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  STEVE CAN HACK IT IN LIVERPOOL AS THE TOTAL EXPERIENCE AND OTHER RE-RELEASES SHOW

Joe Geesin

joe geesin


steve hackett

Most noted as the lead guitarist for English progressive rock band Genesis, playing on their critically acclaimed early to mid 70s work and alongside his work with GTR (featuring Yes guitarist Steve Howe), Steve Hackett has had a noted solo career releasing a number of rock albums and blues classical, soundtrack and collaborative work, his catalogue augmented by a number of live albums. He encompasses a range of styles and has been described as "one of the UK's most innovative and influential guitar players" who is widely credited with inventing two-handed tapping and introducing sweep picking to rock n' roll electric guitar.

Universal have released a multi vinyl LP box set 'The Chrysalis Years' (eight LPs, one a double, including 'Live At Reading 1981', and a live 12" EP), and this reissue campaign includes a number of multi disc remasters. One release of several, 1980s 'Defector' was Hackett's fourth, and this three disc edition includes remastered album with bonus tracks, a second disc recorded at Reading 1981, and the DVD includes a 5.1 surround sound mix of the album. Then there's the DVD of live material recorded his latest tour; it's all go!

Steve Hackett joined Genesis in 1971, replacing Mick Barnard (original guitarist Anthony Phillips' replacement). He played on 1971s 'Nursery Cryme', then 'Foxtrot', 'Selling England By The Pound', 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway', and 1976s 'A Trick Of The Tail' and 'Wind & Wuthering', as well as appearing on the live 'Genesis Live', 'Seconds Out' and 'Three Sides - Live'. A reunion and a number of compilations later, it's probably safe to say that this was Genesis' creative pinnacle.

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Hackett recorded his debut 'Voyage Of The Acolyte' in 1975, before he left Genesis for a solo career. 'Please Don't Touch' (1978) and 'Spectral Mornings' (1979) followed, before 'Defector', recorded and released in 1980. The album opens with the six minute 'The Steppes', a woodwind intro before a solid bang of the band and it's a heavy number that features both progressive undertones (think King Crimson with a more plodding rhythm), the searing guitar adding an excellent touch.

'Time To Get Out' is a more commercial number with some fine harmonies and some intricate keyboard work. A sign of how much rock (Genesis included) would change in the 80s. the keyboards feature blasts of what approaches almost an electronic church organ sound. There's a retro sound on 'Slogans', quite electronic prog pop/rock with nods to Yes, albeit in an occasionally rather dark way. 'Two Vamps As Guests' is an acoustic guitar workout and 'Jacuzzi' is bright and summery, equally a catchy number that could be a theme tune somewhere; elements of Jeff Wayne here, not in melody, but in sound and approach.

steve hackett

Some tracks are more stripped down, just piano, strings and guitar, adding quite a different feel throughout the album.

It was apt that Hackett would later work with GTR as there are nods to both that and the commercial side of Genesis and Yes on the album, alongside some more whimsical moments.

The rock fans amongst you will love 'The Show', a solid pounding number that would take many an artist up the charts.

The album here is augmented but the Reading 1981 performance (some tracks of which had provided the bonus tracks of earlier reissues), is proof that Genesis would have missed his contribution even with their poppier tinged mainstream direction of the 80s. The additional DVD features a new pseudo 5.1 surround up-mix from the original stereo master tapes. Good stuff, but you really need the right equipment to really appreciate it. However, despite some mixed reviews it's one of Hackett's best and, outside of Genesis, most successful.

steve hackett

A number of studio and classical albums later, and a collaboration or three, Hackett released 'Wolflight' in 2015, an acclaimed album that charted at #31 in the UK charts.

Recorded live on the British leg of the 'Acolyte To Wolflight With Genesis Revisited' tour, 'The Total Experience Live In Liverpool' is a 2CD/2DVD (or Blu Ray) that documents the catalogue and material well.

