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Steve Hackett - The Total Experience Live In Liverpool CD (album) cover

THE TOTAL EXPERIENCE LIVE IN LIVERPOOL

Steve Hackett

Eclectic Prog


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rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars Here's another live release of Mr. Hackett after a couple of Genesis revisited show, this time, it's the celebration of 40 years of "Voyage of Acolyte" and the release of the "Wolflight" album. The concert starts with the intro of "Corycian Fire" and open with the old track "Spectral Morning". It's disappointing that we can see and hear this complete song only in the extras in the videos section. "Love Song to a Vampire" has that attractive melody getting you hook immediately. In "Wolflight", we can witness the confidence that Steve's voice has acquired in the past years. "Weel's Turning" show heavier guitar sections before an acoustic set of 2 songs beginning with a personal song from Steve dedicated to his wife : "Love and Sea". It's followed by an acoustic version of "Jacuzzi" with his brother Jon on flute. The second set of the show is the Genesis songs starting with "Get' em Out by Friday" with a Nad Sylvan voice that is spot on so as Gary O'Toole's voice. Ronnie Stolt is on bass, being the first instrument he played in his life, so that was not something new for him. The surprise came with the rare interpretation of "Can-Utility and the Coastliners" and "After the Ordeal". My review is based on the Blu-Ray, so my rating will include my appreciation of the overall experience of that 2 hours and 40 minutes show. If I compare this live release from the previous release, I will say that a little more attention has been given to the visuals.The sound and, the camera work are excellent. In the extras, you should take a look at the three videos from the new album that are impressive. The Behind the scenes documentary is what you expect with some repetitive answers in the band's members interviews. I rarely give a 5 stars rating on live releases, because it's a new interpretation of previously old songs, so this is a solid 4 stars.
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Posted Saturday, July 2, 2016 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars A mixed bag

Steve Hackett has been touring relentlessly for a long time and he has been extremely prolific when it comes to releasing live albums/videos from his tours going all the way back to the late 90's with the release of The Tokyo Tapes. For the last five years or so he has been touring extensively under the concept of "Genesis Revisited" and this period alone has already spawned several live releases including Genesis Revisited: Live At Hammersmith in 2013 and Genesis Revisited: Live At The Royal Albert Hall in 2014. The most recent in this series is the present one released in 2016 entitled The Total Experience: Live In Liverpool. The "total experience" refers to the fact that about half the show is Steve Hackett solo material and the other half a straight continuation of the "Genesis revisited" concept with Nad Sylvan's convincing Peter Gabriel impersonation. Personally, I found the concept of the tour a bit confusing and separating the solo stuff from the Genesis stuff in this way only helped emphasise how different these are from each other.

The first half of the show draws material from two main sources: Steve's 1975 solo debut album, Voyage Of The Acolyte, and his latest studio release at the time, Wolflight, which explains the "from Acolyte to Wolflight" part in the name of the tour and in the subtitle of this live album. We also get here a few songs from other early solo albums like Please Don't Touch, Spectral Mornings, and Defector. Most of these songs, if not all of them, have been included on other live recent albums. As I remarked in my review of the Wolflight studio album, it sounds very much like Steve's previous albums going back at least to 2004's To Watch The Storms. It is not bad, but feels a bit like more of the same.

Turning now to the Genesis stuff, any fan of that band is bound to get interested in these selections. It is particularly nice to see that they have included a few "new" songs that were not performed on the previous couple of tours, including Get 'em Out By Friday and Can-Utility And The Coastliners from Foxtrot and The Cinema Show/Aisle Of Plenty from Selling England By The Pound. These are all excellently performed and will not disappoint anyone. Still, even with these excellent surprises I think that Steve has now come to the end of the road with the "Genesis revisited" concept. Continuing on with this beyond this point would be milking it.

The Total Experience is not a bad live album, but there are many others in Steve's extensive live catalogue that are much better than this one. (I should add that I am only familiar with the audio of this release and not the accompanying DVD. I did however see Steve live in Malmö, Sweden on this tour where the same set list was performed.)

Report this review (#1692030)
Posted Sunday, February 12, 2017 | Review Permalink
Matti
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Steve Hackett -- and his multiple revisitations on Genesis classics -- has released quite many live DVD's lately, this 2CD+2DVD set being the latest one. (For me it primarily was a DVD release with the CD's as a bonus, instead of the other way round.)

The subtitle sums it up. The first half of the show consists mostly of the material from his then-latest album Wolflight (2015). I have to say the studio album left me a bit cold. I agree with SouthSideoftheSky that it offers more or less the same as the previous albums of the last ten years. But of course it's very understandable that the long-term artist wants to have a current set list, and I also noticed that in the concert the songs become more alive than on the sterile-sounding album. The guest appearance of Amanda Lehmann (guitar, backing vocals) graces especially 'Love Song to a Vampire'. The core line-up features the long-time collaborators Roger King on keyboards, Rob Townsend on reeds & additional keys, and Gary O'Toole on drums & vocals. It's surprising to see Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings, Transatlantic) on bass here. Two old familiar tracks are thrown among the Wolflight stuff: 'Spectral Mornings' and 'Everyday' from the 1979 album.

'Jacuzzi' from Defector (1980) has here a fresh acoustic arrangement featuring John Hackett on flute. Nice. After the powerful and seldom heard 'Icarus Ascending' (in which Nad Sylvan finely replaces Richie Havens) starts the section celebrating the 40th anniversary of the debut album Voyage of the Acolyte (which still is the favourite for most of the Hackett fans, me included). On 'Shadow of Hierophant' Amanda Lehmann does pretty well the high vocals originally sung by Sally Oldfield. Even up to this point the concert has offered many highlights. Visually it relies on the band playing and the lights underline that beautifully.

The section of Genesis classics is a guaranteed delight. Nad Sylvan is a perfet substitute for Peter Gabriel; he sounds very much like Gabe and has a suitable dose of theatrical charisma of his own (without trying to steal the show). Some tracks such as 'Get 'em Out by Friday' and 'Can-Utility and the Coastliners' from Foxtrot were not included on previous tours. The Hackett- penned instrumental 'After the Ordeal' and 'Cinemashow / Aisle of Plenty' from Selling England (as well as the encore 'Firth of Fifth'), the opening title song from The Lamb, 'The Musical Box'... What a pleasure for an old Genesis fan! The performances are truly excellent all the way.

The second DVD features Behind the Scenes and a Rehearsal Documentary. Decently done all right but nothing special. Nor are the three videos promoting Wolflight very interesting on the long run. It depends on the consumer how valuable it is to get the concert on audio discs too. I would have rated this with four strong stars even if there had been the concert DVD only.

Report this review (#1708493)
Posted Friday, April 7, 2017 | Review Permalink

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