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    Steve Hackett

    To Watch The Storms Tour

    Nov 10, 2003, Capitol, Mannheim, Germany


    steve hackettThe Capitol is a long-established half-round theatre with seating in the gallerys and a sloping “arena”. The show seemed to be not completely sold out, but for a normal Monday it was quite a good attendance.

    Steve played only three songs from his new album and six “old” classics from his time in Genesis. The rest of the set in Mannheim can justly be called a “best of” what he’s done solo (two songs were played on acoustic guitar). Such a choice makes sense if you recall that Steve has not played in Germany for more than twenty years. The atmosphere in Mannheim was very good and the band were happy with it.

    After one of the first songs he stated to the audience that his German was “kaputt” and went on to do all his introductions in English. He introduced all songs in the early part and near the end of the show, while there were no intros in the middle of the set. Steve also explained that many songs would be performed in different styles and versions so that the audience might take a while to identify some of the songs. Other songs were difficult to identify because they would begin with a “virtuoso prelude of noises thrown together”. The band seemed to have a lot of fun playing around with (frequently heavy) soundspheres.

    Mechanical Bride war a strong opening song from the new album, and it made clear from the beginning that this song would not only consist of soft and quiet sounds.

    The Genesis classics were usually played as the appeared on Genesis Revisited. Watcher was a bit slower than the original, while Horizons was faster than usual.

    The band obviously had lots of fun when they played Spectral Mornings.

    The whole evening showed that Steve’s guitar playing is quite superior to his vocal talents. His voice was often distorted. Brand New is one of the songs played in Mannheim that featured excellent vocals by all members of the band.

    Los Endos was the final highlight of the regular set once more.

    In Memoriam was introduced as a rare encore by Steve. It certainly shows how much fun the band had playing that night, but it could also be a treat for an audience that was very enthusiastic about the whole show.

    A special mention should be made of the frequent use of various wind instruments in a number of songs that added further facettes to them. This is most of all Rob Townsend’s merit. Gary O’Toole did a fresh and excellent job on the drums. All other musicians were very good, too and added particular highlights to the songs.

    While many top guitarists require many guitars, Steve only needed two guitars (including the acoustic guitar) to elicit a plethora of different sounds and atmospheres from them. This musical trademark rubbed off on the other instruments, too. Roger King in particular seemed to experiment a lot at the keyboards. Details and single effects therefore gain a large importance in Steve’s music.

    This evening was a unique experience. One had had to wait so many years for it, but the expectations were never disappointed. Let us hope that Steve brings his band to Germany more often to also present more of his more recent repertoire to the audience.


    1. Mechanical Bride

    2. Serpentine Song

    3. Watcher Of The Skies

    4. Hairless Heart

    5. Darktown

    6. Camino Royale

    7. The Steppes

    8. Akustik-Pieces incl. Horizons

    (Steve played a couple of acoustic bits and pieces the reviewer could not place)

    9. Walking Away From Rainbows (acoustic)

    10. Slogans

    11. Everyday

    12. Please Don´t Touch

    13. Firth Of Fifth

    14. Vampyre With A Healthy Appetite

    15. Spectral Mornings

    16. Brand New

    17. Los Endos

    18. Clocks

    19. In That Quiet Earth

    20. In Memoriam

    by Michael Theis

    translated by Martin Klinkhardt

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