Steve Hackett leaves Vancouver aglow with a major Genesis buzz

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all crappy iPhone photos by the newt

By Steve Newton

At the Vogue Theatre last night former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and his killer band performed the best-loved songs from his old group’s ’70s heyday.

Those included “The Fountain of Salmacis” from 1971’s Nursery Cryme, the seven-part “Supper’s Ready” from 1972’s Foxtrot, “Firth of Fifth” from my personal fave, 1973’s Selling England By the Pound, “Fly on a Windshield” from 1974’s double-album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and “Squonk” from 1976’s Trick of the Tail.

Hey, what about 1975?

Oh yeah, right. If I remember correctly, the fact that Genesis did not release an album in 1975 was only mitigated by the fact that some other British prog-rock supergroup unleashed one called Wish You Were Here.

Early in the show Hackett recalled how he once lived in Vancouver, when his family moved here for four months back in 1957. He also mentioned the beauty of Jericho Beach, but his complimenting of local landmarks was hardly required to win over the crowd. He just had to play Selling England‘s “Dancing With the Moonlit Knight”, an experimental number which runs the gamut of styles from Scottish plainsong to Elgarian verse, with a hint of Mozart, a dash of Mahavishnu Orchestra, a little bit of Disney-and a lot of Genesis. (At least that’s how he describes it.)

Although there were a few kids in the crowd–perhaps dragged along by the promise that “These guys are way better than One Direction!”–it appeared to be mostly guys in their fifties. It was definitely mostly guys. So much so that somebody had to tape an impromptu “Mens” sign on the door of the ladies’ room upstairs because there were no women using it, and man did we have to go.

Those Pilsner tallboys pack a punch.

At one point during Hackett’s performance the power went out, leading the befuddled picker to get down at the front of the stage and do several pushups. Dude’s in good shape, so it wasn’t a problem. I’d like to see Peter Gabriel pull that off!

Another memorable moment of the two-hour show was when Hackett took a seat for an acoustic respite and threw in a few bars of Mason Williams’ 1968 instrumental “Classical Gas”.

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Boy do I love that tune.

Hackett was accompanied by a crack band that includes keyboardist Roger King (whose credits include guitar hero Gary Moore), drummer Gary O’Toole, saxophonist/flutist Rob Townsend (no relation to Pete), bassist Nick Beggs (who brought the ’70s-style cape action), and lead vocalist Nad Sylvan, who resembled the frontman from Twisted Sister, but sounded a lot better.

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The show ended with an encore performance of “Los Endos”, the instrumental closing track of Trick of the Tail, the first Genesis album to feature Phil Collins on lead vocals, after Gabriel left the band.

Sure would be nice if those two guys got it through their thick skulls that the world needs a Genesis reunion–but one that includes Steve Hackett on guitar, not some other guy.

Me and all the other folks at the Vogue last night will keep on hopin’.

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