Steve Hackett delivers a two-hour musical marathon on Tyneside, whilst performing key cuts from his time with prog-rockers Genesis along with highlights from his vast solo body of work.
The beauty of tonight’s show is that Steve Hackett is accompanied throughout by a 41 piece orchestra, namely The Heart of England Philharmonic led by conductor Bradley Thachuk.
Tonight’s musical marriage sees classical meet rock under the roof of Hall One at the Sage Gateshead. Being the home of the Royal Northern Sinfonia, this acoustically perfect room is the ideal spot for such a prestigious event.
Hackett et al make a grand entrance with “Dance on a Volcano”. Immediately from the off, the orchestral elements come together seamlessly with the band like a huge wall of sound, whilst simultaneously adding texture and heightening the overall concert experience. This track alone is enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Hackett’s virtuoso guitar playing during “Out of the Body” is a highlight early in the show before a grand, eastern-tinged rendition of “The Steppes” has the Tyneside audience completely transfixed. This track, in particular, is reminiscent in places of Ravel’s Bolero making it the perfect number to rework with classical orchestration.
Steve Hackett recently announced that next year he will be touring the UK whilst performing the seminal Genesis album Selling England By The Pound in full. Subsequently, during the first half of the show timeless classics from the record such as “Firth of Fifth” and the unmistakable “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight” both feature. Those who are planning on catching next year’s tour are certainly in for a treat. Nad Sylvan’s vocal performance is tremendous throughout.
Perched on a stool at the edge of the stage, Hackett slows down the proceedings momentarily with the acoustic number “Blood on the Rooftops” featuring Gary O’Toole on vocals before the first set is brought to a close with the epic “Shadow of the Hierophant”.
Following a brief interlude, the second half of the evening gets underway with a couple of tracks from the 1976 Genesis album Wind And Wuthering in the shape of “In That Quiet Earth” and “Afterglow” before Hackett takes the crowd through a pair of solo compositions by way of “Serpentine Song” and “El Nino”.
A somewhat theatrical rendition of the prog-rock masterpiece “Supper’s Ready” is a fitting finale to one of the best shows we’ve witnessed in the North East this year. Steve Hackett’s tour de force of musicianship and creativity is brought to a close with a duly deserved encore of “The Musical Box”, which in turn results in a standing ovation from the Tyneside faithful.
Tonight Steve Hackett and his esteemed colleagues prove that classical music can most certainly rock. ‘It’s never sounded so amazing’ Hackett declares to the full house in attendance at the Sage Gateshead. ‘Every night feels like Christmas’ he proclaims. It may only be the 7th October, but just like Father Christmas tonight Steve Hackett and company most certainly delivered the goods.
Event Date: 07-Oct-2018