Steve Hackett – Wuthering Nights : Live In Birmingham Review

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Wuthering Nights was filmed at the Birmingham Symphony Hall during 2017’s Genesis Revisited & Classic Hackett tour. This tour marked the 40th anniversary of Wind & Wuthering,  Steve’s last album with Genesis in 1977.  Review by Tim Darbyshire, special thanks to Chip Ruggieri (Chipster PR & Consulting) for the review copy.

Released on the InsideOut label, this new live concert film blu-ray/double audio cd documents Steve Hackett’s successful 2017 tour. In keeping with recent tours, the first part of the show is solo material, both old and new, and the second part is Genesis material.

As well as celebrating Genesis anniversaries,  Steve is still creating new music and his latest album – ‘The Night Siren’ – is represented by three songs, the fast paced instrumental ‘El Nino’, ‘In The Skeleton Gallery’,  and the album opener ‘Behind The Smoke’. It’s a testament to the quality of the new material that it sits comfortably with the classic solo Hackett songs and is equally well received by the enthusiastic crowd.  Two surprises in the set are ‘Rise Again’ from ‘Darktown’ and Serpentine Song from ‘To Watch The Storms’.

The highlight of the solo material for me is the full version of  ‘Shadow of the Hierophant’ with special guest Amanda Lehmann providing the vocal and long time Hackett drummer Gary O’Toole shining as the song reaches its crescendo. Nick Beggs adds to the spectacle by sitting cross-legged and pounding his bass pedals with his fists.

It scarcely seems possible that it’s 40 years since Steve left Genesis after the 1977 Wind And Wuthering tour,  and here we are presented with five tracks from the sessions that produced the album.  ‘One For The Vine’ – probably my favourite Collins-era Genesis track – is given a welcome airing, with Rob Townsend’s sax/flute giving the song a hitherto unheard dimension. The surprise of the set though is the inclusion of ‘Inside And Out’ a song that failed to make the cut back in 1977, but was released on the ‘Spot The Pigeon’ EP of the same year. Similar to ‘The Cinema Show’ in structure, the long  instrumental outro cements my opinion that it deserved to be included on ‘Wind And Wuthering’.

Crowd favourites ‘Firth of Fifth’,  ‘The Musical Box’ and ‘Los Endos’ close out the show and it seems Steve can do no wrong at the moment with 2018’s current ‘Tour de Force’  continuing this success. As expected the concert is very well filmed, with multi-angles highlighting the prowess of the band’s technique and the imaginative light show making this blu-ray pleasurable viewing as well as an accurate reminder of the live show itself. The blu-ray disc also includes a behind the scenes documentary and 3 music videos from Steve’s 2017 studio release ‘The Night Siren’.

This is the fourth concert film/live audio cd released by Steve in the last four years. Some may say it’s too much, but I’m pleased there’s a decent memory released from each tour – no need to search out sub-standard bootlegs or youtube clips. It’s a must buy for anyone who attended the shows in 2017, and will surely be of interest to all Genesis/Hackett fans.

One minor gripe is the packaging for the North American blu-ray/2 cd version which comes in a clunky old fashioned double cd box, whereas the European version (2 dvds and 2cds) follows the fold out digi-pack versions of earlier releases. That said, one blu-ray disc is better than 2 dvds!

Catch Steve on tour throughout 2018:

More information:  www.hackettsongs.com

1 March – Auditorio Blackberry, Mexico City, Mexico
3 March – Teatro Diana, Guadalajara, Mexico
6 March – Teatro Nescafe de las Artes, Santiago, Chile
8 March – Ciudad Universitaria (Sala de las Americas), Cordoba, Argentina
10 March – Teatro Gran Rivadavia, Buenos Aires, Argentina
11 March – Teatro Gran Rivadavia, Buenos Aires, Argentina
13 March – Teatro El Circulo, Rosario, Argentina
15 March – Gran Teatro Nacional, Lima, Peru
20 March – Espaco Araujo Vianna, Porto Alegre, Brazil
22 March – EDA, São Paulo, Brazil
23 March – Vivo Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
24 March – Teatro Municipal de Niteroi, Niteroi, Brazil
25 March – Teatro Palacio das Artes, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

