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Steve Hackett - Spectral Mornings (DVD)

Genre: Prog rock
Release Date: 7th June 2010

Label: Gonzo
Catalogue Number: HST010DVD
Price: £7.99
Available: Sorry - Not currently available


Steve Hackett - Spectral Mornings
Steve Hackett is best known for his tenure with British rock band Genesis, one of the most influential bands in the history of progressive rock. He joined the band in December 1970 following the departure of former guitarist and founder member, Anthony Phillips. The first Genesis album to feature Steve Hackett was Nursery Cryme, released in late 1971.
For the next seven years Steve would make a huge contribution to Genesis and their slow but sure climb to huge success. Following the albums Foxtrot, Selling England By The Pound, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, A Trick Of The Tail and Wind And Wuthering, Steve decided to leave the band in the summer of 1977, making the live album Seconds Out his swansong. He continued with a solo career, which started with his first solo release Voyage Of The Acolyte.
Further albums followed, including Please Don't Touch and Spectral Mornings. In fact, Steve has had a flourishing solo career ever since, and continues to record and release albums and tour regularly.
Watching a DVD from this musician is a treat for both the eyes and ears. The bulk of the content on Spectral Mornings (first released in 2005) was taken from a performance filmed on 8th November 1978 for German television in order to promote Steve's second album Please Don't Touch. The concert recording was the last date on the hugely successful tour although only the fourteenth concert his band had played, so from a historical point of view this was right at the start of Steve's solo career and as such captures a moment in time.
The band performed a shortened set for the television cameras and it has been mastered in the NTSC format in order that American and Japanese fans may also now enjoy this historical performance.
This DVD was originally available as a VHS tape and briefly as a DVD. As an added bonus we have included tracks filmed at the same time as this performance but for some reason not included in the original broadcast. The 70-minute set now represents the actual running order of the complete performance. As a result we can now watch the band's original introduction, Carry On Up the Vicarage and Star Of Sirius. 
Over thirty years on from his departure from Genesis Steve Hackett retains a large and dedicated fan base, making this release all the more desirable.

REVIEW

'It’s obvious that a large part of this concert contains songs taken from the Please Don’t Touch-album that was recorded with the help of some of the finest musicians available. However, Hackett couldn’t take them on tour so he had to find strong substitutes in order to perform the songs of this album. Of course, it’s difficult to replace a fantastic singer as Steve Walsh (Kansas). To be honest, that’s almost impossible. During the performances of Racing In A and Narnia lead singer Pete Hicks appeared to be the weakest performer in Steve’s backing band. However, the instrumental pieces from his second album are a delight to watch. Especially on Carry On Up The Vicarage the band’s in good shape. During the performances of the songs from Hackett’s debut album Voyage Of The Acolyte the band mostly succeeded in playing strong renditions, especially keyboard player Nick Magnus – who has now a successful solo career by himself – puts his mark on very strong renditions of for instance Ace Of Wands and Shadow Of The Hierophant. The intro of the latter starts a bit like Genesis’ Watcher Of The Skies originally sung by Sally Oldfield, Mike Oldfield’s sister. Since Sally wasn’t available when the song was performed live, they asked bass player Dik Cadbury to do the vocal parts, which he did in a rather strong way. I can’t say that about the live performance of Star Of Sirius. Pete Hicks isn’t able to reach the vocal level of Phil Collins on the original album version and sometimes the music tends to be a mix-up especially when too much instruments are playing at the same time.

'However, the short acoustic set performed by Steve Hackett on acoustic guitar and brother John Hackett on flute is really stunning including the two Genesis-songs Horizons and partly Blood On The Rooftops. Brother John didn’t only play the flute in Steve’s backing band. Sometimes he also assisted on the electric guitar and he did some excellent work on the bass pedals as we can hear on the pieces taken from Hackett’s third solo album Spectral Mornings. That album wasn’t released at the time, but the audience could already enjoy great versions of the title track and Clocks - The Angel Of Mons. During Spectral Mornings we can also enjoy the superb drum parts by John Shearer. He probably is the best drummer Steve Hackett ever had in his backing band. 

'Neither the images, nor the sound quality of this performance reach the same level as we have on today’s new DVD- releases. Even the new 5.1 surround sound didn’t really improve the sound level to a higher quality. It just seemed to be impossible to improve the sound of this seventies gig. However, it didn’t change my judgment for this release. The footage is just too exciting to give it a low rating. People who like the music of Steve Hackett, Genesis, Yes or today’s prog heroes as Pallas, IQ and Pendragon will enjoy this DVD just as much as I did!'

*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Tracks:
Intro (Excerpts from Land Of A Thousand Autumns & Tigermoth)
/Please Don't Touch 7:58
Racing In A/Ace Of Wands (Closing Section) 8:21
Carry On Up The Vicarage 4:05
Ace Of Wands 5:35
Narnia 4:56
Acoustic Section: Blood On The Rooftops/Horizons/Kim 4:28
Optigan / A Tower Struck Down/Spectral Mornings 11:25
Star Of Sirius 12:29
Shadow Of The Hierophant/Clocks/The Angel Of Mons
Click above to watch video

 



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