top of page
  • Writer's picturephotogroupie



There are many words to describe Steve Hackett's guitar playing; tasteful, clean, emotive, innovative, technical, brilliant. Anyone who has heard the groundbreaking guitarist in action cannot fail to be in awe of the masterful control he has over a gold top Les Paul. Never more has this talent been more evident than on his latest deluxe live DVD/CD package – The Total Experience Live In Liverpool. This is a career-spanning compilation featuring tracks from his first solo album, Voyage Of The Acolyte to his latest masterpiece, Wolflight and encompassing some of the best tracks from the Genesis years. It's a total immersion into the world of one of the world's most revered and respected guitarists.

The set list, hand picked by Steve was chosen to incorporate both old and new and the songs which fans also hold dear. After an atmospheric introduction of Corycian Fire Steve and the band quickly move into the title track from Spectral Mornings, one of Steve's most beloved albums. Steve takes up vocals on the rocky Wolflight and the contrastingly classical influenced Love Song To A Vampire, also from the Wolflight album. As with Spectral Mornings, Steve and the band really embellish the music with rousing and beautiful harmonies; it's a romantic yet deadly pavane and a real highlight of the set.

Things get acoustic when Steve brings out his 12 string for Loving Sea, dedicated to his wife, Jo and his brother John joins the band on flute for another classically inspired song, Jacuzzi. The Celtic lilt of Ace of Wands and the powerfully violent, A Tower Struck Down both demonstrate Steve's abilities as a progressive guitarist to the fullest. Shadow Of The Hierophant gets played in its entirety too with sister in law Amanda Lehmann giving an ethereal vocal performance. Behind him all the way are the astonishing band; Roger King (keys) Nad Sylvan (vox and tambourine) Gary O'Toole (drums) Rob Townsend (sax, woodwind) and Roine Stolt (bass, variax).

Get 'em Out By Friday and Can-Utility and The Coastliners begin a look back at the innovative work of Genesis. The Cinema Show and the ever popular the Lamb Lies Down On Broadway remind us just how experimental and pioneering Steve's work with the band was. Unsurprisingly the set finishes with signature tune Firth of Fifth.

Behind the scenes and rehearsal documentaries take us inside the creative process with some interviews from Steve and the band. There are even some music videos squeezed on the disc rounding up this total musical experience.

In terms of production and shooting style this is very much a concert film. Director Paul Green uses the multi-camera set up to convey a sense of a classical live performance, similar to The Proms, rather than the frenetic music video style which has been adopted by many live concert DVD's. Ben Fenner, who mixed the audio, also took advantage of the acoustics in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. There's a very live sound and a resonance that many sound editors try to sanitise during the process, and very little audio 'fixing' in post production. As a result of Green and Fenner's work, the show appears natural and effortless, just as it should do, making this set a perfect record of a fine performance.

bottom of page