Steve Hackett in concert at the Philharmonic Hall Liverpool Tuesday 29th October 2013. Review by Ian D. Hall. Photos by M. Ainscoe and E. Sayers.
Rating 9.5 /10
There are very few performers that will attempt to capture the magic, the very special experience of a gig twice in the same venue in the same year. Then again, it may have been thought impossible to recapture the very essence of a classic in the first place. However when the venue is the prestigious Philharmonic Hall and the artist is the phenomenal guitarist Steve Hackett, it really shouldn’t come as any surprise at all that the musician and his finely crafted band should once more come to Liverpool and give the legion of fans in the city yet another night to remember. The story can be re-told lots of times but when it is re-imagined it seems to have an extra layering attached to it that you can only thank your stars that you were present to see it recreated. Such was the genius and almost universal clamour of appreciation when Steve Hackett took a collection of songs from his time within arguably one of the finest Progressive Rock acts of all time and gave them a new home under the banner of Genesis Revisited Two.
A feat worth doing once is worth doing a second time and whilst there will no doubt be detractors who hold placards up to the sky proclaiming the very worst insults, Progressive Rock at its very best is there to hold the offering of imagination up to a person and asking them to run with it, to take it and fashion it into their own story; to have stories and tales of the past remembered and reverberate through the ages. It certainly is what Steve Hackett does best. The almost gargantuan collective intake of breath that greeted the previous gig earlier in the year as the first notes of Watcher of the Skies was played seemed to still be hanging in the Philharmonic Hall’s psyche, almost as if it was waiting to be reclaimed six months later. This was not forgotten left luggage though, placed in a train station’s waiting room discarded forever, this was the memory of a moment that many fans of Genesis had long waited for.
No Watcher of the Skies to open the show with this time, however when the near majesty of Dance on a Volcano and Dancing with The Moonlit Knight with its opening mournful vocal repose greets the crowd then the result is something very similar. Each member of the audience must have felt that this once more was going to be very special indeed. Over the course of six albums between 1971 and 1976, the classic Genesis line up took on the world and offered something different to their audience. This night was more than a homage to those distant but never forgotten times, it was respect, a due reverence of what the band created. With tracks such as Fly on a Windshield and Broadway Melody of ’74, being performed from the seminal The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, the disturbing imagery of The Musical Box, The Return of The Giant Hogweed with its wonderful new graphics being shown on the backdrop, the ghost-like beauty of great female literature in Unquiet Slumber for The Sleepers…/In That Quiet Earth and the Homer’s Iliad like quality of Supper’s Ready placed neatly within the set, there was nothing that could be felt within the confines of the Philharmonic Hall than un-distilled joy and a lingering love for the music of that period.
This was team effort, the gratitude to the musicians who made the six albums stand out as some of the finest work of its time recaptured by Gary O’ Toole, Rob Townsend, the ethereal like beauty of Nad Sylvan on vocals and showed throughout why he makes it look so effortless, the invaluable Roger King and the blistering nature of Lee Pomeroy’s work once more making this not just a gig to savour but to relish in every time the reminiscence takes them.