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Steve Hackett live in Leipzig and Munich 2013

Genesis Revisited Tour - Haus Auensee / Herkulessaal (feat. Ray Wilson)


Steve Hackett's Genesis Revisited tour 2013 had been announced a long time ahead and fans were really looking forward to the shows. Now that the first additional shows have been announced for 2014 and some time has passed the right moment has come to re-evaluate the very interesting shows in Leipzig and Munich. These were not simply two shows, these were a couple of days with lots of stuff happening besides the shows and a supremely relaxed Steve Hackett, be it on stage or at the sightseeing.
Steve and Jo had expressed their interest in Leipzig even before the tour began. They were eager to see more of Leipzig than just their hotel or the venue, the 'Haus Auensee'. At the day of the concert Steve and Jo had some time off. We were joined for the tour by Maurizio and Angela Vicedomini, who did the artwork for Genesis Revisited II and ought to be familiar to Genesis fans for their wonderful book In Our Flight Of Fancy. On this rather bleak day we set off for the 'Monument for the Battle of the Nations' that enjoyed a double anniversary, the bicentenary of the Battle of the Nations and the centenary of the erection of the monument. Unfortunately parts of the monument were closed off for restauration purposes for the upcoming celebrations, but this could do no harm to our excursion. Of course the sight will be better in fine weather, but we enjoyed a fine view on Leipzig (which, incidentally, made an intended trip to the MDR tower superfluous). We then had a meal in the historic centre before Steve had to go to several dates including the soundcheck. During the day, Steve and Jo were very interested in details, particularly in fans' opinions about the album and the tour. Steve had not played any shows of this tour in Germany and he obviously found it very important that this show would be well-received with German audiences.

 

Steve Hackett Leipzig 2013The show itself took place at Haus Auensee on April 29. The location has quite a history. It has been a restaurant, a discotheque and a concert venue. It admits up to 2,500 people standing, and amongst the bands and artists who have played here recently are Ultravox and German mulit-platinum rock star Herbert Grönemeyer. There would be seats for Steve's show. After admittance started and before the show began Steve took the time to write autograms. A remarkable gesture, for many artists are of a very retiring disposition, especially immediately before a show. The stage appeared simple at first glance, with a kind of platform in the middle. The three video screens were a first in a Steve Hackett show. The venue filled quickly; an audience of around 1,200 was a good turn-out considering Leipzig would frequently bring up the rear in audience numbers for other Genesis-related tours. The audience consisted mainly of fans of the early Genesis and of those all-rounders who enjoy all eras of the band. Younger fans could also be seen in the audience. In the pre-show smalltalks one could frequently hear people say “The Musical Box were great, but now I want to see the original.”
Concert set lists are a well-leaked secret in the internet age, so the opener, Watcher Of The Skies, did not surprise any hardcore fan. The intro has never lost any of its magic. Whether on the 1973 Live album, in The Musical Box concerts or live by Steve Hackett in 2013, it always is a monument of its time. The band are well-rehearsed, the song is played in an easy but strong fashion. Nad Sylvan mimes a kind of “Watcher” with a spyglass, but his vocal performance was much more convincing. Actually, he was probably the biggest risk in the live show: Would he be able to win over the audience? He already did an extraordinarily good job for Watcher.

Steve Hackett Leipzig 2013He kept adding a special flair to the show. The second song of the set, The Chamber Of 32 Doors, was one of the surprises of the evening. It sounded more crisp and better than on the album, though it had a rather difficult position in the set because it was framed by two huge classics – it was followed by Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, a favourite that put high demands on Nad. And while Nad was eagerly switching between the roles of a front man and a member of a live band Steve played his parts full of passion and joy. He kept making eye contact with the audience and you could feel how much fun he had being on stage. Fly On A Windshield was sung by Gary O'Toole, who had helped out on the vocals on previous shows and gave a solid vocal performance. Of course, Genesis fans are quite happy to have singing drummers. Then it was time for the hidden gems as the band played Cuckoo Cocoon and Hairless Heart, after which one secretly longed for Counting Out Time. Steve did not fulfill this wish or many others, though, as there was simply not enought time. Firth Of Fifth was the song with which the band, and Steve in particular, got everybody going. One thing is for sure: If there is such a thing as the guitar solo in Steve's work it is undoubtedly Firth Of Fifth. Probably everybody shivered when they heard that because there it was again, the moment when everything's right. It was that consummate Genesis moment Steve brilliantly created.

