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progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

dvd & video review

Steve Hackett - The Man, The Music - 2015

“The life and art of one of the true pioneers of progressive rock”
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Wienerworld released a DVD entitled “Steve Hackett - The Man, The Music”. The subtitle is: “The life and art of one of the true pioneers of progressive rock”. As long time Steve Hackett and Genesis fan I am delighted to have been asked to write a review for progVisions of this documentary that is build around several interviews with Steve, his family and the band members of the Steve Hackett band. The first time I saw Steve performing live was when I was a boy of 16 and was not aware at that time that this Genesis gig was the first and also the last time that I saw Genesis performing live with Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett. Remember also the period of Steve's first tours as a solo artist. I have always followed Steve's career and have seen all his tours that visited The Netherlands. I am very happy for Steve that he now gets all the attention and the success he deserves so much.

The documentary is divided in the chapters; “Introduction”, “Childhood”, “Harmonica”, “Leamington Spa”, “Super-8”, “Early bands”, “In The Studio”, “Genesis” and “Genesis members”.

Love the old black and white family photo's and the black and white video of the place of Steve's childhood that can been seen in this documentary. You see the chimneys of the power plant that later became famous because it was used on the cover of the “Animals” album of Pink Floyd. Proudly Steve's mum tells that he was playing the harmonica at the age of two. Steve tells that it was more the isolation of notes. Later on when he was a schoolboy he took bets on that he was able to play harmonica through his nose. So he earned his first money with making music. Also his younger brother John tells stories about his youth and the early attempts to make music together with his brother. Later on he became a classical trained flute player and of course we know of the participation on the early Hackett albums and the albums he made together with Steve.

In between the interviews Steve plays electric guitar, harmonica, acoustic guitar and shows us some tricks and his guitar techniques.

The first album Steve bought was an album of the Shadows and his second one was a recording of the famous “Bolero” of classical composer Ravel. Later on John and Steve went to a King Crimson gig and were blown away. Ian McDonald played flute and was the inspiration to learn the flute. Together the brothers bought a flute but it was John who first got some decent notes out of the instrument. They mention the King Crimson songs “21st Century Schizoid Man” and “Epitaph”. Two weeks ago I had the same experience with that songs at a King Crimson gig in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

There is also some live footage from the Steve Hackett band before the “Genesis Revisited” tours. The band with Nick Beggs on bass and stick. Nick is always himself and so the interview with him is very funny and enjoyable to watch.

The old Super-8mm film of a friend where you can see Steve as a 18 year old guy acting with a hat, can also be found in this documentary. Some of you already have seen this on the YouTube channel. Steve tells about his first bands, the dodgy first gigs and his first studio experiences.

In the chapter “In the Studio” you see some recording sessions of the “Beyond the Shrouded Horizon” album and an interview together with keyboardist Roger King who signed a contract for one album but is still a driving force behind the Steve Hackett albums. Both are perfectionists. King shows how he made an orchestra sound with only three string players. Great string arrangements are made with lots of layers of strings that were recorded with different microphone positions.

Great stories about first rehearsals with the guys of Genesis. Steve's mum talks about the “Trespass” album that Steve brought home. And later on she tells the story of the Rainbow show she attended that started with Peter Gabriel wearing the bat wings during “Watcher of the Skies”. Steve talks with a lot of respect about his Genesis colleagues. Did you know Steve talked Tony into buying a Mellotron that they bought of King Crimson who had three at that time?

Steve's first Genesis gigs were at the time of the gigs together with three bands of the Charisma label and Steve was very nervous in the beginning. I don't want to spoil all the fun for you, but those stories about the early Genesis days (Peter Gabriel Era) are great and very enjoyable to watch.

It is also nice to watch a conversation between Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson. As you probably know Steven Wilson is also involved with the 14-CD box “Premonitions” of the first Steve Hackett albums that will be released this month. Can't wait to hear those albums in a Steven Wilson 5.1 Surround Sound mix. And we have to thank Steven Wilson for the fact that the amazing and epic song “Shadow of the Hierophant” is again on the setlist.

As a bonus you can enjoy a conversation between Steve Hackett and the late Chris Squire (Yes).

I enjoyed watching this DVD very much. It is a great document for the real Steve Hackett and Genesis (Gabriel Era) fans who are also interested in the man behind the music. Steve is such a lovely guy and he talks very openly about his life and music. Please consider that this is not a live document but a documentary about the life and art of Steve Hackett.

Just love the Genesis King Crimson connection (the KC gig John and Steve attended and the Mellotron Genesis bought) ... Very special for me because I saw Steve performing live last Saturday in The Netherlands and was standing on front row. The week before I sat front row at a King Crimson gig where I was just like Steve and brother John in those early days, completely blown away by that other great band. But that is another story.

Douwe Fledderus - October 2015
rating - Wienerworld


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