“An intimate night of service to the fans, the perfect end to Steve Hackett’s three show run in Melbourne.”

Compared to Steve Hackett’s show the night before, the atmosphere was completely different in the dimly lit 170 Russell. The air was relaxed and the audience filing in down the stairs had the look of people who are seeing the legendary guitarist for the third time in two days.

Once the lights go down Steve makes his way onto the stage, backed by the same musicians as the rest of the tour; Nad Sylvan, Roger King, Rob Townsend, Nick Beggs and Gary O’Toole.

This show was said to have an emphasis on Wind and Wuthering, Steve’s last album with Genesis, which is celebrating 40 years. So, as appropriate to the occasion, the band begun the set with the opening track from the album, ‘Eleventh Earl of Mar’ and after a brief word from Steve to greet the audience they segue straight into the second track ‘One for the Vine.’

At this point the whole crowd is understandably excited, having hopes that they are about to witness the whole album from beginning to end in tracklist order. Those hopes are quickly dashed however when the band skips straight ahead to the 6th track ‘Blood on the Rooftops.’ The quickly get over the disappoint though as Steve masterfully caresses beautiful sounds out of his classical nylon string acoustic, displaying his virtuosity yet again and seemingly forever defying the passing of time.

The band then perform the final two tracks off the celebratory album in sequence ‘…In That Quiet Earth’ and ‘Afterglow’ before moving on to ‘Dancing with the Moonlit Knight’ which makes it very clear that we wouldn’t be hearing anything else from Wind and Wuthering. Despite the cheers from the audience I can’t help but feel that a show marketed as a celebration of one particular album should probably have contained more tracks from it than 5. That being said, however, it was a remarkable performance of all 5.

Next up we get treated to Steve’s richly textured voice with the thumping ‘Behind the Smoke.’ Gary O’Toole holding down the groove almost menacingly before the feel shifts entirely for some much deeper cuts; ‘I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)’ and ‘Inside and Out.’ The latter providing Rob Townsend time shine on his various instruments. This is immediately followed by further demonstration of Steve’s solo composition skills with ‘The Steppes.’  Leaving the audience wondering what could possibly be next.

Steve stops a minute to introduce the next song as being from his first year with Genesis and how the audience used to walk away to the bar with distaste when they played it. It was safe to say that tonight, all eyes were glued to the stage for immaculate performance of ‘The Fountain of Salmacis’ and its follow-up ‘Watcher of the Skies.’ Both tracks causing massive cheers to reverberate around the room before Steve treats us to his final solo composed song of the evening ‘Spectral Mornings’ from the album of the same name. displaying a tone so pristine and note selection so capturing that I wished I could listen to it forever.

Wrapping up the main set are the mighty ‘Firth of Fifth’ and ‘The Musical Box’ which are both executed to perfection and effectively create an enormous feeling of build, release and crescendo. A crescendo after which the band leave momentarily only to return for one final uplifting performance of Los Endos before taking their bows and leaving the Melbourne stage until next time.

 

FULL SETLIST:

  1. Eleventh Earl of Mar
  2. One for the Vine
  3. Blood on the Rooftops
  4. …In That Quiet Earth
  5. Afterglow
  6. Dancing With the Moonlit Knight
  7. Behind the Smoke
  8. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
  9. Inside and Out
  10. The Steppes
  11. The Fountain of Salmacis
  12. Watcher of the Skies
  13. Spectral Mornings
  14. Firth of Fifth
  15. The Musical Box
  16. Los Endos