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Steve Hackett: Live Rails

Album Notes

In a lengthy and prolific solo career dating back to the 1970s, Steve Hackett has dabbled in numerous musical styles ranging from blues to classical. But he seems to understand that his core audience, the people interested in buying tickets to see him perform in concert, sees him primarily as a progressive rock guitarist of the `70s and `80s. At least, that seems clear from this double-disc live set, in which he fronts a band and pleases his listeners by delving deeply into his catalog of most popular recordings. That includes selections from his early solo albums such as Voyage of the Acolyte ("Ace of Wands"), Spectral Mornings ("Every Day," "Spectral Mornings," "Clocks"), and Defector ("The Steppes," "Slogans"). It also includes, on the second disc, a healthy selection from his tenure with Genesis, such as Selling England by the Pound ("Firth of Fifth"), A Trick of the Tail ("Los Endos"), and Wind & Wuthering ("Blood on the Rooftops"), with even a bit of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway thrown in. Hackett has found ways to make up for his modest singing voice, notably beefing it up with vocal harmonies and backup singing. But his fans don't come to hear him sing. They come to hear him shred, as he does on showcase numbers like "Tubehead." They also come to luxuriate in the majestic, complex rock arrangements that evoke England in the 1970s, and they have much to enjoy here from a veteran in his sixties who is happy to accommodate them. ~ William Ruhlmann



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