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Steve Hackett The Tokyo Tapes album cover
3.97 | 167 ratings | 26 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1: (55:37)

1. Watcher Of The Skies (8:59)
2. Riding The Colossus (3:32)
3. Firth Of Fifth (9:32)
4. Battlelines (6:43)
5. Camino Royale (9:06)
6. The Court Of The Crimson King (7:39)
7. Horizons (1:53)
8. Walking Away From Rainbows (3:47)
9. Heat Of The Moment (4:06)

CD 2: (55:18)

1. In that quiet earth (4:02)
2. Vampyre with a healty appetite (7:26)
3. I talk to the wind (5:28)
4. Shadow of the hierophant (7:14)
5. Los Endos (6:54)
6. Black Light (2:30)
7. The Steppes (6:48)
8. I know what I like (5:51)
9. Firewall (bonus studio track) (4:42)
10. The Dealer (bonus studio track) (4:23)
11. All Along The Watchtower (2014 re-issue bonus track)

Total Time: 110:55

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Hackett / guitar, harmonica, vocals
- John Wetton / bass, guitar, vocals
- Ian McDonald / flute, sax, guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Chester Thompson /drums
- Julian Colbeck / keyboards, vocals

Firewall / The Dealer:

- Steve Hackett / guitar, percussion
- Iron Friedman / keyboards, programming

All Along The Watchtower:

- Steve Hackett / guitar
- John Wetton / bass, vocals

Releases information

InsideOut CAMCD15 / SPV 092-28712CD

Album repackaged and re-titled as "Steve Hackett & Friends / Live in Japan " LD: Videoarts Music, VALJ-1042 (Japan)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to SouthSideoftheSky for the last updates
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STEVE HACKETT The Tokyo Tapes ratings distribution

(167 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

STEVE HACKETT The Tokyo Tapes reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
4 stars Wetton, McDonald, Colbert and Thompson are at their top shape, musically perfect, along with their great jam sessions inside the immortal classics by KING CRIMSON, GENESIS and the best solo stuff by HACKETT_ as well. Highly recommended!!
Review by Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I usually don't like live albums so I won't comment much on this one except to say that its song list is impressive and the performance quite convincing, as is the case with most HACKETT material. The sole reason for this review is to let you know about two gems found at the end of the second CD, two instrumental pieces you won't find on any official HACKETT album: "Firewall" and "The Dealer". These sizzling studio gems are uplifting, funky and so totally wacko you just can't get enough of them. They'd bring the house down on any concert night. Personally, I would have bought the double CD just for these two!
Review by Jim Garten
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Retired Admin & Razor Guru
3 stars In the last few years, Steve Hacket has, some would say, rested on his laurels, and concentrated on crowd pleasing gigs of mostly old material; this album is a worthy document of one of these crowd pleasers.

Surrounding himself with the great and the good of mid 1970's progressive rock, Hackett concentrates on giving the crowd exactly what they want to hear from such a lineup with mixed results; to be honest, it is the King Crimson covers which adapt best to this situation, with soaring versions of 'Court' and 'I talk to the wind' , although 'Watcher of the skies' and 'Horizons' fare well, too. This is not to say the musicianship is at anytime less than excellent - Ian MacDonald rates a special mention here for his evocative flute work, as do the ever reliable vocal talents of John Wetton.

Overall, this album is akin to listening to a very good tribute band, but none the less for that - face it, nobody is playing this music anymore (personally, as far as 'heat of the moment' is concerned, that can only be a good thing), so if Hackett wants to supply the obvious demand, then all power to him.

This is a high quality album by a who's who of 1970s prog-rock - not an essential purchase by any means, but an extremely worthy one.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Yes, I like this live album, even the Genesis renditions are great. John Wetton singing ' Watcher of the skies' is quite refreshing.Julian Colbeck ex Zappa on keyboards and Ian McDonald of KC fame on flute not to mention Chester Thompson, that fine drummer behind the drum kit.' The Steppes' also has a great version played. This demonstrates to me how much Hackett would still have to offer on a Genesis reunion. OK it was done 8 years ago in Tokyo but he still has the edge. Dreaming of reunions of course!
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Big in Japan

Following on from his "Genesis revisited" album Hackett took the show on the road to Japan, complete with some of the guests who had appeared on the studio recordings. The result is this rather eclectic mix of tracks from both Hackett's history, and that of his friends.

The Genesis classics still tend to take pride of place, with excellent versions of "Watcher of the skies" and "Firth of fifth" (similar to but different from the "Revisited" versions). The additional freeform section before Hackett's guitar solo on "Firth of Fifth" may or may not be appropriate, but it does make that wonderful solo sound even better. "Los endos" is more of an acquired taste, but after several listens it's easier to "get". Hackett also reclaims "Horizons" (per Genesis tradition credited on "Foxtrot" as a band composition but clearly Hackett's baby), and "In that quiet earth" from "Wind and Wuthering". The latter is subject to an improvisational section, complete with sax!

Ian MacDonald, manages to get two tracks from "In the court of the crimson king" included, sung superbly by fellow ex King Crimson man John Wetton (though Wetton was of course not in the band for their first album). Wetton himself contributes the excellent "Battlelines" from his solo work, plus "Heat of the moment" from his time with Asia. "Battlelines" is very much a Wetton led performance here, and is a highlight of this album. "Heat of the moment" is only recognisable from the melody, as it is transformed into a beautifully fragile acoustic ballad, essential listening for Asia fans.

Ironically, it is Hackett's solo works which are the relatively (and I would emphasise the word relatively) weak tracks, perhaps due to a lack of familiarity both within the assembled players, and indeed some of the audience.

Two new studio instrumental tracks round off the album, both of which are competent if unremarkable, "The dealer" being slightly the better.

If you ignore the rather uninspired sleeve, and can forgive Hackett for not sharing the album credit more evenly, this is a fine double CD collection, with an enjoyable diversity of source material.

