Saturday, 6 May 2017

Genesis Revisted With Classic Hackett - Colston Hall, Bristol - 4th May 2017

I had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Hackett live on Bradley Stoke Radio (a Community Radio Station in North Bristol) on the 13th March 2017, as part of a Steve Hackett Special.  It was a real pleasure to talk to him about his life and music.  A true gentleman.  I have since, been looking forward to his UK tour. This is my review of his Show in Bristol:

The audience is calm and relaxed, with a feeling of anticipation as Steve Hackett takes centre stage. The band makes a confident start with Every Day, from Spectral Mornings, followed by a few tracks from Hackett's new album, The Night Siren.  In The Skeleton Gallery, a dark and haunting tune, reminds you of those scary childhood dreams. Hackett makes a poignant point about the plight of refugees before they play Behind The Smoke - big and bold, with Gary O'Toole in full control of the drums. The audience are treated to some more 'Classic Hackett', including the mellow Serpentine Song delivered with craft and emotion, dedicated to Hackett's Dad. The synergy between Rob Townsend on wind instruments and Hackett on guitar is a fusion of jazz and rock. The band gradually crank up the volume with their last song before the break - Shadow of the Hierophant.  As the song builds to a crescendo, there is a roar from the audience and applause in appreciation.

Nad Sylvan, wearing an eye catching embroidered coat, joins the band for the second half.  There is a real buzz in the air, as the band skillfully play five stunning tracks from the Genesis album, Wind and Wuthering, in celebration of its 40th anniversary.  This is one of Hackett's favourite Genesis albums, and it shows. Close your eyes and you're transported back in time. Sylvan's vocals have their own personality, but still have the Genesis retro sound.  Roger King is magical on keyboards and the versatile Nick Beggs shows the audience what a great bass player he is.  The Wind and Wuthering celebrations are rounded off with Afterglow. The Colston Hall is lit up, and is greeted with a positive reaction from the audience.

The band plays a few more classic Genesis tracks, including Firth of Fifth, from Selling England by the Pound.  You can see Hackett preparing for his famous guitar solo, pushing his sleeves up and wiggling his fingers.  Lots of people are clapping.  You can feel the emotion in the air as he plays that solo, and there are probably a few wet eyes out there.  As the song closes, there is a big cheer and people are on their feet.  The last song is The Musical Box, along with audience participation - 'Tick, Tock', 'Now, Now', encouraged by Sylvan with a tambourine in hand.  The Show comes to the end, and each band member takes a bow and receives their well deserved applause.  As they leave the stage people are on their feet shouting for more.  The place is buzzing.

The band return for their encore, and rounds the evening off with Los Endos, played with passion and gusto, bringing a night of great entertainment, nostalgia and top quality musicianship to a close.  Steve Hackett is up there amongst the guitar greats, supported by some brilliant musicians, and given his extensive back catalogue of music to draw upon, knows how to pick a set list with something for everybody.  And by the way, Pokemon made a guest appearance at the end (one of the crew in costume) summing up a fun and memorable night in Bristol. 

Clive Hickman

The Friday Prog Rock Show (Presenter)

Bradley Stoke Radio

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