Steve Hackett at Casino du Lac Leamy Theatre
Casino du Lac Leamy Théâtre
October 5, 2013
It might seem odd that the guitarist who left Genesis more than 35 years ago has ultimately become the only one to champion the music made during the group's years spent in the progressive rock arena, while those who continued on as a trio expressed less and less interest in that music, becoming far more commercially successful with the '80s-style pop that became their ultimate destination. Even when that triokeyboardist Tony Banks, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford and drummer/vocalist Phil Collinsreconvened for a relatively small number of dates (but on its usual epic scale) in 2007, the emphasis weighed in favor of radio (and video) friendly hits like "Invisible Touch," "I Can't Dance" and "No Son of Mine," though there was at least some nod to the progressive music of its pastconsiderably more, in fact, than at any time since touring Duke (Atlantic, 1980), long considered by most to be the band's last gasp in the progressive arena.
But for Steve Hackett, the music that Genesis made during his tenurejoining the band in 1971 for that year's classic Nursery Cryme (Charisma) (the group's second "official" album, following 1970's Trespass (Charisma), through to his departure in October, 1977 after his own swan songs with the group (the studio Wind & Wuthering and live Seconds Out, both released by Atlantic that same year)has remained of key significance, and while he has continued to release a growing discography of stylistically diverse recordings under his own name in the ensuing decades, he's almost always included at least a handful of Genesis tunes in the set lists of his live performances.
Still, with the resurgence of interest in progressive rock fuelled by the internet's ability to bring together pockets of fans from around the globe, it was, perhaps, only a matter of time before he released Genesis Revisited (Camino), a fine first-crack, in 1996. But it was the far larger cast of characters and some particularly fine vocal turnsincluding Nik Kershaw's definitive "The Lamia," from Genesis' final album with founding singer Peter Gabriel, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (Charisma, 1974); Jakko Jakszyk's stunning harmonies on "Entangled," from A Trick of the Tail (Charisma, 1976); and Nad Sylvan's dramatic interpretation of Nursery Cryme's "The Musical Box"that made Genesis Revisited 2 (Inside Out, 2012) not just a modern update of classic material, it perhaps blasphemously managed, in some cases, to actually surpass the originals. An even greater success than Hackett could have envisaged, the guitarist has spent most of 2013 on the road performing the Genesis Revisited show, with more dates already pushing the tour into 2014.
It's not as if there haven't been good Genesis tribute acts; The Musical Box, at times featuring Mahavishnu Project leader/drummer Gregg Bendian, has even gone so far as to gain permission from Genesis to launch performances of The Lamb that utilized the original concept album tour's slide show and costumes.
But to have one of the original members of Genesis bring a show that featured some of its best-loved progressive material back to life, and with a well-oiled, top-notch groupNad Sylvan impressively handling most of the vocal duties, with drummer Gary O'Toole also taking a couple of lead vocal spots; keyboardist Roger King adding some new textures to his own takes on Tony Banks' signature work; woodwind/saxophone/keyboardist Rob Townsend not only covering Gabriel's flute work, but doubling and/or harmonizing many of the touchstones that Hackett contributed back in the day; and bassist Lee Pomeroy also assuming 12-string duties on an impressive double-neck guitar, as well as handling the huge-sounding bass pedals that threatened to blow the roof off the theatre more than a few times? A group capable of treating the music with the reverence it deserved while, at the same, time adding its own interpretive slant? It's no surprise that Hackett received more than a few standing ovations throughout the nearly two-and-a-half hour show that he brought to the Théâtre at Casino du Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec, part of the Canadian capital's Greater Metropolitan Area located just a few minutes' drive across the river from Ottawa.
In a most generous interview with Hackett prior to the show, he spoke of many things, including the motivation behind making Genesis Revisited 2: