Steve Hackett has had a fruitful and successful spell in the last few years. There have been some exceptional studio albums such as last year’s rocky Surrender Of Silence and the acoustic flavoured Under A Mediterranean Sky, but not just confined to those two. The frequency of his guesting on other artists albums seems to have increased considerably including with Ryo Okumoto, Ms Amy Birks, David Minasian, Amanda Lehmann, Nad Sylvan and others. Steve has also undertaken a string of ecstatically received Genesis Revisited tours presenting many of the Genesis classics on which he played, now interpretated in his own idiosyncratic style accompanied by a phenomenal band of excellent and highly creative musicians. He has developed a pattern of releasing a live album from each of these tours. Genesis Revisited Live: Seconds Out & More is the latest of these. The album was recorded at Manchester Apollo on the Seconds Out Tour & More UK dates.
Since Genesis released the live album Seconds Out in 1977 it has been highly regarded and has proven to be many people’s favourite live album. It was an important release for the band at that period as it caught Genesis at the time when they were still settling from Peter Gabriel leaving the band in 1975. As it happened, it proved to be Steve’s farewell to the band too as he left during the mixing stages of the album apparently frustrated with writing issues within the group.
From the outset the sheer quality of this release is quite obvious. The production values are excellent as is the musicianship which is inventive and assured. The release begins with half a dozen of Steve’s own pieces, including an atmospheric piece called Apollo Intro that you presume was written just for this gig. That blends into a more than stirring version of Clocks – The Angel Of Mons. Held In The Shadows and the perennial Every Day follow, both excellently played. The highly impressive The Devil’s Cathedral is next with an increasingly impressive Shadow Of The Hierophant which seems to improve with each listen, and indeed with each tour. The music on each of these tracks is flawless, their presentation brilliant.
The warmth with which the crowd great the Second’s Out material is palpable. Many of them would have been drawn for this specifically – where else are you going to hear Genesis songs performed by a former member of the band apart from here or at a Ray Wilson gig? Although Steve and his band keep to the running order (for the most part) of the original album these tracks are not slavish recreations but reinterpretations of them. For example, I Know What I Like has a section that is quite jazzy for a while, there’s some very nice backing vocals at the end of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and Los Endos includes Steve’s interpretation that incorporates Hackett To Pieces into the mix. He’s been performing this version for a while now and it seems quite normal. The Cinema Show is now followed by Aisle Of Plenty as on Selling England By The Pound and not on Seconds Out. Some of the differences are purely because of the personnel. Craig Blundell has to perform the drum section that concludes Dance On A Volcano on his own rather than as a Phil Collins/ Chester Thompson duet as on Seconds Out, and the inclusion of Rob Townsend on sax and flute adds a different texture to the musical mix. The addition of flute takes some of the songs closer to their original studio versions, the saxophone gives a different flavour to some songs sometimes in quite subtle ways, as when the saxophone tracks the keyboard solos in The Cinema Show. The inclusion of the piano solo opening of Firth Of Fifth is also a variation on the Second’s Out version, and is one that Steve and keyboard player Roger King have been using for a few years.
Although Steve is obviously the key focus of this release, he doesn’t take the egotistical route of side lining the musicians around him. They are very much as vital a part of this performance as he is himself. This is a very honed unit that has been playing together for a few years now and the band’s musical interactions are excellent. The soloists obviously take the limelight, but there are massive contributions from all concerned. Sterling work comes as much from Craig Blundell on drums and Jonas Reingold on bass and twelve string guitar as it does from the front line of Roger King, Rob Townsend and Steve himself. Nad Sylvan continues to impress on vocals, being equally adept at singing Phil Collin’s era songs as he is singing Peter Gabriel’s, though with lashings of his own personality of course.
The visual side of this release is also impressive with the limelight shared. The sound and vision are pristine, the mix beautiful. There are a few interesting extras on the DVD and Blu-Ray, including a behind the scenes documentary and some videos for songs from the last album.
This release from the Genesis Revisited series of live releases does, of course, introduce a few rarely played and released versions of songs from Steve and his band. Squonk makes a welcome appearance, as does Robbery, Assault and Battery. But there are a few tunes that have done the rounds a little bit. How many versions of Firth OF Fifth, Supper’s Ready, and Los Endos do you need in your collection? There is an excellent argument, of course, that believes that no two performances are the same and there will always be variations in there, however subtle. This though shouldn’t take away from the fact that these are actually excellent performances in themselves, and there is always something atmospheric about having a complete concert from a single night of a tour rather than a compilation from numerous dates with their inherent varying sound levels and other vagaries.
That thought shouldn’t detract from the fact that this is an excellent, impressive release from master guitarist Steve Hackett and his brilliant band. The release features powerful performances of iconic progressive rock songs played by superb musicians who bring life and energy to the much loved tunes. Steve comments: “I’m so happy to release my Seconds Out & More show… A spectacular night with a band on fire tearing into that magic music combining the true spirit of Genesis with a fresh virtuosic approach and an extraordinary sound under amazing lights. This show is a feast for both ears and eyes. The best of so many worlds!”
You can watch Squonk here: https://youtu.be/5hDktUIzoQo
You can watch The Devil’s Cathedral here: https://youtu.be/If-qk7gFAjs
Steve Hackett and his band will be out on tour again later this year with Genesis Revisited – Foxtrot at Fifty + Hackett Highlights. Dates begin early in September 2022.
1. Apollo Intro (1:02)
2. Clocks – The Angel of Mons (4:17)
3. Held in the Shadows (7:09)
4. Every Day (6:12)
5. The Devil’s Cathedral (5:56)
6. Shadow of the Hierophant (10:49)
7. Squonk (6:29)
8. The Carpet Crawlers (5:50)
9. Robbery, Assault and Battery (5:57)
10. Afterglow (3:51)
11. Firth of Fifth (9:58)
12. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (8:20)
13. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (5:10)
14. Musical Box (closing section) (2:51)
15. Supper’s Ready (24:49)
16. The Cinema Show (10:35)
17. Aisle of Plenty (2:03)
18. Dance on a Volcano (4:24)
19. Los Endos (6:35)
Bonus available on DVD and Blu-ray:
20. Behind the Scenes Documentary (26:17)
21. Wingbeats Official Video (5:21)
22. Fox’s Tango Official Video (4:21)
23. Natalia Official Video (6:17)
24. Scorched Earth Official Video (6:02)
Steve Hackett – guitars
Roger King – keyboards
Jonas Reingold – bass
Rob Townsend – saxophones, flutes
Craig Blundell – drums & percussion
Nad Sylvan – vocals
Amanda Lehmann – guitar, vocals
2nd September, 2022 – 2CD + Blu-ray, Limited 2CD + DVD, Digital
25th November, 2022 – Vinyl
Label: InsideOut Music
Formats: Vinyl, 2CD + Blu-ray, Limited 2CD + DVD, Digital
Recently picked up Surrender Of Silence and was very pleasantly surprised. SH is certainly cranking out the live recordings, and why not? It’s a great band and they deliver a terrific show.