitted from the first Genesis Live album, which introduced me to Genesis, Suppers Ready is given the Nad Sylvan treatment. Wisely he chooses again not to stray too far from the original. I close my eyes and I’m delivered back to the Opera House Manchester for the Selling England tour when I first heard Suppers Ready live but now with the Orchestra adding more power to the live original. Then ecstasy, my favourite Genesis song, The Musical Box, evoking all the quirkiness, musicianship, bizarre and fun of Genesis at their best, again with Nad outstanding.

Mr Hackett, to me, is always challenged to create a show which pleases Genesis followers and arrange the music as he perceives it, when hitherto perhaps he wasn’t allowed to as well as promote his own material. It’s a challenge he always meets. Credit is also due to the production of the sound, which now takes live recordings to a new level when at one time they sounded no better than those currently being recorded by those irritating people who spend a fortune on buying concert tickets only to experience it through a 2inch screen.

Purchasers of the full package will be treated as usual in other Genesis revisited packages, as if the CD alone isn’t enough, to a DVD or Blu Ray, and additional extras to promote From The Edge Of Light. No doubt the 2019 Genesis Revisited tour focussing on Selling England By The Pound and Spectral Mornings will result in another CD/DVD package next year. Can’t wait!!!

Watch from the performance of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight here:

Steve Hackett online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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