Bethlehem Press

Thursday, May 28, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY LORI PATRICKSteve Hackett, guitar, and his band recreated Genesis’ “Selling England by the Pound” album in March 12 concert, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown. PRESS PHOTO BY LORI PATRICKSteve Hackett, guitar, and his band recreated Genesis’ “Selling England by the Pound” album in March 12 concert, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

Concert Review: Guitarist Steve Hackett still the heart of Genesis

Friday, March 20, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL Special to The Press in Focus

It’s been announced that Genesis is reforming with Phil Collins, but without Peter Gabriel or Steve Hackett.

Anyone in the audience at Steve Hackett’s concert March 12, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, might well think that the new group will not be the true Genesis.

Genesis was the epitome of progressive rock until, for better or worse, Gabriel and Hackett left and the band took a commercial pop direction.

At Miller Symphony Hall, Hackett and his band did the entire 1973 Genesis album, “Selling England by the Pound,” and selections from his solo albums, “Spectral Mornings,” celebrating its 40th anniversary, and last year’s “At the Edge of Light.”

Progressive music features longer songs that can take you on a journey, with many turns and changing time signatures. All the components were in the three-hour concert: washes of synth-like keyboards by Roger King, thundering drums by Craig Blundell, sub-basement throbbing bass by Jonas Reingold, and color by Rob Townsend on soprano and tenor sax, flute and wood flute. Blundell’s kit had eight drums and 11 cymbals.

Most importantly, there were long majestic electric guitar solos by Hackett, loud but not grating, with a variety of well-chosen effects.

The crowd, estimated at 775, filled the hall’s main seating area, despite a possible drop in numbers because of coronavirus concerns. Hackett said he appreciated the crowd “braving it,” emphasizing, “Enjoy it while you can.” Four of Hacket’s concerts shows scheduled later in March have been canceled.

At certain times during the concert, Hackett brought out 12- and six-string acoustic guitars, beginning with “The Virgin and the Gypsy.” On many tunes, Reingold played a double-necked instrument, one a guitar; the other a bass.

The second half of the concert, the recreation of the “Selling England by the Pound” album, featured many more vocal parts by Nad Sylvan. The androgynous Sylvan sounded just like Gabriel did on the original album.

Audience members, who were old enough to remember when the album was released, sang along in parts and cheered for familiar passages, an amazing reaction for an album that is nearly 50-years-old.

It was an uplifting experience to see Hackett continuing the tradition of such thoughtful and beautiful music.