Hackett, Steve - To Watch The Storms

Year of Release: 2003
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMA 2058-2/SPV 085-65732
Format: CD
Total Time: 58:28:00

After the much acclaimed Darktown album Steve Hackett has released a series of live albums and DVDs recorded during his much appreciated travels around the world. Hackett is proud about his past and sees no problem in including some Genesis material, which after all was the reason why he became successful as a solo artist in the first place. In between all of these demanding activities it?s as if Steve has found a new life, a new inspiration, a new purpose in life. Not only has he put a new band around him, but on To Watch The Storms he has for the first time used that same band in the studio as well.

When I listened to this new album for the first time I was pleased. Pleased to have a firm smile on my face, as with this album Hackett goes back to his successful past, including material that could have been on Voyage Of The Acolyte or on Spectral Mornings. Pleased because he alternates between electric and acoustic guitars; between heavy sounding songs and intimate sketches. Hackett might not be the world?s best singer, but he delivers a better job than Steve Howe. In fact, in Hackett's case, it adds something special that might be the secret potion to turn a certain composition into something that is unmistakably Hackett. Another authentic quality of Hackett's has to be the constant presence of humour; typical British humour, if you ask me. This has to be the main reason why he covers the Thomas Dolby song "The Devil Is An Englishman" on this album. It?s nice to know the serious look Hackett portrays is but a fa?ade, that deep down there?s an immense laughter hiding. Just listen to Hackett?s voice on "The Devil Is An Englishman" and I?m convinced he needed more than one take to get this one right! If Hackett is a fan of Thomas Dolby, then he might have written "Frozen Statues" as a tribute to Dolby because it really contains the kind of atmosphere that Dolby would compose himself, muted trumpet included.

In Roger King, our guitar virtuoso not only has found the ideal keyboard player, but also the man with the right pair of ears, as for this album he was the perfect guy to engineer, mix and master it. Especially with headphones To Watch The Storms becomes so much more of a true audio experience. With Roger as part of his touring band, he already performed some of the material of this new album live. Amongst others the Live In Buenos Aires DVD contains a roaring version of "Mechanical Bride," which of course sounds more detailed here, especially where the drums are concerned. The quality of Hackett enables him to switch from a powerful track directly towards the intimacy of the electric guitar. "Wind, Sand And Stars" is of the same beauty as "Kim" and I mean both the track and the person here! Next to Hackett?s wonderful guitar I should also stress the superb keyboard parts from Roger King here, who delivers some of his finest moments with a high cinematic degree! "This World" does even contain parts that could have been written by the late John Lennon, in the style of his very own "Woman;" simple but very effective.

"Rebecca" is a very interesting track as it uses a rather surprising rhythm to which, again, some superb acoustic guitar has been added. But if there?s one rhythm that has to be mentioned on this album, it certainly has to be the addictive trance-like tribal rhythms of "The Silk Road." Ingenious as he is, Hackett has even seen the chance to include the main theme from his earlier "Tower Struck Down" composition. This is a smart move because you?re playing a new song whilst you hark back to an earlier period! With a title like "The Moon Under Water," Hackett exactly delivers that kind of atmosphere, as through the music you can indeed imagine how the moon looks from below the water. This diversified album ends with the longer "Serpentine Song" which ebbs along a soft melody and also includes brother John on flute. From a vocal point of view, to my ears it sounds a lot like King Crimson?s "I Talk To The Wind," but all your attention is drawn away towards the music so you don?t have time to doubt its originality.

Good to hear such a great and diverse album from Steve Hackett, again trying his hand at all sorts of genres without losing his original grip. Together with a fine selection of musicians he?s ready to deliver many more glorious works in the time to come. To Watch The Storms is indeed an album that leaves me happy. I hope it does for you, too!

Strutton Ground (3:04) / Circus Of Becoming (3:48) / The Devil Is An Englishman (4:27) / Frozen Statues (2:58) / Mechanical Bride (6:40) / Wind, Sand And Stars (5:08) / Brand New (4:41) / This World (5:19) / Rebecca (4:20) / The Silk Road (5:25) / Come Away (3:13) / The Moon Under Water (2:14) / Serpentine Song (6:56)

The special edition adds four additional tracks: Pollution B / Fire Island / Marijuana, Assassin Of Youth / If You Only Knew

Steve Hackett - vocals, guitar, optigan, harmonica, koto, rain stick, chimes, quatro
Roger King - piano, organ, synthesizer, vocoder, programming
Rob Townsend - brass, woodwind, whistles & one-man serpentine chorus machine
Terry Gregory - vocals, basses, pedals & thunder
Gary O? Toole - vocals, acoustics & electric drums, percussion
John Hackett - flute solo (13)
Ian McDonald - sax (7)
Jeanne Downs - backing vocals
Sarah Wilson - cello
Howard Gott - violin

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: October 19th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.hackettsongs.com
Hits: 683
Language: english


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