Steve Hackett – Live at Massey Hall, Toronto – 12th February 2018

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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.


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All in all a wonderful evening – come back soon Steve!

Set List – Steve Hackett, Massey Hall, Toronto – 12th February 2018

Please Don’t Touch
Every Day
Behind The Smoke
El Nino
When The Heart Rules The Mind
Icarus Ascending
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
Supper’s Ready
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



Steve Hackett – Live at The Oakville Centre, 2nd March 2017


Steve Hackett made a welcome to Canada this week for a show at The Oakville Centre For The Performing Arts in Ontario. This was the penultimate performance of the North American leg of Steve’s  new ‘Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett’ 2017 tour.

Review and photos by Tim Darbyshire

This was Steve Hackett’s fifth appearance at The Oakville Centre in just over three years and it’s always a pleasure to see him and his band play here. There’s not a bad seat in the house and the sound is always crystal clear in this compact 470 seat venue.  Despite being a frequent visitor, this year’s set list was very 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.

This tour sees him showcasing new material from his as yet unreleased new studio album ‘The Night Siren’ (out later this month on Inside Out) as well as celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Genesis classic ‘Wind And Wuthering’.

The first half of the set focussed on the new material, including ‘In The Skeleton Gallery’ and ‘Behind The Smoke’ interspersed with some classic solo Hackett songs such as ‘Every Day’,  ‘The Steppes’ and ‘Shadow Of The Hierophant’.  ‘Hierophant’ ended the first part of the set with a climactic crescendo including Nick Beggs sitting cross-legged on the stage pounding his bass pedals with his fists.

Without having yet heard the ‘The Night Siren’, the songs played tonight seem to indicate that the new album is carrying on the Hackett tradition of a multicultural cross-genre collaborative approach, in a similar vein to 2015’s ‘Wolflight’, with many guest musicians from around the world. Rob Townsend (wind instruments) certainly proved his mettle on the newer songs with an impressive display and a variety of styles.

The second half concentrated on the ‘Wind And Wuthering’ album – ‘Eleventh Earl Of Mar’, ‘Blood On The Rooftops’ (with drummer Gary O’Toole providing the vocals), ‘In That Quiet Earth’, ‘Afterglow’ – and other familiar Genesis classics including ‘Firth of Fifth’ and ‘Dancing With The Moonlit Knight’.  Nad Sylvan once again handles the vocals for the Genesis material and seems to be developing his own style with the songs more and more.  Roger King plays Tony Banks’ keyboard parts effortlessly – including the notoriously tricky piano intro to ‘Firth Of Fifth’.  The major surprise of the night was the inclusion of ‘Supper’s Ready’ for the first time on this tour (at the expense of ‘One For The Vine’, ‘Dance On A Volcano’ and ‘Inside And Out’). With Steve and his band due to play ‘Supper’s Ready’ with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra the following night, I guess it’s not surprising they felt like giving it an outing. The appreciative audience was treated to ‘The Musical Box’ as the encore.

Backed as ever by his highly talented band (including the returning bassist Nick Beggs), Steve Hackett and co once again delivered a stellar performance lasting over two hours. Seeing Steve up close and playing the solo in ‘Firth of Fifth’ will always be a highlight of the show for me.

Touring continues in Europe in late March, April and May in Europe and the UK.  Steve seems to be currently on a two year new album/new tour cycle  – if so, hopefully he’ll return to Canada/North America next year when he is rumoured to be playing the Montreal and Quebec areas.

Set List – Steve Hackett, The Oakville Centre – 2nd March

Every Day
El Nino
Out of The Body
The Steppes
In The Skeleton Gallery
Behind The Smoke
Shadow Of The Hierophant (closing section)
Eleventh Earl Of Mar
Blood On The Rooftops
…In That Quiet Earth
Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
Firth of Fifth
Supper’s Ready

The Musical Box

Steve Hackett: Guitars, Vocals
Nad Sylvan: Vocals
Nick Beggs: Bass
Roger King: Keyboards
Gary O’Toole: Drums
Rob Townsend: Wind Instruments

Click here to read my review of Steve’s performance with The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on March 3rd

Click here to read my interview with Steve Hackett, discussing ‘The Night Siren’

Yes – Fragile (2015 Definitive Edition Blu-ray)

Review by Tim Darbyshire

Fragile is the fourth classic Yes album to be remixed by Steven Wilson, with a brand new 2015 Stereo mix and 5.1 Surround Sound mix. This Panegyric release comes in two formats, a double disc cd/dvd-a digipack version and a double disc cd/blu-ray audio gatefold mini-LP sleeve version.

The blu-ray version pretty much mirrors my old vinyl LP, the insert booklet that came with the LP is replicated here in mini form. The original Roger Dean artwork has been expanded and additional material from Roger Dean’s archive has been included. The main CD booklet itself is entirely original, including a new essay by Sid Smith.

So what about the music? Personally I’m always happy to hear another version of a classic Yes album. As ever the Wilson mix is balanced and very clean. His love of the music shines through, but in the end it’s a matter of personal taste whether this becomes your ‘go to’ version of Fragile. It is for me, with the surround versions of ‘Heart Of The Sunrise’ and ‘South Side Of The Sky’ sounding particularly fresh.

Highlight of the extra tracks would probably be ‘All Fighters Past’, which was found at the end of a tape, the majority of the song having been recorded over. We do get nearly three minutes of ‘new’ Yes music, which includes early sections of ‘The Revealing Science Of God’ and a melody that became part of ‘Siberian Khatru’.

Panegyric should be commended for producing another high quality value for money release.

So Panegyric Definitive Editions now exist for ‘Fragile’, ‘The Yes Album’, ‘Close To The Edge’ and ‘Relayer’ .Steven Wilson has confirmed he has worked on ‘Tales From Topographic Oceans’, but is unsure as to whether this will see the light of day. His facebook page also says this is the last of the scheduled Yes releases. Steve Howe, however, did seem to indicate on the recent Cruise To The Edge that ‘Tales From Topographic Oceans’ will be released. ‘Tales’ might not have the general appeal of the other four, but I’m sure enough units would be sold to justify the release.

The contents of the blu-ray disc are as follows:

– Album mixed in 24-96 5.1 PCM Surround Sound & in DTS-HD MA 5.1 from original multi-track sources.
– New Album mix in High Resolution Stereo
– Original Album mix (flat transfer) in High Resolution Stereo
– Six additional tracks (see below)

– Full album instrumental mixes by Steven Wilson
– Two additional alternate takes
– A full album needle-drop of an original UK vinyl pressing
– US promo singles edits as needle-drops.

As a bonus, the 2001 dvd-a 5.1 version of ‘Fragile’ is included, including ‘America’ – and it sounds very different to the Wilson version, bass heavy to my ears…

CD Tracks

01 Roundabout
02 Cans & Brahms
03 We Have Heaven
04 South Side of the Sky
05 Five Percent for Nothing
06 Long Distance Runaround
07 The Fish
08 Mood for a Day
09 Heart of The Sunrise
Additional Tracks
10 We Have Heaven (full mix)
11 South Side of the Sky (early version)
12 All Fighters Past (previously unheard)
13 We Have Heaven (acapella) mixed by Steven Wilson
14 Roundabout (rehearsal take/early mix)
15 Mood for Another Day (alternate take of Mood for a Day)