FORMER Genesis axeman Steve Hackett has released a live recording from his 2019 UK tour, entitled Selling England By The Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith. The album came out last Friday, September 25th.
Steve Hackett joined Genesis at the beginning of 1971 and was part of the classic prog-era line-up which also included Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins, until he left, six studio albums later, in 1977.
The concert, recorded at the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo on the final night of the tour, saw Steve Hackett joined by his touring band of Roger King (keyboards), Jonas Reingold (bass), Rob Townsend (saxes/flutes), Craig Blundell (drums and percussion) and the Swedish/American Nad Sylvan on vocals, together with special guests, Steve’s brother John Hackett (flute) and Amanda Lehmann (guitar and vocals).
Genesis fans will understand the significance of ‘Brother John’ as he is referred to onstage.
Collectively they are ‘Genesis Revisited’, effectively a tribute band unusually featuring an actual original member, for that band’s songs and albums and Hackett has selectively performed several such albums on previous tours over many years.
Selling England … is known to have been Steve Hackett’s favourite album from his time as Genesis’ guitarist and his band performed it live in its entirety for the first time on the tour.
The show also featured selected tracks from Hackett’s personal favourite album from his extensive solo career, Spectral Mornings, his third, from 1979 – which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year – together with tracks from his most recent (2019) release At The Edge Of Light.
The first CD includes tracks from Spectral Mornings, and At the Edge of Light, together with two iconic tracks from Selling England By The Pound, namely “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight’ and “I Know What I Like (In My Wardrobe)”.
The second CD comprises the remainder of Selling England… , together with “Déja Vu”, a track initiated for the album by Peter Gabriel, but later completed by Steve Hackett; plus “Dance On A Volcano” and “Los Endos” from the 1976 album, A Trick Of The Tail.
The first track to be taken from the show is “Déja Vu’ – watch it below:
I was fortunate enough to attend one of the 20 (all sold out, I believe) shows, at the Bridgwater Hall in Manchester. I wrote at the time: “The performance of Selling England… was a masterclass of technical musicianship.
“Hackett is one of few remaining to carry on flying the flag for progressive rock but thank God he does, because on the strength of this performance tonight he and his band are still at the top of their game, playing highly technical music with a panache that young musicians would do well to study hard.
“Hackett has gathered a bunch of highly talented musicians around him, without whom none of this would be possible; but at the end of the day it is still his sublime guitar skills that make both his and the Genesis songs so appealing.”
Apart from “Supper’s Ready”, from the 1972 album Foxtrot, many Genesis aficionados rate “Firth of Fifth” from Selling England… as Genesis’ greatest song. A recently released video has a performance of it by Genesis Revisited and the Heart of England Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in London in 2013, showcasing Hackett’s memorable guitar solo. Surely, one of the most underrated of artists.
“Firth of Fifth” ends with a profound statement: “The sands of time were eroded by the river of constant change”, but strangely no-one from Genesis knows just what it meant. Watch his performance, below.
No one knows either whether Steve Hackett will turn up for any or all of the ‘Last Domino’ Genesis reunion tour, rescheduled (twice) now to April 2021. He has appeared in a Genesis reunion show once before – a benefit one for an almost bankrupt Peter Gabriel at Milton Keynes in 1982 – playing on just two songs. This time the tour might clash with another of his own.
Selling England By The Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith is available now, on limited edition deluxe 2CD+Blu-ray+DVD with artbook, 2CD+Blu-ray digipak, 2CD+DVD multibox; limited edition 4LP+2CD box set and digital album. It may be ordered direct from Steve’s website or from all good record retailers.