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Steve Hackett - Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett

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Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
4 stars It is difficult to resist hearing a band that plays a tribute to one of your favorite bands, like Genesis, especially when it's their best music in the 70's. We have here only songs of the period were Hackett was in the band, including the beautiful 'Shadow of the Hierophant', who was co-written with Mike Rutherford during the rehearsal of the Foxtrott sessions. Hackett was accompanied by some guests musicians a part from his band. Nad Sylvan sings the majority of the songs, some maybe will be disturb by his mannerism, trying to match Gabriel's voice, but Hackett wanted someone flamboyant, he surely got it. But we can make this criticism to all the singers involved because you can't replace Peter Gabriel voice.

The interpretation of the songs is faithful to the originals, with some revisited and corrected solos, but also with the addition of the saxophone of Rob Townsend, when we can hear him clearly. One thing disturbed me during this concert; the drum sound of Gary O'Toole. The drums were sounding too heavy and noisy, a bit like the guy had cheap drums. I don't know if it would have made a difference if the sound engineer had put his sound down. More impressive is Lee Pomeroy who is a left handed bassist and guitar player that plays on right handed instruments! The keyboards of Roger King recreate with fidelity the sound of those whom we have been used to hear with Tony Banks in the 70's. Steve Hackett is obviously the musician that still characterized with the more accuracy the Genesis sound, because he was in the band with some of the same instruments.

The picture quality is excellent and the 5.1 surround sound is full, not only for ambiance. The visuals are impressive with a nice light show and projections on LD screens. While I had a good time listening to my favorite music of the 70's, you can't stop thinking in this kind of project at the idea that it's only a recreation of music that is owned by other artists. The project of Nick D'Virgilio with "The Lamb Lies down on Broadway" was more satisfying, because he was bringing a little bit more in the music with more new arrangements and instruments. Still, plenty of Genesis fans will want to take a look at this concert, because it's a chance to see our favorite old music with the new technology.

Report this review (#1069131)
Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was an excellent concert; I would have loved to have been there. The only downside, I think, is that the mix is not perfect - the drums are a bit too loud and-or muddy and at times the drummer's backing vocals are a touch too quiet. Most of the songs are very true to the originals, with the changes being mainly the addition of some sax and more flute bits (where tastefully warranted) and occasionally a guitar part being a bit more elaborate. I think the only song that had significant changes was the finale - Los Endos - which starts with a medley of excerpts from a few of Hackett's solo albums together with original bits, merged as if they were written as one piece. Given Hackett's extensive song catalogue, I think this shows admirable restraint on his part - the rest was entirely a concert of Genesis music. Er, well, plus one other exception - the inclusion of Shadow of the Hierophant, which was co-written with Mike Rutherford well before Hackett left the band.

As for the musicians ... Hackett is in fine form, if anything better than I remember him the one time I saw him in concert (back in 1979). The keyboardist, drummer, and bassist are all studiously accurate; the sax/flautist is an excellent addition, especially as he knows when to augment the others and when not to play at all. Vocalist Nad Sylvan, of Unifaun, might be the one who draws the most criticism, but I think that is unfounded. To sing Peter Gabriel's parts absolutely requires a certain amount of theatrics; I think he gives just enough to convey the role without drawing away from the music played by the rest. Dare I say it - I think he is technically a better singer as well. It would have been fantastic if Gabriel could have been there; but Sylvan is an excellent substitute.

Besides the mix, my only minor complaint is that - as a lover of albums more than individual songs - I often found myself wanting to hear what came next on the original album. Short of playing the entirety of the six albums covered or focusing just one two or three of them, however, that was unavoidable.

If we had a separate rating system for live performances, I would rate this a 4.5, with the mix being the only minor downside. At 2hr 41min it is a fabulous live album. But as it merely reproduces excellent music, rather than offers us new material of this calibre, I am only giving this 4 stars.

