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Cruise To The Edge 2017

Steve Hackett - Cruise To The Edge 2017

Concert reports of tour kick-off


It was the Cruise To The Edge 2014 that I wrote about: The ship could have stayed in port for the whole time and nobody would care when all the places the cruise goes to are only of minor interest. The Cruise To The Edge 2015 called at just one port due to bad weather. In 2017 the cruise was scheduled to call only at Cozumel, Mexico where we lay for one day. A simple tour there and back – from Tampa instead of Miami this time. Nobody has heard any complaints about the lack of stops on the journey…

Steve Hackett live Cruise To The Edge 2017We have not had a big report on the CTTE 2015 because Steve Hackett was not booked for it. This time he was, and he brought his new set that focuses on The Night Siren as well as the 40th anniversary of Wind & Wuthering. The basic concept of the CTTE has not changed a lot: Yes are headliners, there are a number of co-headliners (this year it was our Steve, Kansas and a number of “smaller” bands some of which would play in the theatre but mainly in the lounges and on the pool deck. Genesis fans may be interested in Dave Kerzner and Bad Dreams. Dave played with Simon Collins as Sound Of Contact on the CTTE 2014. This time he brought his own band. They played music from his new album Stranded, some Floyd (Great Gig In The Sky with the McBroom sisters) and a tribute show to In The Court Of The Crimson King.

Bad Dreams from Argentina started out as a Genesis cover band, but have since released two albums of original music in a similar style. The played the pool stage with their special guest Steve Rothery and played a couple of Fish era songs as encores. Pete Trewavas was also on this cruise as Mike Portnoy’s guest, but Marillion as a band were not invited. Mike Portnoy had lots of treats for people who enjoy rockier music with his two exclusive shows on the pool deck; not just Dream Theater material but also from some of his other projects. One of those is the Liquid Tension Experiment, so he had Tony Levin on bass. Tony also performed on a smaller stage with his Stick Men.

Steve Hackett live Cruise To The Edge 2017There were two almost identical shows in the main theatre aboard the ship. The theatre seats roundabout half the passengers, so everybody had seats reserved and got to see just one of the shows. If you wanted to see both shows you simple were not admitted because there were no free seats, so you had to go through the band to get in. If you managed that you would always find a seat somewhere. Not all seats were always taken and there would always be a certain fluctuation – obviously, because there would always be two or three bands playing somewhere aboard the ship.

Steve Hackett’s gigs aboard were only the second and third shows on hit 2017 tour, and, as with the premiere in England a couple of days ago, he did not play for a full 2 ½ hours but for the usual festival length of 90 minutes. Officially, the shows were scheduled for 75 minutes but everybody cut them some slack.
There were performances by several bands a day in the big theatre, and Steve’s first show took place between the first and second Yes shows on the same stage. Yes had a lot of stuff on the stage and the drumkit in particular was rather high, but their equipment was not removed, just covered and pushed to the rear. It looked a bit as if Hackett was just opening for Yes during his first show; neither he nor his band seemed very happy about this. In addition to this the people in the front rows could only see the upper half of the screen behind the band, which did not matter much, though, because all there was on the top half of the screen was the writing “STEVE HACKETT”.

Steve Hackett live Cruise To The Edge 2017The band played a good condensed version of the full show, maintaining the proportion of old and new solo pieces and old Genesis material. They seemed do have the songs from the new album and the “new” old Genesis songs such as Inside & Out and One For The Vine down pat. Nad Sylvan sang strongly and always managed to provide the necessary strength and clarity for the high notes; he has much improved in this capacity since the beginning of his “Hackett career” in 2013. Steve sings all the songs from the new album, as usual with lots of echo and other voice effects. The new material has the unmistakable Hackett style with much bombast, a great dynamic range, celestially beautiful melodies and guitar lines, and sounds of exotic instruments. He addresses current issues such as the situation of the refugees (in Behind The Smoke) and links it with the history of his own family who fled to Great Britain from Poland in the late 19th century. The line-up was as usual. Nick Beggs played bass in a kilt with long open hair.

Brilliance Of The Seas, somewhere between Florida and Yucatan (first leg of the cruise)
February 8, Pacifica Theater, 3:30pm:

Steve Hackett live Cruise To The Edge 2017Everyday
El Niño
The Steppes
In the Skeleton Gallery
Behind the Smoke
Rise again
One for the Vine
Dancing with the Moonlit Knight
Shadow of the Hierophant (instr.)
Firth of Fifth
Inside & Out
Anyway
In that quiet earth
Afterglow
(dedicated to John Wetton)


Brilliance Of The Seas, somewhere between Yucatan and Florida (return leg):

February 10, Pacifica Theater, 1:15pm:

Everyday
El Niño
The Steppes
In the Skeleton Gallery
Behind the Smoke
One for the Vine
Shadow of the Hierophant (instr.)
Firth of Fifth
Inside & Out
Anyway
In that quiet earth
Afterglow
(dedicated to John Wetton)
Eleventh Earl of Mar


The second show was to be a bit shorter than the first, but the unscheduled encore made up for that. They had covered equipment behind them for the second show, too, but it was Kansas’. Their drum kit was not as high as Yes’, so one hardly noticed it. When they played Afterglow they showed a photo of Steve with the late John Wetton that got taken a few years back when John was still well.

The Mute Gods in conversation at the Cruise To The Edge 2017Both shows of Steve and his band on this cruise were big successes. On Friday a special treat was inserted into the schedule on short notice: A Q&A session with Nick Beggs and Roger Kings. Most of the questions were about the second album Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth of their joint project, The Mute Gods. The album was already available there. Both Nick and Roger have a great sense of humour. The first thing Roger mentions is Nicks poor spelling. Nicks confirms that and adds that his daughter has inherited the problem. Both stress how very gloomy and dark the mood is on the album. Roger: “It’s a fucking miserable album!” They suppose that Stranger Than Fiction, a song about Nick’s happy relationship with his wife, was one ray of light on the album. They also describe their relationship with each other: Nick: „We have this love and hate relationship, I love him and he hates me.” Roger: “I don’t hate you, I pity you.” And on they go. They also explain the meaning of tardigrades. Tardigrades as minuscule creatures that can survive even the most adverse conditions, which makes them probably the only living things that might survive the man-made destruction of Earth. Before the host of the sessions manages to ask his first “regular” questions, Nick suggests that Roger and he interview each other. And so they do. They discuss their unmentionables (don’t mention that). They also talk seriously about how they send each other music files and develop their music with Marco Minnemann. Nick reveals that he had become a professional musician because he first heard Close To The Edge by Yes when he was 15. When he is asked to tell some stories about the tours with Hackett he tells how he, the vegetarian, had a weak moment during a band dinner, ate a steak and begged the others not to tell his wife. Nick added that when they all came together with their wives for Steve’s wedding Roger asked Nick whether he already confessed to his wife about the steak. Roger continues to deny that. The host then asks where we might spot Nick in the near future (in which new projects). A voice from the audience: “In the steakhouse!” The voice belongs to none other than Steve’s drummer Gary O’Toole, who is asked to join them on stage and proceeds to raise the humour level. Gary also confirms how great it is to work with Steve and the other guys.

All things considered, the fourth Cruise To The Edge was worth the long journey. Before the boat moored in Florida the dates for the fifth cruise were published. No details were mentioned as to participating bands and artists. One thing is quite certain, though: I will be on board.


Author: Volker Warncke
English by Martin Klinkhardt

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