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Steve Hackett - Live Archive 03 CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

4.11 | 27 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Everywhere in Europe

The present entry in Steve Hackett's Live Archive series is a compilation of live tracks recorded on Hackett's 2003 European tour in support of the excellent To Watch The Storms album. The fact that it is a compilation of live recordings from various shows rather than a single full concert can be felt at times, especially when there is a bit of silence between some of the tracks. Still, this is absolutely excellent stuff from start to finish, covering material from Steve's days with Genesis all the way up through his latest solo effort at the time: the aforementioned To Watch The Storms. The first two tracks are from that album and musically they have more to do with King Crimson's milestone 1969 debut than with Genesis; Mechanical Bride is in the vein of 21st Century Schizoid Man and Serpentine Song reminds of mellower numbers like I Talk To The Wind.

The Genesis pieces performed here are all instrumental unlike the vocal versions he has done on recent tours. Representing the Genesis days here are full performances of Hairless Heart, In That Quiet Earth, Los Endos, and the acoustic Horizons, as well as excerpts from Watcher Of The Skies and Firth Of Fifth. Many of the best numbers from Steve's early solo albums are here too including storming renditions of Please Don't Touch, Spectral Mornings, The Steppes, Camino Royale and many more, plus more recent tracks like Brand New, Darktown and the relaxing Walking Away From Rainbows. In my view, almost everything sounds better here than on the studio albums and there is a perfect balance between electric and acoustic and between intense and tranquil moments.

For those who own the "regular" live releases from this period, this archival set is not really needed unless you are a big Hackett fan like me. This track list overlaps very significantly with those of the brilliant live releases Somewhere In South America (DVD & 2CD) and Once Above A Time (DVD), both of which feature full shows rather than tracks taken from various shows. Both Somewhere In South America and Once Above A Time are live masterpieces in my view and very highly recommended. Live Archive 03 is very good as well in its own right and deserving of a high rating, but as implied above only serious fans and collectors will need to have this in addition to those two, and it is after all to fans and collectors that the Live Archive series is primarily aimed.

(As a side note, I should mention that as far as I understand Live Archive 04 is just the audio from the same Budapest show featured on the Once Above A Time DVD, and since I've reviewed that already I will not review Live Archive 04 separately)

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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