The live show kicks off with 'Corycian Fire Intro', an atmospheric start as the band enter the stage. It's all lights ablazing as the band come in for 'Spectral Mornings', with Hackett centre stage where he lets his guitar do the talking. From the outset there's a strong and heavy neo-prog feel. With various camera angles and a quality audio recording it's a good live documentary from the start. From the whimsical interludes there are some blistering bursts, the guitar mixed clear and to the fore.

Of course the then new album is well covered with the title track standing out. There are some quieter tracks where there's a clear story telling element.

steve hackett

Much as the music and performance is excellent, at times quite entrancing, it does come over as a little polite, the crowd remaining seated.

Things do, however, pick up in the latter part of the show where a number of Genesis numbers are performed. 'After The Ordeal' and 'Clocks' are full on rock classics, as is 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway'. There's not a love of movement around the stage but the band still exude energy and intensity in their playing. A very good drum solo, and some of Hackett's guitar work is as good as you'll get anywhere, ever.

It's easy to see how bands such as Marillion and Dream Theatre would have been influenced by this. It's great value for a two hour thirty minute show, with a second disc of bonus material.

Both are well presented packages and well worth seeking out.

steve hackett

We have two copies of 'The Total Experience Live In Liverpool' double CD/DVD set and to win yourself one, enter out competition by clicking here.

'Defector' Tracklisting:
Disc 1
The Steppes
Time To Get Out
Slogans
Leaving
Two Vamps As Guests
Jacuzzi
Hammer In The Sand
The Toast
The Show
Sentimental Institution
Hercules Unchained (B - side of single - released in June 1980)
Sentimental Institution (recorded at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane 11th November 1979)

Disc 2 Live At Reading 1981
The Air Conditioned Nightmare
Every Day
Ace Of Wands
Funny Feeling
The Steppes
Overnight Sleeper
Slogans
A Tower Struck Down
Spectral Mornings
The Show
Clocks - The Angel Of Mons

Disc 3 Pseudo 5.1 Surround mix
The Steppes
Time To Get Out
Slogans
Leaving
Two Vamps As Guests
Jacuzzi
Hammer In The Sand
The Toast
The Show
Sentimental Institution

'Defector' line-up:
Steve Hackett – guitar, vocals, keyboards
Nick Magnus – keyboards
John Hackett – flute
Peter Hicks – vocals
John Shearer – drums and percussion
Dik Cadbury – bass and vocals

'The Total Experience Live In Liverpool' tracklist:
CD 1
Corycian Fire Intro
Spectral Mornings
Out Of The Body
Wolflight
Every Day
Love Song To A Vampire
The Wheels Turning
Loving Sea
Jacuzzi
Icarus Ascending
Star Of Sirius
Age Of Wands
A Tower Struck Down

CD2
Shadow Of The Hierophant
Get em Out By Friday
Can-Ulity And The Coastliners
After The Ordeal
The Cinema Show
Aisle Of Plenty
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
The Musical Box
Clocks
Firth Of Fifth

DVD1
Corycian Fire Intro
Spectral Mornings
Out Of The Body
Wolflight
Every Day
Love Song To A Vampire
The Wheels Turning
Loving Sea
Jacuzzi
Icarus Ascending
Star Of Sirius
Age Of Wands
A Tower Struck Down
Shadow Of The Hierophant
Get em Out By Friday
Can-Ulity And The Coastliners
After The Ordeal
The Cinema Show
Aisle Of Plenty
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
The Musical Box
Clocks
Firth Of Fifth

DVD2
Behind The Scenes
Rehearsal Documentary
Video – Corycian Fire
Video – Wolflight
Video – Love Song To A Vampire

Line-up:
Steve Hackett – guitar, vocals
Roger King – keyboards
Nad Sylvan – vocals, tambourine
Gary O'Toole – drums, percussion, vocals
Rob Townsend – saxophone, woodwind, percussion, vocals, keyboards, bass pedals
Roine Stolt – bass, twelve string, guitar, vocals
Special Guests – John Hackett, Amanda Lehmann






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