The Night Siren Steve Hackett Charms St David’s Hall Cardiff

The Night Siren Steve Hackett Charms St David’s Hall Cardiff

The Night Siren Steve Hackett Charms St David’s Hall Cardiff



Tonight the last Friday of April the packed St David’s Hall was treated to a programme of two halves. A musical programme of two movements. The first Prog Rock modern, progressive and pertinent as Steve Hackett unveiled live numbers from his stunning album The Night Siren and dipping onto four of his many solo albums.  The second helping on this musical palette of delights was a revisiting of Genesis, the majority drawn from Wind and Wuthering celebrating forty years since its release.

The Night Siren Steve Hackett Charms St David’s Hall CardiffFor two hours, reality suspended as St David’s Hall was bathed in the multi-instrumental tones and textures created by Steve Hackett and the musicians that surround him. With an array of wind instruments including flute, penny whistle and soprano sax, keys, and a mixture of electronic wizardry, Rob Townsend; behind him surrounded by keys Roger King; the rhythm section of Gary O’Toole behind a sparkling shield of cymbals and bassist Nick Beggs with fretless and twin-necked instruments; and joining the stage for the second half vocalist Nad Sylvan.

The Night Siren Steve Hackett Charms St David’s Hall CardiffWith a discography full of depth and interest the night started with a dip into his third solo album Spectral Mornings and Every Day with the soprano sax adding brightness and colour we knew this wasn’t going to be an everyday performance we were in for something special. Gently easing us in with the familiar we were soon hearing the new album, the dramatic instrumental El Niňo so early on a number that was going to be one of the many highlights of the evening.  The music from the instruments was woven in to a sonic technicolour coat of shape and form, prog rock that enthralled, informs and takes you deep within yourself. Three other tracks from the Night Siren were incorporated into the first set, as he stepped back into the past The Steppes fitted seamlessly into the collection with its Eastern feel.


The light show throughout added a sense of drama as the swirling patterns fell across the stage then up through the tiers that form the many faceted auditorium of St David’s Hall. As we stepped into The Skeleton Gallery the music live reinforcing the power of Steve Hackett’s latest recording and then to the album’s opening track Behind The Smoke. With a political comment about Brexit, an audience divided Steve reminded us that his lineage included Polish refugees. He sang the lyrics that explore the despair of the displaced and how borders contain. Whilst the music crossed all boundaries finding a common coming together through the power of the musical note tonight in Cardiff.  This emotional masterpiece should be the earworm that dictates our walk through life and how we meet and greet strangers from a different place. Last visit to the album is Serpentine, dedicated to his father and gentler times. Inspired by his father selling paintings in Hyde Park, London.  Closing out the set with Rise Again and Shadow Of The Hierophant; with Nick Beggs sitting on the floor using his bass pedals creating a spellbinding atmosphere. We had been on a voyage as acolytes and the feet of superb musicians who deliver prog rock that is mesmerizing, entertaining and often beautiful music, that cascades and falls away leaving a thoughtful phrase or question.

The Night Siren Steve Hackett Charms St David’s Hall Cardiff


The Night Siren Steve Hackett Charms St David’s Hall CardiffThe Second set, was much anticipated with the Cardiff crowd looking forward to old favourites and hearing Wind & Wuthering tracks live once again.  Opening with Eleventh Earl of Mar we were once again introduced to the vocals of Nad Sylvan. They are a beguiling mix of Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins yet never pale imitations Nad brings his own sonic quality and vocal interpretations to every number. The cheer for One For the Vine, when announced was loud and very happy. Cardiff prog rockers were delighted. Then the atmosphere changed as we were treated to an Acoustic Noodle, Steve on stage with acoustic guitar joined by the band at the end a quiet interlude, with classical guitar playing, hints of flamenco and a moment of reflection. The quiet was broken with Blood on the Rooftops, and with Inside Out written by Phil Collins, an early lyric that was left off the final cut of Wind And Wuthering; a Cinderella song quipped Hackett, included tonight as it fits in with the rest. Closing out the set that highlighted the power of Genesis was Musical Box, a wonderful atmospheric number, Nad, using the tambourine to great effect as he added drama to the lyrics. Tonight was a great nostalgic set of Genesis classics.


