REVIEW: Steve Hackett Plays Classic Genesis in NYC

Man, a Steve Hackett show is quite the production, isn’t it? That production came to New York’s Playstation Theater on Saturday night as Hackett & Co went on a 2 1/2 hour run of classic Genesis songs along with old and a couple new Steve Hackett tunes. I’ll openly admit that Steve Hackett’s time in Genesis came well before I was born – hell, before I was even a thought – but my dad got me into him and I figured what the hell? And I’m glad I went to this one, because Hackett and his band put on an incredible show for 2 1/2 hours on a chilly Saturday night where I probably would have just as well stayed at home with an Irish hot chocolate.

The night featured lots of long songs, many of them sans-vocals, which is fine with me. It’s nice to be able to go to a show and just hear talented musicians play music every once in a while, but there was of course Nad Sylvan singing many of the Genesis songs. The show was broken up into two sets, sort of, with an 8-song set of “Classic Hackett” which also featured a couple of the tracks from his forthcoming album. The second, 10-song set was entirely songs from his time in Genesis, which again was very much before my time – I got into them with Invisible Touch – but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating good music.

It’s sad, really, that today’s generation has absolutely no idea who Steve Hackett is, because he’s always been an incredible musician. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone play guitar quite like him – maybe Brian May, but May has essentially been the gold standard for rock guitarists for 40 years. Hackett is up there, though, with some of the best in history. His touring band is incredible as well, with bassist/master of the double neck Nick Beggs shredding masterfully on many of the night’s tunes, and drummer/sometimes singer Gary O’Toole pounding away without missing a beat.

With 19 songs on the setlist spanning multiple decades, there was truly something for everyone, whether you were alive in the 70’s or came along later and were introduced to Hackett’s music as a child. Most of the crowd was of the older variety, though, and have presumably been listening to the man’s music for decades. The new material, of which we were given a quick taste with In The Skeleton Gallery, is no less excellent than Hackett’s previous, oh, 20-something solo albums, and I’m certainly excited by the new music coming soon and wish he would have included more of the new album in his live set.

What’s better about Hackett’s live show, from a photojournalist’s standpoint, is the rare opportunity to photograph the entire performance, capturing unique moments that are often reserved for those with all access and taking place well after the usual 3-songs-and-out routine. Below you’ll find a collection of photos from throughout the night, and while there are many more in my archive, I feel the ones here best highlight the night’s events and convey just how amazing a performance a Steve Hackett show is. For a guy who only hits the road for a full scale tour every so often, it’s easy to overlook his live dates, but you shouldn’t. Hackett is not reserved only for the old timers who remember his time in Genesis and his early solo work. A Steve Hackett show is something to behold and should be enjoyed by any fan of good old prog rock, and it helps that a guy who is closing in on 70 can still put on a riveting 2 1/2 hour performance.

Gallery after the set list.

Classic Hackett Set:

Every Day

El Niño

The Steppes

In the Skeleton Gallery

Behind the Smoke

Serpentine Song

Rise Again

Shadow of the Hierophant

Genesis Revisited Set:

Eleventh Earl of Mar

One for the Vine


Blood on the Rooftops

…In That Quiet Earth


Dance on a Volcano

Inside and Out

Firth of Fifth

The Musical Box


Los Endos

Steve Hackett performs classic Genesis at PlayStation Theater