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Steve Hackett at Casino du Lac Leamy Theatre

John Kelman By

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At the nearly sold-out, 1,000 seat theatre, it was clear just how close to peoples' hearts Genesis' music from Hackett's tenure remains. What may be surprising to many, however, is that, despite Genesis' commercial success seeming to soar to new heights each time someone left the band, with its '80s and early '90s material doing far better for the band at the time, the passing of years tells another story, with sales of '70s-era Genesis albums ultimately surpassing later records like Genesis (Atlantic, 1983) and We Can't Dance (Atlantic, 1991):





Hackett's love of the music was clear, as were his fond memories of a group where, much like small new England towns, despite being in the group for six years, he was always considered the "new kid on the block" along with Collins (until the singer/drummer's own solo success with albums like Face Value (Atlantic, 1981) gave him greater clout in the group's direction...for better and for worse)—even when, after front man and theatrical focal point Gabriel left and the group's future was seriously threatened, he became the first to release a solo record, 1975's Voyage of the Acolyte (Charimsa), which has since become a classic of the progressive rock pantheon:



Still, Hackett is realistic—and humble—about his early role in the group, in particular as a writer:



Genesis was an unusual band for its time; rather than writing autobiographically, pining about love lost, or writing oblique lyrics the group told stories; tales ultimately of greater importance than any individual performer in the band, with pre-Trick of the Tale shows doing everything possible to draw attention away from everyone but Gabriel, even though there impressive performances aplenty. Further still, based on his innovative plaing on Nursery Cryme, it's hard to believe that Hackett had no significant experience in any prior group and minimal live experience before Gabriel responded to an ad that Hackett had placed in the September 2, 1970 issue of Melody Maker, seeking musicians who were "determined to strive beyond existing stagnant music forms."



He may certainly have had plenty of growth as a player ahead of him, but Hackett was already changing the shape of guitar on the first Genesis recording to feature his name; two-handed tapping may have subsequently been attributed to guitarists like Eddie Van Halen, but Hackett was doing it years before. Still, he is quick to acknowledge his own early deficiencies—and influences:



Hackett has become a much stronger player—and writer—in the years since he left Genesis, and while a tour like Genesis Revisited might look like a cash-grab to some, such ideas couldn't be further from the truth. Hackett simply remains the "last man standing" to advocate music that, more than 35 years on, remains not just important, but relevant:



Back in the day—and even post-Hackett—Genesis' goal, in performance, was to replicate it studio versions as closely as possible. With Hackett's own playing now orders of magnitude ahead of where he was at the time of their original release, his 2013 arrangements were reverential, but there was also some room for interpretive freedom—even a few opportunities to really stretch out, as in the end of "The Lamia," where Hackett and Townsend (on soprano saxophone) traded off for one of the show's more powerful moments:



While the success of this tour might encourage others weaker minds to plan immediately for Genesis Revisited 3, Hackett has always been true to his muse and is already at work on his next record—and it won't be another Genesis recording:



As with Genesis Revisited 2 and most of his recent work, including albums like Out of the Tunnel's Mouth (Inside Out, 2010) and Wild Orchids (Inside Out, 2006), Hackett will construct the majority of the album through file sharing, rather than bringing the musicians together in one place, as singer/multi- instrumentalist/songwriter Steven Wilson (a guest on Genesis Revisited 2) did with his own The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) (Kscope, 2013):



Hackett comes across as completely confident in his knowledge and his abilities; still, when it comes to writing, his feelings about the process are refreshingly humble:



And as much as being pigeonholed in the progressive rock world means a certain element of complexity to the music, Hackett isn't one to forget the beauty of simpler premises:


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