Released on InsideOut Music this Summer, ‘The Total Experience Live In Liverpool – Acolyte to Wolflight with Genesis Classics’ provides us with a welcome souvenir from Steve Hackett’s 2015/2016 ‘Acolyte to Wolflight’ tour. Review of the 2 x dvd / 2 x cd version by Tim Darbyshire.
After touring Genesis material exclusively in 2013 – 2014, Steve Hackett returned to the stage in 2015 with a new stage show. With 2015 marking the 40th Anniversary of Steve’s debut solo album ‘Voyage Of The Acolyte’, and the release of his latest studio album ‘Wolflight’, the first set was based around these albums. The second set featured Genesis material, a lot of which Steve and band hadn’t played in 2013 – 2014, including a welcome outing for ‘The Cinema Show’.
For the first time, Roine Stolt (Flower Kings, Transatlantic, Jon Anderson) was added to the touring line up on bass, replacing Nick Beggs who was unavailable due to his Steven Wilson touring commitments. Long time band members Roger King (keyboards), Rob Townsend (wind), Gary O’Toole (drums) and Nad Sylvan (vocals) once again provided the support for Steve. At the filmed Liverpool show, Amanda Lehmann and brother John Hackett were also welcome special guests.
After kicking off with the timeless instrumental ‘Spectral Mornings’, the bulk of the ‘Wolflight’ material – with Steve handling the lead vocal – was well received. ‘Every Day’ – always a favourite on every tour since 1979 – is played in the middle of the new material and flautist John Hackett makes a welcome return to duet with his older brother on ‘Jacuzzi’. The big surprise in the solo set list was ‘Icarus Ascending’ from 1978’s ‘Please Don’t Touch’ album, with Nad Sylvan ably handling Richie Havens’ original evocative vocals. ‘Star of Sirius’, ‘Ace of Wands’ and a heavier than usual ‘A Tower Struck Down’ – all from ‘Voyage Of The Acolyte’ – lead into the full version of ‘Shadow Of The Hierophant’ with guest Amanda Lehmann providing the vocals.
Set 2 is the Genesis material. Again Steve sets the bar high by selecting lesser played songs, and surely surprises all Genesis die-hards by including ‘The Cinema Show’, the second half of which is perennially seen as a Collins-Banks-Rutherford workout. Other highlights are the woefully underrated ‘Can-Utility And The Coastliners’ from 1972’s ‘Foxtrot’ and ‘After The Ordeal’ from ‘Selling England By The Pound’, which was never performed live by Genesis. Total familiarity is restored with stage favourites ‘The Musical Box’ and the encore ‘Firth of Fifth’.
With the show split into 2 sets, plus encores, the concert is approaching nearly 3 hours in total. It’s nigh on impossible to cover over forty years of Steve’s solo material plus Genesis classics into one evening, especially with a new album to promote too. This said, I don’t think anyone can have any complaints about the selections played.
Of course, the dvd is very well filmed, with multi-angles highlighting the prowess of the band’s technique and the imaginative light show makes this dvd pleasurable viewing as well as an accurate reminder of the live show itself. The concert film is contained on the first dvd, and the bulk of the second dvd is comprised of a behind the scenes documentary and rehearsal footage, with 3 music videos from the ‘Wolflight’ album completing the content. It’s a must buy for anyone who attended the shows in 2015/2016, will surely be of interest to all Hackett fans and is a welcome addition to the oeuvre.
As 2017 fast approaches, Steve is showing no signs of slowing down. He is currently busy working on his 18th solo studio album, and tour dates are starting to be announced. Already confirmed is a welcome return to the 2017 edition of ‘Cruise To The Edge’ in February, and an intriguing date in Buffalo in March with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. More North American dates are to be added around this time – hopefully to include Canada again!
The package itself is a high quality 8-panel digipak, in a similar style to the recent releases ‘Live At Hammersmith’ and ‘Live At The Royal Albert Hall’. There’s no booklet included, but it’s a minor gripe…..This release is also available as a single blu-ray disc with the same content.
Steve Hackett – Guitar, Vocals
Roger King – Keyboards
Nad Sylvan – Vocals, Tambourine
Gary O’Toole – Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Rob Townsend – Saxophone, Woodwind, Percussion, Vocals, Keyboards, Bass Pedals
Roine Stolt – Bass, Variax, Twelve String, Vocals, Guitar
With special guests: John Hackett, Amanda Lehmann
2CD/2DVD Digipak Track listing
1 Corycian Fire Intro
2. Spectral Mornings
3. Out of the Body
5. Every Day
6. Love Song to a Vampire
7. The Wheel’s Turning
8. Loving Sea
10. Icarus Ascending
11. Star of Sirius
12. Ace of Wands
13. A Tower Struck Down
1 Shadow of the Hierophant
2. Get ’em Out by Friday
3. Can-Utility and the Coastliners
4. After the Ordeal
5. The Cinema Show
6. Aisle of Plenty
7. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
8. The Musical Box
10. Firth of Fifth
Full concert as per track listing on CD1 and CD2
Live in Liverpool – Behind the Scenes
Somewhere South of the River – Rehearsal Documentary
– Corycian Fire
– Love Song to a Vampire