Review by erik neuteboom
5 stars This review is about the DVD release from this tour, it includes all the tracks on the 2-CD except the final two studio songs. On the back cover I read the retorical question from the record company: "What would it sound like if occasional members of Genesis, King Crimson, Asia, Yes, Zappa & Weather Report, all got together to form a unique team just for one night?". Well, The Steve Hackett Band included that night Mr. Hackett himself, John Wetton, Ian McDonald, Chester Thompson and Julian Colbeck, can anybody reveal to me who played in Yes? But let's focus on the performance from Hackett & Co., he delivers a great set with classics like "Watcher of the skies" (beautiful Mellotron samples and a good Gabriel imitation by John Wetton), "Firth of fifth" (surprising jam, splendid rhythm-section and an awesome rendition of the #1 progrock guitar-solo!), "The court of the crimson king" (after 35 years it still evokes goose bumps, what a moving Mellotron sound and voice from John Wetton!) and "I know what I like" (surprising bass/organ intro). Ian McDonald plays a very fresh role with his flute an saxophone. But the focal point is Stephen Hackett with his unique, alternating and seminal guitarplay: sensitive, howling and biting or warm and soaring, it's always moving and about the right notes instead of showing speed or other scale-acrobatics! His skills on the acoustic guitar are also very worth listening (and watching on this DVD), he was one of the first who did an 'unplugged version', on this DVD it includes "Horizons" and "The black light" and a blend of pieces from "The lamb.." and "Wind and wuthering". Other fine moments are "Vampyre with a healthy apetite (horroprog with fiery guitar soli and screaming mouth-organ), "Los endos" (a very spectacular version) and "The steppes" (Hackett at his best featuring his distinctive use of sustain and the volume pedal). The lightshow is amazing and very tasteful so my conclusion is: A MUST FOR EVERY SERIOUS PROGHEAD!!!
Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I bought this record on the strenght of some comments and reviews on this website, and I'm glad to say it is a really excellent album, with stellar performances from a prog lover's dream team. Back in 1998, for only one night in Tokyo, Steve Hackett invited some of his friends to share the spotlight with him - and the result is immensely enjoyable, a mix of Hackett's original tunes, Genesis and King Crimson classics and a couple of contributions from bassist and vocalist John Wetton's variegated career.

As one can expect, the musicianship is fantastic throughout, with a special mention for Ian McDonald's performance on flute and saxophone. Wetton's voice is warm and passionate, his "Battlelines" being easily one of the highlights of the record (and that from somebody who's never been a Wetton fan!). His performance on the two KC classics is also quite good, although Lake will always be in a different league.

However, the Hackett-penned instrumental tracks are in no way inferior to these "golden oldies", especially "Shadow of the Hierophant", which opens in style the almost completely instrumental second CD. This also contains a stunning version of "Los Endos", driven by the powerhouse rythm section of Chester Thompson and John Wetton (who remains a great bassist). It's a pity, though, that the beautiful, melancholy "Blood on the Rooftops" is only hinted at. The two studio tracks that close the second CD feature Hackett on guitar and percussion and Iron Friedman on keyboards and programming; they're rather interesting, though not as good as those performed live.

Overall, "The Tokyo Tapes" is surely a recommended listen for every self-respecting fan of '70s prog rock.

Review by Australian
3 stars Well, this album is for all of you that wonder what a mixture of Genesis and King Crimson would have turned out to be.well, not really actually. This performance is a combination of songs written by King Crimson, Genesis and of course Steve Hackett, with some other stuff thrown into the mix as well for good measure. This is indeed quite an entertaining and interesting listen, although the performers don't seem to do anything really attention catching like say, Ian Anderson would. The sound quality isn't too bad you'll be happy to hear, it's not amazing however. The greatest thing about this album is the two unreleased studio tracks called "Firewall" and "The Dealer." These two songs make up the major incentive to get this album, beyond the live performance.

Another very interesting feature of "The Tokyo Tapes" is that the musicians have taken an alternative path (some more than others) with each song. While this is not always a good thing in some cases through out the album it can be interesting to see a different perspective of a song. I have to admit that the live versions of "Firth of Fifth" and "Watcher of the skies" are excellent as is "Ride the Colossus." Steve Hackett manages to keep his reputation on guitar here as it sounds as crisp as ever and never ceases to amaze. Wetton does an excellent job in the vocal department; some of the tracks just don't seem right without the original vocalists however.

I don't get why Steve Hackett gets all the credit for this album as there are a bunch of equally reputable musicians at his side who seem to be shoved a side. Anywho, due to many reasons this is probably a four star album but I'm going to settle on three for now. I'd recommend "The Tokyo Tapes" to all classic prog fans; I guarantee you'll find this mix of proggers quite entertaining. Short and sweet. Good, but non-essential

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hackett, Genesis and Crimson in ASIA sound

Having conducted a progressive rock workshop An Appreciation for GENESIS last week down here at Jakarta, Indonesia - I don't know for some reason my attention then went on to Steve Hackett. For me personally, Hackett is a brilliant musician and composer, who was a very key member of Genesis. During the workshop, I played "Please Don't Touch" tune just to indicate to the prog audience who participated actively at Mario's Place (the workshop venue) that this tune has a strong historic value for Hackett, I believe. It's because this song was originally approved by the band during the recording of "Wind and Wuthering" album but . at the later stage it was dropped by Phil Collins. So then . we all knew that Hackett left the band right after the release of Wind Wuthering and completing the tour which was recorded under "Seconds Out" live double album.

Hackett's composition is for me so unique and he has explored his musical talent not limited to just rock but he also adventured into a blues, jazz and a bit of avant-garde music. Have you listened to "Mechanical Bride" (To Watch The Storm) or "Dark Town" (album title track)? You will find his interpretation of avant-garde music in these tracks.

This live album "Tokyo Tapes" has been with me since it was released and by then when I got it, I was not so impressed with this record. The main reason was being the fact that the sound is not like typical nuance of Hackett album. It's totally different with "Voyage of The Acolyte" or "Spectral Mornings" or "Defector". Something strange for me and I did not pay further attention with this record until recently. I try to spin many more times and forget about the Hackett nuance at all. It helps a lot because by doing so I do not need to expect anything on the sounds of this music at all. What I got was a totally different experience: the overall live album sounds like an ASIA album. It's probably on John Wetton's singing style which reminds me to his tenure with ASIA and not with King Crimson at all. So I call that this is like the music of Steve Hackett, King Crimson, and Genesis are being played with ASIA nuance. That's what I feel.

