Steve Hackett pulls the strings to orchestrate an evening of Genesis and solo classics
The 12 string guitar chime which heralded the vertical sharp riff to Dance On A Volcano, from Genesis’ Trick Of The Tail album, opened an evening of rare musical excellence between band and orchestra.
The classical ebb and flow of swooping instrumentation on this beguiling set starter was a scintillating taster of the sonic blending to come.
With its resonant reverberation of pulsing sound-waves, driven by Gary O’Toole’s barrage of percussion, the audiophile delights of Out Of The Body and The Steppes brought this musical entree to a close.
The tinkling intro to Firth Of Fifth, by keyboard supremo Roger King, brought flamboyant, larger than life singer Nad Sylvan to the stage as the main course of the evening’s set swung into action.
With Hackett’s signature guitar solo fading into these acoustically refined rafters, the enraptured audience were treated to a rare outing of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight.
An animated Sylvan nailed Peter Gabriel’s vocal with panache as band and orchestra melded into a magnificent audio tour de force.
However, the contrasting gossamer light vocals of Amanda Lehmann and the earth shuddering bass sounds created by Jonas Reingold on Shadow Of The Hierophant, arguably stole the first half of tonight’s thrilling show.
The ethereal notes of In That Quiet Earth wafted through this sold out venue to open the second set; rather like early morning mist evaporating with the warmth of the rising sun.
With his adroit talents, Hackett is a master musician conjuring up emotional visuals as the romantic Afterglow and sublime Serpentine Song, with guest master flautist John Hackett blowing a wistful melange of notes, floated through the stalls and upwards to the balcony.
Halls like this were built for towering musical movements such as set closer Supper’s Ready.
Regular reed and wind player Rob Townsend displayed some nimble footwork on bass pedals as Sylvan chirped the surreal lyrics to this revered Genesis epic.
The orchestra swooped and glided with horn and string sections given a thorough workout, replacing and adding authenticity to the original mellotron parts, enlarging the structure of the song to even more gargantuan proportions.
This magical, mysterious musical tour of Genesis and Hackett classics reached its triumphant finale with an encore of The Musical Box.
With an overwhelmed audience singing along to the lyrics ‘play me my song, here it comes again’, the buzz on leaving the auditorium would have frightened the army bees in their urban hives situated atop of this landmark setting.
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