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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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4 stars ONCE ABOVE A TIME puts the lucky prog fan right on the stage with ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and his superb band, for an excellent, intimate 2004 concert before an appreciative smaller audience in Budapest.

Hackett and his band of virtuosos are in top form throughout, and the sound and video quality of the DVD cannot be faulted. We get twenty songs in total, from newer installments in Hackett's solo career, to older entries from the guitarist's back catalogue, to even a few Genesis numbers, in a well-rounded career retrospective. It's all very, very good, but long-term fans will be especially delighted to find some treasured gems presented here. "Ace of Wands," from Hackett's essential first solo outing, is a particular standout -- flawlessly and exuberantly performed, this dynamic number is the very essence of the genre: ladies and gentlemen, THIS is progressive rock!

"Blood on the Rooftops" has long been a favourite of many Hackett and Genesis fans, and this lovely, melancholy, sentimental classic is splendidly delivered here, with drummer Gary O'Toole convincingly handling Phil Collins' former vocal chores with feeling and aplomb. Fans who were "there" in the 70s can be excused if this one makes them a trifle misty-eyed. Simply beautiful!

"Fly On a Windshield" provides another welcome excursion down memory lane, as the old LAMB LIES DOWN track is offered in an instrumental format that really lets the listener/viewer focus on Hackett's unquestionable mastery of his axe -- great stuff!

"Please Don't Touch," from the guitarist's second solo recording, provides another exciting example of the power and musical variation embodied in classic prog, while "Firth of Fifth" serves up a feast of Hackett's trademark licks from many fans' favourite Genesis album, SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND.

"Brand New," as its name implies, is a newer Hackett offering, but the old magic is still there. It's an exciting and uplifting piece, that well proves that Steve can still "deliver the goods" when it comes to penning original songs that will please his old fans, but still take the music somewhere new.

Turn up the volume for the final four: "Every Day," a standout from SPECTRAL MORNINGS, is nothing short of fabulous here, while "Clocks" is a study in contrasts that really showcases O'Toole's superlative drumming skills. Next up, "Spectral Mornings," perhaps my favourite Hackett piece overall, is frankly magnificent, and may well bring another fond tear to the eye of the old progger. Accept no substitutes for Hackett's massive, soul-stirring lead sound!

Our evening with Hackett comes to a stirring, only-too-soon close with a rousing rendition of "Los Endos" that could well have you joining the audience in leaping to your feet and applauding wildly -- the perfect ending to a great and memorable show!

I heartily recommend this disc to all Hackett and Genesis fans -- for them , its unquestionably a five-star performance. For all others, ONCE ABOVE A TIME would be "an excellent addition" to their prog music collections. Bravo! Long live Steve Hackett!

Peter | 4/5 |


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