Why liking this album?

Different Sound. Oh yes, this was actually the thing that turned me down to further explored this album - because the sound was not exactly what I expected with Steve Hackett. I thought that this album should not be titled under Steve Hackett solo album because I did not find the "soul" of Hackett music in here. Time went by and by the time I switch my mind by releasing any expectation at all from Steve Hackett, I then can easily enjoy the music this album offers. Even from the start of the album with "Watcher Of The Skies" (8:59) I can sense how this legendary track by Genesis is being played with modern keyboard sound of Julian Colbeck. Even when "Riding The Colossus" (3:32) is being played I can sense different sound than the "Genesis Revisited" album. This also happens beautifully with "Shadow of the Hierophant" (7:14) which offers different nuance under this version.

Music Experimentation. This thing happens wonderfully - to my ears - for tracks with great insertion of avant-garde style. This happens, for example - with "Firth Of Fifth" (9:32) . In a nutshell I don't like this version until I find its beauty during interlude where this collaboration of genius musicians produce avant-garde style. I think Ian McDonald's role in this nuance is very critical. This also happens with "Los Endos" where so far I has considered that the version of "Genesis Revisited" album is the best one but now I think this live version is also great. I especially like when Ian McDonald plays his inventive sax work. It's great!

Collaborative Effort of Great Musicians. This is a live performance of great musicians from legendary bands like Genesis, Asia, King Crimson, Asia and even Frank Zappa. You can find ASIA track "Heat of The Moment" as well as King Crimson "The Court of The Crimson King" and "I Talk To The Wind". All of them are performed combining the strengths of each individual musician from other bands. It's very enjoyable to listen to Hackett's guitar interpretation of Robert Fripp's (King Crimson) unique guitar playing. Chester Thompson is Genesis' drum player during tour, so he should be familiar with some Genesis tracks. For my taste, I do not actually enjoy his style of playing at this album. John Wetton plays like how he played with Asia and not in such a way represents his style with King Crimson (at all!). "Battlelines" (6:43) is the best example of Asia sound.

Why (you are) NOT liking this album?

Newbie. If you are newbie to prog or to any of Hackett, Genesis, King Crimson, or Asia music, I do not recommend you to have this album directly. It's too risky for you if you have not listened to the studio albums before. But of course this is not a 100% guarantee because actually you might still have some holes on how to best enjoy this album. For newbie in prog, you should listen to the studio albums of Steve Hackett, Genesis and King Crimson prior to listening to this album.

Don't want improvisation. well, I understand that some people are so peculiar on maintaining the originality of composition and don't want to listen to any improvisation from its original version. If you are this kind of people, it's gonna be very hard for you to enjoy this album.


I consider this album, overall, is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. I experience it myself that since couple of days ago I keep listening to this album many spins already. On other thing, I also like the insertion of some Genesis parts like "Cuckoo Caccoon" or "Blood on Rooftops" guitar shots in "Black Light". This also happens with some improvisation on "Los Endos". All of this sum up into one excellent album that any prog head should have. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This live album is some sort of the best prog rock you can imagine in these late nineties.

A great line-up and some of the most beautiful numbers that the genre has ever produced. Not only is the line-up great, but it is also one of the most credible you could get.

From top to bottom in the track list : two of my fave Crimson ones. Superbly rendered here. I am found of "Talk To The Wind", and the wonderful fluting from Ian McDonald is just gorgeous. Is it also necessary to mention that John Wetton's vocals fit this song perfectly? He is as close to Greg Lake as possible. This is one out my fave here (but there are plenty of those).

The second Crimson one is THE highlight of this live set IMHHO. I guess that there is nothing to say about "In The Court". And this version is just sumptuous. Extraordinary mellotron, great vocals and such a wonderful feeling throughout this fantastic song. I am just speechless when I hear this song. It is one of the greatest prog song ever recorded, that's for sure.

These two songs are IMHHO the two best ones of this double set. Fantastic, really.

One step below are two of my fave "Genesis" ones. The great opener "Watcher" of course. As during the studio work ('"Watcher Of The Skies Revisited" ), once you have made abstraction of John's vocals, the instrumental part are absolutely on par with the genuine one. And I have listened to this fabulous song an incredible amount of times.

"Firth" is somewhat different. The middle and noisy part here is fully.Crimsonesque and not very much welcome. But, again, if some abstraction is made one has to admire this absolute masterpiece of music (all genres confounded).

I have seen the band ("Genesis" I mean) performed "Los Endos" live in Brussels in 1977 (Forest National).. Having both Chester and Phil on stage was quite an experience. You'll get a better idea of what it could have been when listening to the great "Seconds Out" version. This one is truly NOT on par. I was lucky to SEE the 1976 tour as well with Bill (Brufford) and Phil in the same exercise. A great moment in my musical life. For sure.

Some of the best (but not all of them) Steve's solo songs are featured as well. "Walking Away From Rainbows" is just as sublime as during the studio version. So poignant, a bit sad but just beautiful. This will definitely be one song that will be played during my burial party. A highlight, fully emotional. The scary "Vampyre With A Healthy Appetite" has its own right to be here as well.

"Camino Royale" and "The Steppes" are perfectly in line with the best tracks one can expect of such kind of a live album. Very good renditions of good tracks. What else do we need?

The minus parts now.

The version of "Shadow" is just cut down to its very end and features an average drum solo (we could have expected something of another tenure IMO). The worst track here is "I Know What I Like"". Difficult to bear in this version. But the studio one from Steve was also a poor experience. At least, he is consistent.

Don't be fooled by the two unreleased studio tracks. "Firewall" as well as "The Dealer" aren't adding anything important to this work. Just nine minutes of average music.

This is my preferred live album from Steve. Probably because of the mix of great songs (but not only from his repertoire), a solid line up and a very good selection of some of his best solo songs as well.

