STEVE HACKETT - Genesis Revisited II
My first experiences with Genesis were their early Eighties pop hits like Abacab and Mama, which I may have liked as an aspiring teenager, but when I passed into adulthood, I became more interested in progressive rock. At first I was understandingly reluctant to check out the early works of bands like Yes and Genesis. This was the age before the Internet, so you couldn’t just listen in from home to some of their albums, or even download their songs. Instead you had to trust your instincts or your friends’ parents’ record collections. When I first heard Nursery Cryme and later Foxtrot, I couldn’t believe that this was the same band that later performed rather bland pop music.
Nowadays, I consider Supper’s Ready my all-time favourite song, slightly better even than Van Der Graaf Generator’s A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers, and therefore I am more than just a little happy to find this track back on this new album by Steve Hackett. The guitarist was not present on Genesis’ first two albums, and even though I also like those very early records, it’s with Nursery Cryme from 1971 that my love story with these British progsters begins. After the ambitious double album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Peter Gabriel left the band, but Hackett stayed on for two more LPs (A Trick Of The Tail, Wind And Wuthering) which featured Phil Collins on vocals. While still much better than everything happening post-Hackett, the band was then only a shadow of who they used to be. Ironically enough, Hackett’s solo career never really took off, and the only major success afterwards was in the Eighties with his mainstream rock supergroup GTR, together with Yes guitarist Steve Howe, but we better not lose too many words about that fortunately short period.
This was quite the introduction to Genesis Revisited II, the sequel to a similar album from 1996. While the first instalment was only a single CD, this time we get a double CD (or if you like: a limited edition quadruple vinyl edition) which runs for nearly two and a half hours. More than thirty musicians involved, among them over a dozen vocalists! And still all of them try to stay true to the original spirit of the source material. The first disc contains mostly tracks from my favourite Genesis period: Nursery Cryme (1971), Foxtrot (1972), Selling England By The Pound (1973) and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974). The highlight is undisputedly the mega-über-track Supper’s Ready, with a whole lot of vocalists lending their talents. With the likes of Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth), Conrad Keeley (And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead) and Francis Dunnery (ex-It Bites), we get credibility for such different genres as metal, indie and prog, proving once again what a strong influences the early Genesis have been over the years. Another fantastic moment comes with the ten minute long The Musical Box, where especially the guitar towards the end sounds much heavier than back in the Seventies. Apart from that, I don’t feel like going too much into details. You can find the tracklist anywhere on the Internet and marvel for yourself.
The second disc contains mostly tracks from the post-Gabriel era, and while I used to listen to these albums many years ago, I am not that familiar with them anymore. The same counts for the four tracks from Steve Hackett solo albums, where only Shadow Of The Hierophant from his first solo LP Voyage Of The Acolyte is another undisputable gem. It’s also his only solo effort I have ever heard.
Of course the original versions are eventually slightly better than this tribute that Steve Hackett performs on this truly long double album, if only no one can achieve the same brilliance as the young Peter Gabriel. But it is still a worthwhile nostalgic journey for every fan of this seminal progressive rock band. The first disc is instant greatness, while the second one can’t quite come up with the same number of classics, but still portrays a sometimes forgotten face of Genesis. All in all, I decide to rate this with a nine, being the average of a big fat nine for the first disc and a still enjoyable eight for the second one.