Concert Review – Steve Hackett – Genesis Revisited 2019 – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-Sea [Wed 27 Nov 2019]

Now, before I start, I’d like to add that Steve is by far the greatest living prog legend, bless him for keeping the 70’s Genesis flag flying high.  He is ably supported by wonderfully talented musicians and has at his feet a prog back catalogue to die for.  Let’s face it Genesis were at the forefront of progressive rock music, supplemented by theatricals, and wrote the finest spine tinglingly (I think I just made that word up folks!) majestic songs with huge sonic landscapes. 

With no hope of the original members getting back together Steve is doing a sterling job of giving the people what they want.  Year after year his Genesis Revisited tours seem to get better and bigger and are selling out wherever he goes.  A testament to both his music and that of the prog masters. 

As for the band, all excellent musos to a man.  My only reservation is with Nad on lead vocals.  Great bloke that he is his voice certainly isn’t which is painfully obvious on songs like ‘More Fool Me’, the opening of ‘Dancing with a Moonlight Knight’.  He simply can’t hit the higher notes and his pitch is all wrong.  He manages to get away with it on the louder passages in songs where a strong voice is required.  He looks the part and needs to ‘let loose’ a bit more to become a more central character in the songs.  Some songs need to be ‘acted out’ so use the costumes and occasionally go centre stage?

My only other gripes are the drum solo (very 70’s 😊, and the absolute mullering of ‘I know What I like’ where the band kind of go for a long self-indulgence jam (think Neil Young mixed with a jazzy Steely Dan) – sorry chaps it doesn’t work for me.

Set timings were 7:45 – 20:36 and 21:00 – 22:40.

Another year and the ‘Genesis Revisited’ saga rolls into another gear and Southend is at full capacity to welcome Steve.  Steve is the torchbearer of the Genesis legacy, each year touring the world and to his credit constantly changing the setlist he plays for each tour.  The current tour pays homage to his past and provides a platform for his current activities.  The new stuff has all the familiar Hackett trademarks of melody shifts, insightful lyrics and delicate guitar solos.

The tried and trusted band of Nad Sylvan (vocals), Roger King (keyboards), Rob Townsend (sax/flute/keyboard), Jonas Reingold (bass/guitar) and newbie Craig Blundell (drums) are on top form tonight, each contributing fully on a note perfect night.  Also, his sometime collaborator Amanda Lehmann (guitar and vocals) performed for the 1st set only.

The show was split into two halves – kicking off with ‘Spectral Mornings’ and then onto ‘Selling England’.  Opener ‘Every Day’ is a rollicking tune with riff, harmonies and a solo to die for – a perfect start.  Steve played the majority of the album and also treated us to 3 tracks from the new LP ‘At The Edge Of Light’.   Steve engaged the audience between every song giving us a little antidote or insight into the songs.  He also liberally dusted off his fingers with talc – sticky business being a guitar maestro!  We had the D.H. Lawrence inspired ‘The Virgin And The Gypsy’ sung by Craig Blundell, ‘Tigermoth’, a splendid rendition of ‘Spectral Mornings’ with that hypnotic riff and then a ‘Foxtrot’ treat with ‘Horizons’ on 12 string acoustic. To finish the first half, the First World War inspired ‘Clocks – The Angel Of Mons’ – with an overlong drum solo that seemed to go on forever – sorry chaps not a fan.

Set List – (Click on the link to watch the video)

1st Set: Spectral Mornings 40TH Anniversary & At The Edge Of Light highlights

  1. Every Day – (Spectral Mornings, 1979)
  2. Under the Eye of the Sun (At the Edge of Light, 2018)
  3. Fallen Walls and Pedestals (At the Edge of Light, 2018)
  4. Beasts in Our Time (At the Edge of Light, 2018)
  5. The Virgin and the Gypsy – (Spectral Mornings, 1979)
  6. Tigermoth – (Spectral Mornings, 1979)
  7. Spectral Mornings – (Spectral Mornings, 1979)
  8. Horizon’s – (Foxtrot, 1972)
  9. The Red Flower of Tachai Blooms Everywhere – (Spectral Mornings, 1979)
  10. Clocks – The Angel of Mons – (Spectral Mornings, 1979)

Set 2 – Selling England By The Pound – 1973

  1. Dancing with the Moonlit Knight
  2. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
  3. Firth of Fifth
  4. More Fool Me
  5. The Battle of Epping Forest
  6. After the Ordeal
  7. The Cinema Show
  8. Aisle of Plenty
  9. Déjà Vu – (A Hackett/Gabriel song that Never made it onto the original LP)
  10. Dance on a Volcano – (A Trick of the Tail, 1976)

Encore:

  • Myopia* / Los Endos / Slogans* / Los Endos – (A Trick of the Tail, 1976)

 *Myopia is from ‘And Till We Have Faces’, 1984 and Slogans is from ‘Defector’ 1980

A 20 min break and the bit everyone has been waiting for – the classic ‘Selling England by the Pound’ – Steve’s own personal favourite Genesis LP.   From the opening “Can you tell me where my country lies?” to the off-kilter ‘I Know What I Like’ to the guitar virtuosity in ‘Firth Of Fifth’ and the totally progtastic ‘The Cinema Show’ the magic of the old days keeps burning brightly. 

I’d forgotten how wonderful an album it was.  Everything that’s great about prog is fully encapsulated in ‘Firth of Fifth’s’ instrumental section – dreamy.

Then Steve introduces ‘Déjà Vu’ which was written by Peter Gabriel and himself at the time but never saw light of day – a bonus track and rather lovely it was too.

The decibels turn up a notch for ‘Dance on a Volcano’ and the ‘Los Endos’ encore and that’s it, all over for another year. 

Steve is indeed a national treasure!  Keep going mate – the audience is out there and loving every minute.  Roll on ‘Seconds Out’ next year – Genesis Revisited just keeps on giving!!

Marko [reviewed 5 Dec 2019]