As has been the way he has performed now for years, ex-Genesis ax man, prolific solo artist and one of the very best guitarists we have still with us, Steve Hackett delivered his 2 hour + show at The Town Hall, of NYC with amazing dexterity and passion, making all of us gathered old prog faithful salivate, palpitate and genuflect (and that’s a lot to ask of a crowd that was 98% over 50). But Hackett and band—Nad Sylvan on vocals, Roger King playing keyboards, Rob Townsend adding additional keys, hand-held percussion, and various wind instruments, Jonas Reingold on bass, twelve-string and six-string electric and Craig Blundell on drums—had us from the opening of “Ace of Wands,” a song that appears way back on Hackett’s first solo release, Voyage of the Acolyte, up through one from his 2021 Surrender of Silence, to what is almost always the killer of the first set of Hackett’s shows, “Shadow of the Hierophant,” (also from Voyage of the Acolyte) as much a building dervish as a drummer spotlight (and Blundell didn’t disappoint).
For the second set, deliver after a scant fifteen-minute intermission, this time around Mr. H. is featuring the early Genesis album, Foxtrot, celebrating its fiftieth (actually 51 if you want to get technical) anniversary of release.
As was the crowd around me this night, I am a nut for ‘older’ Genesis music and Foxtrot, with songs like “Watcher of the Skies” “Get’em Out by Friday,” Hackett’s classical guitar solo sitting “Horizons,” and the show stopper of Genesis classic, “Supper’s Ready,” was offered with spot-on recreations, plus the nuianance that Hackett and these players bring to these tunes. Nad Sylvan’s unique take on the vocal, the exuberance of a lumbering Reingold, the steady hand of King recreating most difficult keyboard parts, and Townsend doubling lots of Hackett’s high flying sustained notes with his horn.
King began the encore (although it is damn hard to encore after a tune like “Supper’s Ready) leading with the ever-so-distinctive, and difficult to play piano opening of Genesis’ “Firth of Fifth,” one of Hackett’s personal Genesis favorites, which he flies butterfly-like over the fretboard, then a drum solo into a dark instrumental section, with Hackett bringing it all back together with the searing single notes of Genesis’ “Los Endos.”
Yes, just another brilliant show from Mr. Hackett and company.
By the way, Steve Hackett has a new live album out now, get it here: HackettSongs – Steve Hackett’s Official Music Website
picture credit: Lee Millward