Review: Steve Hackett - Leeds Town Hall

Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett

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The grand surroundings of Leeds's Town Hall provide the perfect backdrop for one of the most dramatic and atmospheric guitarists of all time.

Famed for his role in the what many fans consider to be the classic period of Genesis, Hackett's guitar playing and song writing was a crucial component of the band's sound. While he lacked the presence and theatricality of Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins, his under-stated yet devastating affective playing was intrinsic to what made them so special.

A desire to augment and showcase his song writing led to solo material, some of which is showcased tonight, but the confines of the band proved too much and he left in the late 1970s, two albums after Gabriel's departure.

In the intervening near four decades since he left the band achieved spectacular success, splits and reformations that captivated the world but for the hardcore fans Hackett has never been forgotten, and his solo work consistently delighted critics and his loyal fan base.

In recent years he has spent his days keeping the Genesis flame alive as the remainder of the band frustratingly refuse to entertain a reunion. Tonight's show is both a celebration of his former band and his own redoubtable solo career.

The solo section kicks things off, with tracks like Wolflight and Star of Sirius demonstrating how unique and virtuoso a player Hackett is.

The real delight comes after the interval when the Genesis material comes. Hackett knows it too, they were one of the best bands ever, the material should be celebrated for its genius.

The little-performed Can-Utility and the Coastliners from Foxtrot is sublime as is the Spanish guitar beauty of After the Ordeal. The night's highlight comes when Cinema Show is performed. It is credit to Haskett as a performer that he uncorks this gem, its musical centre piece is a lengthy and sensational keyboard solo. Yet the instrumental coda is heart-stopping, he's here to demonstrate how amazing Genesis are, not show off his guitar solos.

That is until the encore when he finishes off the evening with Firth of Fifth, While his solo is not flashey it carries more weight than one million Van Halen performances. It's heavyweight, super heavyweight.

Hackett's backing band deserves mention for their virtuosity and talent the drummer in particular channels Collins (still one of the most underrated drummers of all time) without emulating him.

However it is Hackett's supreme control and skill that steal the show. Now if only he and the remainder of Genesis could agree to one last hurrah...

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