4  July – Centralina Live, Foro Italico, Rome, Italy
6  July – Summer Festival, Mirrano, Italy
8  July – Anfiteatro Vittoriale, Gardone Riviera, Italy
14  July – Pistoia Blues, Piazza Duomo, Pistoia, Italy

With Orchestra:

1 October – Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
3 October – Manchester Bridgewater Hall
4 October – London Royal Festival Hall
5 October – Birmingham Symphony Hall
7 October – Gateshead The Sage 1
8 October – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
10 October – Ipswich Regent
11October – London Palladium

 

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The band:
Steve Hackett (guitars/vocals)
Roger King (keyboards)
Gary O’Toole (drums/percussion)
Rob Townsend (saxes/flutes)
Nick Beggs (bass, stick & twelve string)
Nad Sylvan (vocals)
Plus special guests John Hackett and Amanda Lehmann.

CD 1:
1. Every Day
2. El Nino
3. The Steppes
4. In the Skeleton Gallery
5. Behind the Smoke
6. Serpentine Song
7. Rise Again
8. Shadow of the Hierophant
CD 2:
1. Eleventh Earl of Mar
2. One For the Vine
3. Acoustic Improvisation
4. Blood on the Rooftops
5. In That Quiet Earth
6. Afterglow
7. Dance on a Volcano
8. Inside and Out
9. Firth of Fifth
10. The Musical Box
11. Los Endos

BluRay
1. Every Day
2. El Nino
3. The Steppes
4. In the Skeleton Gallery
5. Behind the Smoke
6. Serpentine Song
7. Rise Again
8. Shadow of the Hierophant
9. Eleventh Earl of Mar
10. One For the Vine
11. Acoustic Improvisation
12. Blood on the Rooftops
13. In That Quiet Earth
14. Afterglow
15. Dance on a Volcano
16. Inside and Out
17. Firth of Fifth
18. The Musical Box
19. Los Endos
– Bonus Content-
Official videos
Behind the Smoke
Fifty Miles from the North Pole
West to East
Wuthering Nights, Live in Birmingham – Behind the Scenes Documentary 32:32

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King Crimson – Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)

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It’s clear that this latest King Crimson offering from DGM/Panegyric is no normal live album. Based on their 2015 performances, the lavish packaging contains 3 audio cds, 2 dvds, a blu-ray disc and a 36-page booklet with tour photographs. This is the ‘Tour Edition’, also available is a 3cd/1 blu-ray standard version…………Review by Tim Darbyshire.

‘Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)’ is actually the third live offering since Robert Fripp reassembled King Crimson in its current incarnation in 2014. 2015’s ‘Live At The Orpheum’ (recorded in 2014) was a 40 minute mini-album taster, and this year’s ‘Live In Toronto’ (recorded in 2015) is described as a ‘full raw concert performance from a single night in Toronto’ in the ‘Radical Action’ press release.

Things are certainly different this time – this is King Crimson after all. The audio cds are presented as individually themed ‘virtual studio albums’ with no audible audience – featuring a representative example of every song/piece performed by King Crimson on its 2015 tours of the UK, Canada and Japan.

‘Radical Action’ is described by the band as  ‘the most fully realised audio and visual statement from this band to date’.  The visual content is taken from a complete filmed performance in Japan in 2015 and is offered in high-resolution stereo and 5.1 surround audio. The blu-ray also features ‘picture off’ mode, allowing the listener to enjoy the hi-res stereo/5.1 surround versions without the picture and in one continuous sitting. For information, there is nothing on the dvds that isn’t on the blu-ray, but I guess they are included for those people who don’t own a blu-ray player.

So what about the actual music? The set list is expansive, full of classic Crimson – ‘Red’,
‘One More Red Nightmare’, ‘Epitaph’, ‘Starless’, ‘The Court of The Crimson King’ and ’21st Century Schizoid Man’, all perfectly executed of course – unsurprisingly the quality of the musicianship is peerless. Early versions of new songs are also aired – ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Radical Action’ – which are yet to be recorded. Only the 1980s era is ignored, with no songs from any of the three albums ‘Discipline’, ‘Beat’ or ‘Three Of A Perfect Pair’.

