Our Top 5 Live Albums of 2016

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Just a few personal favourites from 2016…..

1. STEVE HACKETT – The Total Experience Live In Liverpool

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2. BIG BIG TRAIN – A Stone’s Throw From The Line

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3. IQ – Live On The Road Of Bones

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4. KING CRIMSON – Radical Action (To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind)

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5. STICK MEN – Midori

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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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Steve Hackett – New Live Blu-Ray / 2DVD Coming in June

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Inside Out have announced details for Steve Hackett’s new live album, ‘The Total Experience Live In Liverpool’ which will be released on June 24th 2016.

The release is from his recent  ‘Acolyte To Wolflight With Genesis Classics’ tour and will be available in a 2CD/2DVD digi-pack, a standalone Blu-Ray, and a digital audio download.

All pre-orders from the HackettSongs website (ordered before June 24th) will be personally signed by Steve.

Steve explains why he chose to film the 2015 Liverpool show:

“When Inside Out told me that I could film a gig on the British leg of the 2015 tour for release, I thought that we should do it away from London (and) I felt doing it in Liverpool had a certain ring to it” – explains Hackett enthusiastically – “This is an extraordinary city and the Philharmonic Hall is an extraordinary venue. Besides, it’s not as if Liverpool is known for having any good music – there’s never been a good band from there. Ha!” Hackett’s love for Liverpool goes back to his time with Genesis: “We played there a few times in the ’70s, and the fans have always been very good to me there. And as a huge Beatles fan, I also know the landmarks there, such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. I have been on the Magical Mystery Tour. So, the city means a lot to me from that point of view as well. The Beatles set the benchmark for all of us who have followed; we take our imagination from them.”

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of his first solo album ‘Voyage Of The Acolyte’ and following his latest ‘Wolflight’, the ‘Acolyte to Wolflight with Genesis Revisited’ tour was Steve’s effort to represent the many chapters of his career. Featuring two sets – one highlighting his solo work, the second paying tribute to Genesis – the two hour performance was greeted with enthusiasm by both fans and critics.

“It wasn’t an easy job to decide what to include, but I think there was a good balance between old and new.” – Hackett comments. “What I have always born in mind when choosing the songs is what they mean to the fans. Time has a way of turning them into an emotional calendar for people. These songs take on an importance and become part of their lives. So, when I do them live, authenticity is important. I am aware that what I have to do is find a connection between nostalgia and what things can sound like in a contemporary setting”. Liverpool was one of the dates with Amanda Lehmann guesting on ‘Shadow Of The Hierophant’, which was performed in its full version with an extended drum solo showcasing Gary O’Toole’s skills, a triumphant closing to the first set.

A multi-camera shoot, the recording was done with no prior rehearsals, but Hackett had every confidence in the people he was working with. Paul Green, who did the filming and editing, and Ben Fenner, who mixed the audio, work with Steve regularly and knew exactly what he was looking for. “Paul was also very innovative” – Hackett reveals – “He used one particular technique to show what Gary was doing on drums, and it is an unusual effect I have never seen before. The drums seem to arc, because of the lens he’s using. It gives a very different perspective to the whole viewing experience.” The acoustics in the Philharmonic Hall were very impressive on the night, albeit rather challenging; Ben, who does the live sound for the band, took that challenge with superb results. What you hear in the mix, though, is exactly what the band sounded like on the night with no extensive ‘fixing’ in the studio, as live should be.

Line Up (on this recording):

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.

THE TOTAL EXPERIENCE LIVE IN LIVERPOOL track listing:

2CD + 2DVD Digi-pack

CD1
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

CD2
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

DVD1
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
14. Shadow Of The Hierophant
15. Get ‘Em Out By Friday
16. Can-Utility And The Coastliners
17. After The Ordeal
18. The Cinema Show
19. Aisle Of Plenty
20. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
21. The Musical Box
22. Clocks
23. Firth Of Fifth

DVD2
Live In Liverpool – Behind The Scenes
Somewhere South Of The River – rehearsal documentary
Videos: Corycian Fire, Wolflight, Love Song To A Vampire

Blu-ray
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
14. Shadow Of The Hierophant
15. Get ‘Em Out By Friday
16. Can-Utility And The Coastliners
17. After The Ordeal
18. The Cinema Show
19. Aisle Of Plenty
20. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
21. The Musical Box
22. Clocks
23. Firth Of Fifth

Digital album
CD1
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

CD2
1. Shadow Of The Hierophant
2. Get ‘Em Out By Friday
3. Can-Utility And The Coast-liners
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