Steve Hackett @ The Royal & Derngate, Northampton – 28th September 2022


After joining Genesis in 1971, guitar virtuoso Steve Hackett was thrown in the deep end, and the hectic touring schedule following the Nursery Cryme album found him on the verge of quitting. Thankfully he was talked into staying, and his invaluable contribution to the Foxtrot record took the band to new commercial heights. Released in October 1972 Foxtrot now celebrates its golden anniversary, and what better way to commemorate this milestone than with a full rendition of that record in front of a capacity crowd at Northampton’s Derngate theatre.

Tonight’s gig is divided into two sets, the first of which finds Steve digging deep into his solo discography, and like a magician pulling a rabbit from top hat, he gets the evening off to a mystical start with ‘Ace Of Wands’ (from 1975’s Voyage Of The Acolyte). Steve’s rich guitar tone holds the audience spellbound, and it may be a cliché but such is the power that Steve wields you could literally hear a pin drop as he focuses the crowd’s attention into a finely honed laser beam. The excellent acoustics inside the Derngate means that the swirling keys that permeate ‘The Devil’s Cathedral’ does indeed mean it sounds as if it is being performed inside a duomo. While Steve takes centre stage, the show is a collaborative affair, and the epic ‘Shadow Of The Hierophant’ leaves plenty of room for a rumbling bass solo and a sublime saxophone solo which carries us, as if on a magic carpet, to the end of the first set.

Steve Hackett

Released as the album’s only single, ‘Watcher Of The Skies’ got the Foxtrot album off on sure footing, and it makes a fine opening for the second set. The band manage to perfectly replicate the grandiose nature of the studio version, and if affirmation were required, it’s given with rapt applause. I always feel that vinyl is the perfect medium with which to enjoy progressive rock; the leaving of your seat to flip the record over creates a timely intermission to digest what you’ve heard, and to anticipate what’s coming next. When Steve settles down with an acoustic guitar for ‘Horizons’, such an interlude is created and it sets things up nicely for ‘Supper’s Ready’. Vocalist Nad Sylvan teases out the emotion of the original, and my only complaint with tonight’s show is that he doesn’t spend enough time treading the boards. When his vocals are finished he departs stage right, only to reappear when it’s time to sing again. That’s a real shame, because he drips charisma (pun intended) and could make the show more interactive.

The applause that erupts at the conclusion of ‘Supper’s Ready’ is thunderous, so it’s a cert that Steve and band will return for encores, the first of which, ‘Firth Of Fifth’ goes down particularly well, while the monstrous riff of ‘Los Endos’ ensures that no one leaves disappointed.


Set List:

  1. Ace Of Wands
  2. The Devil’s Cathedral
  3. Spectral Mornings
  4. Every Day
  5. A Tower Struck Down
  6. Shadow Of The Hierophant
  7. Watcher Of The Skies
  8. Time Table
  9. Get ‘Em Out By Friday
  10. Can-Utility And The Coastliners
  11. Horizons
  12. Supper’s Ready


  1. Firth Of Fifth
  2. Myopia/Slogans/Los Endos