“A Flower? No It’s a Leek!” - Steve Hackett in concert at the St David’s Hall Cardiff on 11th May 2013. Review by Anthony Longville. Photographs by Alan Hewitt.
I have been looking forward to this night for so long and I was in no way disappointed.
I had discovered Genesis in around 1980 and went to my first show in 1982. But my journey with Genesis whilst I found something to enjoy in most eras, after all the arguments about the Gabriel vs. Collins had led me to the conclusion that for me it is about the Hackett era. I have discovered different bands more recently and wondered if the music of Genesis 1971 - 77 could ever be displaced from the top spot. If I needed a reminder as to why I love this music so much then I got it on Saturday night. This is my music. I missed it first time around. I’ve seen the grainy videos but boy, this was it!
This is the fourth time I have seen Steve now starting with the acoustic trio in 2005. I have come to love Steve’s music but I remember sitting in a freezing cave in Cornwall and feeling goosebumps as Steve played Hairless Heart and After The Ordeal. This was one of my heroes bringing me just a snippet of my favourite music to light (I probably sold you your merch at that one, Anthony - AH).
This was the third time I have taken my wife to see Steve and I’ve got her well trained now. She enthuses about the guitar solo in Firth of Fifth even if she can’t get the title right! This was so far as she was concerned the best of the lot. I’ve brought her a long way from the Phil Collins fan she started out as.
Well trained, unlike the lady in the row behind. I was amused to hear some of their conversation…
Wife: So what songs am I likely to know?
Husband: Err.. Umm.
Wife: Follow You Follow Me? (sic)
Husband: No. Err, umm..
Husband: In the original line up Phil Collins was just the drummer. The singer
then was that other chap, err, um what’s his name? Err, um.
Me: Tell Him
My Wife to husband: Peter Gabriel.
Husband: Oh yes.
Anne-Marie Helder was a bonus - one of my favourite voices although I didn’t know the songs. A couple of Panic Room numbers would have been great.
Watcher Of The Skies was such a tour de force opener and the hairs were standing up on the back of my neck. This is going to be something. The power of the intro, the lights. This was going to be worth the wait.
The song that took me by surprise was Musical Box. We all know it but I am not sure I would list it in my top ten G tunes but it was just huge. I honestly wonder if that song has ever sounded better. There was such energy and the song ended with the first standing ovation of the night. , and for me a much greater respect for the original.
Fore me there were really no low points although for me the end of The Lamia is all about the guitar rather than the sax.
Back in 1982, I saw a very different set , including Abacab and Whodunnit but my favourite then as now is the long one; Supper’s Ready . In 1982 I was blown away when it was played in full, never to be played fully by the band. So the anticipation of hearing it again 31 years later was huge. And I was not disappointed. The tears didn’t quite come but I was very moist eyed at “but now I’m back again, and babe it’s gonna work out right“ . Literally in Prog heaven with the lord of lords and the king of kings. I was hoping that everyone would stand for the finale of the song , and I didn’t have the nerve to try to lead the way. After all, even the king (George III) stood for the Halleluiah Chorus!
Standing ovation again. Firth of Fifth and Los Endos more standing ovations. What a night.
Hackett is incredible. He is and always will be my favourite guitarist. Seeing him live over these eight years has given me such an appreciation.
Roger King is a rock and hey he can play the intro to Firth Of Fifth too!
Always impressed with the multi-talented Rob Towsend who added some keyboards and a banana to his armoury.
Lee Pomeroy I had not seen but he impressed.
Gary O’Toole was as solid as ever and his vocals the strongest that I have heard them.
And then there was Nad . I was not entirely convinced when I have heard Nad before even on the GR2 album but tonight he nailed it and he won me over completely. To add to the vocals and his stage presence he brought a level of theatricality which was just right.
As I say, what a night. Stuff I never thought I would hear live and I got the lot.
I had many other thoughts that day and in the days after.
I really hope the other G guys will actually go to see this show (I’m not holding my breath!). They all seem to be somewhat embarrassed by their musical past and yet the pleasure that their compositions brought to a packed Welsh house was testament to the fact this music is so loved.
There is such majesty, such beauty and such power in this music . Turned out it was too loud for the lady behind but my wife loved it and is asking abut the DVD. It was great to see Steve playing in a big venue and with a big production . I will probably never get to see the likes of this again but it was worth every penny to experience thisLooking forward to seeing Steve again playing a Hackett set , but this was a wonderful gift to the fans of the most glorious , beautiful, mesmerising music of all.