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Steve Hackett - The Tokyo Tapes CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.97 | 160 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Big in Japan

Following on from his "Genesis revisited" album Hackett took the show on the road to Japan, complete with some of the guests who had appeared on the studio recordings. The result is this rather eclectic mix of tracks from both Hackett's history, and that of his friends.

The Genesis classics still tend to take pride of place, with excellent versions of "Watcher of the skies" and "Firth of fifth" (similar to but different from the "Revisited" versions). The additional freeform section before Hackett's guitar solo on "Firth of Fifth" may or may not be appropriate, but it does make that wonderful solo sound even better. "Los endos" is more of an acquired taste, but after several listens it's easier to "get". Hackett also reclaims "Horizons" (per Genesis tradition credited on "Foxtrot" as a band composition but clearly Hackett's baby), and "In that quiet earth" from "Wind and Wuthering". The latter is subject to an improvisational section, complete with sax!

Ian MacDonald, manages to get two tracks from "In the court of the crimson king" included, sung superbly by fellow ex King Crimson man John Wetton (though Wetton was of course not in the band for their first album). Wetton himself contributes the excellent "Battlelines" from his solo work, plus "Heat of the moment" from his time with Asia. "Battlelines" is very much a Wetton led performance here, and is a highlight of this album. "Heat of the moment" is only recognisable from the melody, as it is transformed into a beautifully fragile acoustic ballad, essential listening for Asia fans.

Ironically, it is Hackett's solo works which are the relatively (and I would emphasise the word relatively) weak tracks, perhaps due to a lack of familiarity both within the assembled players, and indeed some of the audience.

Two new studio instrumental tracks round off the album, both of which are competent if unremarkable, "The dealer" being slightly the better.

If you ignore the rather uninspired sleeve, and can forgive Hackett for not sharing the album credit more evenly, this is a fine double CD collection, with an enjoyable diversity of source material.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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