Four stars.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I always have my doubts when I see super lineups joined to release an album, because normally they don't give what you should expect from great musicians, but at the first listen of "Tokyo Tapes" anyone can notice there's something different.

Wetton, Thompson, Mc'Donald, Colbeck and Steve Hackett, are very competent musicians but they don't have an over dimensioned ego, something that allows them to work as a team, without internal fights or problems, but most important, they all know that this is a Steve Hackett album, so he is in charge of the band and nobody tries to be the star, not even Steve.

The result is an outstanding album, group of former Genesis, King Crimson, Asia, Zappa and Weather Report musicians, working as a solid group instead of a bunch of names joined in the last minute, seems hard to believe they are not part of the same band working for years, because there are practically no bad spots.

They perform Genesis, Asia, King Crimson and Steve Hackett songs as if they had played that stuff for a lifetime, but harder still, they are not afraid of doing it, something very common when doing a cover of a musical icon, some tracks are very faithful to the original version while others are very different, but all have something unique plus a dark mysterious touch that makes them sound original.

In this case, more than in the songs, I want to focus in the performances of the band.

"Steve Hackett" is sober and solid in all the tracks, proficient with the acoustic and electric guitar in which combines his usual atmospheric sound with more aggressive approach, takes more risks with "Genesis" and his own material than with "King Crimson" stuff in which he is absolutely respectful of the original sound. His acoustic performances of "Horizons" and "Walking Away From Rainbows" are simplt delightful.

Julian Colbeck has the hard task of creating atmospheres in the Genesis (to replace Tony Banks is not easy), complement Steve in his material and try to remain faithful in the King Crimson tracks, well he does an excellent job, specially in the intro of "Watcher of the Skies"

Ian McDonald shows how versatile he is adding nice extra keyboards, but specially with the flute and Saxophone, his performance on "In the Court of he Crimson King" is breathtaking.

"John Wetton" is usually a very cold vocalist, sometimes even soulless, but in this album he sounds extremely warm and adapts himself to the different styles, tempo and sounds.

A special mention to "Chester Thompson" who is absolutely brilliant in every track, I had no chance to miss Phil Collins in any "Genesis" song, because he sounds stronger and extremely accurate, his performance in "Los Endos" can only be described as perfect.

Now, if somebody asks me for best tracks, I would think it carefully, the whole show is very solid, there are few weak moments and every song has something special, but if I have to chose I would say that I love the faithful version of In the Court of the Crimson King which sounds as good as the original and the Avant Garde oriented cover of Firth of Fifth, this last one specially because any normal Proghead would had expected a total recreation of one of the best guitar solos in history of Prog, but Steve has the guts to make it sound different and fresh without disappointing the audience.

Normally I press the skip button when it's the turn for "Heat of the Moment" but despite the simple version, it has a special charm that only a nave track can provide.

I could spend hours talking about each and every track, but would be like spoiling the surprise for those who haven't heard the album. I believe it's enough to say it's an outstanding release and a very rare opportunity to listen such good and different songs played by the same band and in the same album.

Four solid stars for "Tokyo Tapes" (really 4.5, but the system doesn't allow this), could be five, but the big problem is that it's not an album for every person; you have to know the tracks to appreciate them, because a newbie would have problems understanding the mixture of sounds and styles.

So, if you are a fan of "Genesis", "Steve Hackett" and early "King Crimson", don't think it twice, get the album and the DVD if possible, you won't regret it.

Review by ProgressiveAttic
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars

This is one of my all time favorite live albums, It has everything :

*Different but magnificent versions of some of my favorite songs from some of my favorite bands (which is quite an achievement since all of them are prog rock classics).

*Amazing jams.

*Some of the best musicians in prog, rock and music in general.

*Great songs (in composition and performance)

*Great sound.

+ John Wetton vindicated Asia with a great acoustic rendition of Heat of the Moment (which is a good pop song).

5 for overall sound

Said that, a review of each individual track:

1) Watcher of the Skies: a genesis classic and one of my top 5 genesis songs, I can say that this version is as good as the original. Wetton's voice gives a different perspective from what Gabriel did on the song, Hackett's guitar couldn't be better and the overall performanc of the rest of the band is breathtaking. 5

2) Riding The Colossus: a decent Hackett song (with Hackett "decent" means great but not a masterpiece) I am not a big fan of the keyboards (too 80s) but Hackett shines as allways. 4

3)Firth of Fifth: another reformed Genesis classic (and member of my top 5 Genesis songs list) still interesting to listen to Wetton sing Gabriel's lyrics and the jam in the middle shows the potential of each musician, an improvement over the original is the flute work (by McDonald)..... a very crimsonian sound, so another 5 star remake.5

4) Battlelines: a Wetton song which features some Asia style pop (a bit proggier)...nice vocals and piano with some good drums provided by Thompson but nothing more...3

5)Camino Royale: always a pleasure to listen to Hacket's compositions... very experimental, sometimes jazzy, a great piece...Highlights: Hackett's guitars (obviously), McDonald's sax, Thompson's drums (this is his territory: experimentation and jazz....), Colbeck's keyboards and Wetton's bass aren't bad at other words the ENTIRE band is a highlight (not a big fan of the vocals here though)....5!!!

6)In The Court Of The Crimson King: a masterpiece in its original version....Wetton's voice is again a highlight.... although the song wasn't originally written for him it is allways great to listen to him sing Greg Lake's lyrics, since the style of both singers is really similar.... Hackett is more than qualified to fill Fripp's shoes (another interesting point of view), McDonald's performance is as great (not only great...MAGNIFICENT, SPECTACULAR) as in the original record (it is like no time has passed).... the drums couldn't be better Thompson is really great choice for this kind of crimsonian/obscure/experimental style....another 5 amazing remake.....5!!!!

