Acolyte to Wolflight with Genesis Revisited Tour
Colston Hall, Bristol
28th October 2015
Tonight it is Bristol on the final leg of Steve Hackett’s latest tour, who are treated to an evening of Prog Rock in two halves, the first set a celebration of the solo career of Steve Hackett from his first solo album Voyage of The Acolyte to his latest release Wolflight and then after a short break over an hour of celebration of Genesis with the delight of hearing live tracks previously unheard.
Taking us back to the early days of post Genesis, the title track from his third solo album Spectral Mornings, gets the show on the road as Colston Hall was surrounded by layers of sound that would continue throughout the show. Tonight’s touring band with Steve fitted the music being explored creating textured layers of music from instruments whose chords and notes intermingled in to a musical tapestry tonight with bassist, Roine Stolt , Gary O’Toole the bowler hatted drummer, on keys Roger King, and then multi-instrumentalist Rob Townsend adding flute, saxophone and additional vocals on some of the songs provided by Nad Sylvan with his golden voice.
By the third track we were up to the present day with Woflight the title track of Steve Hackett’s latest offering, the guitar was sublime, elegant and at times hard-hitting. The whole band had a feel of a very contemporary orchestra this is electric music with a classical feel progressive and organic. Filling the hall with colourful shapes and layers of sound creating a complex tonal shape that was stylish and flowed with the musical story. Steve’s piercing guitar combined with haunting wind instruments and drums that form the beats that resonate across the hall. This is progressive music where you sit back and immersed deep in the zone of sound being created as the lyrics unfold taking you deep into exploration of the world while the music paints the emotional picture.
A change of tempo as Steve discarded electric for a twelve string acoustic taken to a special moment he experienced whilst on holiday in Mexico, Loving Sea captures those rare perfect moments preserving in the music the magic of memory. This was no folksy, rootsy acoustic it was progressive with percussion and penny whistle all painting a tonal backdrop for the lyrics as the tale unfolded. The next number, this time with a six string, from Defector album is Jaccuzzi with his brother John joining him on haunting and distinctive flute as we are once again exploring a musical wonderland.
What a wonderful hour and half of music with harmonies that floated, at then pinned down the lyrics as with the vocals from Nad on Icarus Ascending and Star of Sirius based on tarot and creating a wall of sound that was full of mysticism.
A short break and then Genesis re-visited with fans ecstatic with joy as the set rolled through tracks that for many were personal favourites, reminding us of what a ground breaking prog rock band they were in the early days of the 1970’s. Every track was distinctive with a light show that augmented the complexity of sound and the journey the music and lyrics were exploring not always in a continuum but through a musical maze of exciting chord changes. Nad’s vocals soared above the clever instrumentation and arrangements capturing and distilling the essence of Genesis. Opening with Get ‘Em Out By Friday the trio of voices took on characters in a rendition that created a stage driven Prog Opera as Nad, Gary and Steve all played a vocal part. The poignancy of the set was augmented with a mention of the creepiness of Colston Hall downstairs with its history of holding slaves below harking back to the darker side of Bristol’s history. The inclusion of The Cinema Show was also fitting as the hall was a cinema in its checkered history, with stylish bass and guitar from Ronnie Stolt with his double-headed custom-built monster. The biggest cheer of the night was Steve Hackett on acoustic as he moved from some classic Spanish guitar sound into the opening bar of last track from Foxtrot album, Can-Utility and the Coastliners what a sound from the stage and around the hall.
The encore was sublime we all wanted more Prog Rock courtesy of Steve Hackett and his band of musicians but as the clocks ticked we knew time was running out in Bristol tonight.
Tonight was pure Prog rock in the moment and full of nostalgia that delighted both Genesis fans and those who like me are firmly in the camp of Steve Hackett’s post Genesis career that has that very special prog rock musical magic.
Part 1: Acolyte to Wolflight
Out Of The Body
Love Song To A Vampire
The Wheel’s Turning
Star Of Sirius
Ace Of Wands
Part 2: Genesis Revisited
Get ‘Em Out By Friday
After the Ordeal
The Cinema Show
Aisle Of Plenty
The Musical Box
Clocks/ Firth Of Fifth