Review: "Genesis Revisited: Live at Royal Albert Hall" - Steve Hackett

by Andy Snipper,

As the most recognizable guitarist with Genesis, Steve Hackett is entitled to play this music as much if not more than any other member of the band. He released two albums of rerecorded Genesis music and this show was created following the enormous success of the two revisited albums.

For a reviewer, it could be a nightmare because this is music that holds incredible resonance for followers of the band but one of the strengths of the revisited principle was that it was taking the music on and developing themes that the original albums had brought out and NOT tearing the music apart to change the slant to a more guitar-centric or Prog-Metal stance. It helps that Hackett is a superb guitarist, of course, but he put a band together for this project that is absolutely astounding: John Wetton and Ray Wilson guest as well as Hackett’s normal team of Roger King on keyboards, Gary O’Toole on drums, Rob Townshend on sax & flute and Nad Sylvan on vocals.

Staging the event at the RAH was brilliant, partly because of the vaulted ceiling and opera-house levels that make the place look and feel special but also because of the great history of the venue and its association with Prog then and now.

Musically the performance is flawless. Hackett’s guitar playing is magnificent but the rest of the band play brilliantly, sensitive to the original recordings but adding very clear nuances and personality to the music. Visually the show is almost understated but if they were to attempt Gabriel’s cavorting and clowning it would have been pastiche and Hackett has stayed well clear of that. The video screens are used sensitively and on the DVD the focus is on the musicians and not the video – the long shots certainly do catch the glory of the hall but the closeups on the musicians takes you into the music and the director has avoided any tricksy angles or zoom effects

What you do get is the music of Genesis in all its considerable glory played, not by a tribute band, but by an orchestra of musicians.

Full track listing:

  • Dance on a Volcano
  • 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
  • Watcher of the Skies
  • Los Endos

All in all, this was a magical evening and a great performance. Hackett has a fine sense of humour and downplays the arrogance that can sometimes inhabit Prog shows so that a great event avoids becoming overblown and cerebral. I wish I’d been there but this DVD captures it all brilliantly.

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