"Steve Hackett in laddered tights shock!" - The latest volume in the Hackett Chronicles series of DVDs reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

The people at EFDVD may have slowed production down a bit recently but this release is certainly a useful one for all Hacketteers out there.

The latest volume in the "Hackett Chronicles" finally plugs another gap in the visual record of our hero. With previous volumes documenting the 1980 tours in glorious sound and vision, they have moved forward with this volume to 1981 and the Cured album and tour. Cured was a pivotal album in Steve's career, witnessing as it did, his final move to centre stage by taking on the vocal duties for himself. The album was doubly surprising for fans who were now used to the existing band framework not only with Steve taking on the vocals but also for the new look band which alongside Steve, John and Nick Magnus saw two new faces: Chas Cronk on bass whose previous gigs had included stints with both The Strawbs and Rick Wakeman's band; and Ian Mosley on drums whose work as a session musician was second to none.

This latest release comprises extracts from two gigs that took place during the 1981/82 period. The first, a truncated broadcast of the band's performance from Nottingham's Rock City on 27th August 1981. Originally recorded for the short-lived "Video Sounds" TV series, this was also destined to be Steve's first commercially available video although it was withdrawn very shortly after release. For a video documenting the new album, there are only two tracks from it among the five that feature on the broadcast: The Air-Conditioned Nightmare and Jacuzzi while other stage favourites; Slogans; The Steppes and Spectral Mornings complete the broadcast. However, with little other footage from this period currently available, this is an essential part of the Hackett story. Interestingly enough, an almost complete soundtrack broadcast reel to this gig was offered for sale on E-Bay before Steve's record company stepped in and acquired it for their archives - I wonder where rest of the film footage went?!

The other part of this volume features an interesting example of the band "conquering The Hun or The Frog" as Steve would put it. In this case it is "The Frog" with the footage coming from a French TV broadcast of three songs from 1982's Elixii Festival in Brest on 18th July. Tracks featured on this broadcast are Funny Feeling, Slogans and Overnight Sleeper. It would be interesting to find out if any other footage from this gig still exists as it would make fascinating viewing, but as it is at least fans now have a visual record of this period in Steve's career and once again, the EFDVD people have presented the footage in an excellent quality release.

The Hackett Chronicles Volume 7 (EFDVD SH07).

Nottingham Rock City 27.8.81. Slogans/Jacuzzi/The Steppes/Spectral Mornings/ The Air Conditioned Nightmare.

Elixii Festival Brest Chapiteau 18.7.82. Funny Feeling/Slogans/Overnight Sleeper.

Click to enlarge