Steve Hackett at the Bridgewater Hall
Steve Hackett’s renaissance is remarkable albeit built around revisiting his history with Genesis which he still continues and makes up almost two-thirds of this evenings sold-out show at the Bridgewater Hall as he looks back at the 40th anniversary of the release of Wind And Wuthering.
But before we get to that, the first set is 50 minutes of classic Hackett, revisiting his early albums as well as his most recent release. Everyday from Spectral Mornings starts things off and loosens everyone, the bass synth in The Steppes reverberates in my chest just as it did 37 years ago at the Apollo and is always a delight to hear, Hackett’s guitar cutting right through us. There were surprises in his set too; Serpentine Song (about his father and painting) from To Watch The Storms and Rise Again from Darktown were both unexpected and impressive.
His latest album The Night Siren, which even managed to hit the album charts, is represented with three pieces – El Nino along with it’s heavy drumming as well as In The Skeleton Gallery and Behind The Smoke – all of which fitted perfectly amongst his older material. But ending this part of the show is Shadow of the Hierophant from his first solo album, Voyage Of The Acolyte, and see’s bassist Nick Beggs sat cross-legged on the floor whilst hitting his bass pedals with his fists: a stunning climax to this set.
The second half of the show starts with a bruising performance of Eleventh Earl Of Mar – the opener to the album and the perfect way to start the aforementioned celebration of Wind And Wuthering, and judging by the response of the audience this is what they had come to hear, following this with One For The Vine which oscillates from delicate to powerful with it’s message of the futility of war. Nad Sylvan is now part of the band and his vocals are quite extraordinary – a cross between Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins they are perfect for this show, yet still allow him to retain his own identity.
Swapping to an acoustic guitar Hackett gently leads us into Blood On The Rooftops with drummer Gerry O’Toole handling the singing. The instrumental …In That Quiet Earth segues into Afterglow – the crowd understandably going nuts. The performance form the whole band is simply sublime, close your eyes and it could easily be Genesis on stage so it is easy to understand why the crowd are reacting the way they are.
Another more than pleasant surprise is the inclusion of Inside And Out, originally the B-side of the Spot The Pigeon EP, the synth solo at the end by Roger King is just stunning. The final part of the set is reserved for some Gabriel era Genesis with renditions of Firth Of Fifth and The Musical Box, the crowd now going absolutely bonkers.
The encore see’s a slight return to classic solo Hackett with Slogans from his Defector album which segues into a note perfect rendition of the Genesis finale Los Endos. The crowd are slayed. The guy next to me jumps up, takes off his t-shirt and swings it around his head, whooping away.
The band are powerful and Hackett is majestic yet humble with it. A simply perfect show!