The three cds are ‘themed’,  CD1 is called ‘Mainly Metal’, CD2  ‘Easy Money Shots’ and CD3 is ‘Crimson Classics’. It’s a different approach, if you prefer some crowd noise you’ll need to watch the blu-ray/dvd. It also means the running order is tampered with  – again if you’re after a single concert from start to finish,  the double cd ‘Live In Toronto’ would fit the bill perfectly.

The video style of the performance (filmed in Takamatsu, Japan) is creative.  As there’s very little movement on stage, most of the time during the video we are treated to two or three images overlayed, presumably designed to make the film more interesting – see the video clip of ‘Easy Money’ included below.

Watching the three front-line drummers/percussionists interacting is fascinating at times…….Bill Rieflin in the centre of the three often seems to be in the eye of the storm as thunder and chaos in the shape of Pat Mastelotto and Gavin Harrison surrounds him. He also provides the much needed mellotron sounds for the likes of ‘Starless’ and ‘The Court Of The Crimson King’. The back-line is made up of bass/stick player extraordinaire Tony Levin,  Mel Collins (returning to the fold) on saxes and flute, Jakko Jakszyk providing vocals and guitar, and of course, Robert Fripp on guitar and keyboards.

It’s hard to fault King Crimson/DGM/Panegyric’s output these last few years. The super deluxe box sets they have been producing  – often running to nearly 30 discs – are a fan’s dream (if a little hard on the wallet) and are testament to Robert Fripp finally owning and controlling his back catalogue after a lengthy legal battle.

The entire product is superbly put together, both musically and in the way it’s packaged – even if the cyclops image isn’t to everyone’s taste! The discs are housed in 2 triple digipacks and fit neatly into the rigid outer case with the accompanying 36 page booklet. I’m sure if you were lucky enough (as I was)  to see any of the shows in the last couple of years,  ‘Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)’ will be a welcome addition to your collection.

Order now from Burning Shed (includes free cyclops postcard).

 

 

 

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King Crimson:

Mel Collins: Saxes & flute
Robert Fripp: Guitar & keyboards
Gavin Harrison: Drums
Jakko Jakszyk: Guitar & voice
Tony Levin: Basses & stick
Pat Mastelotto: Drums
Bill Rieflin: Drums & keyboards

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CD 1: Mainly Metal

Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part One
Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)
Meltdown
Radical Action II
Level Five
The Light of Day
The Hell Hounds of Krim
The ConstruKction of Light
The Talking Drum
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part Two

CD 2: Easy Money Shots

Peace
Pictures of a City
Banshee Legs Bell Hassle
Easy Money
VROOOM
Suitable Grounds for the Blues
Interlude
The Letters
Sailors Tale
A Scarcity of Miracles

CD 3: Crimson Classics

Red
One More Red Nightmare
Epitaph
Starless
Devil Dogs of Tessellation Row
The Court of The Crimson King
21st Century Schizoid Man

Blu-Ray and DVD 1/2: Audio/Video performances:

Two DVDs featuring a complete filmed concert performance in stereo and 5.1 surround

Blu-Ray featuring a complete filmed concert performance in high-resolution stereo and 5.1 surround audio.

Threshold Soundscape,
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part One
Pictures of a City, Peace
Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)
Meltdown, Radical Action II
Level Five, Epitaph
The Hell Hounds of Krim
The ConstruKction of Light
Scarcity of Miracles
Red
VROOOM
Banshee Legs Bell Hassle
Easy Money, Interlude
The Letters, Sailor’s Tale
The Light of Day
The Talking Drum
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part Two
Starless
Devil Dogs of Tessellation Row
In the Court of the Crimson King
21st Century Schizoid Man
Suitable Grounds for the Blues
One More Red Nightmare

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King Crimson are currently on tour in Europe:

