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Steve Hackett - Live - Fire & Ice CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett

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Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars First of all, this is the longest DVD of all Hackett's DVD with a running time of 2 hours and 26minutes. So we have a lot of material here, but the DVD contains no extras. The quality of the songs is good from start to finish with 1 song from the "Beyond The Shrouded Horizon", and 5 from the "Out of the Tunnel's" cd. With this latest stuff, we have some favorites old songs and some Genesis tracks, and if i am not mistaken, this is the first time, at least that Hackett played "Carpet Crawlers" on a DVD.

The camera work is good and the only audio option available is a very nice 5.1 surround sound that offer some nice surprises along the show. There is some newcomer in the musicians department with a female guitarist (Amanda Lehmann) and Nick Beggs of Kajagoogoo, yes this is not a joke. They both did a nice job with their performance on that show. All in all, it's a very good concert to have in your collection, that would have been better if the picture quality for the distant shots in the back were not as blurry as they are here. Just for that detail, this DVD is not as good as is previous one "Once Above a Time". Oh Yes, Steven Wilson played on 2 songs, and John Wetton in one, the Bob Dylan's song "All along the Watchtower".


Report this review (#758723)
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Fire and Ice" ranks high as one of Hackett's finest DVD's. This was a special night, augmented by London guests (Steven Wilson, John Wetton) and great HD quality. Hackett hasn't done "Shadow Of the Hierophant" on stage since the late 70's, and Amanda Lehmann's vocals on that one are almost as good as Sally Oldfield's.

With 20 tracks, you get your money's worth - it's a long show. I've attended Hackett's in Tel Aviv a short time after buying this DVD, and the DVD was much better. Why? the post-production dvd mix is better than the live mix Hackett can produce. Second, Hackett used his best musicians for this document, and all of them had a great evening.

Visually speaking, bassist Nick Beggs give a striking show. Dressed in a bizarre "Dr. Death" outfit (hat and all), he really steals the limelight from humble Steve. Beggs' chapman stick work is pretty good, too. The others are all pros, but Beggs is the DVD-star here.

The Genesis classic "Firth Of Fifth" get a decent re-working on the DVD, as part of the encore set. "All Along The Watchtower" with Wetton is not as attractive. Hackett emphasizes his latest studio effort, "Beyond The Shrouded Horizon" (2011), but it doesn't interrupt the show.

The setlist is a good compilation of old & new: solo stuff from the 70's, a bit of classic Genesis (in the Hackett-era only, of course) and fresh stuff that Hackett feels comfortable with.

In summary, it's just as good as the "Once Above a Time" DVD from 2004. Only you get more songs, a slightly better video quality, and better audience response (no wonder, it's a local show). You can also feel that it's a special occassion for Hackett, with all the guests and friends around.

Report this review (#787532)
Posted Saturday, July 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Off the rails

We fans of Steve Hackett have been truly blessed with high quality live releases in recent years, my personal favourites being The Tokyo Tapes (double CD 1997/DVD 2001; reissued in 2014 as a three disc set), Somewhere In South America (DVD & 2CD package 2003), and Once Above A Time (DVD 2004). The present live concert recording called Fire & Ice is available as a DVD video and as an audio-only digital download (available through Steve Hackett's official website). Since I have only the latter I am not able to comment on the visual aspects of this release.

The track list of Fire & Ice is rather similar to that of Rails Live (a double CD live album that was released one year before this one); no fewer than 11 of the 20 songs featured here were also present on that album (and most of the others were included on other recent Hackett live releases). The line-up here is identical to that on Rails with Roger King, Amanda Lehmann, Gary O'Toole, Nick Beggs, and Rob Townsend making up Steve's band. Overall, I think that Rails Live is the stronger of the two.

Like when Rails was recorded, they were touring here in support of the Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth album. As many as five out of the eight tracks from that album are present here. And even though I find Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth to be an excellent album, I am not entirely happy with all of the inclusions from it. Still Waters in particular is too much of a Blues rocker for my taste, and an unusually strong focus on Blues is actually something that may be said to hold for Fire & Ice as a whole. Steve even explicitly defends the Blues at one point by urging the audience: "Let's hear it for the Blues, that much maligned form". John Wetton joins Steve and the band on stage for a rendition of All Along The Watchtower (written by Bob Dylan and popularised by Jimmi Hendrix) which is another of this album's bluesier tracks, yet another being Prairie Angel which is a new song that would later appear on Beyond The Shrouded Horizon.

There are five Genesis classics performed here - Watcher Of The Skies, Firth Of Fifth, Carpet Crawlers, Los Endos, and Blood On The Rooftops - all of which have been featured on other recent Steve Hackett live releases. Of course I love them all, but I must admit that Carpet Crawlers has never been a big favourite of mine. It is too much of a vocally oriented track for this setting and it works better in the Genesis Revisited show. Again like on Rails, the acoustic side of Steve Hackett is not much on display on this quite rocking album. The Darkness In Men's Hearts is a solo performance by Nick Beggs on his Chapman stick which is pleasant enough but not too exciting. The worst track is The Golden Age Of Steam, originally from the weak Darktown album, which I find it hard to understand why they included at all.

Had this been Steve Hackett's only live album I would perhaps have felt somewhat differently, but as there are so many excellent live releases from him available there is much to live up to and in my view Fire & Ice is just not as good as most of the others. Go instead for those I mentioned at the beginning, and if you already have those then Rails Live is a good addition as well. Fire & Ice is good too, but not essential.

Report this review (#1190145)
Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2014 | Review Permalink

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