EDITOR’S PICKS 2012
Yes, it’s that time of the year when we have a look back over the preceding twelve months and give you the editor’s highlights from the year that has just gone.
1. Non Genesis-related album of the year: Well, it has been a good year for music in general for a change which has made this one a difficult category to choose from but eventually I have opted to split the honours between the following albums: first of all Riversea’s excellent debut release Out Of An Ancient World. Without doubt, this rates as one of the finest debut albums I have ever heard. Musically excellent and lyrically thought provoking. I expect great things from this band in the year to come.
Thank goodness for Rick Wakeman! Just when you think the back end of the year is going to be dreary and dull, Uncle Rick goes and pulls something magical out of the bag! I am of course, referring to the recent re-issue of the classic Journey To The Centre Of The Earth album. Always a classic, here we finally have the album as Rick intended and what a marvellous offering it is , too! No one does “epic” quite like Rick and here he is definitely at his scintillating best!
2. Genesis - related album of the year: well, there is only one contender here really and that is the magnificent Genesis Revisited II album by Steve Hackett. A marvellous re-working of many of our favourite Genesis classics and a healthy smattering of his own “deleted scenes” as he refers to them. Augmented by a veritable who’s who of prog rock, this is a delight from start to finish - and it even got into the charts as well! Whatever next? X Factor perhaps? God forbid!
3. Fiction book of the year: Well, I can’t narrow it down to one in view of the sheer enormity of the Song Of Fire And Ice series of books on which the excellent TV series Game Of Thrones is based so the series as a whole gets the award. The writing is rich and brilliantly observed with some of the most enthralling characters to grace a work of fiction in many a year. I look forward to the next instalment!
4. Gig of the year: Well, once again a category I had to award to two entirely different concerts. First, a truly remarkable performance by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra of Sibelius’ first symphony. Absolutely amazing, a truly exquisite performance of one of the greatest symphonies ever written as far as I am concerned.
The other winner in this category goes to a truly remarkable performance by the Medieval/Renaissance ensemble, Joglaresa who performed in the truly magnificent setting of the Concert Hall which is part of the equally magnificent St George’s Hall in my own home town of Liverpool. I had seen the ensemble perform last year but if anything they were even better this time round. A wonderful programme of secular and sacred medieval music from Italy, Spain, France and England including much that I had never heard before and all in the company of a certain S Hackett Esquire. Seriously one of the best performances I have seen in the last few years. Go and see them, I guarantee you will not be disappointed
5. Non fiction book of the year: There have been a lot to choose from this year but the editor’s choice goes to Andrew Lambert’s fascinating work; The Challenge - Britain Against America in the naval War of 1812 which debunks many of the myths surrounding this particular chapter in Anglo-American relations generally overlooked by studies of the other conflict which was happening at the same time; the Napoleonic Wars. Well written, informed and observant, this was an excellent read.
6. Genesis-related gig of the year: Well, once again there’s only one contender; Steve’s show at the Floral Pavilion New Brighton on 20th February 2012. What a way to celebrate a birthday! A superb show by a truly remarkable artist.
7. Genesis tribute band gig of the year: tribute band gigs have been fewer on the ground than I would normally like but there has been lot going on here at TWR HQ over the last twelve months and so I haven’t managed to get to as many as I would like. Out of those which I did get to see, the clear winner was the debut gig by Mama, the band which arose out of the ashes of Face Value. One of the last shows at the greatly missed Pacific Road venue in Birkenhead, the new look band got their gigging career off to a flying start with this excellent show.
And there you have it, a brief look at some of the things which keep your editor
occupied when not sweating over a new edition of TWR!