7)Horizons: the acoustic/classical interlude from the Foxtrot album is as great as allways.... Hackett shows his classical style...just a great piece to rest from the previous madness and intellectual exercise....5

8)Walking Away From Rainbows: a continuation of the classical Hackett....with no doubt a gifted classical guitar player..... great atmospheric keys to set the mood.... a great demostration of classical guitar....5

9)Heat of the Moment: the Vindication!!! I never disliked Asia but it was a great disappointment...its nice to hear a proggier version of this chart hit... its proggy in the same way Greg Lake's ballads are....4

10)In That Quiet Earth: more Genesis! this time from the post-Gabriel era...great display of the band , it shows every musician at his best....I can't ask for more....5

11)Vampire With a Healthy Appetite: I always liked this song....Hackett's guitar is as good and impressive as always(+ a nice harmonica solo)...the spooky lyrics are a good touch....Colbeck and Thompson do a nice job in their respective instruments...5

12)I Talk to the Wind: more In the Court of the Crimson King King Crimson! just as good as In the Court.... well played (although I prefer Lake singing this one)...once again the flute work is just remarkable....and Hackett's touch in Fripp's parts is always refreshing.... + we have a really strong rhythm section here...5

13)Shadow of the Hierophant: great track from Voyage of the Acolyte featuring the great talent of Steve Hackett....great keyboard layers and rhythm section (+ an impressive drum solo....thanks Thompson!!!)...4.5

14)Los Endos: starts as a continuation to the previous track's drum solo.....this may sound repetitive but this version could compete with the original....Ian McDonald gives one of the best sax solos in the history of prog joined by the mighty Chester Thompson... The flute work is really good.... this is almost an Ian McDonald song (except for the fact that it is a Genesis song....)...5

15)Black Light: more acoustic Hackett... I can not get tired of this.... and with the inclusion of excerpts of Cuckoo Coccoon and Blood on Rooftops is just breathtaking...5

16)The Steppes: with its hunting Arabic guitar melody is just too beautiful....this is a song to lay back and enjoy the talents of Hackett backed by an amazing group of musicians....5

17)I Know What I Like: this is the last Genesis version and song of the comments just the same than with the other Genesis songs MIND BLOWING!!!!! and Wetton's voice is perfectly adapted to the song....5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now the bonus/studio tracks with a new lineup: Hackett on guitar and percussions and Iron Friedman on keyboards and programming....

18)Firewall: nice display of emotive music.....4

19)The Dealer: kinds of reminds me of Allan Holdsworth's fusion style, very well performed.4.5

TOTAL: 4.7

I am jealous of the people that attended to this concert.... this is an essential for every prog fan, but if you are starting with the genre it is better to first listen to the original Genesis, King Crimson, Zappa and Hackett records.... anyways 100% recommended!!!!

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Watcher Of The Skies - Genesis Revisited-group decided to stick around for a tour which resulted in this live album (or maybe it was the other way around). Comparison to any Genesis live-album would be pointless and unfortunately this album doesn't stand too well on its own since there isn't really anything interesting about it.

This live album did originally seem a bit more impressive than the Steve's Genesis Revisited album but the 110 minutes worth of mixed live material becomes somewhat tedious after a while. The classic Genesis pieces work a whole lot better in this five man band setting and I would have hoped that the performance would have stayed as such. This is of course not the case and instead we also get material from Steve's solo career, early King Crimson and even Asia!

It's a real treat listening to John Wetton totally destroying the one time Asia hit with this acoustic performance that I hope he won't try to re-create any time soon. Otherwise there aren't any real stand-out performances here since most of these tracks have sounded better on other releases. Ultimately this is another one of those good, but not in any way essential releases made only for the inducted fans.

**** star songs: Watcher Of The Skies (8:59) Firth Of Fifth (9:32) Camino Royale (9:06) The Court Of The Crimson King (7:39) Horizons (1:53) In That Quiet Earth (4:02) I Talk To The Wind (5:28) Shadow Of The Hierophant (7:14) Los Endos (6:54) I Know What I Like (5:51)

*** star songs: Riding The Colossus (3:32) Battlelines (6:43) Walking Away From Rainbows (3:47) Vampyre With A Healty Appetite (7:26) Black Light (2:30) The Steppes (6:48) Firewall (4:42) The Dealer (4:23)

** star songs: Heat Of The Moment (4:06)

Total Rating: 3,57

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is currently my favorite DVD, as it not only encapsulates Steve Hackett's legendary status but also serves my attempts at explaining visually what prog is all about to the innocently unaware. Having uninitiated friends come over the "wall" and delve into this wonderful universe with the majestic "Watcher of the Skies" as an intro is, well, overwhelming. Throw in classic prog tracks like Genesis' mythic "Firth of Fifth" (owner of THE prog guitar solo par excellence), the jaunty "I know What I Like", the unexpected "In that Quiet Earth" and the sublime "Los Endos" as well as King Crimson master jewels : the grandiose "In the Court of the Crimson King" and the delicate "I Talk to the Wind" and you have a catalogue of the most remarkable compositions from a period in history rife with unfrontiered adventure. Throw in some Wetton tracks like "Battlelines" and a sweet acoustic version of Asia's "Heat of the Moment" as well as a plethora of Hackett solo material and they will get the message and most did. Picking up the collapsing mandibles from the floor was a pure janitorial treat.

