A highlight among Steve Hackett concert releases

InsideOut Music (2CD/2DVD)
4 Stars

By Michael Popke

Much likes its title suggests, this live set recorded at Liverpool, England’s Philharmonic Hall in October 2015, presents guitarist Steve Hackett in a way that’s compelling for both longtime fans and newcomers.

The performance captured here spans Hackett’s solo material from his 1975 debut Voyage of the Acolyte (celebrating 40 years the same month this gig was filmed and recorded) to 2015’s critically acclaimed Wolflight, as well as songs from his Genesis era. Clocking in at more than two-and-a-half hours, the show is divided down the middle and features a band with guitarist Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), Peter Gabriel-influenced vocalist Nad Sylvan and longtime keyboardist Roger King. Hackett’s flautist brother, John, even makes a special appearance for an acoustic version of “Jacuzzi” from 1980’s Defector.

Other highlights of the first set include 1979’s “Every Day,” the rousing instrumental “Clocks” and guest guitarist/vocalist Amanda Lehmann, who helps Hackett give “Shadow of the Hierophant” a contemporary update 40 years in the making.

Foxtrot’s “Get ’Em Out By Friday” kicks off the Genesis portion of the evening, and it’s a stunner, along with “The Cinema Show” and “Firth of Fifth.”

The first of two accompanying DVDs reveals an elegant and spacious stage, on which Hackett and his band perform with a level of class not always demonstrated by other progressive-rock artists — all without seemingly breaking a sweat. A 10-camera crew lingers lovingly on Hackett’s playing and also devotes plenty of screen time to the other musicians in the band. The second DVD includes a rehearsal documentary called “Somewhere South of the River” and three videos from Wolflight.

The Total Experience Live in Liverpool picks up where Hackett’s two previous live Genesis: Revisited CD/DVD packages left off by not shortchanging his own material — making this a worthy addition to the musical library of any Hackett, Genesis or, indeed, prog fan.

Steve Hackett: To Genesis and beyond

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