Hacks off to Hackett; classical guitar excursions apart, the man has stayed loyal to his original prog style over all these decades, and tonight he performed it with as much finesse as ever. From the opening Valley Of The Kings this was evidently that a classic show by a guitarist at the peak of his powers, playing with a band that does him full justice. The rhythm section was superb: Nick Beggs stood out visually in top hat and black gown, yet delivered in no uncertain terms on Chapman Stick and bass guitar. Gary O’Toole drummed excellently throughout, closing the show with a mighty solo; he also supplied Gabriel/Collins vocals on Carpet Crawlers, Blood On The Rooftops and the majestic Firth Of Fifth. Rob Townsend enhanced the texture on saxes and flute, Amanda Lehmann added some powerful extra guitar, and Roger King produced the classic keyboard sound that is so important in prog.
Other highlights were Ace Of Wands, the bluesy Still Waters and a new heavy rock number, Prairie Angel. Hackett talked modestly, allowing the music to speak for itself, which it did in no uncertain terms, for over two hours. Progressive rock was alive and kicking tonight.
Writer: Rychard Carrington