Who says nostalgia’s not what it used to be? First Status Quo’s classic line-up reunited for a successful tour last month and now here’s Steve Hackett turning back the clock for a show made up of songs from his time as guitarist in Genesis.
With his Genesis Revisited tour, Hackett has unashamedly tapped into the huge well of fans who hunger to hear played live once again the complex, thrilling music the prog rock pioneers were producing during his tenure from 1971’s Nursery Cryme to 1976’s Wind & Wuthering.
With Genesis now seemingly folded for good, Hackett is the only former member who has regularly covered this era on tour, but for the first time he is touring with a setlist drawn exclusively from this period.
From the doom-laden swirling chords of opener Watcher of The Skies to the closing thunder and lightning of Los Endos two-and-a-half hours later, Hackett and his five-piece band cherrypicked a thrilling and challenging set of songs.
Amid a stage show featuring three big video screens and a set of giant anglepoise lamps, vocalist Nad Sylvan, struck a striking figure with his mane of silver blond hair, a nice turn in frock coats and a suitably eccentric stage presence.
Sylvan's vocal range suited the songs originally sung by Peter Gabriel but that wasn't always the case with those first sung by Phil Collins, where he was sometimes forced to go "off melody", particularly on the high notes.
Hackett himself cut a much more restrained figure, happy to let the music do the talking, from his trademark soaring, sustain-soaked solos to classical guitar and beautiful 12-string acoustic melodies, a mainstay of the "old Genesis" sound.
There were songs here that hadn't seen the light of day live for over 30 years. Blood On The Rooftops, The Chamber of 32 Doors, Entangled and Eleventh Earl of Mar glistened like rare jewels.
A beautiful performance of The Lamia benefited surprisingly well with an additional clarinet part, but the same instrument struck a jarring note during I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe), as Hackett took a comical break from guitar duties to polish his fellow band members' shoes with his scarf.
All present and correct were Genesis live favourites Dance On A Volcano, Afterglow, The Musical Box, Firth Of Fifth and, of course, the 24-minute prog calling card that is Supper's Ready.
Hackett and his band left the Symphony Hall stage to thunderous and sustained applause. They are back again in October, promising a modified setlist. It's a good bet that a decent proportion of last night's audience will be back for more too.
Review and photos by Ian Harvey