Report this review (#1072392)
Posted Tuesday, November 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars A second Seconds Out

Here's yet another strong live album from Steve Hackett, this time focusing (almost) exclusively on material that he recorded with Genesis. All of the Genesis albums on which Hackett participated, from 1971's Nursery Cryme to 1976's Wind And Wuthering, are represented in the set list. This period is widely considered as the best by fans of progressive Rock, and every one of these albums is a classic of the genre. This period in the band's history culminated with the excellent live album Seconds Out which was released in 1977 and became the final Genesis recording to feature Hackett before he went his own special way (and then there were three). About half of the songs that were featured on Seconds Out are revisited here, including (full versions of) The Musical Box, Supper's Ready, I Know What I Like, Firth Of Fifth, Dance On A Volcano, Los Endos, and Afterglow. The latter is here sung by a guesting John Wetton and is immediately preceded by Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers and In That Quiet Earth just like on the studio album Wind And Wuthering.

Other classic songs being performed are Watcher Of The Skies, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, Entangled, and Blood On The Rooftops. A somewhat surprising, but indeed excellent, choice is Eleventh Earl Of Mar, a song that I don't think has been featured on any Genesis or Steve Hackett live album before. I for one am very happy to see so many selections from the Wind And Wuthering album, which belongs to my top three Genesis albums together with A Trick Of The Tail and Selling England By The Pound. A surprising omission is Horizons, a tune that is practically synonymous with Hackett's name. The only non-Genesis song is Shadow of the Hierophant which originally appeared on Hackett's solo debut album Voyage Of The Acolyte.

Accept for the few songs being handled by guest stars, and Blood On The Rooftops which is sung by Hackett's drummer Gary O'Toole, I really don't know who is doing the lead vocals here. But whoever it is he has a Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins type voice and is clearly up to the task. The audience joins in on suitable occasions. Hackett himself, on the other hand, remains silent throughout this time (except the spoken introductions).

A reunion of the classic line-up of Genesis featuring Hackett is never going to happen, this is as close as it will get. So, if you are a fan of classic Genesis by all means get this one. But don't miss out on Steve's other live releases, most of which feature a judicious mix of Genesis tunes and his best solo material. Hackett has a simply amazing live catalogue with a stunning amount of excellent audio and video releases, (the present one apparently being available on both CD(s) and DVD(s) in a single package, but I have only heard the audio discs on Spotify). My favourite Hackett live releases are The Tokyo Tapes, Somewhere In South America, and Once Above A Time, all of which I own on DVD.

Report this review (#1086443)
Posted Friday, December 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
5 stars Was there ever a band quite like Genesis? Through their ranks have been some of the most commercially acclaimed (Phil Collins, Mike & The Mechanics, Peter Gabriel) and critically acclaimed (Anthony Phillips, Tony Banks, Daryl Stuermer) artists of the last 40 years. But, to my ears there is one who stands head and shoulders above all these, Steve Hackett. Since leaving Genesis he has pursued many different styles, including classical, and has been in the odd 'supergroup' (GTR, Squackett) as well. His albums are always, without fail, finely crafted pieces of work and always immensely enjoyable. Back in 1996 he decided to revisit some of the Genesis songs he felt most close to, then repeated the exercise last year and toured with a show guaranteed to make any diehard Genesis fan drool at the mouth.

To put some things into context. Steve was with Genesis from 1971 to 1976, recording four studio albums with Peter and two with Phil. From those six (plus one solo song, which was co- written with Mike Rutherford so can justifiably be included) he has produced a live album of 150 minutes in length. Back in 2007 Genesis reformed and performed to massive audiences throughout Europe, but of the set they produced on their 'Live Over Europe' album only two complete songs are the same as here. Genesis moved on when Phil took over lead vocals, and again when they were reduced to just three in the studio, and many fans talk about the Gabriel period or the Collins period being their particular favourite. Me, I'll say that the Hackett period is the one that suits me best thanks very much. Of all Genesis albums recorded with Phil on vocals the first three are easily the best, and I'm not a massive fan of the albums pre- Steve (although 'The Knife' is and always will be an absolute classic).

