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Steve Hackett in Hemburg 2013

Steve Hackett live at Kampnagel

Genesis Revisited World Tour: Hamburg 2013

Monday afternoon, Berlin central station. As I take my seat in the 4.16 to Hamburg I wonder why I am doing this. Is not this just another kind of cover band I am going to see...? Even though there is, in the form of Steve Hackett, a former member of Genesis on stage? What is it the point?

Steve live in HamburgActually, I wondered about that when the man „revisited“ his former band for the second time and brought out a double CD with old Genesis songs. I am sceptical about that. But then I must admit that I am not intimately familiar with Hackett's solo output (despite a number of CDs and live bootlegs I own), have never been to see Hackett solo and though I have listened to some of his live renditions of old Genesis classics here and there I have never paid much attention to them. Hence it was quite a while before I bought Genesis Revisited II – and I like it. When I saw the tour dates and realized that he is giving Berlin a wide berth again I decided I must not miss this show. So I phoned up my brother in Hamburg to see whether he would like to „come see Genesis like in the old times“, bought the tickets, and here I am...

Steve Hackett Band 2013 KampnagelThe Kampnagel venue has the typical charme of an old industrial building turned cultural venue. Lots of concrete, very functional without seeming run-down. We walk down through the scaffolding for the gallery to find our seats in row 11 of the pit. We have a good view of the stage, close but not too close. The guy in the row before me estimates the venue seats some 2.500. I am not good at estimates and am quite happy for others to correct that number. The venue is absolutely packed, and there is an odd sense of expectation in the audience. Conversations are slightly hushed, but the tension rises with every minute as 8pm goes by.

Steve Hackett Band live 2013At ten past eight the band take the stage to enthusiastic applause. The set begins like a typical Genesis set with Watcher Of The Skies and sticks to the Gabriel era for the first couple of songs before Blood On The Rooftops introduces a section with songs from the early Collins era. There is no strict division, though, for this is not about the Gabriel era or the Collins era but about what actually determined the selection of the songs – the Hackett era, the seven years when he was in the band. I am going to spare you blow-by-blow critiques of the musicians and the individual songs as everybody has their own favourites. The performance of the ensemble was more than impressive, though, and really gripping.
Roger, Steve, NadWhy is that? I think it is because these fine musicians are finely attuned to each other and enjoy playing these 40-year-old songs as much as if they had only just developed them in rehearsals. Hackett and friends approach the songs with much panache and the courage to try out new things like the soprano sax and to blow the proverbial dust off the songs. This here is not the (justly!) acclaimed The Musical Box and this is not about presenting the songs exactly as they were presented then. Here the musicians basically adhere to the original arrangements yet make the songs their own. Each musician adds his personal touch to make this a convincing performance. Though they are highly professional there are, of course, some details that go wrong. Nad Sylvan forgets part of the Supper's Ready lyrics and is almost too early for that legendary exclamation „A flower?!“ Roger King begins a keyboard run slightly too soon and laughs at his own mistake. This is actually a good point: This is a band in a very good temper, they share looks and (non-)verbal jokes. Humour has always been an important part in Genesis, and the Hackett band is no exception. Multi-instrumentalist Rob Townsend takes the biscuit here; Steve Hackett introduces him as the one who plays „lead banana“. Townsend dances throughout the groovy parts, jokes with Roger King all the time and is in extremely contagious good spirits.
Roger KingAll this would be plain silly were it not for a performance that is most convincing for the best part of the show. My highlights were Fly On A Windshield / Broadway Melody Of 1974, a very good Blood On The Rooftops, gripping versions of The Musical Box and Dance On A Volcano and, surprisingly, Eleventh Earl Of Mar – probably because few people had that on their list. These are the high points in a set that retains a very high level of musicality and atmosphere throughout. Remarkable the way everybody listens carefully until the final note has ended before huge applause breaks loose that goes on and on and turns into frequent standing ovations as the show progresses

All in all it has been a fine concert, well worth the trip to Hamburg and a show I will remember for a long time.


Nad Sylvan live1 Watcher Of The Skies
2 The Chamber Of 32 Doors
3 Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
4 Fly On A Windshield
5 Broadway Melody Of 1974
6 The Lamia
7 The Musical Box
8 Blood On The Rooftops
9 Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers...
10 ...In That Quiet Earth
11 Afterglow
12 I Know What I Like
13 Dance On A Volcano
14 Entangled
15 Eleventh Earl Of Mar
16 Supper's Ready

17 Firth Of Fifth
18 Los Endos-Medley

by Jan Hecker-Stampehl, English by Martin Klinkhardt
photos by Peter Schütz