Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Steve Hackett - The Tokyo Tapes CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.97 | 160 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 14

This is the third live album reviewed by me on Progarchives and this is also my first review of a Steve Hackett's album. It's also the third time that I began to review albums from a band or from a solo artist starting with their live albums. As I wrote before, in the other two reviews, usually I prefer studio albums instead live albums, in the most of the cases. However, there are some live albums that are exceptions, and this is one of those cases.

Steve Hackett is a name that needs no introduction. The ex-Genesis former band member is one of the finest guitarists, is one of the most respected musicians, and has a very own guitar style. Hackett is regarded as one of the best composers for acoustic and electric guitars, in the domain of classical and rock. He contributed to six studio and three live albums of Genesis. After he left Genesis, he has released many solo works and toured on a regular basis since then. His playing has influenced many progressive guitarists such as Alex Lifeson, Brian May and Steve Rothery.

Soon after completing his personal project 'Watcher Of The Skies', Hackett conceived a series of concerts involving many of the musicians from that Genesis project. Hackett wanted to record a special live release with it. So, 'The Tokyo Tapes' is a double live album that compiles recordings from two concerts in Tokyo, Japan on 16 and 17 December, in 1996. So, this live album became the final result of it.

To the line up of the two concerts, Steve Hackett (vocals, guitar and harmonica), chose a super progressive group to join him. John Wetton (vocals, bass and guitar), is a famous musician who participated with many bands and artists such as Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry, Uriah Heep, UK, Wishbone Ash and Asia. Ian McDonald (vocals, flute, saxophone, guitar and keyboards), is one of the founding members of King Crimson and Foreigner, and is also well known as a multi-instrumentalist rock session musician, who plays a very different type of instruments. Julian Colbeck (vocals and keyboards), is a former professional keyboardist, best known as a session player on numerous recordings, especially on various Hackett projects. Chester Thompson (drums), is a musician who made his name as a session drummer and played with Frank Zappa, Weather Report, Genesis, Phil Collins and Tony Banks.

'The Tokyo Tapes' has twenty tracks. The set list includes many Genesis songs, as well as several songs taken from Hackett's solo archive. The original Genesis songs performed live are six: 'Watcher Of The Skies', 'Firth Of Fifth', 'Horizons', 'In That Quiet Earth', 'Los Endos' and 'I Know What I Like'. These songs were originally released on some Genesis albums such as 'Foxtrot', 'Selling England By The Pound', 'A Trick Of The Tail' and 'Wind And Wuthering'. The original Hackett songs performed live are seven: 'Riding The Colossus', 'Camino Royal', 'Walking Away From Rainbows', 'Vampyre With A Healthy Appetite', 'Shadow Of The Hierophant' and 'Black Light'. These songs were originally released on various Hackett albums such as 'Voyage Of The Acolyte', 'Highly Strung', 'Bay Of Kings' and 'Guitar Noire'. This live album also contains several songs written and released by some other bands and artists. So, we have 'Battlelines' which is a composition by (Wetton/Marlette/Mitchell) from the Wetton's album 'Battle Lines', 'The Court Of The Crimson King' which is a composition by (McDonald/Sinfield) from the King Crimson's album 'In The Court Of The Crimson King', 'Heat Of The Moment' which is a composition by (Wetton/Downes) from the Asia's eponymous album 'Asia' and 'I Talk To The Wind' which is another composition from the King Crimson's debut studio album 'In The Court Of The Crimson King'. Most of these songs are performed differently from the original studio versions, with other arrangements and with some extended instrumental sections.

My live version also contains three other Hackett's tracks. They're three studio tracks, 'Firewall', 'The Dealer' and 'Riding The Colossus'. Those are the three last tracks on the album.

Conclusion: 'The Tokyo Tapes' is one of my all time favourite live records. The album is absolutely wonderful. The songs have been performed differently from their studio versions, and they're simply magnificent. They're some of my favourite songs performed on some of my favourite albums and released by some of my favourite bands. They're all truly classic songs, which are superiorly performed by this fantastic group of excellent musicians. I must confess that I bought this album after having acquired the DVD. I sincerely prefer 'listen music', instead of 'see music', if you can understand what I mean. I prefer to be in a live concert instead of see a DVD at home. However, I must say that the CD and the DVD are both spectacular and magnificent. So, if you don't have yet the album or the DVD, I advise you to run out, very quickly, and buy one of them, or do like me, buy both, if you can.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this STEVE HACKETT review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.