Listening to this album is at first a blast from the past, as I spent my formative years listening to these songs, but then it turns into something far much more. Musically Genesis has always been controlled by Tony Banks who is an incredible musician (and very under-rated), but although he is also a guitarist he is first and foremost a keyboard player so the arrangements have always put the guitars somewhat in the shade. Now we have classic songs (mostly forty years old remember) given new life by a guitarist in control of his own band, with the additional confidence of always being on the road and proving himself time and again. He has mostly stayed very true to the originals, but when he has the opportunity to crank his guitar out he certainly does. 'The Musical Box' may start gently, but it rips into a version that gives the song much more life and drama than one could ever imagine from the original. Also of particular note is the ending of 'Shadow of the Hierophant' which is intense, powerful, moving and compelling all at the same time.

This album is what I always refer to as a review killer as once it hits the player all I want to do is hit 'repeat' and it takes concerted effort to move on to something else. If I had to ask for one song that isn't on this set it would probably be 'Squonk' but that is picking straws as we have everything else from 'Supper's Ready' (all 27 minutes of it) to 'Eleventh Earl of Mar' from the criminally overlooked 'Wind & Wuthering'. I could play this album all day, every day, and just wished that I had been able to see this performed. But as I live on the wrong side of the world I was unable to do so, so I will just have to keep playing this instead. Superb.

Report this review (#1097909)
Posted Monday, December 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I saw an interview with Steve a little while ago in which he stated that in lieu of a full Genesis reunion (something that will most likely never happen taking into consideration Phil' health problems and Pete's preoccupation) he would like the Genesis revisited collection to stand as the definitive recordings of these songs. While that is without a doubt quite a claim, I believe this CD/DVD set achieves this.

I've always had a lot of mixed emotions regarding the early Genesis recordings up to Peter's departure. Let me just state that I love the music itself to death and really can't get enough of it. However, most of those recordings (or at least large portions of them) in my opinion suffer from sloppy playing and poor production. It always seems like Peter is just slightly exceeding his vocal comfort zone, Phil's drumming isn't providing enough of a rhythmic foundation, etc. I have never had any complaints about Mike Rutherford or Steve Hackett. I also really like Tony Banks, even if he sometimes seems a bit uninspired. Instances like the revolving door of producers on Foxtrot really show and make the album seem like mass confusion. From the first time I listened to that disc I thought "wow, someone needs to do a kickass rerecording of this".

Well, ladies, gentlemen, and those outside the gender binary, said kickass rerecording is here and boy is it a doozy. All these songs, in my opinion, sound exactly as they should when played by outstanding musicians who really know how to execute complex, passionate, and beautiful music. It simply could not be done better, especially in a live setting! The one low point would probably be Nik Kershaw's vocals on The Lamia. He does a good job, but his voice just doesn't suit it. It's like listening to that recording of Dream Theater covering Dark Side of The Moon. I'm also not a huge fan of the Eleventh Earl Of Mar, but that's mainly just because I don't like the piece. The execution is still beautiful.

It is really hard to pick the best parts (as it is all so fantastic), but I would have to say The Musical Box, Supper's Ready, and Los Endos are my favourites. Los Endos is quite a dramatic reworking, but it shows instrumental virtuosity to a degree that almost has to be seen to be believed (good thing there's a DVD). The unison sections between the instruments are so insane it's incredibly hard to even distinguish the individual players on the CD. It almost sounds like one great mega-synth, but no. That is honestly a sax, keyboard, and electric guitar playing together (without a drummer in some sections!!!!). Supper's Ready is just perfect in every way. There's no other way to describe it. As far as The Musical Box goes, I've probably listened to this recording 50 times since I bought the set. It is played with such amazing energy. One of those real "shivers-down-your-spine" performances. I actually love the original recording of that song too, but I don't find it as hard hitting as this.