King Crimson – Sep. 03, 2016 Aylesbury Friars at the Waterside Theatre
King Crimson – Sep. 05, 2016 Aylesbury Friars at the Waterside Theatre
King Crimson – Sep. 08, 2016 Stuttgart Beethoven-Saal
King Crimson – Sep. 09, 2016 Stuttgart Beethoven-Saal
King Crimson – Sep. 11, 2016 Berlin Admiralpalast
King Crimson – Sep. 12, 2016 Berlin Admiralpalast
King Crimson – Sep. 14, 2016 Prague Forum Karlin
King Crimson – Sep. 15, 2016 Prague Forum Karlin
King Crimson – Sep. 17, 2016 Zabrze House of Music & Dance
King Crimson – Sep. 18, 2016 Zabrze House of Music & Dance
King Crimson – Sep. 20, 2016 Wroclaw National Forum Of Music
King Crimson – Sep. 21, 2016 Wroclaw National Forum Of Music
King Crimson – Sep. 23, 2016 Copenhagen Falkoner
King Crimson – Sep. 24, 2016 Copenhagen Falkoner
King Crimson – Sep. 26, 2016 Oslo Sentrum Scene
King Crimson – Sep. 27, 2016 Oslo Sentrum Scene
King Crimson – Sep. 28, 2016 Oslo Sentrum Scene
King Crimson – Sep. 30, 2016 Stockholm Filadelfiakyrkan
King Crimson – Oct. 01, 2016 Stockholm Filadelfiakyrkan
King Crimson – Oct. 03, 2016 Hamburg Mehr! Theater

King Crimson – Nov. 02, 2016 Antwerp Stadsschouwburg
King Crimson – Nov. 03, 2016 Antwerp Stadsschouwburg
King Crimson – Nov. 05, 2016 Milano Teatro degli Arcimboldi
King Crimson – Nov. 06, 2016 Milano Teatro degli Arcimboldi
King Crimson – Nov. 08, 2016 Florence Teatro Verdi
King Crimson – Nov. 09, 2016 Florence Teatro Verdi
King Crimson – Nov. 11, 2016 Rome Auditorium Conciliazione
King Crimson – Nov. 12, 2016 Rome Auditorium Conciliazione
King Crimson – Nov. 14, 2016 Torino Teatro Colosseo
King Crimson – Nov. 15, 2016 Torino Teatro Colosseo
King Crimson – Nov. 17, 2016 Monte Carlo Opéra Garnier
King Crimson – Nov. 18, 2016 Monte Carlo Opéra Garnier
King Crimson – Nov. 21, 2016 Madrid, Madrid Palacio de Congresos
King Crimson – Nov. 22, 2016 Madrid, Madrid Palacio de Congresos
King Crimson – Nov. 24, 2016 Barcelona, Catalonia Auditori del Forum
King Crimson – Nov. 25, 2016 Barcelona, Catalonia Auditori del Forum
King Crimson – Nov. 27, 2016 Marseille Le Silo
King Crimson – Nov. 30, 2016 Vienna Museumsquartier
King Crimson – Dec. 01, 2016 Vienna Museumsquartier
King Crimson – Dec. 03, 2016 Paris Salle Pleyel
King Crimson – Dec. 04, 2016 Paris Salle Pleyel

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Steve Hackett – The Total Experience Live In Liverpool

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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.

My review of the 2016 Canadian shows can be found here

My interview with Steve from Quebec 2016 is here.

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.

Order from HackettSongs.com, or Burning Shed.

Line Up:

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

CD 1:
1 Corycian Fire Intro
2. Spectral Mornings
3. Out of the Body
4. Wolflight
5. Every Day
6. Love Song to a Vampire
7. The Wheel’s Turning
8. Loving Sea
9. Jacuzzi
10. Icarus Ascending
11. Star of Sirius
12. Ace of Wands
13. A Tower Struck Down

CD 2:
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
9. Clocks
10. Firth of Fifth

DVD 1:
Full concert as per track listing on CD1 and CD2

DVD 2:
Live in Liverpool – Behind the Scenes
Somewhere South of the River – Rehearsal Documentary
Videos:
– Corycian Fire
– Wolflight
– Love Song to a Vampire

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