Steve Hackett – The Total Experience Live in Liverpool (DVD)


Some fine, fine music…

Released through Century Media / Inside Out on 24 June 2016 and totally experienced by Paul Quinton

After the huge success of his Genesis Revisited tours and releasing a well-received album in Wolflight, Steve Hackett structured the set list for the subsequent tour in two halves, the first being to feature his solo work and the second his career in Genesis. For the solo half he chose to feature both his latest album and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his first solo record, Voyage Of The Acolyte, hence the tour being billed as ‘Acolyte to Wolflight, with a sprinkling of Genesis’. He felt doing the show in Liverpool ‘felt right’ for the recording, as the city means a lot to him, and it’s a fine venue. His band was largely unchanged from the Genesis tours, with only the addition of Roine Stolt (Flower Kings, Transatlantic) on bass and guitar. There were also one or two guests, including his brother John, to play flute on the instrumental ‘Jaccuzzi’.

The Liverpool show was largely the same as the one we saw at Symphony Hall a few days afterwards, reviewed here, although there were a couple of significant changes. Hackett’s longtime collaborator, Amanda Lehmann, couldn’t make every show, but makes a welcome appearance in this one, playing guitar and singing, including taking the lead on a majestic ‘Shadow of the Heirophant’, which Birmingham only heard as part of an instrumental medley. The opening part of the show, the solo work, begins with a superb ‘Spectral Mornings’, and the whole thing sounds wonderful in Dolby 5.1 surround sound.

The second half, the Genesis material, focusses on some deeper cuts that weren’t featured in the ‘Revisited’ tours, including ‘Get ‘Em Out By Friday’, with Nad Sylvan playing a blinder on vocals, an absolutely terrific ‘Cinema Show’ and the climax of ‘Musical Box’ before encores of ‘Clocks’ and the almost inevitable ‘Firth of Fifth’, which never ceases to be a delight. One thing that struck me about the show as a whole was how subdued the crowd are. I realise it’s not the type of show that prompts circle pits and stage diving, but it’s really only toward the end of the first set that the crowd shots reveal any kind of animation and reaction, and unlike in Symphony Hall, you can’t hear much reaction during the songs either, although that’s perhaps down to the mix.

Aside from the actual music, I don’t know how many cameras were used to film the gig, but overall, watching it was a real pleasure. It’s excellently filmed, most of the time avoiding the obvious shots, although inevitably there are a number of close ups of Hackett’s playing, but the various camera angles never seem repetitive or over used. I also liked some of the backstage shots, including the band waiting patiently to go on stage and another at the end where the first thing that happens is Hackett being given a cup of tea almost before he leaves the stage.

Another plus point, compared to a lot of concert films is the quality of the extras on the second disc. As well as the promo videos for three of the songs on the new album, there are a couple of excellent documentaries. Firstly a half hour film concentrating on behind the scenes at the Liverpool show, with interviews with Hackett himself, his band members, the touring crew, including Steve’s wife show who takes care of a lot of social media. There’s also some intriguing shots of the band sound checking, as well as the meet and greet and signing sessions, and I confess at being slightly surprised at how many vinyl album covers he’s asked to sign. It’s a fascinating look backstage and I enjoyed every minute. Similarly the second film, shorter at just over 20 minutes, which is titled as a rehearsal documentary, but also includes much more on the road stuff, with more interviews with the road crew, some of which were filmed at Symphony Hall. Some DVD extras don’t really have a long shelf life, but I can definitely see these bearing repeated watches.

As ever on these occasions, the package is available in various formats, including this double DVD. There’s also a double audio CD, as well as a combined CD and DVD package, not to mention the digital version of the album and a separate Blu-ray edition, which features the same content as the DVD release. All in all, it’s a very good package, well filmed and with some fine, fine music. Recommended .

Steve Hackett – The Total Experience Live in Liverpool8 out of 10

DVD 1 Track List:

  1. Corcyrian Fire Intro
  2. Spectral Mornings
  3. Out Of The Body
  4. Wolflight
  5. Everyday
  6. Love Song To A Vampire
  7. The Wheel’s Turning
  8. Loving Sea
  9. Jacuzzi
  10. Icarus Ascending
  11. Star Of Sirius
  12. Ace Of Wands
  13. A Tower Struck Down
  14. Shadow Of The Heirophant
  15. Get ‘Em Out By Friday
  16. Can-Utility And The Coastliners
  17. After The Ordeal
  18. The Cinema Show
  19. Aisle of Plenty
  20. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
  21. The Musical Box
  22. Clocks – Angel of Mons
  23. Firth of Fifth

DVD 2 – Extras

  1. Live in Liverpool Behind The Scenes
  2. Somewhere South Of The River – Rehearsal Documentary
  3. Promo Videos
  4. Corcyrian Fire
  5. Wolflight
  6. Love Song To A Vampire