Wuthering Nights:
Live in Birmingham

Steve Hackett

Marking the 40th anniversary of Wind & Wuthering, the last Genesis studio album Steve Hackett appeared on, the guitarist’s live set Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham, available on two CDs, DVD and Blu-ray Disc, celebrates that classic prog rock album, as well as a litany of other stellar gems from Hackett’s career — solo and with Genesis.

The first part of the show focuses on Hackett's solo work. Highlights include Rob Townsend playing a tenor sax solo on the Middle Eastern-influenced stomper “The Steppes,” and Hackett's strong vocal and Gary OToole's drumming on “Behind The Smoke” and “El Niño,” both from Hackett’s 2017 studio album The Night Siren. “Shadow Of The Hierophant,” from the guitarist's first solo album, 1975's Voyage Of The Acolyte, features Amanda Lehmann on vocals. This is followed by the first of many Genesis songs, “Eleventh Earl Of Mar.”

Hackett’s band longtime band includes Roger King on keyboards, Nad Sylvan singing the Genesis songs, O’Toole on drums, percussion and some vocals, Townsend on various woodwinds, percussion, keys, bass pedals and background vocals, and Nick Beggs on bass, Variax, T12-string guitar and vocals. Each player outfit themselves expertly around Hackett’s solo and Genesis material.

Moving further into Genesis territory, we get “One For The Vine” with King and Sylvan taking the lead. This is followed by “Blood On The Rooftops “In That Quiet Earth,” plus the Hackett-penned “Inside & Out,” a tune left off Wind & Wuthering, but added to a three-song EP called Spot The Pigeon. Sylvan's vocal style is a cross between Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, yet he still retains his own unique vocal personality within.

Of course, the crowd's reaction ascends during the triple threat of “Firth Of Fifth,” “The Musical Box,” and “Los Endos” that ends the set. This is pretty much encompasses the live show Hackett has been touring with the past few years. He adds and deletes various songs along the way, but it's fair to say that Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham accurately captures the essence of what a Steve Hackett show is all about.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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