Steve Hackett Leamington Spa 21st November 2010

Michael (Webmaster) and I (Editor) arrived early enough to be at the front of the queue and then about 10 minutes later Alan Perry, whom is more than a fan, then joined us. Alan is a quite skilful photographer and he is always a pleasure to chat with. Not so long after that Alan Hewitt of the website “TWR” appeared. Suddenly, more members of the public joined the queue and we were itching to get out of the cold and be indoors.

Soon enough, the doors were opened and upon arriving in the main hall we spotted Steve Hackett chatting with Ben on sound. As an hour passed by and the Assembly filled up the lighting dimmed and the intro track echoed round the room as the band and Steve made their way onto the stage.

‘Valley of the Kings’, from Steve’s 1996 Genesis Revisited, was the opening track. The last time I heard it performed live was on Steve’s 2004 tour and I thought this was a great way to start the show. Despite some minor sampling issues the song rang reign with its melodic eastern riffs.

The stage classic, ‘Everyday’ came after. I was a bit perplexed to hear it in the set list so early, often this song appears in the latter half of a Steve Hackett set, so it threw me off guard. Nevertheless, brilliant as always! ‘Emerald and Ash’ followed. Its still a chilling piece even though it’s a relative young addition to Steve’s collection of songs.

The Golden Age Of Steam, from the ‘Darktown’ album from 1999, made an unexpected appearance, as I never thought it would be performed live. Somehow Steve and his band had managed to make it work live and its message was still haunting as it brought back memories of some of the scenes from Schindler’s List, very thought provoking indeed!

Watcher Of The Skies, a Genesis classic I last saw performed by Steve on his 2003 tour minus any vocals! 7 Years have passed and this time Gary O’Toole was able to sing along whilst drumming. This was an incredible feat by even most musicians’ standards. Of course from where Michael and I were stood we could hear the audience singing along as well, and have to I admit I was too!

Another Genesis classic, ‘Carpet Crawlers’ was performed. Well, I must add another surprise addition to the set. Gary and Nick Beggs alternating various lines in the song and the others backing them. Naturally the audience joined in with the singing again.

Nick Beggs looking spiffy (Photo Copyright Evil Jam)

Pip Pip Mr Beggs! Nick looks radiant as the light beams on him.

‘Fire On The Moon’, another young addition to Steve’s vast collection of songs, followed and I enjoyed it somewhat, although it was ‘Ace Of Wands’ that came after that grabbed my attention. A very early classic from Steve’s repertoire, in fact I think if Steve didn’t play this someone would ask him if he was ill. The song was executed extremely well! Gary was using the Octobans but you would have had to pay great attention to notice.

‘Shadow Of The Hierophant’ came subsequently and I must admit that what a rare treat to have this performed live at a Steve gig. Amanda took helm on vocals and it was chilling to hear her perform this in her own style but still close to the original. An incredibly beautiful and a very powerful piece. This occurred due to a chance conversation Steve Hackett had with Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree.

‘Sierra Quemada’ followed which featured Amanda and Steve both playing guitar with Amanda playing harmony to Steve’s lead. Another fantastic number that added another dimension to a song I last saw performed on Steve’s 2003 tour. Steve manages to add some very mind painting sound effects of Birds tastefully accomplished on his Fernandes Electric guitar!

Nick Beggs featured heavily on ‘The Darkness In Men’s hearts’ were he was able to flex his talents with the Chapman Stick. It is still an interesting piece and a worthy sight and sound not to be missed!

‘Blood On The Rooftops’, another trip down Genesis memory lane (although the song could have been written just last week with its content and message), here performed again with the multi skilled drummer Gary O’Toole singing and drumming, alas the audience helped out to as its just that kind of song!

Steve Hackett at Leamington Spa (Photo Copyright Evil Jam)

Steve uses his Psaltry Bow for Tubehead

‘Tube Head’ I’ll admit it isn’t a favourite however I did enjoy it! Previously live it had sounded too much of a mish-mash of raucousness but tonight it worked a lot more in tune with me and felt spaced apart a lot more.

‘Sleepers’, its still potent and I would recommend this and any live performance of it!

‘Still Waters’, off for a romp into Blues well its fantastic and brought to you by the power and skilful deployment of Amanda Lehmann on vocals in all the right places and Steve’s vocal and its effects. Nick’s Hot dancing to it became another frenzy how does he do that and play in perfect time?

Rob Townsend and his Flute (Photo Copyright Evil Jam)

Flautist Rob Townsend adds an exquisite sound to the live band

A new song followed, an Early version of ‘Prairie Angel’ which I think will sound different to the final version but another old trick of Steve’s is to treat the fans to something new, much as he has done during his 2001 tour of South America and his 2004 European tour were he presented the unfinished songs Serpentine Song and A Dark Night In Toy Town which were later recorded and released.

‘Los Endos’ another romp back to Genesis but wait it is Steve’s Genesis Revisited version from 1996 and I like it so there, plus it gives everyone in the band a chance to stretch out a bit! But for the die-hard fans there is the all important pushes and climatic bits, Gary pulls this off just fine!

The band walked off stage and waited for the stamping of feet and applause they returned and these were the encores.

‘Firth Of Fifth’ was the first of 2 encores. Steve performs this quite faithfully to the Genesis classic, Roger King does the full piano intro and Gary drums and sings, with extra help from the audience although I think the sound engineer didn’t get Gary’s mic up quick enough as the audience seemed to do there participation alone for the first couple of seconds, but hey ho that’s live music for you!

“Clocks” was the closer (as tradition in recent Steve shows) and for the Eagle eyed amongst the audience they would have noticed Gary O’Toole’s drum kit has grown and now includes Octobans. God knows if Simon Phillips or Bill Bruford or even Neil Pert from Rush has inspired this percussive move but at the right moment during Clocks Gary deployed them perfectly and tactfully! Clocks ended a great night perfectly.

Steve decided to use his Goldtop Fernandes guitar most of the show. Rob Townsend had a Banana shaped Percussion item that people genuinely thought he was shaking and hitting a banana this even fooled me for a bit but when I worked it out I was amused and found it quite funny. Gary O’Toole has had a Drum Kit upgrade Mapex of course with two bass drums and various toms plus a Set of Octobans!

Set List

  • Valley Of The Kings
  • Everyday
  • Emerald And Ash
  • The Golden Age Of Steam
  • Watcher Of The Skies
  • Carpet Crawlers
  • Fire On The Moon
  • Ace Of Wands
  • Shadow Of The Hierophant
  • Sierra Quemada
  • Nick Beggs The Darkness In Men’s Hearts
  • Blood On The Rooftops
  • Tubehead
  • Sleepers
  • Still Waters
  • Prairie Angel
  • Los Endos


  • Firth Of Fifth
  • Clocks


  • Steve Hackett – Guitars, Vocals
  • Nick Beggs – Bass, Chapman Stick, Lead and Backing Vocals
  • Amanda Lehmann – Guitar Rhythm and Lead as well as Harmony Guitar, Lead and Backing Vocals
  • Roger King – Keyboards
  • Rob Townsend – Wind Instruments (Including Flutes, Saxophones, Whistles and others), Percussion (Including Tambourine and a Banana Shaped Shaker), Backing Vocals
  • Gary O’Toole – Drums, Octobans, Percussion, Vocals Lead and Backing

For more Steve Hakett information check out his website