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ConcertsGenius At Work Steve Hackett revisits Genesis at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK

Posted on Sunday, May 19 2013 @ 02:06:29 CDT by Dean Pedley
Progressive Rock Over the past few years Steve Hackett has been gradually incorporating more and more vintage era Genesis classics into his live shows, laying the groundwork for last year's excellent Genesis Revisited 2 album and this subsequent tour. Following on from the hugely successful run of dates in North America Hackett and his five piece band have now reached Europe. Sea of Tranquility's Dean Pedley was amongst the sold out audience at Birmingham's lavish Symphony Hall as the golden era that spanned 1971 1977 came alive once again with sometimes spectacular results.

Whilst there is no denying his shining talents as an extraordinary guitarist and composer Hackett makes for a restrained figure on stage. And in the world of early Genesis extremely large shoes are required for anyone brave enough to even contemplate stepping into the theatrical role of Peter Gabriel. Nad Sylvan (Agents of Mercy, Unifaun) does a commendable job, imposing himself both vocally and with just enough quirk and whimsy to mirror Gabriel in his performance without resulting in mere imitation. Genesis may have spawned an array of tribute bands but what shines through as they launch into 'Watcher of the Skies' amidst the smoke and lasers is the feeling of authenticity that only Hackett's presence can truly provide. And given many amongst the crowd never had the pleasure of seeing the "classic" line-up in the flesh this is as near as we are as likely to get given the seemingly insurmountable problems in agreeing to any sort of reunion.

'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight' and a number of selections from The Lamb evidence that Sylvan has his Peter Gabriel down to a fine art but when he gives way to drummer Gary O'Toole for 'Blood on the Rooftops' you appreciate that this is yet another remarkably talented member of Hackett's band and one more than capable of handling the Collins fronted material. Bassist Lee Pomeroy boasts a diverse CV that includes It Bites, Headspace and Take That and he regularly straps on the double neck guitar, offering the perfect foil for Hackett's deft touch and exquisite soloing. 'I Know What I Like' finds the guitarist in playful mood, polishing the shoes of Sylvan with his scarf, before the stage explodes again in a mass of swirling smoke for 'Dance on a Volcano'.

Closing out the main set is, inevitably, 'Suppers Ready' where Sylvan again does a superb job. Sacred ground for some and no doubt there will be those who lament the absence of PG and will be sent scurrying back to the original. But if you want to hear and see the song performed on a stage in 2013 then Hackett and his band offer a superb version of prog rocks ultimate wet dream. 'Firth of Fifth' is equally impressive, one of the guitarists most highly rated moments in the back catalogue and rightly so. The two and a half hour celebration of nostalgia concludes with 'Los Endos'; pretty much the perfect way to send the audience home. Steve Hackett returns to Symphony Hall in October when we can look forward to more of the same.

Watcher Of The Skies
The Chamber Of 32 Doors
Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
Fly On A Windshield
Broadway Melody Of 1974
The Lamia
The Musical Box
Blood On The Rooftops
Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers...
...In That Quiet Earth
I Know What I Like
Dance On A Volcano
11th Earl of Mar
Supper's Ready
Firth Of Fifth
Los Endos

Review by Dean Pedley
Images by Rich Ward at Classic Rock Photography -

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