Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited – Foxtrot at Fifty Live at The Brighton Centre, UK – October 9th, 2022

With Genesis having played their final live dates earlier in the year it now leaves the legacy of the early years of this band in the hands of their...

 

Words: Adrian Stonley

Photos: Robert Sutton Photography

 

 

What better place is there to be on an Autumnal Sunday evening than with 1400 prog fans watching the latest outpouring of love for Steve Hackett and the Genesis back catalog. The set was recorded and videoed for a potential future release.

Following on from Steve Hackett’s last outing when he toured the Genesis live album ‘seconds out’; in 2022 he returned to follow up with Foxtrot at Fifty, recognizing the period that has elapsed since the release of this archetypal album. 

This show was split into two parts, the first set featuring fan favorites best of view of Steve’s solo career, with material predominantly taken from his first solo album Voyage of the Acolyte and Spectral Mornings, with a small nod to his latest album, Surrender of Silence, and the second set consisting of the 1972 Genesis album Foxtrot, played in its entirety.

From the opening instrumental, Ace of Wands it was clear that the band was in great form, delivering an uptempo version with Steve’s guitar interspersed with Roger King’s keyboards and the light floating touch of Rob Townsend’s flutes and clarinet driving the melodies throughout.  

The second song of the evening saw the band visit the latest album, Surrender of Silence, for a solitary outing of The Devils Cathedral, a dark death song that saw the arrival of Nad Sylvan on vocals and a brooding keyboard introduction sounding akin to a growling church organ. This has the potential to become a set staple in the future.

From there the atmosphere changed with two songs from Spectral Mornings, firstly the ethereal title track which saw the arrival of Amanda Lehman on guitar and Jonas Reingold plying his trade on a double-neck guitar to create a tri-guitar interplay. This was followed by ‘Everyday’, a more upbeat and jaunty tune that saw the deftness of Rob Townsend on flute gliding over the trademark Hackett guitar intricacies.

Following the lightness of Everyday, the mood changed darker with the second of the three pieces from Voyage of the Acolyte with the menacing and brooding ‘A Tower Struck Down’; a true Prog epic with clever time sequences and spiky chord changes. This then flowed seamlessly into ‘Camino Royale’ which saw Steve Hackett take over vocals. The first set closed with the final visit to the Acolyte album and the reintroduction of Amanda Lehman on guitar and lead vocals for ‘Shadow of the Hierophant’, a more gentle piece with subtle Genesis overtones, redolent of the era in which it was written and the perfect ending to a first half that was to set the tone for that which was to follow. 

After a twenty-minute break, the band returned for the main event of the evening, and a second set comprised of ‘Foxtrot’ in its entirety. After fifty years there is very little left to write about this album that has not already been versed. The album was played in the order of release and started with the familiar driving keyboard refrain of ‘Watcher of the Skies’ before Steve took the helm with his searing guitar work. This piece saw the keyboard wizardry of Roger King take full effect whilst coordinating skillfully with the dextrous playing of Jonas Reingold on bass. With Nad Sylvan stepping into the spotlight on vocals the piece took on a life of its own with the band members orchestrating the rise and fall of the musicality of the piece, topped with some light-hearted theatrics with Nad donning red eyes and eye glass to finish. Perhaps not the red dress and foxes head of past Gabriel performances but a gentle nod to the theatricality of early Genesis. 

From this bombastic start, the set settled down to the gentle, almost pastoral ‘Timetable’, one of several pieces that have rarely been aired live other than in the occasional Hackett acoustic show. This relatively short piece was followed by the bleak story of ‘‘Get ‘Em Out By Friday’, a commentary on the belittling and manipulation of the poorer classes by greedy corporations, a piece that is sadly as relevant today as when it was written half a century ago.

This was followed by the quirkily titled ‘Can Utility and the Coastliner’s’ and the gentler acoustic piece of ‘Horizon’s’ with its pastoral cadences, which saw Steve Hackett take the central stage alone for a deft and exquisite performance.

To close the set was Genesis Magnum Opus, ‘Suppers Ready’ in all its splendid grandeur and pomposity. In all honesty, this was the multi-sectional piece that the audience had awaited from the start. From its gentle acoustic opening to the grandeur of its neo-biblical ending, this was a piece that would ‘send shivers through the marrow in your backbone.’ How many in the audience found themselves transported back to being a teenager whilst singing out the lines of the ‘Willow Farm’ segment, following loud and resounding participation of ‘A Flower’………  

Following a short break, the band returned for an encore featuring two more Genesis classics. First up was Firth of Fifth, a keyboard and guitar tour-de-force before a drum solo from Craig Blundell developed then erupted into favorite show closer ‘Los Endos’ which incorporated a short smatter of ‘Slogans’ from the Defector album before descending into the penultimate drum, keys and guitar heroics that this piece is known for. 

With Genesis having played their final live dates earlier in the year it now leaves the legacy of the early years of this band in the hands of their past guitarist and his band. It is not unreasonable to say that legacy is in very good hands indeed.

Set List

Set 1

Ace Of Wands [Voyage of the Acolyte]

The Devils Cathedral [Surrender Of Silence]

Spectral Mornings [Spectral Mornings]

Everyday [Spectral Mornings]

A Tower Struck Down [Voyage of the Acolyte]    

Camino Royale [Highly Strung]

Shadow Of The Hierophant [Voyage of the Acolyte]

 

Set 2 – Foxtrot

Watcher of The Skies

Get ‘Em Out By Friday

Can-Utility and Coastliners

Horizons

Suppers Ready

 

Encores

Firth Of Fifth [Selling England By The Pound]

Los Endos [Feat Slogans] [A Trick of the Tail/ Defector]

 

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