Strange people, the Japanese. So technically advanced and yet capable of producing a show like this one which sounds so incredibly dated! The shows from which this project is drawn were part of the 20th Anniversary Celebrations for the Hard Rock Café in Japan. Which probably explains the presence of the other musicians. Steve's presence here however is more of a mystery.
Each of the featured musicians: Paul Gilbert, John Paul Jones, Nuno Bettencourt and Steve get their own sets but also perform throughout the extravaganza. Tracks like I Like Rock and Gravity are pure and predictable hard rocking numbers which really do little for me personally although it is great to see Steve and his Blues harp obviously having a great time. The classic Nobody's Fault But Mine is excellently performed and the Bettencourt's get The Funk Out is equally as enjoyable and the acoustic More Than Words is still a great song but the proceedings seem a little contrived, which I suppose to be fair, such events always are.
For Hackett fans, the interest of this release lies in Steve's own performance beginning with the evergreen classic instrumental: Firth Of Fifth still as awesome as ever although even Steve's choices seem to be horses for courses although Mechanical Bride was a surprise, for a heavy rock orientated show such as this one something like Twice Round The Sun would have perhaps been more appropriate? Los Endos ends Steve's set in a suitably raucous manner although Pat Mastelotto's drumming on this one sounds incredibly wooden to me -maybe not enough rehearsal time or unfamiliarity with the music? Steve's and Roger's keyboard and guitar playing redeem the day.
The show is rounded off by a rock and roll jam version of…. What else but Rock And Roll, the Led Zeppelin classic in which al the musicians get to ladder their collective tights.
Visually, the show will be a treat for aficionados of the various musicians playing on the project and for Hackett completists it is another interesting live item. Not one for the casual listener though, or anyone with delicate ears!