Excuse the executive decision, but fitting the full title into the header might prove tricky. Selling England By The Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live At Hammersmith is a bit of a mouthful. Especially when you could have added ‘with some tracks from the new At The Edge Of Light album’ too. A focus on what Steve Hackett has called, “three of my personal favourite albums.” Nonetheless, our intrepid reporters were at the Manchester gig and now add their comments on the tour souvenir.
Release date: 25th September 2020
Label: InsideOut Music
Format: DL/ CD / DVD/ BluRay / Deluxe artbook / vinyl
For those rueing the cancellation of Steve Hackett’s Genesis Revisited tour this Autumn or the headline Cropredy appearance, some solace can be found in this package of their live tour featuring the Hackett solo album Spectral Mornings and Genesis classic Selling England By The Pound.
Anyone who attended last year’s Genesis Revisited tour will have been eagerly anticipating the release of this live recording. Anyone who unfortunately missed out on obtaining a ticket for this sell-out tour will probably be anticipating it even more. Neither will be disappointed because what appears now to be an annual tradition of releasing Live recordings of GR tours is almost a note by note replication of your evening, wherever you managed to attend.
These excellent performances, which blend a Hackett solo album and a Genesis classic are now so regular a date in your concert diary they will be taking a register of your attendance and sending you nasty notes if you are absent…and rightly so.
There is little I can add to the live review, (and I make no apologies for not referring to particular tracks to avoid pointless repetition) as on this recording you will still hear Steve Hackett’s majestic guitar and the impeccable arrangements of his solo work and Genesis material. Add Nad Sylvan’s individual vocals, Rob Townsend’s multi-instrumental virtuosity, the amazing expertise of the rhythm section, Craig Blundell( drums), Jonas Reingold ( bass), keyboard wizardry from Roger King and superb cameos from Steve’s brother John.
The beauty of this package is if the TV or Hi-Fi is commandeered by other family members and you are desperate to hear the tour, you have at your fingertips an alternative.
But the real strength of these recordings, especially if you are an early Genesis buff you may notice the difference from some of the original recordings but will not be disappointed by them, indeed awed by Steve’s arrangements and highly impressed by Nad Sylvan’s vocal renditions.
Whatever your personal highlight of the evening was, it is here, visually and aurally for your pleasure. The package is a perfect complement to the recently published Steve Hackett account of his times with Genesis, A Genesis In My Bed.
Well, we’re back to Hammersmith for the latest in the inevitable ‘live album from the tour’ series. Back in 2013, we had the first Genesis Revisited set from Hammersmith. Subsequent releases have come from via Royal Albert Hall, Liverpool, Birmingham and the Royal Festival Hall, so guess we may at some stage get one from the Bridgewater Hall (hint Steve).
Having attended a couple of the gigs on the tour, some Hacketeers were bemoaning the excessive use of the smoke machines – atmosphere boys, atmosphere. Three can never ben enough smoke or bass pedals although not great for us photographers. Something that many will appreciate from the clarity of some of the visuals on the DVD.
Nonetheless, how wonderful to be able to relive the hear for the first time on stage, The Virgin & The Gypsy and Spectral Mornings for the first time in a long (long) time with the full ‘spectral’ intro restored. What seems a shame is that his excellent new material is often overshadowed. We do get a brief excursion to the edge of light before the main course.
Many of the Selling England tracks are Hackett standards, but good for him for digging into the period with Deja Vu, reminding us of a forgotten gem (and the gem of a guitar line) and also having a go at The Battle Of Epping Forest. The Genesis material is played pretty much to the letter rather that ‘reimagining’ in the same way as he did on his very first Genesis Revisited project (some in very weird and wonderful ways)over twenty years ago. I Know What I Like, however, gets a bit of playful improv mainly from Rob Townsend duelling with Steve. Not to want to single anyone out in particular but let’s pay lip service to the part played by Roger King in mastering the keyboard parts.
Nice also to see John Hackett joining his brother again. When he can get home to his own bed (we were lucky in Manchester) or if it’s a filming night, it adds a warmth and nostalgic throwback to when he was a regular in the Seventies Hackett band. Same for more recent recruit Amanda Lehmann, so there’s a full compliment across the lip of the stage.
It’s a crack outfit. As Hackett wrote on the back of the Spectral album in 1979 about the supporting musicians, “I‘m proud to say they have become my band.” He could justifiably say the same of this line up.
As we often ponder at moments like theres. what next? We have the Seconds Out set to look forward to and maybe the tour recording will be from Manchester
And a long awaited return to solo Hackett set. But while the Genesis itch continues to be in need of scratching and the demand is there (especially when it’s presented in this quality by Hackett and his team), we can probably look forward to years to come, God willing, of taking the for granted.
Listen to Deja Vu here: