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Steve Hackett Seconds Out & More UK Tour 2021

Steve Hackett - UK-Tour 2021

Genesis Revisited: Seconds Out & More


Steve Hackett and his band were forced to take a longer break from touring. They returned on stage in the UK in fall 2021. It was the longest and most successful UK-tour Steve has ever done. Chris Simmons, who took photos at several shows, reports from his perspective.


After waiting for what seemed like forever due to Covid, live music was finally back and I was able to see three in a row: Carlisle – Stockton On Tees – Newcastle. It is a show I was looking forward to Steve and his band performing, seeing Seconds Out in full.


Carlisle

Meeting up with my friend Mark in Carlisle for the first of a three night run, we got to our hotel in good time. We got to the venue early, picking up our photo passes. The venue at Carlisle is in the middle of a multi million Pound refurbishment, so it had a temporary foyer and elements where boarded up as part of the construction site. The main hall was business as usual. Moments after we got into the hall, we made our way up to the lightning desk, we said a socially distanced “Hello” to Chris Curran, who is responsible for the light show. It was then that he informed me that Steve and Jo were really interested in a photo I had taken at the Edinburgh show. They asked me to replicate the look during The Cinema Show. I was rather chuffed, but then I began to work out how to achieve that look. The lighting effect is only used in two short sections of the song. I helped Mark set up the spare camera, and we got chatting to a few fans.

1It wasn’t long before the first song of the night Clocks - The Angel Of Mons began.

Held in the Shadows, from the new album Surrender Of Silence, came next with some frenzied guitar from Steve and Jonas added some bass whilst Craig drums were pushing the song along. Another trip to 1979 album Spectral Mornings was here in the set with Every Day. With the dying notes of Every Day behind us, Steve started to describe the next song, setting the scene and also the tone.

This also meant that Roger King was trying to stifle a laugh, but finally the song The Devil’s Cathedral began. It was much more atmospheric in a live setting, when compared to the album version. This first set was flying by, but then I remembered it was much shorter (compared to previous tours) in order to fit in the Seconds Out section.

The final song of the first set was Shadow Of The Hierophant and the band took us all the way back to Voyage Of The Acolyte for this set closing song. This classic Hackett song was performed without vocals this evening. But Steve’s guitar is at the forefront and this is the well-known version of Shadow that gets louder and louder. Ben Fenner on sound and Chris on the lighting certainly had their work cut out for them, it was simply stellar.

The Seconds Out set is well known, at least to those that have the live album. We’ll catch up with that part of the show further into the review. The venue staff was really lovely. We got back to the hotel, after a slight detour (Mark took the wrong exit off of a roundabout), it was back to the hotel to get some rest.


Stockton On Tees

2We left Carlisle and our journey took us across the A69 back to South Shields and later that evening Mark and I set off for Stockton On Tees. That show was not originally listed when the tour was first announced, but after lockdown was lifted, Stockton On Tees and a few other shows were added due to the huge demand. Tonight’s venue had a multi million pound restoration completed not too long ago. So we got to Stockton and were told that the car parking was free (and it really was!). We made our way to the venue and a friendly queue of people were already ahead of us. About half an hour passed by, we finally got into the venue. Our tickets were E-tickets, owing to the venues now green credentials. We collected our photo passes, we spoke with Chris about the lighting, he asked how we had got on taking photos last night - before long we left Chris to it and then we took our seats for the show. I received an email from Jo Hackett, asking if I could attend the soundcheck at tomorrow’s show.

After getting some really good close up photos of some members of the band, we both decided to try and snap some photos from different vantage points at the venue. We were able to move around the venue taking photos, which we did as respectfully as possible. Mark and I took up different positions at the venue. We had a good idea of the image that Steve and Jo wanted us to take during The Cinema Show. We were aware the task wasn't that easy - also, our only remaining opportunity would be at the show in Newcastle, tomorrow night.

The audience at Stockton were really into the show, with the audience giving a number of standing ovations, but like all good things the show drew to a close. With the band taking their bows. Before long we were back in the car for the journey to South Sheilds.


Newcastle

Before the show, I received another email from Steve and Jo, asking me to bring my cameras to the soundcheck. I was allowed to take Mark along, but we would need to take a Lateral Flow Test for COVID and to provide the results to the tour manager Adrian.

3Mark popped in around lunchtime, and I gave him the great news. Those LFT’s were not nice but we did them, results were then sent to Adrian as requested. We got onto the Metro, crossed the river Tyne and got out at Haymarket station, we then walked to the city hall. Time went by quickly and before we knew it we were at the stage door, ready for the soundcheck. I was finally back at the venue where I had spent a lot of my youth, I first saw Steve here in 1979, Genesis in 1980 and Peter Gabriel in 1980, long ago but the memories are still strong. At the stage door we were instructed to wear our masks at all times, which we happily did so.

Steve and the band, started their soundcheck the band run through Clocks - The Angle Of Mons and a few other of tonight’s gems are run through. The crew are welcoming and chatty, but before long Adrian and Jo Hackett arrive and its time to chase that one unique shot. Steve kindly askes the band to play The Cinema Show and then Chris Curran on the lights, starts the mirror balls spinning… now I make my way up to the balcony to shoot that photo. I try a lot of different vantage points, before returning down stairs where Mark was sitting patiently waiting. At one point a crew member calls out for “static balls” and the mirror balls are paused, this is to see if it will help me get that look.

410 minutes later, I’m back talking with Jo Hackett and Adrian Holmes, then its time for us to leave. We leave the band to it and make our way to find a bite to eat. Mark assures me he doesn’t want to hear The Cinema Show for a least a week. Food ordered and we talk about how the Newcastle City Hall has such a history with Steve and Genesis, tonight’s show which celebrates the live album Seconds Out, and Steve played at City Hall with Genesis in early 1977.

While we were witing, we spotted someone we spoke to at the Carlisle show, we were comparing opinions about that show.

We joined the queue to get into the venue, Gordon (who is another photographer) stopped by for a chat. The Security guard from the Stockton Show recognized us, and we got our photo passes. Then we scoped out the best spots for taking photos. Soon enough the lights dimmed and the first set started.

Time passed quickly, the interval came and soon enough we got into our positions on opposite sides of the balcony and we started to take photos.

Squonk started and the crowd erupted, with Nad doing his best on the vocals its not hard to say that a lot of the audience were transported back to 1977. Of course for the newer fans, it felt as though Seconds Out had come to life. Steve and the band did an admirable job, Squonk still rocks hard. Steve made it feel like he had never been away from the group, whilst the new production, felt like it had lifted years of varnish off a painting.

Then Nad began to sing Carpet Crawlers, this hymn like song was performed delicately with Nad sounding like a hybrid of Peter and Phil. Nad nailed it and got the spirit of the song across to the audience, whilst somehow making it his own, you gotta get in to get out! Nad’s voice sounded to me in the best shape ever, perhaps the enforced break in touring (covid), had given him the chance to rest or finesse his vocals.

Afterglow came next, the audience were anticipating the lighting, would it match the Seconds Out album cover? Well they need not have worried, Chris Curran knows his stuff and the history of Genesis lighting design. Soon enough the infamous landing light look appeared and the audience was certainly satisfied.

5Firth Of Fifth, Steve’s performed this one a few times during his previous solo shows. Tonight’s performance was even better, Roger King gave the audience the full piano intro and when joined by Rob’s wind instruments, the songs final ingredient was Steve’s solo, that was nailed in true Steve style. The audience did applause at the end of the solo, it was just magic. I Know What I Like, is certainly a fan favorite, although the jazz middle section, which is a new rendition with Rob and Jonas, just didn’t work for me. It was well performed, but it left me a bit confused, but this is just in my opinion.

Nad’s interchangeable vocals from Rael in The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway to Old Henry in The Musical Box was smooth. It took some tenacity to pull that off. Nad managed just fine - The Musical Box must have taken some energy out of him, such a powerful performance. Supper's Ready was an epic musical journey, then Cinema Show began. After my experience during the soundcheck it was nice to see the mirror ball effect. Mark told me later, even he enjoyed it (again). The band took their bows, and they left the stage. A boisterous audience certainly made there desire for an encore felt! The band returned and Dance On A Volcano began, Jonas on a 12 string! Craig performed a drum solo, which seems different each time I heard it, before long it was time for Los Endos!

When Los Endos had reached its climax, the audience gave a standing ovation, the band took their time to come to the front of the stage for their bows. This wasn’t my last show, I was fortunate enough to go to Harrogate. But it was an impressive three night run of shows.

Anyone in Europe who doesn’t already have a ticket for the 2022 tour, I urge you to go and get one as soon as possible. I’m going to more shows on the Seconds Out tour, perhaps I’ll see you in Mainland Europe in 2022.


Author: Chris Simmons
Edited by Mark Kenyon and Christian Gerhardts
Photos: Chris Simmons and Lars Mosslind

Editor's note: The one special photo Chris is talking about in his report was eventually used by Steve to announce further North American dates in 2022 (see here)

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