Photos by Barry Fisch
Back in the day when the NYCB Theater at Westbury was known as the Westbury Music Fair, my parents and their friends who lived on Long Island would attend shows there to see the then current big name Las Vegas type headliners. Often, they’d enjoy seeing legendary comedian Buddy Hackett. But on this day in 2017, their son went to the same venue to see legendary Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. No relation!
Hackett is currently on tour with his band celebrating both the upcoming March 24 release of his new album The Night Siren, and the 40th anniversary of the last studio album he recorded while a member of Genesis, Wind and Wuthering.
Opening with “Every Day” from his 1979 album Spectral Mornings, the first portion of the show featured classics from Steve’s solo career mixed together with material from the new album, all performed by the top notch musicians in this band; Roger King, Gary O’Toole, Rob Townshend, and Nick Beggs. Steve commented from the stage how pleased he is the new music from The Night Siren (still unreleased at the time of this performance) has been so enthusiastically received, as indeed was the case this evening. Along with his excellent guitar work, Hackett handled the vocals on much of this part of the show.
After the climactic ending of this set with 1975’s “Shadow of the Hierophant” Steve told the audience “that was the Hors d’oeuvres.” Indeed, supper was ready as the next portion was what the crowd was patiently waiting to hear, the Genesis material.
Enter vocalist Nad Sylvan, a very tall chap with long blond hair, has quite the notable presence on stage. Though his voice sounds like a mix of Genesis singers Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins (making him the perfect fit here), he is an excellent singer in his own right. Steve and the band launched into the first two tracks from Wind and Wuthering; “Eleventh Earl of Mar” and “One for the Vine.” This Genesis set opened with these and three more of the nine tracks from Wind and Wuthering. Steve dedicated “…in That Quiet Earth” to the recently departed fellow prog icon John Wetton (of the bands King Crimson and Asia). Other Genesis classics followed. “The Musical Box” was the highlight (with many in the crowd singing along with Sylvan’s vocal). There was a rare performance of “Inside and Out,” a tune Steve said did not make it onto the Wind and Wuthering album and instead appeared on the Genesis EP Spot the Pigeon, also first issued in 1977.
All in all, an evening of flawlessly performed music played to a very appreciative audience of prog fans who rarely get to see this genre of music played live in this day and age.