"Somewhere In South America" - Steve Hackett's new DVD, "Somewhere In South America- Live In Buenos Aires". Review by David Matthews.
For those fans of The Waiting Room that may have felt that I was over critical of Peter Gabriel's "Up" album (David's "Up" review can be found in the previous edition of TWR), I have finally found something that from an ex-member of Genesis that has completely blown my mind.
At long last, the promised double live CD from Steve Hackett is finally available to the public. Recorded during the 2001 South American tour, this double album features the 105 minutes of the concert recorded at the Teatro Coliseo Buenos Aires, and fans of Steve Hackett will not be disappointed, for Steve has mixed a wide range of classic back catalogue tracks with new material played for the very first time and no more than five pieces originally recorded during his time with Genesis.
The album gets off to a storming start with two new pieces, "The Floating Seventh" and "Mechanical Bride", two heavy, dark pieces; before slipping effortlessly into a medley of classic instrumentals. He then plays a third new track, the beautiful and haunting "Serpentine Song". It is then straight into extracts from classic Genesis with the intro to "Watcher of The Skies", the haunting "Hairless Heart" and then the classic finale "Firth of Fifth".
"Riding The Colossus" the superb "new" Genesis track is given a brilliant live treatment and this is then followed by another new piece, "Pollution". This track owes much to "The Waiting Room" and leads effortlessly into "The Steppes". Finally, as we approach the end of the first CD, Steve slows the pace and mood completely with a beautiful rendition of "Gnossienne No 1" aided by Rob Townsend on flute. And at last, we hear Steve speak to his audience before leading us into the final track, "Walking Away From Rainbows" - this thought provoking piece is brought to life and particular praise should go to Rob Townsend on alto sax.
CD 2 gets off to a haunting start with "Sierra Quemada", fine guitar playing and brilliant drumming make this a stunning piece. "The Wall Of Knives", a short dark link track, takes the listener straight into a ballsy performance of "Vampyre With A Healthy Appetite", played menacingly by Steve and the mood being set by his stark vocals. Finally, a piece from deep in Steve's archives as Steve wheels out "A Tower Struck Down". Then, on into another short new piece, "Lucridus" before turning the mood decidedly dark with an excellent live version of "Darktown", this track clearly showing Steve's skill at creating moods and atmospheres (something that Genesis missed since his departure in 1977). Track 7 reunites us with that all time favourite "Camino Royale", not a note played out of tune and then finally, Steve introduces his band to the audience.
The concert is now drawing towards a close as Steve introduces "In Memoriam", this is the first time that I have heard this track live and I was very impressed with the sound and textures. Finally, we know that all good things must come to an end as Steve concludes the set with "Horizons" and "Los Endos".
This double CD is a brilliant addition to any Steve Hackett collection, whether it is bought on its own or as part of the Video/CD/DVD packages. The music is well played by high quality musicians and the quality of the sound is as good as you would expect from Steve. My only small criticism is that this album, like most of Steve's live work, lacks the warmth of audience interaction. Steve makes for an uncomfortable front man, but this is more than compensated for by the depth and quality of the music included.
For those that choose the DVD/CD package, my advice is to move the two CDs into a separate jewel case so as not to damage the DVD packaging, because this is an album you are going to want to listen to over and over again. One question though - when are we in the UK going to get the opportunity of seeing Steve live? Alan, it's over to you...!
OK, David... I will see what I can do - AH