Again, I almost cannot express the greatness of the performances and overall musicianship on these discs. I also think Steve Hackett was the perfect person to lead this. I find him truly remarkable and he is a great inspiration on my own guitar playing. I've thought for a while that Voyage Of The Acolyte was what Genesis could have sounded like if done properly. It's great to see this music finally get that treatment.

However, no offence to the other members of Genesis from that time period. I think they're all fantastic and cannot express how much I appreciate their contributions to progressive music. It wouldn't be the same without any of them. However, when listening to Chopin's preludes I can almost guarantee I'd rather hear Horowitz play them than Chopin himself. That is what this disc is. This band is the Horowitz to Genesis' Chopin.

Report this review (#1175511)
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars The DVD is better. After putting together the oh-so-enjoyable Genesis Revisted II, it was inevitable that a lengthy tour would follow with a lengthy live album and DVD, and Hackett obliged by putting out a 3-CD+2-DVD set of the band's 2013 show at the Hammersmith Apollo. The DVD (of the show; the second DVD is just some extras) is a blast; it's fascinating to watch Hackett and his small army work so hard to make these faithful-but-tweaked renditions come alive. Nad Sylvan (who sang "Chamber of 32 Doors," "The Musical Box" and "Eleventh Earl of Mar" on GRII) isn't a perfect stand-in for Gabriel, of course, but he's a reasonable Gabriel/Collins hybrid and he does well enough on the whole. Plus, it's a little oversimplified to just call him the vocalist; in the first half of the show, there's a stretch of nearly an hour in which the only song that features him on vocals is "The Musical Box" (the others in the stretch are "Fly on a Windshield/Broadway Melody of 1974," "The Lamia," "Shadow of the Hierophant," "Blood on the Rooftops," and the "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers .../...In That Quiet Earth/Afterglow" medley, which brings out John Wetton). As far as song selection, even a runtime of more than 2.5 hours will inevitably leave out some potentially great inclusions, but on the whole there's a good selection of songs from GRII plus faithful (to the originals) renditions of some tracks that had made it onto the original Genesis Revisited. I regretfully had to miss this tour when it came near Chicago (I only found out about it the day before and there was no way to make the logistics work), and I'm very happy to have this document as a reasonable proxy of what I missed.

As a live album, though, there are different standards to apply, and thus there are some nits to pick that I could overlook with the DVD. I feel like somewhat of an ingrate to note such a thing, but these are the third live renditions in six years (courtesy of the second disc of Out of the Tunnel's Mouth and Live Rails) of "Blood on the Rooftops," "Fly on the Windshield/Broadway Melody of 1974" and "Firth of Fifth," and while I enjoy them plenty they're done pretty much identically to before (except that Sylan sings "Firth of Fifth" here whereas O'Toole had sung it previously). This is also the second rendition of "Los Endos" in four years (Live Rails again), and it's done pretty much identically to before, aside from the way that the "Moonlit Knight" excerpt from before is swapped out (it's unnecessary given that a full version of that song occurs earlier in the show) for an excerpt from "Slogans" (I do take some enjoyment at the fact that Hackett made sure to include a little bit of his non-Genesis solo material in his show, even though much of his audience had probably never heard a lick of it). That said, there is a really nice touch near the end of having Sylvan come back to sing the "Supper's Ready" reprise from the end of the original studio version. The material that appeared on GRII is essentially done here in a manner identical to how it was done on that album, and the one substantial change (using a single lead vocalist on "Supper's Ready" rather than the lineup used on the GRII version) doesn't strike me as an improvement (I like Sylvan plenty, but being the sole vocalist on a version of "Supper's Ready" is a terrific responsibility, and I'm not sure he totally lives up to it). It was a nice touch to open with "Watcher of the Skies," yes, and including "I Know What I Like" and "Dance on a Volcano" (again, close to the original versions, not the novelty versions of GR) helps to fill out the show well, but they don't feel like the most adventurous of choices.

