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Steve Hackett: Live At Hammersmith 3CD/2DVD

Steve Hackett takes stock – Genesis Revisited Live 2013

 

Much has been written about Steve Hackett’s current tour. Since early 2013 Steve Hackett has been delighting fans all over the world with a pure Genesis show based on his two Genesis Revisited albums, reviews of which you will find in our Steve Hackett CD review section. He wanted to dedicate a year to the subject, and his tour schedule was, accordingly, brim-full (see 2013 tour dates). Apparently, he could not quite complete it on 2013, for more shows have been announced for 2014. Details about that on the 2014 tour date page, which we update regularly.

On his spring tour Steve brought together many special musicians in London and in Aylesbury, where they had had a kind of dress rehearsal concert the night before. Besides Amanda Lehmann, who decided not to join the tour for personal reasons, there were household names such as Nik Kershaw, John Wetton, Steve Rothery and Jakko Jaksyk. This assembly made the show at the Hammersmith Apollo in London the obvious choice for a concert film. InsideOut has turned the concert film into a 2DVD/3CD set that contains the full concert and a bonus DVD, also distributed across 3 CDs.


Packaging

Genesis Revisited Live At Hammersmith cover

The small boxset come in the shape of a CD digipak and not in the DVD book format. This is simply because it is marketed in the CD vein, and it is likely to have a broader distribution like that. We do not mind, but our main focus will be on the DVD. The digipak can be unfolded several times to show all of the simple but expedient artwork. Both the concert film and the documentary are normal DVDs, so there is no Blu-ray (more about that below). With a retail price of EUR 25 (in Germany) this is very worthwhile.


Concert film

We are not going to talk about the show again, as we have covered that ground with our tour reports from Leipzig, Munich and Hamburg, but examine the DVD production. The Hammersmith Apollo has also hosted Peter Gabriel's New Blood: Live In London DVD / Blu-ray, so the fans will be familiar with the venue. Incidentally, Steve was there, too, in 2011 (in the audience).

The film seems simple and well-thought out. There is a good balance of close-ups and broad shots, and there are neither hectic camera moves nor frequent cuts. This offers the opportunity for the viewer to follow the virtuoso musical performances on the screen, too. The special guests are, of course, a particular treat in this film, the more so since they were only there for this show (and the Aylesbury one the day before). As on the album, the contributions in the live show may cause different reactions with the fans. Nik Kershaw does a good job singing The Lamia, while John Wetton does not use his full potential in Afterglow. Steve Rothery plays a fine guitar part in The Lamia, and this is actually the first jarring bit: While Steve could introduce his guest Nik Kershaw quite as usual before The Lamia, he could, of course, not introduce the other Steve without interrupting the song. Shortly before the guitar solo one Steve introduces the other, and there is a little rupture in the song. It might perhaps have been better to introduce Steve Rothery afterwards, as it were. His guitar work leaves nothing to be desired, and the guitar duet the Steves deserves high praise. In other shows Steve Rothery's guitar part would be played on the flute by Rob Townsend.


A similar issue occurs in Afterglow when John Wetton steps up to the microphone in the middle of the stage at the end of In That Quiet Earth. Introducing him at the end of Afterglow instead of in the transition between the two songs might have been the better choice. Amanda Lehmann and Jakko Jaksyk's duet of Entangled is perfect. Amanda also does a good job at the Shadow Of The Hierophant (which was played only this once); Steve makes sure to point out that this song he wrote with Mike Rutherford was also rehearsed by Genesis.
Judging by the impressions gained from the live show reports, the other parts of the show have been captured very well, and it is a joy to relive the concert like that. The Musical Box and Supper's Ready are no doubt the highlights, and in Los Endos Steve also loosens his reigns on the band. One things must be said, though, besides and despite all the special guests: The singer who has been regarded with profound skepticism in the beginning of the tour, this singer, Nad Sylvan, has done a terrific job. It is almost a pity that less of him can be heard on the DVD because of the many special guests. Nad's is easily the hardest job in the whole band – and he managed, show by show, to win over skeptics and fans alike. Kudos to him!
Everyone who attended the European tour is bound to detect the odd change in the light show. This was to be expected, for the light show is usually adapted especially for shows that is getting filmed. Apart from minor changes Steve also introduced new light elements that look like oversized desk lamps. He talks about them in the tour documentary. There is also time to keep an eye on the much-debated screens that were the point with the most potential for improvement.


