Invisible Touch, That’s All, I Can’t Dance. We’re not expecting to hear any of these tonight because this is proper old skool Genesis.
Forget the mainstream pop of the 1980’s. This isn’t about that. This is the Steve Hackett era Genesis. It’s like a secret club. Only tonight at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall, the secret is well and truly out. Steve is here with his band and a 41 piece orchestra to kick off the Genesis Revisited Tour.
Never big on single sales but it’s fair to say they shifted a few albums and they were one of the biggest live acts in the country and across Europe. Ok, sod it, they were one of the biggest bands in the world.
Think Firth of Fifth, Dancing with the Moonlit Knight, Suppers Ready. Those are the masterpieces I expect to hear tonight. Well, I don’t expect to hear them, I know I’ll hear them. I interviewed Steve earlier this year and he told me.
With the band and orchestra on stage, the clock (Tick tock) ticked round to 7.30. The axeman is here and we crash into Dance on a Volcano. You can actually feel the buzz of excitement around the Concert Hall during those opening cords. Nad Sylvan takes to the mic and we were off for over two hours of 70s Genesis prog rock nostalgia.
So, about Nad Sylvan. It’s fair to say that’s once you’ve seen him, you’ll not forget him. He commands the stage with his long blonde hair & Norwegian presence. I think his voice leans towards the Peter Gabriel era rather than that of Phil Collins. But he doesn’t try to be like them. He’s definitely his own man, and that’s something he does really well. It still sounds like Genesis though. That’s the most important thing to me.
The beautiful Firth of Fifth follows Hackett’s Out of the Body and The Steppes. Sylvan is almost thrown at the audience buzz of appreciation as he sings the opening lines to Dancing with the Moonlit Night. As Hackett plays out the guitar solo at the end, Nad Sylvan carefully and comically tidies his percussion instruments away.
Up steps Gary O’Toole. I’ve never seen a more smartly dressed drummer. As Hackett opens up on the classic guitar, O’Toole takes to the mic for the lead vocal with a lovely version of Blood on the Rooftops. I wasn’t expecting that from a drummer. I mean, a drummer taking over the vocals! That’s just ridiculous.
Following the interval we’re on to In This Quiet Earth which in turn goes into Afterglow. A really lovely song written by Tony Banks. A real live favourite with Genesis fans of all eras.
A couple more Hackett songs including one about his late father Peter and then El Niño. A great song that I’d never heard before. The best way I can think to describe it is, War of the Worlds meets a James Bond theme.
The musicians leave the stage. Where have those two hours gone?
Of course they’re back for a well deserved encore to close the show with the Musical Box.
They’re are so many great songs from that era but there just isn’t time. I’d have loved to have heard Ripples and Your Own Special Way. Fountain of the Salmacis? Maybe next time.
Another standing ovation & then its back out into the damp Nottingham night.
There were a few little hiccups and the orchestra weren’t always that easy to hear. But it’s the opening night. I wouldn’t have any problem watching it again.
A great evening. Steve Hackett still obviously adores playing these songs after all these years. When he wasn’t concentrating on a difficult guitar solo, he was beaming at the audience who were clearly loving every moment of it. I know I certainly did.
Words & photos by Richard Newbold