Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Steve Hackett & Genesis Revisited @ La Seine Musicale, Boulogne-Billancourt - April 19th, 2023


It's been less than a year and a half since Steve Hackett's last concert in Paris yet the relatively new concert hall (it was inaugurated by Bob Dylan nearly six years ago to the day) was absolutely packed. That's because Hackett and his Genesis Revisited project are the best way to hear this wonderful catalogue live. No offense to tribute band The Musical Box, which does a fantastic job, but the authenticity and the legitimacy that the guitarist brings to the performance can't be replicated by cover bands, no matter how industrious or talented.

On this run, the performances are centered around the Genesis classic album Foxtrot, as it was released fifty years ago last October. Most fans of the band's prog-era point to this record as the best that the band has ever released, and this is a position that we can sympathize with. After all, it is book-ended by two of the most beloved epics ever recorded by the venerable Prog combo: Watcher Of The Skies, and the nearly 25 minute-long seven-part suite Supper's Ready.

If you like simple pop music, instrumental restraint and spartan arrangements, needless to say La Seine Musicale was NOT the place for you to be. But if you love ambitious, virtuosic, surrealist, somewhat experimental, highly pastoral, classical-tinged English Progressive Rock with a dramatic, theatrical flair and some typically British zaniness, then Hackett and his gang have just what the doctor ordered.
His band, of course, is top-notch. Special mention goes to vocalist Nad Sylvan, who manages to tap into the essence of Peter Gabriel's contributions to Genesis without ever sounding like a clone, thankfully. He infuses his performance with the raison d'être of Peter Gabriel but injects his own personality in both the presentation and the vocal delivery.

Drummer Craig Blundell also takes Phil Collins' iconic drum parts and makes them his own, without ever betraying the original intent.

And of course the main reason people have lined up to fill this beautiful concert hall on the Parisian river, Mr. Steve Hackett, whose playing is so unique, so tasteful...

In fact the whole band sounds like what Genesis would sound like playing this material in 2023. Having these guys perform this catalogue in 2023 with this much energy, this much reverence and this much legitimacy is a real gift. Because the Genesis songbook IS a gift. It is beautiful, delightful, fragile, delicate. Much like... Dare I say it? 

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