Watching Steve Hackett and his live band is always a treat to me. I experienced that for the last time in May 2010 during a concert of Hackett at Mezz in Breda, The Netherlands (see review). This gig was part of the Around The World In Eighty Trains-tour to promote the album Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth (see review). A live registration of this tour was already available on CD called Live Rails (see review). People who are familiar with this album know that Steve had an excellent backing band during that tour. However, now we're able to watch this fantastic band playing, because this show has been filmed at Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, November 30, 2010 and released on a DVD called Fire And Ice.
The title of this DVD was named Fire And Ice because at the time a blizzard was torturing London while the temperature inside the venue raised to great heights thanks to the high level of musicianship of the band. The footage on this disc contains the concert in its entirety. It's certainly a must have for all devotees and followers of Steve Hackett and Genesis as I found out while watching it. Steve Hackett (guitars, vocals), Nick Beggs (bass, Chapman stick, bass pedals, backing vocals), Roger King (keyboards), Amanda Lehmann (vocals, guitars), Gary O'Toole (drums, percussion, vocals) and Rob Townsend (sax, woodwinds, percussion, backing vocals) performed about the same set list as I watched during the above-mentioned concert. Once again they played a strong selection of Genesis-songs and material taken from Steve's solo efforts. As usual the Genesis-songs were all sung by drummer Gary O'Toole and included strong versions of Watcher Of The Skies, The Carpet Crawlers, Blood On The Rooftops and Firth Of Fifth.
The band also played many classical Hackett-pieces. What is a Steve Hackett concert without strong performances of Every Day, Ace Of Wands, Clocks and Shadow Of The Hierophant? Especially the latter I like very much since this piece wasn't played at the concert I attended. The original version from Steve's debut Voyage Of The Acolyte (1975) contains the beautiful voice of Sally Oldfield. However, she never joined the band to perform this piece and therefore it was left out during concerts, except for the seventies when bass player Dik Cadbury sang this song. Currently Steve Hackett has an excellent female singer in the band who's able to perform this song the way it was meant back then. When you watch and listen to Amanda Lehmann's version you'll realize that she did an amazing job. During this song you'll notice that Steven Wilson silently enters the stage to play a long solo at the end-section of this wonderful song. It's also great to see how Mr. Beggs plays the bass pedals with his feet. This was once done by John Hackett with his hands. Steve Hackett had invited John Wetton on stage during a fine version of the Bob Dylan- cover All Along The Watchtower performed in the rendition of Jimi Hendrix. Wetton contributed on acoustic guitar and lead vocals.
This concert has a perfect surround sound which is almost logical on a DVD by Steve Hackett. It's especially audible on tracks like Tubehead and Clocks. The latter again features Steven Wilson on guitar and includes a strong drum solo as well. Thanks to the good camera work you can enjoy this at close range, but in general the camera work makes sure that you hardly miss anything of the musicians on stage. To watch the 150 minutes of live images was a real treat to me! Not only is attending a live concert of Steve Hackett a feast, but also watching him and his band on DVD at home while sitting in a comfortable chair!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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