Sunday, 21 May 2017

Steve Hackett

16th May 2017

Glasgow Concert Hall

Having caught Steve on his last two tours, I would probably have given this one a miss were it not for the fact my Prog-gig Gig-buddy was so keen.  For although Steve had a new album to plug (The Night Siren), he was, I knew, also commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the release of the Genesis album Wind and Wuthering – a collection I have never had much time for.  

Eleventh Earl of Mar (the tale of Bobbing John) remains a pleasingly, entertaining tune – enlivened by that intriguing and slightly Oedipal “Daddy, You've got to go” business - but, Hackett's excellent Blood on the Rooftops aside, I always felt the rest of album to be mediocre fare indeed.

We were presented with a total of five songs from the collection this evening, and nowt I heard made me amend my opinion that Wind And Wuthering represents nothing so much as the disappointing death throes of Genesis as a Prog-rock band.  Not that Messrs. Collins, Banks and Rutherford's respective accountants minded in the slightest.  

Inside and Out, a song co-written by Hackett and recorded at the same sessions was also performed.  It was Steve's failure to get this one, as well as his own instrumental Please Don't Touch onto the W&W album which contributed in no small way to his departure from the band late in 1977, I believe.

Glasgow Concert Hall

It was therefore, perhaps not surprisingly, the solo material which made up the first half of the gig, which I enjoyed more.  Even allowing for a few technical glitches by, as we learned, “Gary Moore's guitar”.

Everyday, as I think I have stated in a earlier blog entry, is an undisputed masterpiece, in my opinion – Steve's crowning glory in fact.  Another highlight of the evening was Serpentine Song.  I was unfamiliar with this piece, which dates back to 2003, but Steve's evocative lyric and Rob Townsend's penny whistle and soprano saxophone work combined to make this one a real delight. 

Three songs from the new album were aired; and what a mixed bunch they turned out.  El Nino was a drum driven item, enlivened by some typical Hackett noodlings.  Behind the Smoke, by contrast, had a slightly Eastern thing going on, musically.  Steve sang on this one, a rare outing for the Hackett vocal chords, I think.  His vocals were actually fine, but what let this composition down was the rather banal lyric:

"The road ahead is steep 
There is no time to weep 
We've come this way so far from home 
And though the wounds are deep 
Past is out of reach 
We'll meet our future all too soon."

Covering a topic as powerful and contemporary as the refugee crisis, the words were thin gruel, I felt.

In the Skeleton Gallery continued the vaguely eastern theme musically, but the piece as a whole was a bit of a mixed bag with what seemed a bucket load of musical ideas tossed into the mix.  There was a passage which reminded me a touch of Willow Farm, following which was a metal riff heavier than anything SH succeeded in getting onto any Genesis vinyl.

As a whole, I felt the performance didn't quite come off in concert, where it was my (and I assume many of the audience's) first exposure to it.  But subsequent listenings at home have found me me learning to really rather enjoy the company of the bag of disparate elements.

In fact, the more I have listened to the whole of The Night Siren album – shamefully on Spotify, rather than shelling out for it on CD – the more I have enjoyed it.

And, I rather now wish we had been presented with more of it at the gig, and a touch less W&W.

Steve Hackett - Glasgow 2017

Steve Hackett - Glasgow 2017

During Shadow of the Hierophant Nick Begss sat cross-legged and hair flailing,
banging away at what I took to be some sort of electronic percussion device.
He just looked silly.

During Blood on the Rooftops

Nad Sylvan appeared less successful imitating Phil Collins than he was Peter Gabriel.

Roger King, Rob Townsend, Nad Sylvan, Nick Beggs, SH and Gary O'Toole.

Set list

El Nino
The Steppes
In the Skeleton Gallery
Behind the Smoke
Serpentine Song
Rise Again
Shadow of the Hierophant (second part)
Eleventh Earl of Mar
One for The Vine
Blood on the Rooftops
...In The Quiet Earth
Dance on a Volcano
Inside and Out
Firth of Fifth
The Musical Box

Slogans/Los Endos

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