Steve Hackett

November 12, 2015
Tarrytown Music Hall
Tarrytown, NY

Review by Ralph Greco, Jr.

Seeing Steve Hackett live easily reminds one of how scintillatingly precise and woefully expressive a guitar player the former Genesis ax man is. He also seems to be a man having the time of his life as pleasure glowed across his youthful face throughout a nearly three-hour show at the newly half- restored and beautiful Tarrytown Music Hall.

From the opening snippet of “Corycian Fire” from 2015 album Wolflight, to the soaring single-note crowd pleaser “Spectral Mornings,” a song that showcases Hackett’s light touch, volume peddling dexterity and bending, to the piano-led ballad “Love Song to a Vampire (another one from Wolflight) — it was clear that Hackett and his five-piece band have this music well in hand.

Roger King played keyboards, Roine Stolt (of the Flower Kings) was on bass and 12-string guitar, Gary O'Toole manned the drums, percussion and harmony vocals, Rob Townsend handled the reed instruments (doubling with Hackett’s soaring guitar melodies), keys and percussion, and Nad Sylvan covered the vocals for the Genesis songs in the second half of the show, something he does with aplomb and in his own distinct style — not an easy task to be sure!

“The Loving Sea” saw Hackett on 12-string with Stolt, O’Toole and Townsend lending background vocals to a soft and swaying song the guitarist dedicated to his wife, Jo. “Icarus Ascending,” “Star Of Sirius,” “Ace Of Wands,” “A Tower Struck Down” and the wild first set finale “Shadow Of The Heirophant,” from Hackett’s solo debut Voyage Of The Acolyte.

If one did not get the memo of how great of a drummer Gary O’Toole is, tonight he truly shined above and beyond. During “Shadow Of The Heirophant,” O’Toole rumbled and rolled, as much off his double bass pedals as across his toms, as if fighting to surface over Hackett’s riffing, while simultaneously keeping the strongest of beats and providing thunder for a shocking amount of minutes that tested the stamina of all of us watching. What a performance!

The Genesis set opened with Sylvan taking the lead in “Get Um Out By Friday,” quite heavy with O’Toole popping in behind the Tony Banks keyboard recreations from King. Hackett was on fire on the totally unexpected deep cut “Can-Utlility and the Coastliners” from 1972’s Foxtrot. There was a bit of doubling guitar trickling with Stolt, while Townsend blew his high pitched sax over the top of “Cinema Show.”

On “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” and “The Musical Box,” it was really the players behind Hackett that were featured. King’s keyword work, O’Toole’s backing vocals and those killer Genesis bass parts Stolt rendered, plus the horns from Townshend took the music to a level not imagined in the first half (and the first half seemed unbeatable). It’s worth noting that a bulk of the Genesis material was fresh this time around, and not played on Hackett’s 2013 Genesis Revisited tour.

“Clocks (The Angel Of Mons),” from 1979’s Spectral Mornings album, and the dynamic “Firth of a Fifth,” which Hackett told me was his most quintessential guitar work for Genesis, ended this truly transcendent show.

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