Howling from the Rocktoberfest - Review by Mario Giammetti, Classic Rock

Howling from the Rocktoberfest - Review by Mario Giammetti, Classic Rock

A few meters from here, just across the street, a huge crowd (consisting of the locals, proudly dressed in the classic Bavarian 'tracht', and those coming from everywhere) is drinking endless rivers of beer, mostly poured sidewalks after a short passage in their stomach. Meanwhile, in front of the Circus Krone, the promoter walks nervously awaiting news about the damaged engine of the tourbus that is driving Steve Hackett here from Padua, where last night he concluded his short Italian tour. Like any fairy tale rock, however, the artist arrives in time, starting the show only ten minutes late and slightly changing the set: he drops out a couple of songs, as well as the break between the first and the second part, not necessarily a bad thing. As the years go by, Hackett demonstrates to be a rare bird in the prog world. One could say: well, that's easy with Genesis music. But it's not that case anymore, at least not completely: the Genesis songs, in fact, will eventually only be six tonight, because Steve wants also to give fair space to the new album Wolflight, as well as to the 40th anniversary of the debut album Voyage of the Acolyte. He's so committed that he's even ready to get rid of all his songs for the period 1980/2011, tonight.

The start of the show is a moving version of Spectral Mornings played in trio with keyboardist Roger King and drummer Gary O'Toole, later reached by the other two other musicians: Rob Townsend (sax, flute and synth) and the new addition Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings, Transatlantic) on bass and guitar. A very well rehearsed band that helps the leader in the best way and makes the concert not only musically perfect (in spite of the complexity of new songs as Wolflight and Love Song To A Vampyre), but also very dynamic. O'Toole, for example, moves to centre stage to sing the ethereal Loving Sea, played with two guitars (Steve on the acoustic, Roine on the electric), while the vocalist Nad Sylvan joins the party after about 40 minutes , from Icarus Ascending (originally sang by Richie Havens) on. Star Of Sirius is followed by Ace Of Wands and A Tower Struck Down, the latter linked to Shadow Of The Hierophant instrumental part, whose obsessive and paroxysmal crescendo really thrills the German audience. The moment is right to evoke Genesis, but Hackett is so clever to change a lot, starting with a quartet of masterpieces that never were part of the Revisited tour: Get 'Em Out By Friday, Can-Utility And The Coastliners, Cinema Show (including Aisle Of Plenty coda, though not integral, a song that even Genesis never played live!) and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The finale is perhaps more predictable (The Musical Box, plus the encores of Clocks and Firth Of Fifth), but by now, everyone is at the foot of this 65 year old man, who is experiencing his third (fourth?) youth. The distance that separates him today not only from his wizened ex mates, but even by most of his generation, currently seem unbridgeable.

Howling from the Rocktoberfest - Review by Mario Giammetti, Classic Rock