'Los Endos' was, to many, the end of classic Genesis and seeing the
track performed so immaculately by Steve Hackett' was uplifting and yet
mildly sad at the same time.
I have this regular theme on my GRTR! radio show about classic bands
that could reform due to their original members still walking Earth. And
yet the likelihood of messrs. Gabriel, Hackett, Collins, Rutherford and
Banks getting together is as likely as 'Selling England by the Pound'
being cited by Simon Cowell as a classic album.
None of this really fazes Steve Hackett these days who is clearly among
other friends when he goes out with a combination of his own solo work
interspersed by the Big G favourites of his era. In our recent
interviews on GRTR! he has made no secret of his willingness for duty to
the old regiment, but then again he does have a healthy ongoing modus
Among those friends was Steve's official biographer, Alan Hewitt and
many more scousers whose revered wit Steve matched with aplomb. When one
punter responded to Steve Hackett referring to his seminal past spent in
'little known beat group,' one chirpy voice said 'do you mean E.L.P?'
Quick as a flash, Mr Hackett responded with, 'If I'd have joined them,
they'd have been H.EL.P.' In the area (Wirral) where The Beatles did
many of their early gigs, such repartee was all the richer.
The friends on stage too were coincidentally musicians who were clearly
fans of both eras of his music. One who excelled in particular was Rob
Townsend on 'all things blown' He has really come into his own
particularly on 'Firth of Fifth' which now has a jazzy edge to its folk
roots due to Townsend taking on some of the main themes.
No visuals from Nick Beggs this time around though as he's on tour with
Steven Wilson. Gary O'Toole is a class drummer who handled most of the
Gabriel and Collins vocal parts. Bass player, Lee Pomeroy though is no
slouch providing an often growling bottom end to an excellent mix.
Amanda Lehmann is a guitarist in her own right while Roger King's
keyboards add colour to the soundscape. In contrast, some keyboard
players fail to do add anything except noise these days, a point
expressed by Carl Palmer to me last year.
Genesis fans expecting a foray into the maths of prog might have been
disappointed. Contemporary Hackett is more into the melodic nuances.
Less is more. But we are no less captivated by his fascination for the
mystical people and places on this planet.
'The Golden Age of Steam' was built around a regimental beat. The
opener, 'Loch Lomond' off 'Beyond The Shrouded Horizon' was a moody
prelude. 'Fire On The Moon' too relied on a tumultuous chorus for its
thrills as opposed to multiple changes in tempo.
'Shadow of the Hierophant' seemed less busy this time around and it was
a song that benefitted greatly from the minimalist treatment. Even
'Watcher of the Skies,' in the encore, concentrated on the hypnotic
beat. The aforementioned 'Los Endos' contained its trademark drum fest
but the different arrangement showed that classics don't have to be
performed note for note.
By the time we got to the second encore, 'Spectral Mornings' the near
capacity audience were on their feet so clearly no Genesis fans were
harmed in the making of this show. One did request 'Invisible Touch' to
which Hackett sportingly replied with the first three chords, before
'Watcher' rumbled into action.
Steve Hackett proved tonight that identification with characters in
their eras and places can be just as fascinating as what Tony Banks once
described as songs about the 'the mating game.' One cursory glance at
The Brits Awards is confirmation of that. Long may Steve Hackett
continue to carry the can for that eccentric style of British music that
never pandered to trends, but routed itself instead to the tradition of
Great seeing Steve on a larger stage and in a theatre setting which only
enhanced the atmospheric nature of his music.
Genesis fans were well served tonight and in spite of gentle and
friendly heckling from the Liverpool-based audience, Steve took it all
in his stride.
I mean, it could only be Liverpool where the mainman declares before
'Firth Of Fifth' that he doesn't want to get 'his knickers in a twist'
with his foot pedals. 'That's if you're wearing any, Steve' effused a
female Scouse voice that resonated fully across the auditorium. Glorious
New Brighton set list
Loch Lomond, A Place Called Freedom, The Phoenix Flown, Prairie Angel,
The Golden Age of Steam, Fire in the Moon, Every Day, Waking to Life,
Carpet Crawlers, Firth of Fifth, Serpentine Song, Shadow of the
Hierophant, Til These Eyes, Enter the Night, acoustic medley from
Spectral Mornings to Blood on the Rooftops, Fly on a Windshield,
Sleepers. Encore: Los Endos, Spectral Mornings