SAW IT ON THE TV…
It has been a while since we had a look at the various visual documents that our heroes have been generating both officially and unofficially so, here is a round up of the latest offerings that have found their way to TWR HQ…
Steve, Mike and Phil have all been active recently and so we shall start with Mr Collins and his recent series of “Not Dead Yet “ shows. With no current plans for an official release of anything from the recent gigs, it has been down to the fans to provide what footage there is from these shows and thankfully there are already two complete recordings from three of the shows in Cologne available.
Having three nights’ performances at the same venue makes for an interesting viewing experience and goes to show exactly how different each night can be. Also taking in different positions within the arena also gives a different viewers’ perspective. What doesn’t change within all three nights’ performances though is the sheer talent on display on stage. Phil may not be at his best but he can still belt out a tune and his band are rock solid behind him. As has been stated by many fans who saw these gigs, the real star of the show is Nicholas Collins and you get to see just why here. He never puts a foot wrong with impeccable rhythmic skills throughout each gig. The end result is three extremely enjoyable DVDs which any fan of Phil’s music will enjoy,
Casting our net a little further into Phil’s history another gem has recently surfaced after being deliberately hidden for twenty seven years. A complete recording of Phil’s gig on the 1990 But Seriously tour filmed at the show in Rome on 17th May 1990. Why this has remained hidden for so long is anyone’s guess but it is here now which is the main thing. Visually and sonically this one is not as good as the previous items but that can be attributed to improvements in recording equipment since then. What it does manage to capture is the excitement that was generated by Phil and the band during this tour. An item that perhaps only diehard collectors will find interesting but worth a viewing nonetheless.
Moving on from Phil we come to Mr Hackett and his ongoing activities combining the Genesis Revisited album and his more recent and classic Hackett albums. This year sees the fortieth anniversary of Steve’s last album with Genesis, the marvellous Wind & Wuthering and so it is no surprise that the emphasis on this year’s show has been that album and also Steve’s latest opus. The Night Siren. With an official DVD/Blu Ray filmed at the gig in Birmingham in the pipeline, fans have had to content themselves with a handful of audience recordings to satisfy their appetites. Thankfully these are of above average quality.
The most recent of these is from the recent gig in Vivegano Italy as part of Steve’s now annual “Italian Job”. An open air gig, the result is a very enjoyable document of the recent show. Shot from surprisingly close to the front in what is evidently a seated arena, the stage being higher than normal this leads to most of the band being slightly obscured at times although the cameraman/woman does their best and their efforts are enjoyable.
Another Italian gig is next, the show in Rome in April 2017 was also captured for posterity and this one is altogether more enjoyable than the previously mentioned show. Being indoors, the sound is better for one thing, and the cameraman once again had a good vantage point and manages to capture the entire gig in excellent sound and vision.
Steve’s handful of acoustic gigs at the end of last year were thankfully also captured on sound and vision. Steve does not perform acoustic gigs as often these days and so anything that documents them is essential for any serious collector. We are fortunate therefore that the show from Forte di Marmi in 2016 was filmed. Even more fortunate because these shows also featured the performance of a handful of tracks which have yet to be committed to album. Featuring some strong performances from Steve, Rob and Roger, this is another extremely enjoyable performance and one which collectors will want to have in their collections.
Of late we have been spoilt with at least one official DVD recording from a tour and 2015 was no exception with the show from my home town of Liverpool being the one selected for that privilege. Even so, there are several interesting films from this year’s shows that have surfaced and make interesting viewing for collectors. The De Montfort Hall in Leicester, and Venue Cymru in Llandudno being two such which straddle the Liverpool show. Leicester sadly is not complete and in places the visuals are padded out by still photography but the result is enjoyable nonetheless. Llandudno however, is another one of those films which is a joy to watch. Impeccable sound and vision here capture the entire show in superb quality making this an essential item for collectors.
Next up is another visual document from Steve’s increasingly common forays to South America. This one sees him perform the current Genesis Revisited II set as guest of Argentinean Genesis tribute band, Genetics. This gig was a t tribute to their recently deceased vocalist, Ignacio “Nacho” Rodriguez Genta. Here we have pretty much the whole Genesis card with such gems as Dance On A Volcano and Blood On The Rooftops rubbing shoulders with lesser performed tracks such as Can Utility & The Coastliners and For Absent Friends. All captured in excellent sound and vision, this is another essential item for collectors.
And finally from Steve we have a superb compilation which not only draws together the complete promotional videos for the Wolflight album,, but also the footage from the album launches in Dortmund and Berlin on 27th and 28th March 2015 including the acoustic performance and interviews. To round this off there is also the promotional video for the charity release of Spectral Mornings. All in glorious HD, this is an absolute must for Hackett collectors.
The Mechanics have been incredibly busy over the last few years after re-emerging in 2011 with a new line up. With so many shows performed it is surprising that so little footage has surfaced to document the band’s shows but once again, what there is, is of above average quality.
First up, is one of these slightly strange German TV shows that the band have to appear on as part of the promotional duties that accompany album releases and tours. This one titled “Live Rust is from the Radio Regenbogen Awards ceremony on 19th April 2013 as usual with these things, the set up is a bit strange and the audience hardly look like your typical Mechanics crowd, but the band, being the pros that they are take it all in their stride. Interestingly enough, their five song set, performed after the ubiquitous interview, consists of classic Mechanics cuts, nothing from the current album (The Road), and the performance takes in A Beggar On A Beach Of Gold, Another Cup Of Coffee, Over My Shoulder, All I Need Is A Miracle and The Living Years all of which are performed with gusto by the band.
Next up, is something of a rarity, an audience recording of the band’s performance at the Main Square Festival in Arras France, also from the 2013 European tour. I say a rarity as, surprisingly enough for a band who have performed a lot of shows over the last few years, very little seems to have been captured by those pesky bootleggers! This one finally gives us a glimpse of the band performing not only classic Mechanics cuts, but also a sparse version of Try To Save from The Road, as well as the nods to Mike’s “other band” in rowdy versions of Follow You Follow Me and I Can’t Dance. The band are in fine form and the footage is not too bad considering the vantage point within the crowd making it another interesting item for collectors.
The most recent (thus far) item is from another TV broadcast from Germany. This time we have an entire gig by the band taken from their performance in Frankfurt. At last we get to see and hear the band performing some of their new material with fine performances of Are You Ready and Let Me Fly from the latest album alongside a wonderful selection of classic Mechanics tracks. Another essential Mechanics visual document. And that is it for this edition. No doubt the recent and current rounds of touring by the Mechanics, Steve and Phil may well provide material for the next “Saw it on the TV” feature…