Concert Review: Steve Hackett, December 2, Massey Hall

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A few songs in to his set, Steve Hackett asked the crowd at Massey Hall if they were enjoying themselves. When the answer came resoundingly in the affirmative, he replied “I am too. Because I love this stuff.” The “stuff” Hackett was referring to is, of course ’70s era Genesis, all of those early songs from way back in the day, back when Hackett was still in the band. Touring behind his most recently released album, Genesis Revisited II, Hackett is, well, revisiting all of those old songs and thus bringing joy to many an old school Genesis fan in the process.

Genesis is a band with something of a weird legacy. While they’re recognized as seminal to the ’70s prog rock scene, the band’s commercial peak came when they were long past that stage. By that point,  Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks were serving up a bunch of big, cheesy pop hits during the ’80s that were far removed from  their origins while original singer Peter Gabriel was also forging a different path. Meanwhile, Hackett kept the prog flag flying and so it only seems natural that he’d revisit all of that old stuff that he loves so much.

While I went into this a bit skeptical about seeing what essentially amounts to a Genesis cover band (albeit one with a guitarist who played in the band  throughout the 1970s), I will admit that Hackett and his crew put on a good show, one much more impressive than one might get from the  standard county fair circuit classic rock holdovers. Hackett’s Genesis Extended touring band were impressive players all around. Vocalist Nad Sylvan (who sounded a fair bit like Peter Gabriel) hammed it up quite a bit onstage and added the right amount of theatrics to the proceeding. I also have to give props to him for the black puffy pirate shirt.

During the encore, Hackett recalled the first time he ever played Toronto with Genesis “many years ago” to a somewhat hostile crowd where one rowdy attendee shouted, “Sounds like fucking Beethoven!” during the intro to “Watcher Of The Sky.” In honour of the occasion, he instructed the crowd to shout those words out in unison on his signal.  As Hackett himself noted on his tour blog, “It worked a treat and we had just as much of a ball as the audience.”

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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