Steve Hackett, Gig Review. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool. (2017).

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

Steve Hackett at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, May 2017. Photograph by Ian D. Hall

The world has changed so much in the last 40 years that barely a whisper of it is now recognisable, fashions have come and gone, a couple of generations of music lovers have been born and slid silently into the edited grooves of downloadable music and fought with all their might to claim the art form as their own, that in their minds they, understandably, are the ones who invented music.

The world, as they say, has no more heroes left within it, that everything Inside and Out is just food for worms, everything is so immediate, and not always now in a good way, it can be thought that the social war between the Millennial and Generation X is constantly overflowing and always finds Time to never agree on just who had it harder.

To look back at the 40 years though, to the year in which arguably the last classic album by Genesis was released in amongst a haze of disco and Punk Rock, of social decline, of the horrendous rise of political dogma and the absurdity of life without structure and weaved cosmos anarchy, the constant has been undoubtedly Steve Hackett; relevant, revolutionary and able to bridge the gap effortlessly between the release of the seminal Wind and Wuthering, the last Genesis studio album to contain Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and Steve, and being able to give it a sense of equality, of beautiful rememberance, as we steamroller towards the year 2020 without clarity of vision.

The Philharmonic Hall has not only become a second home to Mr. Hackett and his extremely talented group of expert musicians over the last few years, it should be considered the venue in which the regal and the affirmed have taken root, true Progressive Rock royalty from a man who can make a guitar sound like an angel being kissed on the cheek by an unbeliever in a show of solidarity and repentance.

Alongside the superb Nick Beggs on bass, who truly gave such a masterful performance on the front of the stage, Roger King on Keyboards, Gary O’Toole on drums, Rob Townsend on sax, flute and keys and the ever impressive Nad Sylvan on vocals for the second half of the expansive show, Steve Hackett thrilled and delighted the Philharmonic audience with a set of songs from his own huge back catalogue, including Every Day, El Nino, The Steppes, Serpentine Song, Rise Again and In The Skeleton Gallery, which was itself greeted with warm and wonderful applause as he dedicated it to long time friend and person extraordinaire Steph Kennedy, and selected tracks from Wind and Wuthering including the sublime One for the Vine, Blood on the Rooftops, the haunting Afterglow and Eleventh Earl of Mar and the superb and so underplayed Inside and Out which was cruelly left off the album.

Concluding the main set of songs with the phenomenal The Musical Box, Steve Hackett and the band took the audience to the very edge of visible rapture, the sense of Time not being wasted, of the last 40 years just a mere shadow in the face of elegance; this is the reason why Steve Hackett continues to thrill and be lauded, because he is not afraid to be seen on stage, Inside and Out.

Ian D. Hall