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Steve Hackett - The Tokyo Tapes (DVD) CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 65 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Steve Hackett's Tokyo Tapes is a concert video featuring him and a slew of his former colleagues in all of his years of work. The colleagues in question are John Wetton (ex-King Crimson, ex-Asia), Ian McDonald (ex-King Crimson), Chester Thompson (ex-Frank Zappa, Genesis), and Julian Colbeck (Steve Hackett). What you'll find on this dvd is highly polished songs ranging from Shadow of the Hierophant to Heat of the Moment, and even some King Crimson, but it's all performed wonderfully and the group really puts their own spin on it to make it a unique experience. While the show isn't perfect (marred because of very dated keyboards and a somewhat disastrous vocal performance on I Know What I Like from Hackett [only in parts, though]), there is a lot to like here and most fans of any of the groups that these performers were in will find something to like here.

As a classic Genesis staple, the show opens with Watcher of the Skies, with Colbeck performing the famous Tony Banks mellotron lines, with some help by Ian McDonald. It sets the mood of the album wonderfully and while there isn't a great visual offering in the vein of Gabriel, it's rather fun watching Hackett and the rest of the group perform. You'll find some great extended and modified pieces in Firth of Fifth and Camino Royale, the first getting the Watcher of the Skies: Genesis Revisited middle section that really has nothing to do with the song itself, and the latter getting an extensive Hackett harmonica solo. The first cover song of the night is Battlelines off of John Wetton's solo album of the same name. It's a ballad by and by, but Wetton's voice (which has aged nicely since the 70s) is comforting and Hackett's guitar solo reiterates the main theme well.

The other covers of the night include In the Court of the Crimson King, which is cut short, but McDonald's flute work is poetic and very well played. Heat of the Moment gets an acoustic treatment for this set, and Wetton's passionate vocal is complimented nicely by the three guitar approach and some nice harmony vocals from Hackett and McDonald. I Talk to The Wind has some great harmony vocals from Wetton and Hackett on top of McDonald's great flute performance. Some real highlights to the show are Shadow of Hierophant/Los Endos (bridged together by a Chester Thompson drum solo. Hierophant is played wonderfully from the great 6/4 buildup section at the end, and Los Endos is played perfectly, even with the Moonlit Knight quote in the middle.

The only real problems I have with this dvd is the keyboard sound from Colbeck, which sounds awfully dated (case in point during his solo on In That Quiet Earth, which is otherwise a great number). And I Know What I Like, even though it has a great groove to it thanks to Wetton's walking bass line, is marred by some over the top Hackett vocals, it can even get a bit cringeworthy in moments (especially the, "But I remembered a voice from the past" line). Other than that, though, there aren't any true faults with this live collection.

In the end, I stated above what I find to be wrong with this dvd. The sound is great and well mixed, the video gives lots of camera time to every performer, and the overall set list is a nice blend of everyone's past and present. If you're a fan of Hackett/Genesis/King Crimson/John Wetton/Asia then you should probably find something to enjoy about this disc, and since I like essentially all those groups, this live album is right up my alley. 4.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |


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