Following his appearance on 2018’s Cruise To The Edge, Steve and band are spending February and March in North and South America, on a tour billed as ‘Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited, Solo Gems & GTR 2018 Tour de Force!’ I caught the show at Toronto’s iconic Massey Hall, which also happened to be Steve’s 68th Birthday. Words and photos by Tim Darbyshire.
Steve Hackett has visited Canada for the past six years and it’s always a pleasure to see him and his band play here. Despite being a frequent visitor, this year’s set list was noticeably different to last year’s, such is the quality of Steve’s solo back catalogue as well as the depth of his work with Genesis.
Toronto’s Massey Hall was the venue for the third of four Canadian concerts this tour and the first set contained the solo material, with the focus this time being on Steve’s second solo album – 1978’s ‘Please Don’t Touch – which is 40 years old. Two instrumentals – ‘Please Don’t Touch’ and the bombastic ‘Shadow Of The Hierophant’ – book-ended the set which also focused on Steve’s 2017 eclectic ‘The Night Siren’ release. The new material sat comfortably with the older material, with the rocky ‘El Nino’ being a personal highlight. ‘When The Heart Rules The Mind’ was given a rare outing – Steve has recently re-recorded this song from the GTR project (with Steve Howe) from the mid-1980s.
After the break, Steve’s latest bass recruit – Jonas Reingold – was given the chance to showcase his talents as the band launched into the Genesis portion of the show. Although it has been said many times, Steve deserves endless credit for keeping the old music alive and recognizing its importance. Proceedings kicked off with a boisterous rendition of ‘Dancing With The Moonlit Knight’ perfectly ended with the extended pastoral coda. A welcome return of ‘One For The Vine’ and ‘Inside And Out’ (from the ‘Wind And Wuthering’ sessions) followed. A rousing ‘Fountain of Salmacis’ from 1971’s ‘Nursery Cryme’ led into crowd favourite ‘Firth Of Fifth’ which of course means we get to hear Steve’s iconic solo, perfectly delivered as – maybe his best contribution to Genesis?
The power of ‘The Musical Box’ sets us up perfectly for set closer ‘Supper’s Ready’, for many people THE Genesis song. Before the encore (‘Dance On A Volcano’), the biggest ‘guitar birthday cake’ ever is brought onto stage by Jo Hackett and tour manager Adrian Holmes as the near capacity 2,500 audience serenades Steve on his birthday.
All in all a wonderful evening – come back soon Steve!
Set List – Steve Hackett, Massey Hall, Toronto – 12th February 2018
Please Don’t Touch
Behind The Smoke
When The Heart Rules The Mind
Shadow Of The Hierophant (closing section)
Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
One For The Vine
Inside And Out
The Fountain Of Salmacis
Firth of Fifth
The Musical Box
Dance On A Volcano
Steve Hackett: Guitars, Vocals
Nad Sylvan: Vocals
Jonas Reingold: Bass
Roger King: Keyboards
Gary O’Toole: Drums
Rob Townsend: Wind Instruments