“From one fan to another” - Steve Hackett in concert at Lac Leamy Hilton Theatre, Gatineau, QC, 13th February 2018. Review and photographs by John Hayes.

Sorry Armando, I had to steal that line! I had the pleasure of seeing Steve and his band play Lac Leamy on 13th February the day after his 68th birthday. Steve was in fine form and a very enthusiastic crowd welcomed the band on stage with many shouts of “Happy Birthday” and “Welcome back!”.

Steve always seems to play this venue when he comes to the Ottawa region and it was great to meet some of the regular Hacketteers before the show and th meet some new ones flying in from Texas for the gig that night. Amazing that fans will travel all kind of distances to see our musical heroes, myself included, but tonight was just across the river, not the Pond. I digress…

Sitting front row in the balcony I realised I had a great seat for the light show and it also was sounding very clean as well. Steve started out with Please Don’t Touch followed by Every Day celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the former. The crowd heckled to “turn it up” and the sound guy obliged and things really got going. Tracks from Steve’s “The Night Siren” followed and were greeted with great enthusiasm. Steve paid homage to GTR with When The Heart Rules The Mind and then returned to his solo career with Icarus Ascending and a thunderous Shadow Of The Hierophant.

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Nad Sylvan came onstage to ask a question… “Can you tell me where my country lies?” starting the Genesis part of the show with Dancing With The Moonlit Knight and then moving on to a couple of songs from the Wind & Wuthering timeline: One For The Vine and a real surprise: Inside & Out from the “Spot The Pigeon” EP..

The crowd was ecstatic and was treated to a story of how Genesis obtained their first mellotron from King Crimson as they had a couple and Genesis were broke and got the used one which became known as the “Black Bitch” as it almost never worked for them. This led on to another surprise: Fountain Of Salmacis. I cannot remember in all my forty years plus of being a fan hearing this played as loud and bass deep and it had shivers down my spine and hair standing up on my arms and was something to behold.

Moving on to the moment that everyone was waiting for : Firth Of Fifth, again the crowd erupted and brouhaha the house down, Steve has never played as well as he did tonight. The acoustic guitar was brought on and we all expected Horizons but we were treated to the epic Supper’s Ready . A Genesis related gig is not complete without it to my mind.

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We then went further back to 1971 where Steve told us the story about the reprobates that he joined up with from Charterhouse and mentioned that this was his favourite from that era: The Musical Box to close the show.

Returning for an encore - a jazzed up version of Los Endos, the hall was rocking, I particularly loved the way the light show ended up with the Seconds Out lookalike with Jumbo jet landing lights effect.

All in all a fantastic night of music and a great show, the highlights being Fountain of Salmacis and One For The Vine . The band too seemed to enjoy themselves and were very relaxed on stage. A nod to Gary O’Toole who excelled this evening. A fantastic show. Everyone gave it their all and I left with the warm fuzzy feeling that I always did back in the ‘70’s listening to this stuff for the first time. Til the next time…

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