Bonus DVD

Besides the concert film the set contains another DVD with the bonus features. These consist „only“ of a 37 minute tour documentary based on the Hammersmith concert. Steve talks about how the album and the live show developed; he bares his soul for us „this music belongs to the fans, not the musicians who have written or dismissed it“, and he is visibly proud of what he had achieved. The special guests also have their say. Nik Kershaw, for example, reveals that he saw Genesis as a teenager in London in 1975, and that he is therefore doubly excited to be able to present a song from the Lamb album almost fourty years on.
Steve Hackett's band is also introduced. The tour documentary is more than just fine. It is an entertaining trip into the interior life of a tour aimed at reaching the fan – and reach them it does.


Steve Hackett 2013Audio & Video

The show has been streamlined for the DVD standard. The sound is good throughout, the surround mix adds finished touches without boasting with superfluous effects. More extensive use of the surround sound is only made where it does make sense, e.g. in the percussion in I Know What I Like. Apart from that the 5.1 sound offers spatial sound and lives up to the requirements of a live show. Bass and treble are strong, and there will probably be enough fans who would wish for a stronger bass. Our recommendation: Turn it up!
The video is up to DVD standard, though there is some noise in the beginning of the show, particularly in scenes with red and dark blue lighting. This issue is soon resolved when more lights come in.


All in all

Steve Hackett does the right thing in capturing his spring tour and releasing it in a big live set complete with a 3CD live album. Add to that the splendid venue and the number of special guests – what else could you ask for?
Well, apart from the point that some introductions of guests disrupt the music, you could ask for more. Many fans may wonder why there will be not Blu-ray of the show. We can reveal here that there will, in fact, be a Blu-ray, but from the Royal Albert Hall show in October. Plans for filming Hammersmith had been quite advanced before the Royal Albert Hall was booked. The Royal Albert Hall show (confirmed guests so far: Ray Wilson and Bonnie Tyler) will not be a set like this, but a Blu-ray with another concert and other extras. Steve already announced that he is going to change the set list for his autumn UK tour. The Fountain Of Salmacis has already found its way into North American setlists. Any plans for the autumn show aside, Genesis Revisited: Live At Hammersmith is an accomplished live album that fulfills almost every wish..


by Christian Gerhardts, English by Martin Klinkhardt


Genesis Revisited: Live At Hammersmith comes out on October 21, 2013.


Tracklist:


DVD1 / CD1: Watcher Of The Skies
DVD1 / CD1: The Chamber Of 32 Doors
DVD1 / CD1: Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
DVD1 / CD1: Fly On A Windshield
DVD1 / CD1: Broadway Melody Of 1974
DVD1 / CD1: The Lamia (feat. Nik Kershaw & Steve Rothery)
DVD1 / CD1: The Musical Box
DVD1 / CD1: Shadow Of The Hierophant (feat. Amanda Lehmann)
DVD1 / CD1: Blood On The Rooftops
DVD1 / CD2: Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers...
DVD1 / CD2: ...In That Quiet Earth
DVD1 / CD2: Afterglow (feat. John Wetton)
DVD1 / CD2: I Know What I Like
DVD1 / CD2: Dance On A Volcano
DVD1 / CD2: Entangled (feat. Jakko Jakszyck & Amanda Lehmann)
DVD1 / CD2: 11th Earl of Mar
DVD1 / CD2: Supper's Ready
DVD1 / CD3: Firth Of Fifth
DVD1 / CD3: Los Endos (incl. Slogans)

DVD2: Tour documentary

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