Review: Steve Hackett, York Barbican
Steve Hackett: Acolyte to Wolflight with Genesis Revisited Tour
Oct 14, 2015
Former Genesis founder member Steve Hackett brought his live show to the Barbican this week and the event proved a real treat for casual fans and aficionados alike.
Hackett has good cause to resent the lack of recognition for his contribution to the legacy of Genesis.
The media seems to define the iconic rock band to the outside world as comprising of Collins, Rutherford and Banks with a fond glance backwards to Peter Gabriel without even acknowledging that Steve Hackett was a cornerstone and joint composer of six of the group’s most iconic albums.
Songs from those albums such as Foxtrot, Selling England By The Pound and Wind & Wuthering featured in the last Genesis world tour and provide a rich heritage from which to harvest songs for Hackett’s “Genesis Revisited” sets.
This tour is the first for a while to acknowledge Hackett’s own back catalogue. Maybe he needed to grab an audience by touring the Genesis material before playing these new convertees his solo stuff as well.
If that’s the case then good for him because there’s a lot of material that is worthy of a listen.
The set list at the Barbican covered a huge part of his discography, with a selection of solo material from early albums including Voyage Of The Acolyte which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and Spectral Mornings, right up to his new studio album Wolflight.
This formed the basis of the first half of the show with the Genesis material being Act 2.
Hackett enthused before the tour: “I’m looking forward tremendously to creating a show celebrating both early material and my latest album Wolflight, using magical surround sound.”
The first thing that was apparent when the group took the stage and hit their stride with an punchy and soaring version of Spectral Mornings was the clarity and sheer quality of that surround sound.
Many groups who play the Barbican pay scant attention to the articulation of the particular instruments in the mix. Not the well-known perfectionist Hackett.
His sound quality was simply jaw-dropping throughout the frequencies of the sound spectrum – right down to the Moog Taurus pedals that gave the overall sound such a deep bass that you thought the tectonic plates were shifting under your very feet.
The solo material went down well with an audience that was a mixture of diehard Hackett fans and those who had seen Genesis on the poster and come for that portion of the gig.
The catchy Every Day and Star Of Sirius proving particularly popular. I overheard several people in the interval commenting that although they had never heard Hackett live before they liked his solo stuff – although it was obvious the second half was what they had come for.
It didn’t disappoint.
The lesser know Genesis songs of Get ’Em Out By Friday and After The Ordeal proved excellent amuse-bouches for a stunning re-creation of The Cinema Show – complete with keyboard wizardry from Roger King.
Gabriel’s vocal doppelganger Ned Sylvan ensured that if you closed your eyes this was about as close to the original Genesis sound you could ever get.
It received the first standing ovation of the evening followed by several more for the likes of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and The Musical Box.
A full rendition of Firth Of Fifth complete with the beautiful opening piano solo that Genesis always cut out of their live set ensured the enthusiastic crowd went home very content indeed.