The Night Siren Steve Hackett Charms St David’s Hall Cardiff​St David’s Hall was resplendent in the glow of Prog Rock from Steve Hackett and his band of musicians, we had been bathed in lights of every hue and taken on a journey through the power of lyrics and the complexities of multi-instruments exploring the notes of the octaves. The sound was superb, the audience attentive and as one rose as The Musical Box faded. The encore the perfect Genesis titled number Los Endos. This must not be the end, Steve Hackett and his Progressive Rock is welcome back in town anytime. For me I enjoyed the reminiscent quality of the Genesis numbers, they are familiar and safe, BUT the new solo numbers have an edge and intimacy they are modernity looking forward not back.

The tour continues check out dates and venues HERE A musical journey to be enjoyed and definitely not missed!

The Night Siren Steve Hackett Charms St David’s Hall Cardiff


Yes Back on Tour with Vinyl Re-released



FRAGILE AND DRAMA in original packaging


Seminal prog pioneers YES hit the road for an extensive UK and European tour at the end of this month…. April 2016. The band will be performing 1971’s ‘Fragile’ and 1980’s ‘Drama’ in their entirety, the latter for the very first time, plus other seminal tracks including ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ and ‘Starship Trooper’.

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Warners will release Drama on 22nd April and Fragile on 6th May on 180gm Vinyl with replicas of the original gatefold sleeves. Fragile will also include a smaller inner booklet. This product has been expertly recreated to match the original in every way from content to physical material and product specification.

Warners has recently released all of their catalogue YES albums Mastered For iTunes. These include The Yes Album, Fragile, Going For The One, Time and a Word, Yes, 90125, Tales From Topographic Oceans and Drama. FOR SALE HERE

‘Most of the songs haven’t been performed in some 30 years’ – said Steve Howe. ‘Fragile and Drama mark two essential chapters of our career and we’re looking forward to share the whole journeys with our fans throughout Europe’. ‘Reliving those years will be very emotional’ – adds drummer Alan White – ‘I know Chris would have loved to be here with us for this’.

YES has recently lost bassist and co-founder Chris Squire, a tragedy that left the prog world in mourning. His replacement Billy Sherwood found a big pair of shoes to fill, as YES set out to honour his memory by keeping the band’s legacy alive. The band recently toured the US with fellow prog legends Toto to an enthusiastic reception.

YES was founded by Chris Squire and Jon Anderson in 1968. Characterized by a unique, prog symphonic style of rock music, lengthy compositions and the use of mystical and cosmic lyrics, the band found success in 1971 with two of the band’s most celebrated records, ‘The YES Album’ and ‘Fragile’. The band went on to record 21 albums and win several prestigious awards including Grammys. Yes is recognized as one of the most influential icons in prog rock.

Still as relevant today as they were in the 70s, YES has maintained a loyal following while constantly attracting new crowds of music fans throughout 47 years of outstanding career. With ‘Fragile’ and ‘Drama’ representing two essential moments of the band’s history, it will be an opportunity for all to rediscover some undisputed gems of the genre.

