Original Genesis Guitarist Steve Hackett, Turns Back Time at Albany's Futuristic "Egg"

ALBANY, NEW YORK - Having been a Genesis fan over four decades running, it was a thrill to recently experience live, Steve Hackett, the guitar virtuoso who played a major part in the legendary band's formative years. The setting was “The Egg,” a intimate and futuristic-looking (from the outside) venue in Albany, New York, that I had also yet to experience.

Review by Joe Milliken * Photos by Craig Mellish

For those not familiar with Mr. Hackett's work, he played the role of lead guitarist for six of the band's early albums and was a member of Genesis from 1970 to 1977. He participated on such fan-favorite albums as Selling England By The Pound, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering and after leaving Genesis to pursue a solo career, Hackett has remained prolific - releasing some 24 solo album titles over the last 35+ years.

He also formed the “super group” GTR with Yes guitarist, Steve Howe, in 1986 and has also worked with such artists as (the late) Chris Squire, Bill Bruford and Rick Wakeman of Yes, as well as the band Box of Frogs, which also featured Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page.

On this rainy night, the show was divided into two sets with the first, concentrating on Hackett's solo work, including the spectacular show-opening “Spectral Mornings,” followed by a mix of old and new songs from such efforts as Voyage of the Acolyte, Wolflight and the recently released Premonitions box set. The set featured such Hackett gems as “Star of Sirius,” “Every Day,” “Wolflight” and this reviewers' favorite, from his first solo album in 1976, “Ace of Wands.”

The aforementioned "Wolflight” featured soaring Hackett guitar work, clockwork percussion and a thunderous drum solo, “Stars of Sirius” offered cool melodic bass lines and pristine woodwind solos, while “Loving Sea” (dedicated to his wife, Jo) created wonderful harmonizing from an old 12-string acoustic guitar, delicate flute solos and even a cool antidote about old Genesis band mate, Mike Rutherford.

Speaking of pristine, the band was in top form; Roine Stolt (of Flower Kings fame) on bass and guitar, Gary O'Toole on drums, Nad Sylvan on vocals, Roger King on keyboards and Rob Townsend on sax and flute. Admittedly apprehensive about how Sylvan might tackle the legendary vocal gymnastics of original Genesis front-man, Peter Gabriel, the tall and slender singer would perform surprisingly interesting interpretations while trying to fill such, I'm sure, intimidating shoes.

After a brief intermission, the band returned to an enthusiastic ovation in anticipation of what was to come; fantastic versions of classic Genesis songs and in this setting, with the intriguing addition of Townsend's tasteful woodwind solos and strategically placed embellishments. In a word, the set was epic.

From the dueling vocal exchange of “Get 'em Out by Friday” and wonderous jams of “Can-Utility and the Coastliners,” the whimsical “Musical Box” and perfectly placed soprano sax solo added to “Cinema Show,” to the classic Genesis staple “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway,” the performance was captivating and at times even spellbinding!

The encore featured the moody and riveting “Clocks – The Angel of Mons,” (which included another intense drum solo) before ending the performance with yet another classic, “Firth of Fifth,” complete with elegant piano solo, colorful keyboard flourishes and of course, Hackett's signature (and arguably most significant) guitar solo which brought the audience to its feet.

Yes, Hackett and Co. seemingly had this loyal audience in the palms of their hands... and for long-time Genesis fans, a chance to see these legendary songs recreated in such a way, that it still harkens them back to the days in which Mr. Hackett was an integral part of this iconic progressive band. And now... it's probably about as close as it's gonna get to seeing the "original" real thing.