Hackett, Steve - Live Archive NEARfest

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Camino Records
Catalog Number: CAMCD32
Format: CD
Total Time: 103:38:00

Though it is not listed as the first CD in the NEARfest Records catalog - that number is assigned to Nathan Mahl - Live At NEARfest 1999 - Steve Hackett's Live Archive NEARfest is the first NEARfest-related CD release from NEARFest Records, in conjunction with Hackett's own Camino Records (and ties in with the other Archive releases that Hackett has released). Steve Hackett and his band (Hackett himself on guitars and vocals (funny how that worked out, eh?), Rob Townsend on sax and flute, Roger King on keyboards, Terry Gregory on bass and vocals, and Gary O'Toole on drums and vocals) headlined NEARfest in 2002 and I was lucky enough to be at that performance. As many know by now NEARfest always sells out and sells out fast, so a little luck is involved in getting a ticket.

It was a tremendous performance, as anyone who listens to this CD will hear. Everyone was in top form, the sound was great, and the production on this release lets that come through. If you aren't a dedicated Hackett fan, you'll hear why this guitarist has so much respect come his way. The mellower pieces are simply beautiful... the Satie piece "Gnossienne #1," "Serpentine Song," "Walking Away From Rainbows," and, of course, his classics "Spectral Mornings," "Every Day" and "Horizons" are just terrific, at least to these ears. Not just Hackett though, each member is spot on, Townsend's flute and sax playing stunning, for one. The whole band was tight that night... just... great. Anyone who is a Hackett fanatic probably bought this the moment it became available - at NEARfest 2003, or from either the NEARfest Records or Camino websites, the only way to get this release new. I wasn't a fanatic then, but I'm in the first group. The more I play this, more I'm growing into one...

Anyway, Hackett was on his Darktown tour, though Darktown had, by that time, been out since 1999. This was the first chance for US audiences to see that show... in the US. The set itself was lit very darkly (Darktown, you see), yet used some cool lighting effects... The setlist includes material from many Hackett solo albums, and a few Genesis albums as well. And, in fact, contains material that would come out on the following year's To Watch The Storms release, such as "Mechanical Bride" and "Serpentine Song," here performed wonderfully, beautifully (Townsend's flute takes flight and sounds as if it were played in an open-air setting; The War Memorial in Trenton wasn't, though). Of the classic Genesis pieces we get "Hairless Heart," "Los Endos," an abbreviated, instrumental version of "Watcher Of The Skies" (basically the intro, up to the point where Peter would begin singing, and then the concluding instrumental passages), and part of "Firth Of Fifth." There is also a piece that I've determined appears on a non-Hackett album, but that he wrote and performs on -- "The Floating Seventh,"* which opens this 2 disc set. Hackett holds a seventh note while drums come rumbling in, picking up their pace as they go. It leads into the heavy industrial rhythm that opens the angular "Mechanical Bride."

The "Medley" that comes at track three includes "Myopia," "Los Endos" (which appears again at the end of disc two), "Imagining," "Ace Of Wands," and "Hackett To Bits." The brief "Pollution" leads into "The Steppes," a sultry, sax and guitar led piece.

I love every track, but the one I love the most, the one that truly, truly gets me right "there" is "In Memoriam"... its hauntingly, achingly beautiful, somber and reverent. While not included on the live CD, Hackett dedicated this piece to The Who's John Entwistle, who had passed away not long before the concert. So, there was an added sadness to the atmosphere as a result. You don't need know that to be moved by the piece, but it adds another dimension to this particular performance.

While I'm not sure this CD's availability now, I recommend you see this one out any (legal) way you can, as it's well worth it. If you were there, it's a perfect memento, if you weren't but wanted to be, it's the perfect way to feel you were a part. Frankly, this is one of the finest live CDs I have heard.

*Hackett talks about this piece (briefly, and more) in an interview at The MouthPiece.com.

Also released by NEARfest Records

Disc One: The Floating Seventh / Mechanical Bride / Medley / Serpentine Song / Watcher Of The Skies / Hairless Heart / Firth Of Fifth / Riding The Colossus / Pollution / The Steppes / Gnossienne #1 / Walking Away From Rainbows / In Memoriam / The Wall Of Knives / Vampyre With A Healthy Appetite

Disc Two: Spectral Mornings / Lucridus / Darktown / Camino Royale / Every Day / Horizons / Los Endos

Steve Hackett - guitar and vocals
Roger King - keyboards
Rob Townsend - sax and flute
Terry Gregory - bass and vocals
Gary O'Toole - drums and vocals

Genesis - Nursery Crime (1971)
Genesis - Foxtrot (1972)
Genesis - Live (1973)
Genesis - Selling England By The Pound (1973)
Genesis - Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974)
Voyage Of The Acolyte (1975)
Genesis - Wind And Wuthering (1976)
Genesis - Trick Of The Tail (1976)
Genesis - Seconds Out (1977)
Please Don't Touch (1978)
Spectral Mornings (1979)
Defector (1980)
Cured (1981)
Highly Strung (1983)
Bay Of Kings (1983)
Til We Have Faces (1983)
GTR - GTR (1986)
Momentum (1988)
Genesis - Three Sides Live (1982)
Genesis - Genesis Archive 1967-75 (1988)
Time Lapse (1992)
The Unauthorised Biography (1992)
Guitar Noir (1994)
Blues With A Feeling (1994)
There Are Many Sides To The Night (1994)
A Midsummer's Night Dream (1997)
Watcher Of The Skies: Genesis Revisited (1997)
The Tokyo Tapes (1997)
Darktown (1999)
Genesis - Genesis - Turn It On Again (1999)
Sketches Of Satie (2000) (w/John Hackett)
Feedback '86 (2000)
Genesis - Genesis Archive #2 (2000)
Live Archive 70s 80s 90s (2001)
Live Archive - Newcastle (2001)
To Watch The Storms (2003)
Live Archive NEARfest (2003)
Live Archive 03 (2004)
Live Archive 04 (2004)
Genesis - The Platinum Collection (2004)
Metamorpheus (2005) (w/The Underworld Orchestra)
Live Archive 05 (2005)
Live Archive 83 (2006)
Wild Orchids (2006)
Tribute (2008)
Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth (2010)
Beyond The Shrouded Horizon (2011)
Genesis Revisited II (2012)

Steve Hackett Live (VHS) (1981)
The Tokyo Tapes (DVD) (1998)
Hungarian Horizons - Live In Budapest (DVD) (2003)
Somewhere In South America - Live In Buenos Aires (DVD) (2003)
Once Upon A Time (DVD) (2004)
Spectral Mornings (DVD) (rec 1978; rel 2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: August 29th 2005
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.hackettsongs.com
Hits: 1243
Language: english


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