Steve Hackett is an unassuming star – there’s no grandiosity here, no headlines in the media, and while his ex-bandmates grab the limelight, Steve and his collection of talented musicians take to the road on another lengthy UK tour, this time playing Seconds Out, the 1977 Genesis live album, in its entirety.
The first time I saw Genesis Revisited, the show was so mesmerising I didn’t want it to end, and thus the bar was set. Did this post-lockdown gig live up to expectations? Yes and no. It was a show of two (unequal) halves. The evening opened with Hackett’s solo material, including the gothic-influenced The Devil’s Cathedral from his new album Surrender Of Silence. For 40 minutes each song built on the next and reached a crescendo with an old staple, Shadow Of The Hierophant.
When the curtain came down the applause had such vivacity it felt like the end of the show. The half-hour break that followed was, according to the sound engineer, set by the venue. Ten minutes would have sufficed. When the band returned, the momentum built up in the first half had subsided, people were restless and it took a few songs to get back into the flow.
Seconds Out, a double album, is a mixed bag with tracks such as Squonk being more jazz than progressive rock. The fabulous Nad Sylvan, who glided on and off stage like a ghost, is just Gabriel-esque enough to make the songs sound authentic. Old favourites Firth Of Fifth, The Musical Box and Cinema Show were all there, but the second half felt overly long – though the maskless audience, who were obviously enthusiasts, might not agree.
The show did what it said on the tin and revisited Genesis, but for me it was Hackett’s own songs that shone the brightest and I wished there’d been more of them. There was no denying the talent on that small stage. Roger King (keyboards), Jonas Reingold (bass) and Rob Townsend (sax) each had a spotlight moment and Craig Blundell raised the roof with his drum solo – but the evening was really a showcase for Hackett’s effortless guitar playing, and that did not disappoint.
St David’s Hall, Cardiff, Fri 17 Sept
words LYNDA NASH photos GARETH GRIFFITHS
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