Steve Hackett - live at the Bierkeller, Bristol on Monday 7th June 1993. Review by Alan Davidson. Memorabilia: TWR achive.

A small but enthusiastic crowd turned up to watch Steve and his new band in Bristol as part of his first nationwide UK tour in five years. A gathering of faithful Waiting Room readers (as well as the Editor) were there (I deny it - I was somewhere else - AH) for this low key but nonetheless very enjoyable evening.

Naturally, a lot of the material came from Guitar Noir, Steve’s new album which is without doubt, his best since Spectral Mornings. The band opened with an instrumental medley that consisted among other things, bits of Hackett To Pieces and the old Genesis classic; Los Endos. Another old favourite; Camino Royale came next and then it was on to the new material beginning with a very strange Vampyre With A Healthy Appetite which had Steve’s vocals performed through a megaphone! It is another one of those musical oddities that he is sometimes capable of (we all remember The Ballad of The Decomposing Man - don’t we?)

Take These Pearls is the album opener and features some very nice harmonies and different guitar styles from Steve. Dark As The Grave was similarly engaging. A new acoustic number; Walking Away From Rainbows came next followed by the sombre Many Sides has The Night. This track, with its moody guitar and spoken lyrics sounds to me at least, very like Dire Straits’ Private Investigations.

By now, the audience were itching for some older material and shouted requests for Supper’s Ready (cause of some dissension at the Wycombe show the night before - AH) and Harold The Barrel fell on deaf ears. More new material was rewarded by an enthusiastic response including Sierra Quemada and Lost In Your Eyes which rewarded the “rock” fans in the audience with something to stomp along to.

Steve then introduced his rhythm section; Hugo Degenhardt on drums and Doug Sinclair on bass for a rock and roll version of Always Somewhere Else while Steve and Julian Colbeck, his keyboard player, temporarily left the stage. Sorry, Steve but this drum/bass duet was for me one of the highlights of the show - not to undermine Steve - he was absolutely superb as always!

In The Heart of The City followed which you might remember from his recent live video. The long awaited oldies followed with Everyday and Spectral Mornings which also utilised the instrumental section from Firth Of Fifth, much to everyone’s delight before the show ended with Clocks.

Inevitably, after this, an encore was in order and Steve duly returned to the stage with an acoustic guitar to perform a medley of acoustic pieces including Black Light, Blood On The Rooftops , before rounding off with the legendary Horizons. Steve then introduced Julian Colbeck again to join him in their version of Morricone’s love theme from the film Cinema Paradiso before the band returned for a rousing version of Depth Charge.

So, to sum up, a great show from a sadly underrated genius. I couldn’t help thinking how much more I enjoyed this show to last year’s overblown Genesis shows. It proves that you don’t need 100,000 people and hi-tech video screens to be able to communicate pure music!

As a nice gesture, Steve and his band all came out front after the show and chatted and signed autographs for the fans. All that remains now is to wait for the next album and tour. Let’s hope it isn’t another five years!