The musical praetorian guard is entirely first rate, a tight rhythm section of Wetton (who really shines throughout, reminding us of his greatness) and the fantastic Chester Thompson (Genesis, Ponty, Zappa and Weather Report) leading the charge, Julian Colbeck on keys (played with Yes) and Crimsonaut Ian McDonald supplying his usual polyvalence on sax, flutes, guitar and ivories, Hackett finds himself and his trusted Gibson Les Paul in shimmering company. He therefore demonstrates throughout his considerable tonal talents to the max, a consummate mixture of power, grace and elegance. The lead-in jam section on "Firth" is stupendous, as the funky bass and funkier drums propel the arrangement straight into the maelstrom of a blistering solo, a modern electric guitar effigy frozen for evermore in genius. I generally comment there and then that if this piece leaves one indifferent, please return to your Rascal Flatts albums and may Peace be with you! The door is opened, the red-faced infidel ushered out and the rest of the crew continue there sonic travels towards "the river of constant change". Certainly the solo Hackett material finds equal footing here with pleasurable rides such as ramblers "Camino Royale", "Riding the Colossus", the spectacular "Shadow of the Hierophant" and the evocative "The Steppes". The melody on "Battlelines" is perhaps a tad commercial but what a gorgeous chorus, finding both Wetton and Hackett in top form! The acoustic section features Steve picking marvelously on the pastoral "Horizons" and the utterly symphonic "Walking Away from Rainbows", two mini gems that shine ever so brightly. The biggest surprise remains the reworked "In the Quiet Earth" a lesser know Genesis standout from the "Wind & Wuthering" album which really lets the lads express themselves to the fullest, McDonald unleashing some sultry sax blurts that give the Genesis piece as Crimsonesque feel that is utterly delicious, Colbeck fiddling with his synths , all glued together with unyielding bass and bombastic drums. I personally do not care much for "Vampyre with a Healthy Appetite", admittedly a cool Halloween song with an icy riff but ultimately silly vocals, so I generally like to keep this low on the radar. The contrasting effects on "Shadow of the Hierophant" remains a stunner even after so many years, a sheer envelope of unparalleled beauty where volume, density, fragility and power all seem to converge at once from all directions, blooming into this orgasmic explosion of galloping passion and desire, a lesson in the sublime as the mellotron samples smolder in the foreground and Chester rattles of a ruthless drum solo that is simply thrilling (his eyes closed in concentrated reverence is to die for). "Los Endos" just keeps the glowing embers ablaze, featuring more of that sexy sax and veering the arrangement into near jazz session horizons and then back into the heady symphonic stew this supple track is famous for. "The Steppes" is an epic masterpiece that never fails to impress, a true guitar lesson of the highest caliber and one of my favorite prog tracks ever, loaded with sustained effects that have a meaning and not just technical prowess . I can go on but why, you should have gotten the message by now. If you need to get a teaching gig showing off the virtues of prog to the ignorants, this is where you need to start IMHO. A testament, a textbook, a monument and an education, all rolled into a plastic DVD. Simply breathtaking! Arigato!

5 history lessons

Review by colorofmoney91
4 stars This live album is among the best I've ever heard. What you're getting in this package are basically classic tracks by Steve Hackett, Genesis and King Crimson played by what is essentially a progressive rock supergroup. The musicianship all over this disc is remarkable. The sound is also amazing for a live album, in my opinion. This also is almost 2 hours of fantastic music, so you really get some bang for your buck.

I've been strongly dissatisfied with live albums in the past, but this truly stands out and is an excellent addition to any progressive rock collection. Highly recommended for the prog fan.

Review by tarkus1980
3 stars The tagline for this album, found on the back cover, seems pretty hilarious to me. "What would it sound like if occasional members of GENESIS, KING CRIMSON, ASIA, YES, ZAPPA & WEATHER REPORT all got together to form a unique team for just one night?" Well, you'd get a perfectly decent live album, dripping with nostalgia, but not much more than that. The tagline isn't even completely truthful; the Yes representative is Julian Colbeck, who played for ABWH but never with Yes itself (unless you want to count something like Symphonic Music of Yes). That said, the rest of it is true; the band consists of Hackett, Colbeck, John Wetton (King Crimson, Asia), Ian McDonald (King Crimson) and Chester Thompson (Genesis, Zappa, Weather Report).

For all of the guest stars, this live set is filed under Steve Hackett for a reason: the bulk of the album either comes from his solo career or from the recently-released (this was released in 1998 but recorded in 1996) Genesis Revisited (he also does "...In That Quiet Earth" in a manner similar to that on Time Lapse, as well as "Horizons"). The Genesis tracks ("Watcher of the Skies," "Firth of Fifth," "Los Endos," "I Know What I Like") aren't done identically to the original versions, but they're not quite as startling as they sometimes were on Revisited, so they should be easier for an old Genesis to assimilate than the versions on Revisited. Hackett's solo career, aside from "Horizons," is represented by "Riding the Colossus" (formerly "Depth Charge" on Time Lapse), "Camino Royale," a couple of Guitar Noir tracks ("Walking Away from Rainbows," the very silly "Vampyre With a Healthy Appetite"), the ending of "Shadow of the Hierophant" (which is connected to "Los Endos" via a seemingly endless drum solo), "Black Light" (as on There Are Many Sides to the Night, primarily a vehicle by which to tease the audience with old Genesis snippets) and "The Steppes." In all cases, the band members are perfectly game to learn Hackett's material, and in those bits it's hard to tell that this isn't just a typical Hackett live album (aside from having Wetton on vocals).

Fortunately, the setlist is spiced up to take advantage of the unique combination of players, and there are some non-Hackett surprises to be found. There's a lengthy solo Wetton piece called "Battlelines," from a recent (1994) album, that I find passable in an Asia-ish way, but that just seems like a bone that Steve threw to John to help get him on board. Much more interesting are the inclusion of "The Court of the Crimson King" and "I Talk to the Wind," neither of which Wetton had performed during his King Crimson stint way back when. They don't really involve Hackett that much, but again, given the overall amount of Hackett material on the album, I feel like that's by design. And finally, there's an acoustic version (!) of "Heat of the Moment," and it sounds rather lovely. Wetton's change of the lyrics to reflect that the performance year was 1996 instead of 1982 is a little cheesy, but I'm glad they decided to throw in this track.

On the whole, I like this album just fine, yet for all of the good performances and small surprises contained therein, I can't shake the feeling that this album is more of a novelty than an essential part of my collection. According to Colbeck, it was these shows that convinced him that he should retire from live rock performance, on the grounds that looking around the stage and seeing all of these old geezers (who were then only in their 40s mind you) made him decide that live rock music should be done by young people, and I'm not entirely shocked that this would happen. The album is out-of-print at this time, and given the effort and probable cost that would need to be expended to get it, I'm not sure it's worth the effort. If you have some way to find it easily, though, it's worth hearing for the best parts.

Review by lazland
4 stars I got this recently on a bit of a whim, never having gotten the original when released, I saw the remastered version, and thought, why not?

