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Steve Hackett 17 September 2021

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lazland View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 18 2021 at 10:28
Well, last night my son and I finally got to see the Covid postponed Steve Hackett Seconds Out gig in Cardiff St. David’s Hall.


This was, from an incredible lack of common sense on my part, the first time I had seen Hackett live since Six of the Best. Yes, I know, pretty shocking. I don’t really know the full reason, but I do know that a part of it in recent years has been a reluctance to see a Swedish singer, no matter how good, trying to replicate what are quintessentially English songs. Indeed, a comment to this effect on the forum got me into a bit of a row with an excitable French chappie, now formerly of this parish.


Well, all I can say is that this has been my loss, but I am so glad we went. What a night!


The set itself was divided into two parts. The first forty minutes were devoted to Hackett solo pieces, with a couple of tracks from the new album, which came across very well, and the perennial favourites Every Day and an abridged version of Shadow of the Hierophant. We had terrific seats looking down directly on the band, with the wonderful Jonas Reingold nearest to us, and seeing him working wonders with his bass pedals on the latter really was a highlight of the night.


The second part was, of course, Seconds Out in its entirety, with Firth of Fifth and Aisle of Plenty chucked in for good measure, the latter especially a real gift to these ears.


The band are at the top of their game. Rob Townsend brings so much to the party with his woodwind, and his sax solo during the traditional Collins tambourine segment of I Know What I Like was exceptional, and, if I dare say it, a damned sight better than said tambourine jamboree. Craig Blundell fairly ripped the drums all night, and you forget that we used to see two drummers with Hackett’s erstwhile colleagues for much of the show. Roger King is a consummate professional, and he doesn’t just replicate Tony Banks’ parts, but adds his own character to much loved lines.


Hackett looks, acts, and plays like a man 10 years younger. Not one bum note. A guitarist for whom the word maestro was invented, it was not merely the solos which shined, but you got a real sense of the incredible musical collaborations which made Genesis with his rhythm and supporting licks.


And what of Nad Sylvan? Well, I got his new solo album this last week, and I will be posting a very favourable review of it shortly. It is a very good piece of work, but what about my beef re him singing English pastoral classics? I have seen and heard him do these many times, either on live cds, live dvds, or on YouTube. All I can say is that none of these go anywhere near doing this man justice. Because what really shone through last night was not just the power of his voice, although that was a part of it, but simply the raw emotion he brought to timeless classics. He was absolutely all over Musical Box (thankfully, the band played the full version of the song, and not the truncated Seconds Out version). He nailed it, and the nuances of his Suppers Ready was only really obvious to me in the flesh. The difference, of course, between the live experience and a mere (sometimes overly remastered) recording.


By the time the quite unreal power of Dance on a Volcano and Los Endos had finished the last notes (and I swear the hall was shaking during these), Hackett and his wonderful ensemble had us all eating out of their hands.


A word about the venue. I like St David’s Hall. It is quite an intimate venue, and the acoustics are crystal clear. It is not small, by any means, but not so large as to render the band distant and “going through the motions”. Indeed, I said to my lovely son during an after show drinkie that this was by far the finest Genesis gig I had seen since my first time seeing the threesome, Chester, and Darryl in Lyceum Ballrooms, now 41 years ago. Since then, I have seen “official” Genesis at Birmingham NEC a few times, Roundhay Park, Wembley Stadium, and etc. Whilst the band were never anything less than great, said venues are pretty soulless places, bereft of any real atmosphere. This music, which I have adored since my prog awakening in the 70’s, was made to be experienced, not merely gawped at from too far a distance, and Hackett proved that last night.


When Sylvan asked us to acknowledge Hackett (massive cheers and applause), he said “The King of Prog”. On last night’s showing, it really is pretty damned hard to disagree.


If you get the chance, go see them. One of the finest gigs I have had the pleasure of attending. Oh, and one of the best curries ever eaten before the gig as well! Happy days, indeed, and so nice to share with a 20 year old who has a strong sense of what constitutes great music.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote progaardvark Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2021 at 11:30
Great review! Makes me wish I was there. Also makes me regret not buying tickets to a show he did nearby (about a 2 1/2 hour drive) a couple years ago here in the States. Glad you had a great time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2021 at 12:09
It's good to know Steve can still hack it at the age of 71. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote suitkees Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2021 at 12:29
Great review. Wouldn't hesitate to go see Hackett on this tour, but the South of France is very much terra incognita regarding prog acts...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blacksword Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 23 2021 at 02:31
Great review! Not much I can add really, having seen the show in London on Monday 21st. It was incredible, and the sound just perfect.

They opened with Clocks, which was a real hall shaker, and a great way to open the show. I really liked The Devils Cathedral, one of his new tracks.

The end to end Seconds Out performance was bordering on a religious experience!

I got chatting to the guy next to me, who said The Musical Box were touring The Lamb next year. I'll have to Google - he'd had a few - but if that's the case, then I'm there already.
Ultimately bored by endless ecstasy!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ronstein Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 23 2021 at 11:49
^ We were at the same show, and I thought it was brilliant. Nad Sylvan's performance was the best I've heard in 5 or 6 Hackett concerts. He absolutely nailed every song! 

Edited by Ronstein - September 24 2021 at 08:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cosmiclawnmower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 23 2021 at 14:10
Cant wait for the Plymouth Pavillion show Oct 12th!! 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 29 2021 at 05:27
Hackett is to Genesis what Nick Mason is to Pink Floyd.  Thanks for the review!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lewian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 29 2021 at 06:28
Originally posted by Rick1 Rick1 wrote:

Hackett is to Genesis what Nick Mason is to Pink Floyd.  Thanks for the review!

