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Wednesday 13 November 2019

Review: Steve Hackett @ Brighton Dome Concert Hall 12-11-19

Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett is no stranger to Brighton Dome. Having first performed there in the early 70s with his old band mates in their prog peak, he returned on Tuesday night to mark the 40th anniversary of his own Spectral Mornings album and to revisit those bygone days with Peter Gabriel and co.

Launching his set with Every Day, the lead single from Spectral Mornings, the band instantly showed they were on fine form. 

A brief detour via three songs from Hackett's recent release At The Edge of Light reveal he can still deliver material as strong as his classics, although album highlight Hungry Years with its nod to Brighton's most legendary rock night club would have been a nice inclusion - you'll just have to buy the album instead!

The remainder of the first half returns to selections from Spectral Mornings and is a showcase for Hackett as an excellent front man

Handling much of the vocal work himself it's evident he has more than one gift. 

Hackett's guitar effortlessly carves a path through the songs mixing melodic lines with experimentation and flat out rock. But, as the first half nears its end an internal alarm bell starts to ring.

Few things can make the heart sink as much as a drum solo. Often a ten minute clatter-fest around the kit at various speeds is designed to impress only the most hardened of sadists. 

Fortunately, this is most certainly not the case at Brighton Dome. 

Drummer Craig Blundell takes us on a rollercoaster thrill ride, whilst purveying his impeccable skills and talent, dropping jaws around the building. There's even a brief moment of humour thrown in for good measure. 

After a jam packed first half comes, for many, the main event

Genesis unleashed their seminal Selling England by the Pound album in 1973. 

Boosted by the hit single I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) the album was a commercial and critical success, and remains so...for good reason. 

After a jam packed first half comes, for many, the main event. 

Genesis unleashed their seminal Selling England by the Pound album in 1973. 

Forty-six years on Hackett and his band tackle the album in full. Vocalist Nad Sylvan kicks off proceedings as the band launch into the opener Dancing With The Moonlit Knight

Faithful and true to the original spirit of the record, you could be forgiven for thinking you'd just been whisked off by Dr Who. 

However, this is no mere heritage act parading a museum piece. 

The individual personalities of the band also shine throughout, giving the album a fresh sheen, most notably on the extended jam section of the aforementioned single.

The band swiftly prove why Firth of Fifth has remained a live favourite across almost five decades. 

Hackett gives a fine example of why he's one of the most admired and respected guitar players in rock, as he soars along with the mellotron in moments of pure beauty.

More Fool Me, the first Genesis song to feature a full lead vocal by Phil Collins, shows Sylvan's ability to effortlessly handle any of the album's vocal parts. 

He can be Gabriel, he can be Collins and he can be neither and still sound perfectly suited to the songs. 

Huge kudos must be given simply for learning all the words to The Battle of Epping Forest, let alone the individual vocal idiosyncrasies of the characters.

As the album draws to a close, another longstanding live favourite Cinema Show - as witnessed by the huge cheer as soon as the first note was played, despite everyone knowing it was coming - is expertly executed. 

As the subtle and beautiful Aisle of Plenty drifts off we're reminded why 1973 was prog rock's finest year.

Whilst the majority of artists would have taken a bow at this stage and walked off, Hackett and co. continue to deliver with a Peter Gabriel penned out-take from the Selling England sessions - Deja Vu, a sublime mini-epic that clearly should never have been consigned to the vaults. 

The band finally round off the set off with a storming rendition of the ever-popular Dance On A Volcano from Hackett's penultimate Genesis album, Trick of the Tail.

A medley built around encore staple Los Endos leads the band to their final bow of a three hour set that never falters.

And, if the superb show wasn't enough, honourable mention should be made to the gentleman in front of me in the car park queue who ate an entire packet of cocktail sausages whilst waiting to pay for his ticket. I salute you, sir!

Tickets for the remaining dates of Steve Hackett's tour can be found HERE. 

by: Stuart Avis


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