Nad Sylvan Leipzig 2013After that it was Gary O'Toole's turn to sing again. He has performed Blood On The Rooftops on several tours since 2003, though Genesis themselves has never played the song live. It marked the beginning of the Wind & Wuthering block. Steve has played In That Quiet Earth occasionally in his long solo career. This time it was preceded by Unquiet Slumber For The Sleepers and followed by the album finale, Afterglow, which was another challenge for Nad Sylvan (but one he was up for). I Know What I Like was what the band gave themselves a little breather with before they went on to the overwhelming finale.
Dance On A Volcano was played with an immense surge of power and got huge applause. Nad did a great job here; after this the last sceptic must have realised why Steve has chosen this singer. Gary and Nad then sang Entangled as a duet before a concert that could not possible get any better simply did. The Musical Box, the Holy Grail of Genesis songs for many, celebrated a grand resurrection. 42 years after Genesis released the song Steve brought back all the emotions this song would cause with the fans but that had become a distant memory because the song did not get played live anymore. 21 years had passed since Genesis played the big finale of the song and brought back a bit of the magic on their We Can't Dance tour. The Musical Box play this song, too, but when Steve Hackett played it with his band it makes The Musical Box look like copyists. No band in the world can reproduce the atmosphere Steve Hackett created. And while the audience were cheering and celebrating the band (some of them with tears in their eyes) the biggest thing was still to come: Supper's Ready as the last song of the regular set – it cannot be placed better anywhere else. It was almost too much in the concert.

Gary O'Toole Leipzig 2013Eleventh Earl Of Mar (with mimings and vocals by Nad Sylvan) seemed a bit misplaced after this. It is a rarely played song, but it calmed everybody down a lot before Steve and his band brought the show to an end with a grooving combination of Slogans and Los Endos.

The Leipzig set:

Watcher Of The Skies
The Chamber Of 32 Doors
Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
Fly On A Windshield
Broadway Melody Of 1974
Cuckoo Cocoon
Hairless Heart
Firth Of Fifth
Blood On The Rooftops
Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers…
…In That Quiet Earth
Afterglow
I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
Dance On A Volcano
Entangled
The Musical Box
Supper’s Ready

Eleventh Earl of Mar
Slogans / Los Endos



A change of place: Munich, 02/05/2013


Steve Hackett in Munich – that is a rare event. Except for Phil Collins, Munich has never been an easy city for Genesis-related shows. It was quite a surprise to see that Steve would play the Herkulessaal at the Residenz. The show was almost sold-out in the end with an attendance of around 1,200 and the band said that is was one of the most beautiful venues on their tour. But before the show took place Steve wanted to see a bit of the city. We went for a meal the night before the show, which was kind of tricky as it was the night of the Champions League semi-final between Barcelona and Munich and that was shown everywhere. In the end we found soccer-free space for all at the 'Weisse Brauhaus' in the city centre near Marienplatz and had an entertaining evening. At the day of the concert it started to rain so we left it at a brief visit to Marienplatz and then took refuge to the Hard Rock Café where a most peculiar thing occurred: The screen right above Steve showed one of the rare versions of Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill music video.

Ray Wilson & Steve Hackett München 2013The show at Herkulessaal was special for another reason as it was the only show in Germany to have Ray Wilson as guest singer. Steve explained in our interview (here) that the idea for a collaboration cropped up quite lately, which is why Ray's version of Carpet Crawlers was ended up on the Selection sampler of Genesis Revisited II. Ray and Steve graciously gave autograms before the show and let the fans take photos with them. The show itself was almost as intense as Leipzig, but the special venue made the atmosphere completely different: The columns and the high gallery added a different touch.

Ray Wilson sang on three songs. The band played Carpet Crawlers instead of Cuckoo Cocoon and Hairless Heart, and Ray did his best to live up to the song. In our interview he explained that the way he had to sing the song for Steve had been most demanding, and that it is quite different from the way he sings it at his own shows. The audience liked it and Ray got much applause for his efforts. In a gesture of respect Steve pretended to polish Ray's shoes.

