Innovative guitarist Steve Hackett and his band of supremely accomplished musicians brings to life the majestic music of mid-70s Genesis at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre.
Genesis only ever made it to Australia once, in 1986 – years after guitarist Steve Hackett and singer Peter Gabriel had left the band. So Steve is making it up to fans by once again bringing a whole lot of Genesis magic to Australian shores with an imperious performance of two genre-defining classics in their entirety: 1977’s double live album Seconds Out – the final Genesis record upon which Hackett appeared – and the impeccable Selling England By the Pound (1973) LP. For many Genesis fans, these albums represent the very best the band had to offer.
Last night’s gig at Melbourne’s iconic Palais Theatre, Hackett and his and top-notch 5-piece band treated the audience to some of Genesis’ most memorable moments. They stayed faithful to the original arrangements while fleshing them out with additional instrumentation. From nuanced sensitivity to dramatic progressive rock, this was all about creative musicianship, while immersing us in English eccentricity and intricate songcraft, Hackett and his band effortlessly delivered delicate prose, wondrous melodies, and of course, the soaring lead guitar of our hero always at the centre of their universe.
Playing a 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop for the majority of the show, Hackett’s consummate playing is awe inspiring and never flashy, full of texture and atmosphere ahead of showiness or extended soloing.
The show was divided into two parts. The first half of the performance was Second’s Out, which was a special choice as it highlights material lifted from several classic albums in the Genesis canon up to 1977 – perhaps that’s why Steve chose it.
A hugely successful double album at the time, it was recorded on their concert tour in support of 1976’s very good Wind & Wuthering album, and featured Hackett on guitar alongside Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and Phil Collins, who had taken on the role of lead vocalist following the departure of Peter Gabriel. The tour also marked Steve’s final recordings with the band as he left to pursue an expansive solo career.
Opening with a series of Genesis classics from Squonk, The Carpet Crawlers and an exquisite version of Afterglow, it was on the beloved The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Foxtrot’s 23-minute magnum opus Supper’s Ready where vocalist Nad Sylvan really shined, bringing the material’s subtle tones and deep emotions to life, with a voice full of character, not far removed from Peter Gabriel’s, without trying to draw unnecessary attention or take away from Hackett’s incendiary guitar work.
The second half featured the entire Selling England By the Pound album in order, opening with Dancing with The Moonlit Knight through an extended take on I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe), both of which were superb renditions, the latter featuring Steve stretching out on guitar, as well as a remarkable sax solo from multi-instrumentalist Rob Townsend.
Simply magnificent versions of landmarks Firth of Fifth and Cinema Show followed, both songs pivotal in Hackett’s significant Genesis contribution, and found Roger King replicating Tony Banks’ keyboard virtuosity, and sound, to brilliant effect. A thunderous Craig Blundell drum solo was included in the Dance on a Volcano encore which segued into one of the greatest musical pieces used to end a concert … Los Endos, before the band lined up to receive extended and rapturous applause. Tonight some of the best ever Genesis material was performed respectfully, but also not slavishly, and it was a wonderful thing to witness this essential music so alive again.
At the time of official Genesis retreat, comes back from the dark the old forgotten virtuose guitarist. Great news! It brings us back the time when Genesis was a progressive band haunted by Gabriel’s angelic voice. Like a shadow from the past. But no theater and exentric costumes on stage as I can see.
Excellent review mate.
Thank you very much prince, it was a super show. Still enjoying it. Thanks for checking in buddy.
Excellent review. I too was at last night’s Melbourne show and was blown away by the cheer majesty of the performance. The band played together like they’ve been doing it for years. Each member played the Genesis material with fabulous proecision and skill but also added their own creative embellishments that helped enhance, rather than cheapen, the live performance of the original band’s classic songs. And of course Steve Hackett demonstrated why he has long been considered one of rock’s great guitarists. Not only is he a suburb ensemble player but his solos are measured, powerful, precise, and at times even spine tingling, but never outstay their welcome. This was a show for the ages.
Thanks for reading and taking the time to respond buddy. Don’t be a stranger. Rock on.
So glad I found your blog, and happy to see you found mine also. Looking forward to exploring your past posts. Very thorough and well written. Keep on Rockin’
thank you randy for taking the time to comment, much appreciated.
Thanks so much for the comment randydafoe, appreciate you checking in and for the feedback. I hope you find some stuff to enjoy.
I heard a recording of Hackett doing this and was more than impressed. Just like you.
Yes me too! I think a live album is on the way
I only just found this blog! I,too, was at that concert and, as I was in 2017, I was blown away by these incredible musicians. If I was to complain about anything, it would be that it ended! I wish they could go through the entire back-catalogue of Genesis’ Hackett days! Just one minor correction: you mention Dance On A Volcano as the encore but it segued into one of the greatest musical pieces used to end a concert … Los Endos! Talk about your Magnum Opus!
Thanks for reading buddy. You’re right about Los Endos.
Steve Hackett always dkrs his music more than justice
Saw the show twice and will Steve and the band Dec 8 fir more great music 🎶.
Great work John, I will check that out. I loved the show and his band – his guitar playing is not too over the top or intrusive – it’s just right. Thanks for reading buddy and checking out the blog.
A fantastic show in a small venue in Adelaide, I loved it to bits and can’t wait to see the show again. My 1st ever gig I when to was Genesis in 1981 but unfortunately Steven was not present. I did see him though a number of times on solo shows with the UK after that.
Great stuff Matthew, glad you go to see him in ’81 that would’ve been very special. Great work with Adelaide too, I’m so pleased to have seen him at the Palais in Melbourne recently, one of the great gigs in recent memory. The music was exquisite.
Thanks for checking in buddy, and for taking the time to comment. Cheers