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Assembly, Leamington, 24
show at the flagship Leamington venue by Steve Hackett, guitarist and
songwriter extraordinaire, both in his years as a member of the early
Genesis line-up and during his successful solo career.
Steve Hackett performance you get an incredible potpourri of musical
styles and genres and can easily find yourself banging your head in time
with heavy rhythms one minute and soaking up the most delicate and
gentle of melodies the next (as a friend pointed out often during the
same number!); the things you are guaranteed: a virtuoso guitar display
by the man himself and top quality musicians on stage alongside him
(many of which have been performing with him for a number of years).
album, 'Beyond the Shrouded Horizon' - like his live shows - very much a
a mix of styles is given a good account of at this show with the opening
four numbers all from that release, and such is the strength of the new
material and the loyalty of his fan base all are received like old
Intricate and powerful latest album opener 'Loch Lomond' began the
evening, the bands vocal harmonies a real standout on this track, this
opening salvo of new material also included two instrumentals, 'The
Phoenix Flown' with it's shades of eastern promise (for me Steve often
adds an effective eastern touch to his music at times), and 'Prairie
Angel', closing this opening selection of new material the hauntingly
beautiful 'A Place Called Freedom'.
highlights of the set from his earlier solo works were the World War 2
set 'The Golden Age of Steam' from the 'Darktown' album complete with
it's military style hypnotic beats and from his 2010 album 'Out of the
Tunnel's Mouth' one of that release's standout tracks the magnificent
'Fire on the Moon' a number that has it all, melody, power, emotion,
strong lyrics and for me a really cinematic wide-screen feel and the
guitar work, simply stunning.
with Steve, Genesis fans were well catered for with a selection of early
era classics including the exquisite (hold your pint close and sway!)
'Carpet Crawlers', the epic 'Firth of Fifth' and with sublime acoustic
guitar work 'Blood on the Rooftops'.
the art of having the audience in the palm of his hand down to a tee,
easy going, informal, often saying hi to friends and fans personally
between numbers, giving us plenty of his musical memories and well
thought out descriptive introductions to the numbers, even reading out a
list of birthdays in the crowd at one point.
alongside Steve were on outstanding form, the lead vocals shared between
himself, outstanding guitarist Amanda Lehmann, and drummer Gary O'Toole,
while helping to enhance the onstage sound with an array of instruments
including sax, flutes and clarinet was Rob Townsend, on the keys was
Roger King and on the bass Lee Pomeroy (last time at the Assembly with
highlights of the set included the jaunty, poppy, fresh sounding 'Every
Day', the crowd singing along at Mr Hackett's request, and 'Sleepers' at
times almost a classical piece, occasionally with flourishes of Spanish
style guitar but progressing to almost heavy rock later in the number.
set ended in vibrant fashion with the Genesis classic 'Los Endos' and
sticking with the Genesis theme the magical encores of 'Watcher of the
Skies' and 'Spectral Mornings' just about left the fans in
delirium/heaven (take your pick!).
show, nothing to fault at all, masterful guitar work by one of the
instrument's greatest exponents (only the modest Mr Hackett would not
agree!), perfectly selected set-list, plenty of variation/light and
shade in the material and a top group of musicians performing alongside
his third visit to The Assembly and on meeting the delightful and
friendly man himself after the show I had one request, please come back
and see us again, luckily the reply was in the positive.
Review and photos by Andrew Lock
Gig review (New
Video interview (February 2012)
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