Steve Hackett is best known as guitarist and composer with Genesis during the classic rock period from 1971 to 1977. The musicians in his band are Roger King on keyboards, Gary O’Toole on drums, percussion and vocals, Rob Townsend on sax, flute and percussion, Nick Beggs on bass, chapman stick and various guitars and Nad Sylvan on vocals.
Last night at Place des Arts in the Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, Steve expertly played his heavily modified Gibson Les Paul Custom electric guitar equipped with Floyd Rose tremolo and Roland hex pickup and controls for the Roland GR-700 guitar synth.
After a brave, well performed, mismatched opening act and a brief intermission the brilliant light show began with an overture backtrack and the dramatic entrance of the band to the stage the show began. Hackett and his versatile group made their presence known in an ominous medieval Goth and regal sort of way. Nick Beggs and Nad Sylvan were towering over the room with their long blond hair. Beggs wore a long back coat and wielded a double necked electric bass / guitar like a weapon. Sylvan, the vocalist, stood like a mannequin wearing a huge black puffy sleeved shirt with frills in the front and a gold armor looking vest.
They flawlessly played well received tunes, seamlessly one after the other, to a nearly full house of Genesis fans keen to relive their fondly remembered 1970s music experience. Mostly grey haired male heads were enthusiastically nodding to the beat as the band glided though their theatrical performance. There were also a few wannabe orchestra conductors in the audience as well as a few headbangers and lots of women enjoying those nostalgic musical moments with their men. A typical example of the crowd sat near me a father and his young teenage son clutching some prized Genesis albums to his chest eagerly waiting to see if he could have the opportunity to get them autographed by the legendary Steve Hackett.
Steve modestly churned out precise riffs with impeccable tone on his guitar and developed a cordial rapport with the Montrealers by using as many French expressions as he could. Beggs switched guitars constantly. Sylvan changed outfits and hand held props like a tambourine or a dagger with robotic like movements. Rob Townsend, wearing his knit cap, added tasteful overtones with soprano sax, flute and other instruments. Roger King contributed the various keyboard parts including the thunderous, characteristic Genesis synth bass lines while Gary O’Toole provided the steady backbeat for it all. On one tune Steve showed his skills on a well received solo acoustic guitar piece.
By the way, the light show was awesome! It was very creative. It was either busy or constant at all the appropriate times. The colors chosen were pleasantly unusual and suited for what was happening. The placement of the beams also highlighted the performance. At one point there were massive silhouettes of the already huge Beggs and Sylvan on adjacent walls.
On numerous occasions during the continuous 2 hour show the entire audience stood and clapped with joy at length at this Get It Promotions produced event.
Although I have not been known to be a huge Genesis fan I was thoroughly impressed with Steve Hackett and his group’s performance and must let you know that they have inspired me to get reacquainted with my Genesis albums with a new appreciation of his music and style.
Genesis songs played : Dance on a Volcano, Squonk, Dancing With the Moonlit Knight, Fly on a Windshield, Broadway Melody of 1974, The Return of the Giant Hogweed, The Fountain of Salmacis, The Musical Box, I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe), Horizons, Firth of Fifth, Lilywhite Lilith, The Knife, Supper’s Ready Encore : Watcher of the Skies, In That Quiet Earth (segment)/Los Endos.