Review: Steve Hackett at Southampton Guildhall

Guitarist Steve Hackett with vocalist Nad Sylvan      PICTURE BY GENE STEINMAN
Guitarist Steve Hackett with vocalist Nad Sylvan PICTURE BY GENE STEINMAN
Lily Garland

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He’s never become a household name, but to the rock cognoscenti Steve Hackett is a legend.

Hailed by many as one of Britain’s most innovative and influential rock guitarists, Hackett was an early member of Genesis, contributing both as composer and musician to six studio albums and seven singles.

He left the band for solo career in 1977 which was when I first became aware of him, falling in love with his first post-Genesis album, Please Don’t Touch.

But while I still love that album, I lost touch with Steve’s career despite dabbling in some of his later work, making me no expert!

So the chance to see him live, almost 40 years later, playing both solo work and early Genesis tracks, was too good to miss. His adoring fans are legion, but personally, I’d left it too long.

Hackett’s musical skills are awesome, but the prog rock style belongs to another era.

Hackett’s solos are skillful, loud and spectacular - but not exactly hummable.

At times I was awestruck as he made his guitars howl and wail in his own unique style, augmented by a spectacular light show. Entranced, but ultimately unmoved.

The first half was solo work, and the second set was made up of Genesis work helped out by distinctive vocalist Nad Sylvan, managing to sound like both Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel.

The crowd, unlike me, all faithful fans, went wild to hear Genesis treasures like The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and the Firth of Fifth, and solo surprise Clocks.

I was impressed by the bravado, but hoped in vain for brevity.

I’ll always love that first solo album, and I’m pleased I’ve seen him live just once. But just the once, thanks.