Steve Hackett (2019)

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Steve Hackett - City Hall, Sheffield (UK) - 05 November 2019

I had waited a long time for this show, as I turned up on this date last year, thinking that was when the show was. I got it right this time, and it was well worth waiting for.

There was no support and the venue appeared sold out (no surprise as many of the dates had) when the band came on at seven fourty-five with 'Every Day'. Steve explained it would be a three-hour show and there would be two sets, the first would celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the release of 'Spectral Mornings', then after the break they would perform the whole of 'Selling England By The Pound'. And, true to his word, he performed all but two songs from 'Spectral Mornings', one of which, 'The Virgin And The Gypsy', included his brother John (always makes me think of The Lamb), and his sister-in-law Amanda Lehman, who had already been on stage playing guitar. Steve informed us that this was the first time ever that this line-up had been together performing. You wouldn't have known. John also appeared on another acoustic offering, 'The Red Flower Of Tachai Blooms Everywhere'. 'Tigermoth' and 'Spectral Mornings' were also played from that album, and the first set finished with 'Clocks - The Angel Of Mons', complete with the massive drum solo at the end (which I actually remember John Shearer doing live when the album first came out).

After the interval of around twenty minutes, they returned to perform the entirety of Genesis' 'Selling England By The Pound' which, looking at the general age of the audience, was a bit of a draw. Vocalist Nad Sylvan came back on dressed like a villainous Dickens character, and that's fine, when you remember some of the stuff Peter Gabriel used to wear. I am not sure how much of a challenge playing this music is, the standard of musicianship up there being as it was, but the sound was excellent, and I suspect I wasn't the only one that thought this, it took all those of a certain age right back to the seventies. The music was precise, stunning, one may even say beautiful, and reminded me just why I got into that band at an early stage. Not that I needed reminding. Nothing was missing, and the phenomenon of feeling the bass pedals as much as hearing them still fills me with a sense of awe. And, fair enough, nobody but Gabriel can really be Gabriel (probably not even Gabriel these days), but Nad did a good job. And if you watch him carefully, he does these odd, idiosyncratic little movements here and there. It would be fair to say, the jewel in the crown was 'Firth Of Fifth' and that guitar piece, but that wouldn't be fair on the other tracks they played. There were difficulties as bass player Jonas Reingold's guitar wouldn't work before 'More Fool Me' and they ended up doing the song without him. After finishing SEBTP, they played 'Deja Vu', the track that was written by Hackett and Gabriel, but never completed or included on any subsequent releases. The second set ended with the dramatic 'Dance On A Volcano', once again played superbly, before leaving the stage then coming back to end the evening by interweaving 'Myopia' and 'Slogans' in and out of 'Los Endos'.

I always think after seeing something like this, that anyone who is not into this kind of music really is missing out on something special, and when it's performed as well as this, it's extra special.

Set 1: Every Day, Under The Eye Of The Sun, Fallen Walls And Pedestals, Beasts In Our Time, The Virgin And The Gypsy (with John Hackett), Tigermoth, Spectral Mornings, The Red Flower Of Tachai Blooms Everywhere (with John Hackett), Clocks - The Angel Of Mons.

Set 2: (Selling England by the Pound): Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe), Firth Of Fifth, More Fool Me, The Battle Of Epping Forest, After The Ordeal, The Cinema Show, Aisle Of Plenty, Deja Vu, Dance On A Volcano (Genesis). Encore: Myopia / Los Endos / Slogans / Los Endos (reprise).

Review Andy B & Lou C. Photo's Andy B.

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