Steve Hackett - live at Sheffield Lead Mill. Concert performed on Sunday 30th May 1993. Review by Peter Morton. Memorabilia: TWR archive.

Having already witnessed a highly enjoyable concert from Steve and his band a few days earlier in Manchester, the thought of seeing him again in my own home town was something I was really looking forward to.

The Leadmill, when not hosting concerts, acts as one of Sheffield’s best nightclubs and for Sunday night’s show, its well adapted stage and relaxed atmosphere fitted the bill perfectly. Steve’s set was basically the same one as he performed in America last year with a few differences. He opened with a medley of instrumental music incorporating Los Endos and Please Don’t Touch amongst others. Camino Royale, albeit a slightly different version than that which appears on the Highly Strung album came next.

The following thirty minutes or so were taken up by a heft selection of material from his new album; Guitar Noir. First; Vampyre With A Healthy Appetite had Steve singing into a megaphone - certainly unusual and different. Of the new material there were many highlights - Take These Pearls stood out in particular. Steve and his band both musically and vocally at their very best including a brief classical guitar piece in the middle to boot - marvellous stuff!

Walking Away From Rainbows and Many Sides Has The Night slowed the mood down somewhat, the latter opening with Steve playing harmonica - is there no end to this man’s talents? A brief drum/bass duet followed leading into Always Somewhere Else in 7/8ths - where does he think up these titles? With Steve returning towards the end to add his own guitar piece to which the crowd responded warmly.

Well, if all of that was hugely enjoyable, what could be said of the last twenty minutes of the show? We were treated to stunning performances of what some may say was Steve’s finest work, although that is certainly arguable. Everyday, Spectral Mornings, Firth Of Fifth and Clocks…. The audience responded ecstatically. Through the noise of appreciation, Steve returned for the first of three encores. The brilliant Horizons was followed by a new piece - the love theme from Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack to the film Cinema Paradiso, an excellent Spanish piece played by Steve on classical guitar accompanied by Julian Colbeck on keyboards.

The band returned for the second encore; Depth Charge. This has greatly improved since it first appeared on the Time Lapse CD. Exit the band again, but this time their departure was brief; there was NO WAY the audience were going to leave without Steve and the band returning to play one more number. This time, we were treated to a much longer version of the wonderful In That Quiet Earth. It was quite plain to see that Steve, the band and the audience had all enjoyed the evening enormously.

To sum up; a thoroughly impeccable performance from all of the band, which musically could not have been better. I enjoyed the show immensely and talking to a number of people after the show, the same question was asked time and time again: when will he be playing here again? In reply: very soon we hope!

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