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Steve Hackett - Rails Live CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

4.33 | 109 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Hackett has done it once again!

Steve Hackett and his excellent live band is one of the more prolific live acts in classic progressive Rock today, at least in terms of live recordings. One may be forgiven for wondering whether yet another live release is really necessary, and the answer is both yes and no. The recent handful of Hackett live releases have all been in the form of videos, while Rails is available only as an audio recording (more specifically as a double CD, and download, of course).

As Rails was recorded on the tour in support of Steve's most recent studio album, Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth (an album that featured such luminaries as Chris Squire and Anthony Phillips as well as Steve's brother John Hackett), there are naturally several songs from that album being performed here. All in all as many as six out of the eight tracks from that album are included on this live release. But I still don't think that this live album makes the studio album redundant! Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth is a very good album and the material chosen from it here fits in perfectly with both the Hackett solo and the Genesis classics performed. There is only one song here that I don't like much and that is the Blues rocker Still Waters. It is not bad, just unremarkable and I think it was the least good track on the Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth album. I would have preferred to hear Nomads or Last Train To Istanbul.

Starting with the solo classics, Steve concentrates here on material from his earliest few albums and picks out such fan favourites as Ace Of Wands from Voyage Of The Acoylate, Every Day, Clocks and Spectral Mornings from Spectral Mornings and Slogans and The Steppes from Defector. I'm certain that these selections will please the Prog community and, almost needless to say, the performances are simply impeccable throughout.

There are also as many as five Genesis classics, all on the second disc. Most of these are mainstays in Steve's live repertoire and are already featured on several other live releases. What stands out here is the full length performance of Firth Of Fifth as on previous tours only the famous solo from it was performed (with the exception of that tour with John Wetton and Ian McDonald that can be witnessed on the Tokyo Tapes DVD). I'm not sure who is handling the lead vocals here, but it certainly isn't Steve himself. The vocals on Blood On The Rooftops are handled by drummer Gary O'Toole like he did also on the Once Above A Time DVD. Broadway Melody Of 1974 is a newcomer, but it is not a favourite of mine and it adds little of value to this live album.

The acoustic side of Steve Hackett is not much on display on this quite rocking album, but it is full of old and new classics and I cannot see how I could rate it any differently than with four stars. Still, there are several other Hackett live releases (including those two DVDs I mentioned above) that I rate even higher. If you don't have any Hackett live release, I very strongly recommend that you get at least one. If you happen to prefer CDs over DVDs, you cannot go wrong with Rails.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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