Steve Hackett (Band With Orchestra) Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 22, 2018    
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Steve Hackett (Band With Orchestra) - The Royal Festival Hall, London (UK) - 04 October 2018

With the music from the early part of Genesis' career being referred to as both symphonic and pastoral, it comes as no surprise that it lends itself to the orchestral treatment afforded to it by Steve Hackett, the self-acclaimed keeper of the Genesis flame. It's also no shock to find that Hackett's solo material blends well with an orchestra.
The atmosphere was positively electric from the outset and the audience broke into spontaneous standing ovations on several occasions which further enhanced the performance; judging by the ecstatic smile and effusive reaction of Conductor Bradley Thachuk, the audience's enthusiasm had clearly conveyed itself to those on stage.

With the orchestra on board, I'd expected a short introduction piece as the band took to the stage, but they just wandered into their positions before the group plunged into the Genesis classic and crowd-pleaser 'Dance On A Volcano'. The orchestral arrangement enhanced rather than dominated. Hackett's 'Out Of Body' followed and again the orchestra added little nuances, and they really came into their own on 'The Steppes'. I wish they'd been set the task of creating the song's intro rather than Rob Townsend's shrill and challenging sax piece.

The show was full of highlights, but for me, the evergreen 'Firth Of Fifth' took the gold medal and it elicited the first ovation of the evening. The stabs of brass were palpable and the strings lifted an already splendid song. During his tenure as Hackett's lead vocalist for the Genesis material, Nad Sylvan has both grown into and put his own stamp on these songs. 'Dancing With The Moonlit Knight' was superbly delivered and 'Blood On The Rooftops' was spine-tingling, before the first half then concluded with a full rendition of 'Shadow Of The Hierophant', thanks to Amanda Lehmann's vocal presence. My notes state "positively Wagnerian" which related to the instrumental section at the end of the track where the orchestra really made a difference.

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After the break, they returned with '...In That Quiet Earth' which segued into another showstopper in 'Afterglow', which resulted in another ovation. Hackett's brother, John, joined the fun along with Lehmann for the sedate and beautiful 'Serpentine Song' with its lovely vocal harmonies and flute motifs. This proved to be the calm before the storm as next up was 'El Niño' on which the orchestra excelled.

Naturally, 'Supper's Ready' is ripe for an orchestral arrangement and I know I had a silly grin on my face as the tubular bells chimed out towards the end. The encore was another Genesis classic in the form of 'The Musical Box' and it was interesting to observe several of the violin players grooving along when not required to play.
The show was being filmed and I for one can't wait to see/hear the result, not least because I saw the show for a second time in Ipswich and picked up on more elements of the orchestral work, so I suspect the recording will deliver even more gems.

Gary Marshall

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