Ray Wilson, Riger King, Steve Hackett München 2013Later he returned to the stage for I Know What I Like. The distribution of the lyrics amongst the singers seemed a bit chaotic; there is some potential for improvement. Entangled, the duet with Gary, had those moments, too, but this song is likely to work out superby with a bit more rehearsals. There will be time for that. Ray is going to be a guest for another one of Steve's shows in the autumn [2013] – at the Royal Albert Hall, London. And perhaps he is going to see the odd show next year.
Steve himself appeared very relaxed and very active during the show. Compared to previous tours he seems much more at ease and talked more with the audience.


This was the Munich set:


Watcher Of The Skies
The Chamber Of 32 Doors
Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
Fly On A Windshield
Broadway Melody Of 1974
Carpet Crawlers (Ray Wilson)
Firth Of Fifth
Blood On The Rooftops
Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers…
…In That Quiet Earth
Afterglow
I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (Ray & Nad)
Dance On A Volcano
Entangled (Ray, Nad & Gary)
The Musical Box
Supper’s Ready

Eleventh Earl of Mar
Slogans / Los Endos


Video screens – do they make sense?

Ray Wilson mit STeve Hacketts Band, München 2013While the show was received with anything from benevolence to outright ecstasy, there was some controversy over the video screens. Though it may not be the decisive element in such an intense show their use may be questioned. It is undoubtedly legitimate to use the device for Genesis music – after all, Genesis themselves have shown that even their bigger songs may benefit from it, particularly in big arenas and stadiums. Since Steve mainly plays theatres this begs the questions whether the screens are necessary. There are certainly moments during the show where the screens make sense and the images and/or effects go very well with the music. At other moments, however, the video content sees royally out of place and sometimes even a bit clumsy. It is no doubt a difficult job to create consistent effects for two-and-a-half hours of show – but if you cannot make it leave it be. As an alternative the screens could be used only for certain songs and/or song parts so that there is not barrage of effects throughout the show. It is obvious that the concept was added only shortly before the tour start. There is potential for more development, and perhaps the North American tour or the autumn gigs in the UK will show the changes.


Nad Sylvan makes the difference

Steve, Ray, Lee - München 2013It is a well-known fact that Steve Hackett has a good band. They played well-rehearsed, always strong and with the occasional jazz influence. What makes the difference, though, is Nad Sylvan. Giving the biggest lump of the singer's job to just one person was a clever move. The choice of Nad Sylvan was a bit of luck or simply a brilliant idea. He certainly had the most scepticism levelled against him. The first sound bites promised little, though Nad was fighting a cold during the first shows. It was also very clear that any individual singer who would be called upon to play both Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins would have a very hard job. But Nad Sylvan remained undeterred and got better by the show. He was outstanding already in Leipzig, did not forget any lyrics and hit the notes spot-on. He used his voice strongly where it was called for and held off where that was needed.


A look back, a look ahaead

Steve has put together a very interesting set list for the fans. Over the tour it has changed a bit. Firth Of Fifth was moved to the encores. Carpet Crawlers would be played when they had Ray as a guest; otherwise The Lamia would be used, which was not that big a surprise considering the upcoming UK shows with many special guests (e.g. Nik Kershaw). Fans' reactions to the tour were very positive: A dream came true for many, and Steve himself kept repeating that these songs are a part of him. While the tour had originally been scheduled to end in 2013 it has now been confirmed that there will be additional shows in early 2014. Steve Hackett has stressed, though, that the tour will not continue indefinitely. As he put it, he does not want to turn into a travelling Genesis museum, so if you would like to see this show (again) this is your chance.
Steve has already begun to work on the successor to Beyond The Shrouded Horizon. Whatever comes of it, Steve will definitely remain one of the big assets in the Genesis camp. As we look forward to (hopefully) many albums and concerts we would like to send a big Thank You! to Steve for Genesis Revisited I & II and especially for the tour.


by Christian Gerhardts, English by Martin Klinkhardt
photos by Maurizio & Angela Vicedomini


Links:
Steve's impressions of Leipzig and Munich
Hamburg 2013 - concert report
Tour dates 2013
Tour dates 2014

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