The pandemic has certainly loosened its grip on the UK at last and we have seen a large number of gigs that had previously been postponed being rescheduled. This is definitely a good step and allows artists like Steve Hackett to be finally able to tour once again, albeit it in a slightly different way. This also allows venues to start making some long lost revenue at last. So it was that in September 2021 that Steve recorded his show at the O2 Apollo in Manchester for the latest souvenir of his current incarnation of the ‘Genesis Revisited’ story for his ever growing catalogue of friends and fans.
Steve has recorded each tour since 2013 from various venues and in different guises. We have seen these tours with a fairly consistent band, usually Steve himself alongside long time keyboardist and group orchestrator Roger King, saxophonist Rob Townsend, bassist Jonas Reingold and, vocalist for the last decade, Nad Sylvan. New drummer Craig Blundell has been a member since 2017. Steve is also joined by his sister in law Amanda Lehmann who provides extra guitar and vocals, most noticeably here on Held In The Shadows and and an epic version of Shadow Of The Hierophant.
As it had been nearly 2 years since last touring, the band were very excited to be treading the boards once again. In addition, the level of excitement in the audience was palpable. I caught the show earlier on in the tour in Stoke and I was highly impressed with the standard of the concert and the power and passion the band breathed into these sets.
This Manchester gig certainly captures that same energy superbly, the set is identical, the whole album bristles with electricity and the performances are all top notch. Steve always aims to put on a good show and I’ve yet to see one that disappoints, his team all perform flawlessly and you can certainly feel the joy of earning a crust once more.
During the pandemic Steve managed to both stay safe and also to complete his long awaited, and thoroughly excellent, autobiography (‘A Genesis In My Bed’), an acoustic album (‘Under A Mediterranean Sky’) and then his latest album ‘Surrender Of Silence’, songs from which appear in the short solo set performed as part of this show. Now, Steve knows that the majority of folks are there for the Genesis material, so he wisely chooses a short opening set that includes several of his own songs that are popular in their own right, namely Clocks – The Angel of Mons, Every Day and Shadow Of The Hierophant along with Held In The Shadows and The Devil’s Cathedral, all of which are strong in their own right and show that Steve also continues to create great new music of his own.
Then, after a break, the band return for the main event, the performance of the entire 1977 Genesis ‘Seconds Out’ album, recreated in Steve’s own inimitable style and by his own band and arrangements. The track listing replicates the album fully and the band certainly enhance that now slightly wooly sounding album by giving it a fresh and new, and yet still authentic, sound, but one that benefits from the technological advances made since it was recorded all those years ago.
Now you don’t need me to tell you just how important this album was to the Genesis canon, it was a very well received album, one that sought to capture the essence of both the Peter Gabriel years and also the Phil Collins era as was. It was monumentally important at the time, even if it did ultimately lead to Steve’s departure from the band as he felt his own songs were being sidelined and other parties resented his increasing solo success. Now, forty years on Steve has the opportunity to put that right and play the album in a manner that satisfies him.
It’s all here for you to enjoy once again, whether you want to play, compare and contrast the two versions is up to you, but, for me, I’ll choose to watch the live footage of a master playing his material to the highest standard and revelling in it. The set list tells the story fabulously, it’s all here in a powerhouse performance and pristine sound along with a great documentary and several videos from the ‘Surrender Of Silence’ album. With a total running time of three hours, this set is another opportunity to catch the maestro in full flow.
I have to say that a defining moment for me is when the lighting director Chris Curran recreates the albums iconic cover to fabulous effect, especially when you consider that he does this using only the lights at his disposal and not with the huge mirrors and varilights that Genesis had to work with. It’s this attention to detail and the sheer skill of Steve’s crew that really make this show so very special.
Released 2nd September, 2022
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