It is a purchase I definitely do not regret. The album is from a one night show in Tokyo performed by Hackett and a collection of his friends from the great and good of classic prog, and came off the back of the first Genesis Revisited album, which, to these ears, is the best of the two editions, simply because Hackett, in my opinion, displayed more originality on the classic Genesis song interpretations.

As might be expected from a lineup of Hackett, John Wetton, Julian Colbeck, Ian McDonald, and Chester Thompson, the playing is never anything less than exceptional. There are also some surprising pleasantries for me. The wonderful way the bass playing of Wetton comes out in the mix, with his wonderfully inventive licks at the end of Firth of Fifth and In That Quiet Earth. Rutherford never sounded that forceful or good, that's for sure! Colbeck is no Tony Banks, but is very quietly efficient, whilst McDonald's flute playing is a delight, and Thompson shows on skins just why he is still the world's most in demand Genesis drummer behind a certain Mr Collins.

Hackett is very careful on this to ensure that the show is more than a Genesis revival, or Hackett number's show, and the inclusion of guest songs is extremely welcome. Of these, the two Crimson songs come out very well, with In The Court especially warm (Colbeck is wonderful on this), but, perhaps the biggest surprises are the Wetton contributions. Battlelines is a wonderful song, beautifully performed, and the version of Heat of the Moment which appears here is the finest ever recorded, understated, sung and played with extreme feeling.

Of course, we love the Genesis songs, but the Hackett solo tracks also serve to remind us just what an important songwriter Hackett has been since he left the band all those years ago.

This is an wonderfully enjoyable wallow in nostalgia and great live playing, and is heartily recommended to all.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars This is mainly a soloist live album from Steve Hackett in a one-off collaboration with several very good Prog Rock musicians who were mainly acting as touring musicians for him in a one-off project: John Wetton on bass and vocals, Ian McDonald on wind instruments and keyboards, "the fantastic" Chester Thompson on drums (as Hackett introduces him to the audience before the start of one song in the album; I agree with Hackett in his opinion about Thompson), and Julian Colbeck on keyboards.

The set-list consist mainly of some solo songs composed by Hackett (with two of them sung by him), plus two songs from the original line-up of King Crimson and composed by Ian McDonald with Peter Sinfield ("In the Court of the Crimson King", with great drums by Thompson, and "I Talk to the Wind"), one song from the solo albums done by Wetton ("Battlelines") and an almost acoustic performance of Asia`s "Heat of the Moment". Also there are some songs from Genesis also sung by Wetton BUT played with different arrangements adding some new parts which were not included in the original versions, a thing which gives some variety, of course. Hackett also plays some solo acoustic guitar pieces. Some of the old Genesis songs also include some brief melodies and parts of other songs from this band. These versions sometimes sound a bit "strange" but they sound good anyway.

In one interview, Wetton said that this project was always a one-off project and that was the only way it was considered then. A brief one-off tour in Japan in December 1996 and that was all. A funny experience for all the musicians who were involved in it, with also very good performances from all of them. The recording and mixing is very clear and very good.

The album also includes two bonus solo studio tracks by Hackett which are two good instrumental new songs.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
5 stars Selling Genesis (and King Crimson) by the pound

At a time when Genesis (the Collins-Banks-Rutherford line-up) had radically de-emphasised the band's 70's material in their live sets in favour of more commercially viable songs from their 80's and 90's albums (and Peter Gabriel never performed any Genesis songs live), and the Robert Fripp-led King Crimson also had totally abandoned their early material, Steve Hackett, John Wetton, and Ian McDonald did exactly the right thing when they banded together in the mid 90's to perform classic tracks by these major Progressive Rocks bands in which they had been part in the past (McDonald and Wetton in King Crimson 1968-69 and 1972-74 respectively, and Hackett in Genesis 1970-1977; the golden eras of both bands). These three men here kept the legacy of these classic Prog bands alive much better than the bands who owned the rights to the names 'Genesis' and 'King Crimson'. The rest of the line-up here consists of Chester Thompson (who toured with Genesis for many years) on drums and Julian Colbeck (who toured with Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe) on keyboards. A very powerful line-up indeed!

The set list included such Genesis classics as Watcher Of The Skies and Horizons from Foxtrot, Firth Or Fifth and I Know What I Like from Selling England By The Pound, Los Endos from A Trick Of The Tail, and In That Quiet Earth from Wind And Wuthering. From King Crimson's classic debut album comes The Court Of The Crimson King and I Talk To The Wind, both wonderfully performed. In addition to all this we get songs from Hackett's solo career including Shadow Of The Hierophant, The Steppes, Camino Royale, and the new Riding The Colossus. And, to represent Wetton's presence, they also play the title track from his solo album Battlelines plus an acoustic version of Asia's Heat Of The Moment (which sounds much better than the original version). It is truly an excellent set and many of the songs are here in new arrangements while keeping just the right amount of the old.

The Tokyo Tapes was first released on double CD in 1997 (with the two studio bonus tracks Firewall and The Dealer) and then on DVD in 2001 (with some bonus rehearsal footage) and now in 2014 as a three disc set featuring the DVD as well as the two CDs with one further bonus track added: a cover version of All Along The Watchtower featuring John Wetton. This song was originally written by Bob Dylan and made popular by Jimmi Hendrix. This studio recording was especially recorded for the 2014 re-release of Tokyo Tapes. As a matter of principle I avoid rating the same material more than once unless the different releases offer something the others don't. While the DVD version is a long standing favourite of mine, it is only now that I hear the bonus tracks for the first time and I think that all three bonus tracks are very good and add value to the set. So, if you don't already have this excellent concert then the new three disc set is really a great way to get hold of this essential live document.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review N 14

This is the third live album reviewed by me on Progarchives and this is also my first review of a Steve Hackett's album. It's also the third time that I began to review albums from a band or from a solo artist starting with their live albums. As I wrote before, in the other two reviews, usually I prefer studio albums instead live albums, in the most of the cases. However, there are some live albums that are exceptions, and this is one of those cases.

