I’m a sucker for a bit of Genesis and since the demise of the band opportunities to hear them live have disappeared although, to be fair, I thought that the last time the band played together (in 2007) they were pretty disappointing. That said I still love to hear their music played and these days the best of of achieving that is to go to a Steve Hackett gig.
Hackett was the guitarist for what I would consider to be the classic Genesis period spanning both the Gabriel and the early Collins periods. He now regularly tours both his own music and what he calls “Genesis Revisited” when he plays classics from his time with the band. Most recently he has been touring with a full orchestra too and this is why I found myself at the Royal Festival Hall in London to see this.
I am fascinated by the finances of tours. I know that this is where the money is to be made these days but how do they make this pay? Hackett was accompanied by a 35 piece orchestra, his 6 regular band members, 2 special guests, 5 video operators, 2 merchandise sellers and countless others not seen roadies, sound technicians etc. Anyway, that’s his problem and an aside!
I think Hackett’s contribution to Genesis is underrated and when you see him play and hear the sounds that he can make with his guitar I am always wowed by it. This was brought home the next evening when I went to see The Musical Box, a Genesis tribute band.
To be honest I’ve never really seen the point of tribute bands. I’d much rather listen to the original at home than go out and hear a poor copy live. However, The Musical Box are the only tribute band that are authorised by the band and Gabriel took his kids to see them to show them what he did with the band. So with all that in mind and just 24 hours after seeing Hackett I made my way to Basingstoke to see them.
They were more musical than vocal and the reason for that became obvious once the singer opened his mouth – he was no Gabriel. In fact he was no Nad Sylvan either who had sung with Hackett the night before. The music itself was ok but was a poor imitation of the real thing or what Hackett could provide.
They also had a large video projection at the back but the films and pictures that they were showing were all too literal – a lamb for The Lamb Lie Down on Broadway for example and some looked as if they had come straight from Monty Python.
Perhaps if I hadn’t seen Hackett the night before the quality gap wouldn’t have been so stark. So I came away disappointed and with my view of tribute bands re-enforced.