Steve Hackett, Anvil, Basingstoke, 2015

A quick look at my last.fm profile will tell you that I am pretty fond of a bit of Genesis. While I don’t mind the Phil Collins era (I’m a fan of Duke for example) it’s the Peter Gabriel era that really floats my boat.

There have been numerous suggestions over the years that the ‘fab 5’ might eventually get back together. While today that seems as far away as ever there is still a way to hear classic Genesis played by one of the members – Steve Hackett.

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Last night Hackett and band were in Basingstoke and I was there on the front row bathing in the Genesis glory.

Starting at 19:30 caught many people out as when the band came on the auditorium was far from full with many streaming in over the next half an hour. As Hackett himself said they were their own support group playing a first half set exclusively from Hackett’s back catalogue. This included a number from the latest Wolflight.

Being quite so close to the main man was both educational and disconcerting. I hadn’t realised previously just how many sounds Hackett was capable of making with his guitar. By using his palm, scratching with a fingernail, bending strings etc. he was able to make some extraordinary noises which I had heard on record but hadn’t realised were actually from a guitar. Disconcerting? When he would look down directly at you and smile!

The second half was all classic Genesis with some really great stuff played including Cinema Show from my favourite Selling England by the Pound. All were played with great respect to the originals without being carbon copies.

Hackett has built up a really strong band to play with and Gary O’Toole is particular good on drums and fascinating to watch – any man that can drum, sing and wear a bowler hat all at the same time is a legend in my book! I was a bit disappointed not to see Nick Beggs on bass as he is always good to watch but his replacement (whose name I didn’t catch) did have fantastic hair!

If you are a fan of Genesis or of really great guitar work then seeing Hackett and the band is a must.