In fact Hackett is more than that. I loved Mason's Saucerful of Secrets when seeing them live, but Hackett is still creative and does new music. Mason doesn't.

Thanks for the great review by the way.


Edited by Lewian - September 29 2021 at 06:29
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 29 2021 at 06:39
^ Well, I meant in relation to doing his former band proud.  Indeed, Hackett is still very much active with new music.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boojieboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2021 at 21:13
I wish Steve would stick exclusively or mostly to his solo material live, like he used to. That best represents him, rather than just 20%. And he's got a ton of strong material to draw from. Anyway, I'm glad he's still going strong and bringing music to the people. 

Edited by Boojieboy - September 30 2021 at 21:16
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blacksword Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2021 at 01:46
Originally posted by Boojieboy Boojieboy wrote:

I wish Steve would stick exclusively or mostly to his solo material live, like he used to. That best represents him, rather than just 20%. And he's got a ton of strong material to draw from. Anyway, I'm glad he's still going strong and bringing music to the people. 


I think the split show format works, although his solo segment on this tour was too short. I would have liked to have at least heard Ace of Wands and Spectral Mornings too. The Genesis part of the show is fantastic for folks like me who missed that period of the band on account of being a toddler when it was all happening...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote timbo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2021 at 06:17
I was at the Plymouth show last night. Great show, everything Lazland said was true.
It’s the closest I’ve ever come to seeing Genesis in that period - I saw them on the Abacab tour in 1982, but by then they’d already ditched a lot of the early material.(They did play Supper’s Ready though).

The show had an interesting dynamic. Nad is a great singer, but he can’t act as a “front man” as it’s Steve’s show. With the Genesis material at times even Steve takes a back seat as the keys dominate. Roger King did a great job, and puts more expression and dynamics into Tony’s original lines, such as the piano intro to Firth. Roger plays it better.

Went with my nephew, who was 30 years younger than most people in the audience. He commented that it had a very different vibe to most gigs he’d seen, as we all sat quietly and listened. Apparently the only similar gig he’d seen was Dream Theater. (He normally goes to see metal or prog metal bands).

I’d say most of the show was pretty similar to how Genesis played back then, but the addition of Rob Townsend with his sax was very refreshing, sometimes taking the keyboard or guitar lines, with the occasional new solo. The sax solo at the end of I know what I like was amazing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote timbo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2021 at 06:23
Originally posted by Boojieboy Boojieboy wrote:

I wish Steve would stick exclusively or mostly to his solo material live, like he used to. That best represents him, rather than just 20%. And he's got a ton of strong material to draw from. Anyway, I'm glad he's still going strong and bringing music to the people. 


When Steve toured a few years ago with his own material, he was playing 200-300 seater theatres.
Playing the Genesis material he sells out 2000-3000 seater arenas and bigger.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cosmiclawnmower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2021 at 14:39
Originally posted by timbo timbo wrote:

I was at the Plymouth show last night. Great show, everything Lazland said was true.
It’s the closest I’ve ever come to seeing Genesis in that period - I saw them on the Abacab tour in 1982, but by then they’d already ditched a lot of the early material.(They did play Supper’s Ready though).

The show had an interesting dynamic. Nad is a great singer, but he can’t act as a “front man” as it’s Steve’s show. With the Genesis material at times even Steve takes a back seat as the keys dominate. Roger King did a great job, and puts more expression and dynamics into Tony’s original lines, such as the piano intro to Firth. Roger plays it better.

Went with my nephew, who was 30 years younger than most people in the audience. He commented that it had a very different vibe to most gigs he’d seen, as we all sat quietly and listened. Apparently the only similar gig he’d seen was Dream Theater. (He normally goes to see metal or prog metal bands).

I’d say most of the show was pretty similar to how Genesis played back then, but the addition of Rob Townsend with his sax was very refreshing, sometimes taking the keyboard or guitar lines, with the occasional new solo. The sax solo at the end of I know what I like was amazing.

I was there too and concur with what you've said; a really fantastic concert and everyone really loves Steve!! he puts his all in and he looked exhausted by the end.. Apart from the drum sound (which sounded a bit dead to my ears but in no way reflects on Mr Blundell's actual drumming skill which was remarkable) the overall sound was very good and well balanced. The bands overall performance was peerless but i got the impression that they were feeling a bit tired (physically, not in terms of enthusiasm..) and thats not a criticism; bloody hell i'm 14 years younger than Mr Hackett and i dont think i could work as relentlessly as he does! I heard some people saying that Nad Sylvan was criticized when he joined the 'Genesis revisited' team for being too overt and out there and now he's criticized for being 'wooden' .. as far as i was concerned he bridged the vocals of Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins admirably with the odd fay (but wry) hand, body and facial gesture to just bring a little hint of theatre to it.. And all in all the saxophone parts worked very well, particularly with the keyboard parts. I noticed that the band stuck a section of (what i think was) 'Slogans' in the 'Dance on a volcano/ Los Endos' encore?! which was interesting and we only got the truncated 'Musical Box' rather than the full version which some dates had.. I noticed that Nick Barrett was in the foyer.. guess he hasnt got far to come now! He's almost an ol' Janner with the rest of us!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote timbo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 14 2021 at 03:45
Another prog fan in the south-west!

I agree the sound was a little dead. I didn’t much care for the piano sound either - on Firth, as beautifully as Roger played it, the piano sound was quite harsh without much body. I don’t know whether that was the PA system or from Roger’s keyboard.

Still it was way better than last time I went to the Pavilions for Jools Holland - the sound then was awful, totally distorted especially in the treble range. I couldn’t hear what the singers were singing much of time. At least for Steve it was fairly clean and clear.
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