Steve Hackett in concert at the Symphony Hall, Atlanta, GA, 17th April 2016. Review and photographs by Danial Albert.
Leaving the Symphony Hall I headed out into the warm April night and into the city lights of midtown Atlanta. I looked up at the sprawling buildings above and thought I can’t believe I’ve finally seen my first gig. It has been nearly ten years since I discovered Genesis and I have gone down many paths that have led me to where I am now….Let’s just take a little trip back and give a brief history of how I got to be where I am now…
I met Alan Hewitt a few years ago on the Genesis Turn It |On Again forum. We talked briefly about his work with TWR and his interviews with Tony Banks and I asked him if he coild send me some of them to upload on my You Tube page : Banksian Central. Well, Alan was happy to do so as long as I have credit to TWR which I happily did. We began to talk woth one another off and on and I added him on Facebook in May of last year. Well, long story short, Alan told me that Steve was going to be touring in America and that I shoild go and see him. I said if he came anywhere around me, I woild be sure to go. I lived in Newfoundland, Canada for five years and absolutely no Genesis related acts came around there. I moved back to my hone in Alabama last summer, and again, not many Genesis related acts come around there either.
Well, that changed… I found out in November that Steve was going to be coming to Atlanta on 17th April for one of his Acolyte To Wolflight tour dates! Immediately afer I saw this I said to myself ; ‘I am going to this damn concert!’ I had been wanting to attend a Genesis related gig for years going back to September 2007 when Genesis performed in East Rutherford New Jersey. Sadly I couldn’t make it all the way to New Jersey for that concert. I wasn;t going to let that happen again.
I told Alan about the concert date and that I was going to get two tickets for it, one for me and one for my uncle to go. I had told Alan months prior that I had never actually attended a concert before and he was shocked by this. He said he wuld mention this to Steve and se ewhat coild be arranged for me. I was completely shocked to hear him say this to say the least and even more shocked when he wrote to me and told me that Steve’s wife, Jo had arranged everything! So, I was all ready to go. All I had to do was get my ticket sorted out for my uncle .. But he fell through and I had to ask my mum to go instead since none of my friends were reliable.
So, the day of the gig finally came and me and mum got ready and I made sure to grab my vinyl pressing of Wind & Wuthering and my vinyl copy of Seconds Out for Steve to sign. I grabbed all of that and we set out for the three hour drive to Atlanta.
After the hectic drive to Atlanta, we pulled into the parking garage and got out and began the short walk to the entrance. Immediaely upon entering the place was already full of people. Some of whom had donned their Genesis related T shirts and walking past them I overheard the name Phil Collins and Genesis and I felt like joining in on their conversations but, alas, I had business to attend to with sorting out my ticket and such. I went to the box office and collected my ticket and sat down with my mum and waited for 6.45 to roll around to go and meet Steve.
I was pretty nervous but I was excited as well. A representative cam eout and got me along with about six others and we made the trek to the backstage area where we would meet Steve and Jo. After passing through several hallways and going down two flights of stairs we came upon this large quiet room with a grand piano and many chairs in front of it. All of us stood around looking from one another and waited for Steve to arrive. A moment later we heard footsteps from the opposite staircase and suddenly before my very eyes was Steve Hackett in the flesh. I had spent years seeing his face on my screen and now there he was. It was quite the feeling. Steve began going around shaking hands and he came up to me and I introduced myself, giving him a firm handshake. Amazing to shake the hand that has played so many guitar riffs over the years.
Steve was a pretty popular guy back there. All the rest of the people were asking him questions and taking photos and such and saying that such and shuch and said hello. I kind of stood around alittle being the introvert that I am, I looked at him and filmed a quick video of him talking to a few people. After I approached his wife, Jo and told her who I was and that I was one of Alan’s friends, and I thinked her very much for all that she had done in setting things up for me. I said it was my first ever concert and said that I had been wanting to attend a show for quite some time. “Well here we are!” she said to me. I then aske dher if I could get a photo with Steve and then with the two of them. Those are some very special photos to me. Steve’s tour manager, Brian Coles then steps in and says that Steve has to be going as there is going to be a three hour concert soon! I quickly ask Steve if he can sign two items for me really quickly and I get him to sign my records and then we say our goodbyes and I thank Steve for everything as well as Jo again and we are led out of the backstage area back into the main fllor. I was pretty shocked to finally hav emet a member of Genesis!
So, soon after the concert began and I got into the Symphony Hall and find my seat. My mum had a balcony seat so we had to part ways again. I was eight rows from the front of the stage and had the centre seat with empty seats to the left and right of me. Quite the seat I must say. I sit down, and soon after the hall fills up with the roar of many people chattjn among themselves. The lights come down and the crowd screams! Then out walks the band and the crowd roards even louder!
What lay ahead was three hours of fantastic music. I sit there in awe of seeing everyone play. From the fantastic playing of Steve out front and centre, the fantastic keyboards of Roger King, epic drumming of Gary O’Toole; Roine Stolt’s awesome riffs on the bass and guitar; Rob Towsnend’s crazed playing on the sax and his work on the flute and keyboard and Nad Sylvan’s vocal work!
Finally seeing a real concert was just amazing. I sat there and took it all in, filming excerpts here and there as well as recording audio of the Genesis portion of the show. It was just simply perfect. I can recall the audience giving Steve and everyone a standing ovation on more than one song. The place really was full of passionate fans either bobbing their heads, tapping their feet and fingers along to the beat, which was what I was doing, or counting out the beats to Clocks. The place had quite a high energy that I have never experienced before.
After it was all said and done, I sat there a bit, watching as everyone cleared out of the hall. I was a bit sad to see it end but I feel I will be back one day to see Steve play again.