For all of this, though, I feel like I'm somewhat missing the forest for the trees, and the forest is: "Holy cow, it's a Steve Hackett live album with all of this awesome Genesis stuff in 2013!!!" I mean, who would have thought that I'd be so happy to hear half of Wind and Wuthering done in a live setting at this late a date? Who would have thought that "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" or "The Lamia" or "Shadow of the Hierophant" or "Supper's Ready" would come back to the stage at this point with a prominent member of Genesis involved? And besides, Hackett tears it up; he'd always been skilled at adding little improvements to this material back when he'd been with Genesis, and this skill had only improved through time.

Overall, I enjoy this album a great deal when I listen to it, but I feel like I would value it more if GRII didn't already exist. A good comparison for this album, in my mind, is the Roger Waters live album In the Flesh that he put out in 2000, which documented a tour where he played a number of old Pink Floyd songs plus a sampling of his solo work (and which I would love if it weren't for the final song, which I dislike a great deal). Here's the thing, though: Waters hadn't just put out a corresponding album where he'd re-recorded a bunch of old Pink Floyd songs with his touring band, and thus the new renditions had a strong feeling of being necessary on some level. The renditions here are necessary in a way, yes, but with a big asterisk, and that's the main reason I can't rate this higher, even if part of me loves this album. Regardless, if you liked GRII, you'll almost certainly like this, and it's worth getting (especially since, again, the DVD of the same show comes with it).

Report this review (#1254329)
Posted Tuesday, August 19, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars This Hackett playing Genesis is superior to Genesis on Seconds Out!

When Steve Hackett performed his first solo gig in The Netherlands on October 19th in 1978 (Congresgebouw, The Hague) the venue was half empty I remember, early July 2024 Steve Hackett will play 3 evenings in a row (De Boerderij, Zoetermeer), no more tickets available (lucky me got a ticket on the final night), all concerts were sold out within a few months, the times they are a changin' .....

Another fact about the difference between early Hackett and Hackett nowadays: in the past he hardly played Genesis songs, anno 2024 his setlist is loaded with tracks from 70s Genesis, he even played entire Genesis albums in the last 10 years. A great example of Steve Hackett playing Genesis is this 3-CD/2-DVD box set, featuring known guest musicians like Nick Kershaw, the late John Wetton, and Steve Rothery.

Listening and watching Steve Hackett on this box set I am blown away by his distinctive guitar sound and his skills, this is one of the most underrated guitarists in rock and prog history. For example, the huge variety he creates with techniques like tapping, slide, tremelo and using the volume pedal. He also switches easily from heavy electric guitar to tender Spanish guitar. And in my opinion Steve Hackett has delivered the most compelling guitar solo ever played, in Firth Of Fifth, what a build-up, grand finale and afterglow, wow! He also shines in Fly On A Windshield, The Musical Box, Blood On The Rooftops, Supper's Ready and Los Endos, and in one of my highlights, Shadow Of The Hierophant (the only solo album track). There was no longer room in Genesis for Hackett playing like this in 1977, what an unique symphonic rock sound, especially the blend of volume pedal driven electric guitar, the unsurpassed Mellotron and the mighty Moog Taurus bass pedals, goose bumps!

A strong bonus on this box set is singer Nad Sylvan, I love his voice, more pleasant and intense than Phil Collins on Seconds Out. I am only not really pleased with the extra brass and woodwind elements in the music, but that is purely personal, I am not very up to saxophones and that kind of instruments.

CD-1, 2 and 3 feature the entire Hammersmith Apollo in London concert (May 10th, 2013, "thunderous applause from an ecstatic audience" and "the tremendously successful sell-out Genesis Revisited tour"), DVD 1 and feature the full show (2 hours and 41 minutes) show and Behind The Scenes (close to 40 minutes).


Report this review (#2987914)
Posted Friday, February 2, 2024 | Review Permalink

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