Steve Hackett is a name that needs no introduction. The ex-Genesis former band member is one of the finest guitarists, is one of the most respected musicians, and has a very own guitar style. Hackett is regarded as one of the best composers for acoustic and electric guitars, in the domain of classical and rock. He contributed to six studio and three live albums of Genesis. After he left Genesis, he has released many solo works and toured on a regular basis since then. His playing has influenced many progressive guitarists such as Alex Lifeson, Brian May and Steve Rothery.

Soon after completing his personal project 'Watcher Of The Skies', Hackett conceived a series of concerts involving many of the musicians from that Genesis project. Hackett wanted to record a special live release with it. So, 'The Tokyo Tapes' is a double live album that compiles recordings from two concerts in Tokyo, Japan on 16 and 17 December, in 1996. So, this live album became the final result of it.

To the line up of the two concerts, Steve Hackett (vocals, guitar and harmonica), chose a super progressive group to join him. John Wetton (vocals, bass and guitar), is a famous musician who participated with many bands and artists such as Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry, Uriah Heep, UK, Wishbone Ash and Asia. Ian McDonald (vocals, flute, saxophone, guitar and keyboards), is one of the founding members of King Crimson and Foreigner, and is also well known as a multi-instrumentalist rock session musician, who plays a very different type of instruments. Julian Colbeck (vocals and keyboards), is a former professional keyboardist, best known as a session player on numerous recordings, especially on various Hackett projects. Chester Thompson (drums), is a musician who made his name as a session drummer and played with Frank Zappa, Weather Report, Genesis, Phil Collins and Tony Banks.

'The Tokyo Tapes' has twenty tracks. The set list includes many Genesis songs, as well as several songs taken from Hackett's solo archive. The original Genesis songs performed live are six: 'Watcher Of The Skies', 'Firth Of Fifth', 'Horizons', 'In That Quiet Earth', 'Los Endos' and 'I Know What I Like'. These songs were originally released on some Genesis albums such as 'Foxtrot', 'Selling England By The Pound', 'A Trick Of The Tail' and 'Wind And Wuthering'. The original Hackett songs performed live are seven: 'Riding The Colossus', 'Camino Royal', 'Walking Away From Rainbows', 'Vampyre With A Healthy Appetite', 'Shadow Of The Hierophant' and 'Black Light'. These songs were originally released on various Hackett albums such as 'Voyage Of The Acolyte', 'Highly Strung', 'Bay Of Kings' and 'Guitar Noire'. This live album also contains several songs written and released by some other bands and artists. So, we have 'Battlelines' which is a composition by (Wetton/Marlette/Mitchell) from the Wetton's album 'Battle Lines', 'The Court Of The Crimson King' which is a composition by (McDonald/Sinfield) from the King Crimson's album 'In The Court Of The Crimson King', 'Heat Of The Moment' which is a composition by (Wetton/Downes) from the Asia's eponymous album 'Asia' and 'I Talk To The Wind' which is another composition from the King Crimson's debut studio album 'In The Court Of The Crimson King'. Most of these songs are performed differently from the original studio versions, with other arrangements and with some extended instrumental sections.

My live version also contains three other Hackett's tracks. They're three studio tracks, 'Firewall', 'The Dealer' and 'Riding The Colossus'. Those are the three last tracks on the album.

Conclusion: 'The Tokyo Tapes' is one of my all time favourite live records. The album is absolutely wonderful. The songs have been performed differently from their studio versions, and they're simply magnificent. They're some of my favourite songs performed on some of my favourite albums and released by some of my favourite bands. They're all truly classic songs, which are superiorly performed by this fantastic group of excellent musicians. I must confess that I bought this album after having acquired the DVD. I sincerely prefer 'listen music', instead of 'see music', if you can understand what I mean. I prefer to be in a live concert instead of see a DVD at home. However, I must say that the CD and the DVD are both spectacular and magnificent. So, if you don't have yet the album or the DVD, I advise you to run out, very quickly, and buy one of them, or do like me, buy both, if you can.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars Overall, a joy to listen to. I agree with one who says that 'Watcher of the Skies' is riveting on this live album; (dare I say it:) it is almost better than the Genesis original. Wetton's vocals are actually in very good form (considering that most of his vocals when recording with Asia lea ... (read more)

Report this review (#79066) | Posted by prog4evr | Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars By far the most earth-shaking version of "Watcher of the Skies" I'd ever heard. Someone has told me Julian Colby did the mellotron/keybds.....I'd previously assumed it was Ian McDonald. WHOEVER it was did the ultimate copy-cat job, that's for sure. Real LOUD and thundering. I (unintentionally ... (read more)

Report this review (#26253) | Posted by | Monday, August 16, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Oh come on guys!!! guys reviewing this need to just tell it like is OK? . "Oh this is good but that's just terrible with the echo....booo hooo on you...jeeez" "This Video is the BOMB....I LOVE EVERY BIT OF IT!! Hackett is god and master of VOLUME control hands down. He is ever so caref ... (read more)

Report this review (#26252) | Posted by | Monday, August 16, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I bought it last 26th june in Rome, after the concert steve had just finished in the nice tennis venue (Centrale del Tennis). The show was beautiful, it proved that Hackett is even better live than on record. Great selection from his solo work and stunning numbers from the genesis era (when he ... (read more)

Report this review (#26250) | Posted by | Sunday, August 1, 2004 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Keyboard arrangments make this album almost unlistenable. There are times when they sound as if they were sampled from the most plastic 80's electro-pop (Colossus, Vampyre, Camino). John Wetton's performance is disappointing too, mostly because of his completely emotionless singing. These are only m ... (read more)

Report this review (#26247) | Posted by | Monday, May 3, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In Tokyo with John Wetton, Chester Thompson, Ian Mc Donald and Julian Colbeck....a great company, magical album, a pleasure to listening, perhaps the best musicians who cames from the seventies giving all of their lives for the music without labels and marketing at all (like "musicians" of MTV, ja,j ... (read more)

Report this review (#26244) | Posted by Queno | Sunday, March 7, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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