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Steve Hackett live: Royal Albert Hall, 24/10/2013

Genesis Revisited World tour - a dream come true


It was not just my dream of seeing a show at the Royal Albert Hall, London, that came true, but also Steve Hackett's own dream of playing there as he has never played there before, and in a way so have the dreams of his band also been fulfilled. On October 24, 2013 Steve Hackett brought his Genesis Revisited II show to the Albert Hall.

Band1 Steve Hackett with Ray WilsonYou could see that this would be an extraordinary evening. As far as I know the show was sold out, but there was a long queue at the box office that would not diminish for quite a while. Did all these people want to pick up their tickets? Not quite, they were all queuing to pick up their after-show passes. Steve Hackett and his musicians were very liberal in handing those out. In the end so many people turned up that they had to rent a larger room for the after-show party on short notice. Fortunately that is not a problem at the Royal Albert Hall. So I joined the queue because the Hacketts had promised passes for the after-show party and for taking photos. Finally the queue moved forwards and I received my passes. The seat in the fourth row from the stage was something I had procured in the regular manner months before.

Armando GalloBefore I took my seat I went to the bar to have a drink. As I sat down there Armando Gallo, the legendary Genesis photographer, arrived. I had met him before at a Genesis fan convention in Guildford in 1999. He told me that he had been at the two Gabriel shows in London earlier the week and taken some 3,000 photos. Then he took out his iPad and showed me the newest app he was working on. It accompanies the So boxset, shows all the tracks and videos and photos from the boxset and additional exclusive content. It is interactive, too. In one place there is Gabriel's So face from the album cover but without the proper face. You can use the iPad camera to take a photo of yours that shows up in this frame; of course, you can save it, too. Armando had met Gabriel at the London shows and taken a photo of him in this app. He showed me a grinning Gabriel of today in the face of the Gabriel of 1986 I do hope this particular montage is used in the final version to show what this app has to offer!

Then it was time for us to take our seats. If you have a seat in near the front you will have to climb up a set of stairs towards the interior of the venue, which makes the entry even more impressive, and still more so if it is your first time there.

ray WilsonFrom my seat I could see the gigantic PA right above me and the impressive round of the venue behind me. First there was an opening act. Alan Reed (ex Pallas) played some of his own songs on the acoustic guitar (http://reddwarfrecordings.co.uk). A few minutes later the proper show began. It is basically the same show as the German shows in May, albeit with a few changes in the set and more animations on the screens. The October shows kicked off with Dance On A Volcano instead of Watcher Of The Skies, which became the first encore. The Return Of The Giant Hogweed and Fountain Of Salmacis were added.

The special thing about this show was not just the venue but also the guests onstage. Ray Wilson was the first as he sang Carpet Crawlers. For Steve's shows he had to sing in the original key, which one could hear brought him to his vocal limits. This time around he sounded better, though, clearer and more natural. Later he told me he had found a better way to hit the high notes; one could really hear that.

Amanda LehmanRay was followed straightaway by the second guest, Roine Stolt. The head of the Flower Kings from Sweden added his typical guitar sound to The Return Of The Giant Hogweed. Ray then returned for I Know What I Like, which he shared with Nad. John Wetton joined the band for Firth Of Fifth; it was his second guest performance on this tour, for Afterglow, as can be heard on the Live At Hammersmith DVD. He did a good job on Firth Of Fifth, though I suspect he might be more comfortable on bass. The next guest was Steve's sister-in-law Amanda Lehmann. She sang Ripples, a song that did not belong to the regular set. While she sang in a slightly rougher voice on the album, her vocals at this show were clear and bright throughout.

Dance on a Volcano
John Wetton
Dancing With the Moonlit Knight
Fly on a Windshield
Broadway Melody of 1974 (Vocals: Gary O'Toole)
The Carpet Crawlers (with Ray Wilson)
The Return of the Giant Hogweed (with Roine Stolt)
The Musical Box
Horizons
Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers...
...In That Quiet Earth
Afterglow
I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (with Ray Wilson)
Firth of Fifth (with John Wetton)
Ripples (with Amanda Lehmann)
The Fountain of Salmacis
Supper's Ready

Encore:
Watcher of the Skies
Los Endos

The audience were thrilled and there was lots of applause. The lightshow was excellent, too. It is not only in the way the shine into the audience from the stage, but also in the way they tint everything all around in different colours. I was also happy to see that the impressive organ behind the stage had not been covered, as has been known to happen for other shows.

Ronie StoltThough the show ended with Los Endos the numerous holder of an after-show pass went into one of the bars int he basement. It was very crowded there so you had only a few moments to talk with other people. Apart from Steve's mother, who apparently attends all his London shows, Nad's father was there, too, and I also met Steve's brother John and his wife. I guess there were more than 100 people there. For some reason the bar closed after less than an hour and the staff began to usher us out soon after. Thus a fantastic evening ended shortly before midnight. It was a definite highpoint of the Genesis Revisited II tour, not just because of the concert but also because of the venue and the people one may see there which probably happens only in London. The trip to London was very worth it, with the two Gabriel shows and this big one.


by Volker Warncke, English by Martin Klinkhardt

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