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Steve Hackett - Once Above A Time (DVD) CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

4.36 | 79 ratings

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5 stars True Masterpiece Prog Live Act - great tracks and great musicians!

Hackett has made it again! Yeah . another great show by the guitar virtuoso - the master of howling guitar sounds. I think, Steve Hackett is one of the artists - beside Peter Gabriel - that has succeeded after leaving GENESIS, embarking a music journey as solo artist. Like Peter Gabriel, it's hard to identify any bad works of Steve since his debut "Voyage of the Acolyte" until the last album "To Watch The Storms". Even though at album level, some are not truly excellent like "Feedback" but he has his unique musical creation in his entire music career. Bravo Steve!

This DVD was filmed from a live act at Petrofi Csarnok, Budapest on 3rd April 2004 as part of "To Watch The Storm" tour. The line-up is basically the musicians that were involved in the making of "To Watch". By the time I'm writing this review, I have watched the DVD twice in its entirety and I really feel "satisfied" with the overall performance. There are some parts that do not favor me but they are insignificant as compared to the whole excellent live act.

The live act opener "Valley Of The Kings" (from GENESIS "Revisited") starts with a soft guitar solo and followed with eastern music in full blown mode. Rob Townsend plays saxophone in this song. Gary O'Toole drumming is better than Fudge Smith (drummer for the "Time Lapse" live video). This track performed in slow/medium tempo with stunning guitar solo. The second track "Mechanical Bride" (from "To Watch The Storm" album) is performed at its best - even better than the studio recording. It starts off with a grandiose music that blast off the stage in a high energy and uplifting mood combined with excellent flash lighting. Roger King keyboard helps accentuate the music and set the right atmosphere for Hackett to take the vocal line. When the music enters into a complex part with avant-garde and jazz music improvisations, I can not let myself just sit and watch the screen but I was stimulated to emulate the musician's style in playing their instrument. Wonderful segment! Oh man .. This second track is a truly adrenalin-exploding track! As I have reviewed this track in studio version, this track has some segment similar to King Crimson.

The third track is a kind like "break" after ground breaking track previously performed. "The Circus Of Becoming" performed in a happy mood, just like a circus music. "Slogans" (from "Defector) brings the emotion back to a fast tempo music with excellent combination on keyboard and guitar. It's a rocking track. O'Toole performs excellent short drum solo in this part. Very good composition and it has a relatively complex structure. "The Serpentine Song" turns the music slow with Hackett guitar fills followed with excellent harmony vocals in slow-medium tempo. The use of bamboo flute has enriched the music. Rob Townsend plays multi instruments in solo: flute and also clarinet. Very nice track. Actually, I don't like Steve singing voice, but I don't know why his voice fits really well with almost composition that he has created.

The Hackett classic tune "Ace Of Wands" is performed excellently by the band. It's one of my favorite Hackett tracks. Oh man . again, I am emotionally lifted up when the band hits this track. So wonderful live act! There is part with improvisation as well before it returns back to the original tagline melody. I like the overall composition of this track. O'Toole drumming is very dynamic and it can provide dynamic beats for the music - combination of stunning guitar, keyboard and woodwind instrument.

The Genesis classics are also performed here. In "Blood On The Rooftops" Steve plays his acoustic guitar completely. As Richard Chapman wrote in his book ("Guitar" - Music, History and Players) about Steve Hackett :"He plays harmonized part, with dropped-in backward tapes of solo. ..he is one of the few guitarists in popular music who uses a nylon-string guitar with a normal-sounding classical techniques ...", Stve has proven it right with this performance. Gary O'Toole takes the vocal part replacing Phil Collins. Actually Gary's vocal line does not seem fit with this song - but for me it's okay because this track is really good.

My favorite Genesis track "Fly On A Windshield" is also performed in this show with elimination of vocal part (too bad; but it's okay). There is no such thing as "Something's solid forming in the air ." with Garielisque sound. It continues seamlessly to Hackett's classic "Please Don't Touch". "Firth Of Fifth" follows only on the guitar interlude part in the vein of "Genesis Revisited" album. It's really nice! I remember the glory days when Hackett was with Genesis especially in the Selling England By The Pound album.

"Darktown " is another great track performed flawlessly by the band. Again, I really enjoy this track. I follow the beats while enjoying this track. What I also like is the inclusion of some great tracks from "Spectral Morning" album (highly recommended!!) :" Every Day" - "Clocks" - "Spectral Mornings". The live act is concluded with a beautiful encore "Los Endos" that includes pieces of "Dancing In The Moonlit Knight" .

It's a masterpiece show that you should not miss! Get the DVD! Rating: 4.75 / 5. Keep on progging!

Progressively yours,

GW - Indonesia

Gatot | 5/5 |


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