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Steve Hackett - There Are Many Sides To The Night CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.91 | 61 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars After recording Blues With a Feeling, Steve decided it would be nice to do a small tour that would focus on his acoustic material. This album, taken from a December 1994 show in Sicily, features Steve on acoustic guitar and Julian Colbeck (who had been working with Steve for a few years, and whose most notable previous gig had been as a secondary keyboardist on the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe tour) on keyboards, and it works as a marvelous introduction to the quieter side of Hackett. It isn't quite a replacement for the two acoustic albums that come before it (the first half draws heavily from Bay of Kings, but the album only contains one Momentum track, "Cavalcanti"), but if I could only choose between having this set and having both of those albums, I'd pick this one.

The first half, as mentioned, has a lot of Bay of Kings tracks, and while these performances don't stray tremendously far from their studio counterparts, there are some nice surprises amongst them, like when Steve follows "Horizons" with brief snippets of a couple of Genesis tunes ("Cuckoo Cocoon," "Blood on the Rooftops"), or how he rearranges "Kim" by having the keyboards play all of the original guitar parts and the guitar play the original flute parts. After the initial stretch of Bay tracks, the album jumps all over the place, blending the Hackett propensity for stylistic mish-mash with his love of low- key instrumentals in a way that the acoustic guitar albums hadn't shown. Aside from a handful of his typical acoustic numbers, there's an instrumental rendition of "Oh How I Love You" (which sounds quite nice stripped of the overdone vocals and 80s production values of the Feedback '86 version), a dash of Baroque-like music in "Bacchuss" (which Steve jokingly refers to as "Ba-rock"), a decent instrumental from Guitar Noir ("Walking Away From Rainbows"), a cover of a movement from Vivaldi's Concerto in D, a piece from the blues album ("A Blue Part of Town," one of my favorites from the album, featuring a duet between keyboards and harmonica), a piano-based cover of the first half of "Ace of Wands" (with Colbeck doing his very best Wakeman imitation) and a piece from a Andrea Morricone (Ennio's son) film score. The balance between variety and unity helps make for a very engaging listen, and is a big part in why I rate this album as high as I do.

Honestly, I expected something much more boring than this (perhaps because of the association with the Guitar Noir track after which this album is named, as that track is a little more sedate than I'd prefer), so this is a very pleasant surprise. A few years after release, this was packaged into a 2-CD set with Guitar Noir, and while somebody might come across that set and consider Guitar Noir as the main reason to consider buying it, this is definitely the better of the two albums. If you're at all curious about Steve's acoustic work, start here.

tarkus1980 | 4/5 |


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