Hackett, Steve - Live Archive 70, 80, 90's

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Camino Records
Catalog Number: CAMCD23
Format: CD
Total Time: 258:30:00

In a way it looks like some artists are dusting their attics and keep stumbling across boxes filled to the rim with unique live recordings. The presence of the vast output of so far unreleased live material proves that the artist recorded many concerts during his/her career with the intention of one day releasing it, yet in some cases it takes well over twenty years before said recordings are finally released. Take Steve Hackett as an example, releasing no fewer than four discs in one go with a fifth full CD only to be available through his website for a very reasonable ?6. Splattered over three decades, Live Archive illustrates the longevity of the guitarist, proving that he never needed to go back to Genesis at all by that sheer strength of his own material. There's the odd Genesis classic to be found here ("I Know What I Like," "Firth Of Fifth"), but above all it illustrates the many facets of the diverse talent of Steve Hackett, whether it's more rock oriented or more acoustically inclined.

Hackett, believe it or not, has a lot of humour; dry humour, typical British humour. Probably one of his funniest moments happened when he enlisted the unknown Pete Hicks as singer in his band. Hicks was an accountant who was able to leave the dull environment of his office and turn popstar overnight, proof of which can be found on the first two discs, which cover all of the concert as performed at the Hammersmith Odeon, London on that memorable night of 30th June 1979. By that time Steve had released three solo albums and thus had plenty of material to chose from in order to deliver a very interesting set indeed. Pulling songs from Voyage Of The Acolyte, the more American flavoured Please Don't Touch and his then brand new album Spectral Mornings, the 1979 gigs maybe were one of his all-time best, featuring a great line-up. Since his debut in '75, Steve had lost some Genesis diehards, but certainly had won the respect of many music lovers the world over, who by now could chose between the electrical prog approach and the acoustic intimacy of his work. Just listen to the crowd when the final chord of "Please Don't Touch" dies out. What a welcome indeed. And what a contrast between heavy segments and almost classical parts, sometimes just in one song. Take "Tigermoth" as an example of this, with bombastic, overwhelming sections whilst a musical box and his brother John's flute playing suddenly introduce a totally different atmosphere. Then the seriousness of the music changes towards the "easy" poppy contents of "Every Day," which at the time was Steve's throw at solo stardom. Hackett on Top of the Pops. He must have dreamed it surely. Or was it Kim's strongest wish?

In the same way Jean Michel Jarre stole many hearts with his "Jonques De P?cheurs Au Cr?puscule De La Nuit" on the Les Concerts En Chine album, so does Hackett with the wonderful "Tai Chi." It's also amazing how the audience remains totally silent during this track, a feature that nowadays sadly would almost seem impossible! Because Steve now gets the respect from his fans he has the luxury to do whatever he wants during his set. That's why he can sneak in "Etude In A Minor" before delivering a snippet of "Blood On The Rooftops," whilst heading, by means of "Horizons," to the love of his life both in music and in life in the form of "Kim." The maestro can't be serious all of the time, hence the inclusion of "The Optigan," which nicely segues into the magical "A Tower Struck Down" containing loads of drum breaks, emphasising Steve's guitar moves. The nice thing is that you get the entire Hammersmith gig spread over two discs, so disc two starts with Steve introducing the line-up of what he then already knew would be a one-off band!

I remember very well that I went to see one of the gigs on that tour. I think it was Ipswitch and I was taken back to my hotel by the tour manager in the same car as Steve. I also became good friends with Nick Magnus who later on sent me a card with the detailed explanation as to how he tried to approach the classical sound with his keyboards. Having been a member of The Enid, that was one of Nick's ambitions: to create a sound with his keyboards that came as close to the sound of a real orchestra as possible. Helped out by the wonderful flute playing of John Hackett, a nice example of this classical approach can be found all over "Shadow Of The Hierophant." Especially, the final part is breathtaking! The audience really is having the day of their lives, especially as the next song is "Clocks," which has everyone clapping their hands, as this had to be the last song of the regular set. What better way to treat the fans to something extra than by offering them a slice of Genesis in the form of "I Know What I Like." Steve's love for blues is shown by means of "Wardrobe Boogie," whilst the disc closes with "Racing In A," which to my ears is poorer quality than the aforementioned material. This means we are only halfway through our box set!

Is it my ears or is the sound quality of the 80's collection indeed inferior to the ones that were recorded before? Recorded in Rome in '81 without the help of a solo singer and with Marillion's Ian Mosley helping out on drums, the sound to me sounds thinner and therefore is less impressive. By then, however, the vinyl output of Hackett had also turned towards a more accessible kind of music, as is proven here by tracks such as "Funny Feeling," "Hope I Don't Wake," "The Show" and "Picture Postcard." Also, Steve tries a fair bit of Italian that he must have learned on the plane from Britain to Italy, with the chauvinistic Italians applauding even when Steve translates one word into their native tongue! However it's that enthusiasm that runs like a thread throughout this recording, as indeed the audience applaudes everytime they witness a "beautiful moment," whether it's a solo or "simply" a fill; whether it's Steve or Nick or John. If they like what they hear, they will prove so by applauding warmly. The bass-drums section is less pronounced than on the seventies set, which is exactly why a lot of our attention is drawn to the guitar, keyboards and flute, but also to Steve's singing, as it was on the Cured album that he took on the role as singer as well. The sound of the bass guitar nevertheless should have been much more prominent in the mix. Especially in the ominous sounding "The Steppes" I hardly hear a bass at all. Also, the sound of the drums isn't really good as one can witness during "Slogans," where it all sounds fairly flat. Luckily the set ends with one of Hackett's greatest compositions ever (to my liking anyway) "Clocks." As soon as that metronome starts ticking you know you're on your way for a cool six minutes of tremendous rock'n roll.

