"Once Above A Time" - Steve Hackett's latest live DVD release reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

The soundtrack to this DVD has already been in circulation for a while as Steve's latest offering in the Live Archive series of CDs and so it is marvellous to have the visual accompaniment to the soundtrack at last.

As most of you will know if you are regular readers of TWR, this year's tour was one which I was an active participant in and so my views on this release are no doubt a little bit biased. Even so, there is no denying that Steve's live show this year was perhaps the most balanced and representative of his live career to date. Managing to cram in thirty plus years of music into a two hour show is no mean feat!

Here for your delectation and delight are snapshots from Steve's extensive musical career. Genesis fans are catered for with wonderful renditions of Fly On A Windshield and the truly glorious Blood On The Rooftops as well as the evergreen Firth Of Fifth.

For fans of Steve's older solo material you can’t go wrong either with Ace Of Wands, Please Don't Touch and the "usual suspects" from Spectral Mornings making their customary appearance. In addition you have the welcome addition of on stage favourite The Air-Conditioned Nightmare giving band and audience a chance to ladder their collective tights once more. There are also several live debuts here as well… Hammer In The Sand and Valley Of The Kings make their concert debut and another brand new track: If You Can't Find Heaven romps along at a fair old pace.

Steve's new material is well represented too with a healthy slice from To Watch The Storms in the set and Steve's current band perform old and new with similar gusto and obvious relish. All of this is captured on the DVD with excellent camerawork and superb sound. Bonus extras are minimal but when you have a show as good as this one; a sufficiency is as good as a feast and the behind the scenes look at the gig which accompanies the show itself is a delightful addition.

This is another recommended item for that growing Christmas shopping list and one which all Hackett fans will enjoy immensely - I certainly did!

Click to enlarge

Steve Hackett: Once Above A Time Eagle Records EREDV451.