Steve Hackett - Sage, Gateshead 23.11.2019
Opening the set with 'Every Day Steve' instantly has me smiling and transported back in time not only to the first time I’d seen him live but also to those Friday Night Radio 1 Rock shows where Tommy Vance would play full live sets from Reading Festival and had no qualms about including Hacketts in that rota. It’s a wonderful slice of Folk Pop seemingly simple until that understated yet intricate guitar solo kicks in taking the song off into another realm. Although billed as a celebration of two particular albums it’s great to also hear tracks from his latest album 'At The Edge Of Light' and we get a three in a row delight with the up tempo 'Under The Eye Of The Sun' ,the heavy 'Fallen Walls And Pedestals' intro into the beautiful 'Beasts In Our Time' and although theses are the first three tracks on the album I reckon they give a good indication to anyone on the audience who hadn’t yet got it to go to the merch and pick one up sharpish.
It’s then back to the celebration of one of my all time go to albums 'Spectral Mornings' and the vocal harmony showpiece that is 'The Virgin And The Gypsy'. Craig Blundell joins the band front stage from behind the kit and boy do they nail those vocals and the keyboard woodwind interplay between Roger and Rob is just sublime.
After an introductory tale of its origin we are blitzed with a shortened instrumental version of 'Tigermoth' segueing into that all too familiar intro to 'Spectral Mornings' and the smiles widen as Steve’s guitar playing takes centre stage proving again he is one of the finest players ever.
Dipping into the Genesis songbook for the first time tonight 'Horizons' sets the scene for a beautiful rendition of 'The Red Flower Of Tachai Blooms Everywhere' not only sounding amazing but also (like all of the songs) looking fantastic with possibly the best lit show I’ve seen Steve’s band perform. The first set is closed with the bombastic 'Clocks' including an incredible drum solo from Craig and I honestly think this was the best version I have seen since back in the John Shearer days.
After a short interval the band return and Nad Sylvan’s opening “can you tell me where my country lies “ begins our journey back in time to listen to 'Selling England By The Pound' in its entirety. Nad has grown each tour in my opinion and now makes each of these songs his own but retaining their original quirky features, for example he gets every character in 'Battle Of Epping Forest' perfectly which is no mean feat considering it’s possibly the most wordy of Genesis songs. 'I Know What I Like' is as always a crowd favourite but now is extended to include an almost Jazz Fusion work out in the middle with Rob and Steve trading sax , guitar and flute solos.
And then there it is ... I even get goosebumps just typing the song title 'Firth Of Fifth' an absolute classic featuring possibly one of the greatest guitar solos ever. It has everything, technique, tone but most of all emotion. Worthy centre piece of any live set.
'More Fool Me' sets the scene nicely for 'Battle Of Epping Forest' as stated before being perfectly executed. Second goosebump moment comes with the gorgeous 'After The Ordeal' (ok the whole night was goosebumps but I’m talking those big ones throughout the body) into 'The Cinema Show' another absolute show stealer of a song, it’s hard to believe all of these huge songs were on just two sides of one album. 'Aisle Of Plenty' brings the album play through to its conclusion but we aren’t done yet. We are treated to a song discarded at the time by Gabriel but completed a little while back so it seems fitting to include 'Deja Vu' in this set before closing the night with 'Dance On A Volcano' and encoring with a lovely mash up of 'Myopia', 'Los Endos, 'Slogans' and back into 'Los Endos' before taking their leave.
I do find it odd though that I’m fine with S'elling England 'being from 1973 but it really freaks me out that we were celebrating 'Spectral Mornings' 40th anniversary from 1979 go figure !!
Anyway 2020 tour dates have now been announced (surely Steve has to be the hardest working musician out there he’s never home) and it’s going to be the 'Seconds Out' tour so those shouting “Suppers Ready“ tonight will get their wish. I’ll see you all there again.
Steve Hackett - https://www.facebook.com/stevehackettofficial/
Photos & Review - G's Gig Shots