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Steve Hackett is a very gentle, soft spoken individual. The sort you instantly warm to when you chat – this I know first hand having interviewed him ahead of his Genesis Revisited tour.
He successfully got all 40+ members of the Heart of England Philharmonic Orchestra into the Mini and arrived on stage with his band at Ipswich Regent last night. With little to no introduction he began doing what he does best – playing guitar. Opening with ‘Dance on a Volcano’ from A Trick of the Tail it was obvious that the Genesis faithful were in for a treat from the wall of sound generated by the orchestra backed band.
Amid the classics that followed it will be ‘Blood on the Rooftops’ that I will look back on fondly. Hackett’s skill as a guitarist is revealed in all its glory on an acoustic guitar. Kudos to drummer Gary O’Toole for his attire, you don’t see many drummers play dressed in a suit and tie!
The first half of the evening concluded with Shadow of the Hierophant – classic slow-burning prog-rock, building ever so, ever so slowly to a raging crescendo of sound. The fans were on their feet applauding as the house lights came up – “Ah I see you like the quiet ones” quipped an obviously happy Hackett.
Prog-rock as a genre somehow passed me by in the 60s and 70s so, unlike the hard core fans, who knew each and ever song, much of what was played last night was new to me. And it is here that I have to say I was disappointed. Not by the performance but the sound quality in the auditorium. There are not may lyrics in these anthemic compositions but those there are, are there for a reason and sadly most of Nad Sylvan’s lyrics were lost to me.
That aside, if ever there was a need to prove that rock bands and orchestras work, then Steve Hackett has done just the with this tour. About the only thing missing was a choir…