We have come to the final disc in this set, although the entire box can be augmented with an extra disc as said before. Recorded once again in London, this time at the Grand Theatre in '93, it offers a revamped Hackett band. This time stalwart Nick Magnus has been replaced by Julian Colbeck and it looks like that partnership works really well. Luckily the sound is top notch and, rare as it may seem, the audience is very very enthusiastic, adding an extra charm to this disc. Compared to the one recorded in Italy this one's more dynamic, with the drums really shining and an interesting selection, ranging from powerful tunes to intimate selections. Hackett is in pure form when he opens with a medley comprising "Myopia," "Los Endos," "Imagining," "Ace Of Wands" and "Hackett To Pieces." This is so overwhelming Steve can't do anything wrong anymore. As said before, the interaction between Steve and newcomer Julian Colbeck leads towards a more acoustic result, which is shown here by songs such as "Sierra Quemada" and "Take These Pearls." And it even becomes more intimate as Steve turns towards his acoustic guitar, backed only by the talented Julian Colbeck. You can hear a pin drop during "Walking Away From Rainbows" whilst the harmonica in "There Are Many Sides To The Night" introduces some tucked away blues before fully turning towards the clear sound of his acoustic guitar. That acoustic nature goes one further when brother John Hackett comes, adding his flute to "Kim," which still sounds as beautiful as the way Steve's wife looks!

Although this set contains a full line-up, it still remains mainly acoustic. So even when all musicians are granted to step in during "Dark As The Grave," the input of bass and drums still has to be rather muted, as opposed to the guitar/keyboard parts in this slightly jazzy offering. "Always Somewhere Else" compensates for the lack of rhythm by being a percussive tour-de-force, where both drummer Hugo Degenhardt and bass player Doug Sinclair can show the public just what a great bunch of musicians they are. Whilst emphasizing on the "newer" material, obviously one has to pay attention to the "old" back catalogue as well; however, playing all these well-known tunes in full would result in a setlist of well over two, maybe three hours. So Hackett came up with the brilliant idea to segue several of his best-known themes into yet another medley. This time "Spectral Mornings," "Firth Of Fifth" and "Clocks" get the medley treatment, ending in true fireworks fashion by means of a short Hugo Degenhardt drum solo. Steve's love for Italy pops up again when he gives the immortal Ennio Morricone tune "Cinema Paradiso" the genuine Hackett treatment. They can certainly play that one at my funeral ... bar the applause that is ... The set closes with a powerful rendition of the old favourite "In That Quiet Earth" and a well deserved steaming applause!

As said before, you can expand this box set with yet another title that is only available through Steve's website. At a mere snip of ?6, featuring ten tracks recorded in Newcastle in '79 and three bonus tracks dating from the Hammersmith Odeon gig in London '78, this is a great bonus to the already impressive package. Steve Hackett will be headlining 2002's NEARfest festival on June 30th. To get into the mood what beter way to practise than getting yourself a copy of this astonishing box set?

Disc One: Intro / Please Don't Touch / Tigermoth / Every Day / Narnia / The Red Flower Of Tai Chi / Ace Of Wands / Carry On Up The Vicarage / Etude In A Min / Blood On The Rooftops / Horizons / Kim / The Optigan / A Tower Struck Down / Spectral Mornings

Disc Two: Intro / Star Of Sirius / Shadow Of The Hierophant / Clocks / I Know What I Like / Wardrobe Boogie / Racing In A / Racing In A Coda

Disc Three: The Air Conditioned Nightmare / Jacuzzi / Funny Feeling / Ace Of Wands / Picture Postcard / The Steppes / Every Day / Overnight Sleeper / Hope I Don't Wake / Slogans / A Tower Struck Down / Spectral Mornings / The Show / Clocks

Disc Four: Medley / Vampyre With A Healthy Appetite / Sierra Quemada / Take These Pearls / In The Heart Of The City / Walking Away From Rainbows / There Are Many Sides To The Night / Kim / Dark As The Grave / Always Somewhere Else / Lost In Your Eyes / Spectral Mornings / Firth Of Fifth / Clocks / Cinema Paradiso / In That Quiet Earth

Disc Five: Please Don't Touch / Tigermoth / Every Day / The Steppes / Narnia / The Red Flower Of Taichi / Sentimental Institution / Star Of Sirius / Spectral Mornings / Clocks / Ace Of Wands / Hands Of The Priestess / Racing In A

Steve Hackett - guitar, vocals
Nick Magnus - keyboards (d1,d2, d3)
John Hackett - flute, guitar, bass pedals
Dick Cadbury - bass & vocals (d1, d2)
John Shearer - drums (d1, d2)
Pete Hicks - vocals (d1, d2)
Chas Cronk - bass & vocals (d3)
Ian Mosley - drums (d3)
Julian Colebeck - keyboards (d4)
Doug Sinclair - bass & vocals (d4)
Hugo Degenhardt - drums (d4)

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: February 23rd 2002
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.hackettsongs.com
Hits: 784
Language: english


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