Yes Back on Tour with Vinyl Re-released – Drama and Fragile


Wed 27th Glasgow Royal Concert Hall 0141 353 80000141 353 8000
Fri 29th Newcastle City Hall 0191 277 80300191 277 8030
Sat 30th Manchester Apollo 08444 777 67708444 777 677

Mon 2nd Liverpool Philharmonic 0151 709 37890151 709 3789
Tue 3rd Sheffield City Hall 0114 2789 7890114 2789 789
Wed 4th Bristol Colston Hall 0844 887 15000844 887 1500
Fri 6th Birmingham Symphony Hall 0121 345 06020121 345 0602
Sat 7th Brighton Brighton Centre 0844 847 15150844 847 1515
Mon 9th Oxford * New Theatre 0844 871 30200844 871 3020
Tue 10th London** Royal Albert Hall 0207 589 82120207 589 8212

UK Tickets are £39 for all venues except – Oxford* £39 + £1.25 venue restoration levy.
London** £55 (boxes), £48.50, £45, £38
Tickets are available from 24hour Ticket Hotline: 0844 338 00000844 338 0000 and Online from Bookings Direct. Showtime is 7.30pm. Tickets and VIP up-grades are also available from HERE

Dates for rest of EUROPE

13th Paris FRANCE Olympia
14th Brussels BELGIUM Ancienne Belgique
15th Utrecht NETHERLANDS Tivolivredenburg
17th Hamburg GERMANY Mehr Theater
19th Frankfurt GERMANY Alte Oper
20th Leipzig GERMANY Haus Avensee
21st Berlin GERMANY Admiralspalast
23rd Bonn GERMANY Beethovenhalle
24th Stuttgart GERMANY Hegelsaal
25th Munich GERMANY Cirkus Krone
27th Zurich SWITZERLAND Volkshaus
28th Milan ITALY Teatro Nazionale
29th Padova ITALY Gran Teatro Geox
31st Florence ITALY Obihall
1st Rome ITALY Teatro Olimpico

CD Review: Neal Morse Testimony and One Live

Scan0003Neal Morse
Testimony and One Live
Morsefest 2014
Radiant Records

Released on 2 Blu-Ray or Special Edition 2 DVD/4CD Set


This is a musical equivalent of a T.V. series Box set; the advantage is you can dip in and out across the four albums and the music still has a form and a narrative or you can sit back, feet up a glass of your favourite tipple and let the two nights of concerts flow from your speakers for just over five hours.


The long-time rhythm collaborators drummer Mike Portnoy and bassist Randy George plus the anchors of the musical pictures being painted are the Neal Morse Band, the keyboard delights from Bill Hubauer and Eric Gillette’s guitar magic joining Neal Morse.  In then the addition of layers of sounds that fill out the textures and add a velvety lushness of sound from 4 piece horn section, 6 member female background vocal, strings and full orchestral percussion the sound is progressive and full of enchanting moments some loud whilst others take on a more subtle hue.


Across the four CDs is a Prog-Rock show for everyone to enjoy with the added bonus of DVDs to see the full stage show spectacular. This is music that is full of melodies and hooks of choruses that catch the ear and then the complexity of different instruments meeting through clever arrangements so that the show is a celebration of everything that is Prog-Rock as the tempos ebb and flow, the level rises and falls and the cadences of the guitars squeal as the six-strings take centre stage.


Neal Morse’s career whether in bands including Transatlantic and Spock’s Beard or as a solo artist this is an undertaking that takes the confidence of being a respected musician and the faith that bringing a project of this size to stage will deliver the music that has a purpose and entertains – this has been achieved whether you listen to the whole or parts of the collection the music paints for you pictures in the music mind.


Yes, in this length of music there are moments of self-indulgence but that can be overlooked as the sum of the whole is progressive rock that pours from keys, strings and the percussive nerve will hold the structure together it is a roller-coaster ride of delight. The vocals when used are another musical instrument as the harmonies flow around the words and then the guitar picks up the lead from the voice. This is a journey of Neal Morse’s life and challenges having left the band Spock’s Beard and finding Christianity. This is a true Prog-Rock concept journey that finds you taken on a road trip that allows you to explore the emotions, changes and challenges we all meet on the road.


This is for the collection of all lovers of Prog Rock and his ever growing fan base who must be delighted and at times it is like playing Name That Tune as there are snippets of tunes we all recall. The energy of live music is live and well on Morsefest 2014.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….