Genesis legend Steve Hackett releases Live in Brighton

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Brighton Conference Centre was the venue for the recording of Steve Hackett’s new live album Foxtrot at Fifty + Hackett Highlights: Live in Brighton.

It’s an album which captures in its entirety one of the great Genesis albums, an album from the golden era of Genesis pre-video, pre-hit singles: “I remember rehearsing some of the stuff in Italy to our promotions team and the walls were ringing to the sound of the mellotron and I could see how excited they were about this new type of music. You could feel that the effect was palpable. I think the Italians were the first to get it really because of coming from their operatic tradition. I remember the Italians seemed to pick up on Genesis or rather Genesis’ potential before a lot of other nations did.

“The way I look back on (Foxtrot) now is that I'm not so invested theatrically in it because the songs have become very, very well known. It has already proved its worth and to be authentic I don't feel that I have to do every single note though on some songs I do. For me the idea of doing these songs again and re-recording them either live or in the studio is just about giving them a fresh coat of paint but in some ways it's like bringing back an old girlfriend to people and there she is in all her beauty. It really is as moving as that. It's a restoration of youth. And be able to do it now with the passion and the precision that we can, the passion and precision that we could only have dreamt of at the time, is fantastic. It’s about all that is possible now. But it's also that musical calendar that's so important. Music is a great healer. It's a fabulous medicine. It's absolutely magical and as far as I know it's never done anyone any harm!

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“Foxtrot was 1972. It's 50 years ago, nearly 52 years now, but I think what you really get is the quality of the writing on it. I think it comes down to that more than anything else. You ask why do people still listen to The Beatles and it's not because they're currently fab right now. It is the quality of what they did that paralleled the greats that had preceded them.”

Steve Hackett (photo by Tina Korhonen)Steve Hackett (photo by Tina Korhonen)
Steve Hackett (photo by Tina Korhonen)

Foxtrot was certainly an album that changed things for Genesis: “Genesis music was fairly elite at the time. They had had no hit singles until that point and we were catering for an audience that might understand that we were using syncopation and odd time signatures. The idea was to get as close to an orchestra as possible and to combine that with syncopation. We were by no means unique in that, but I do think it was the quality of the writing that distinguished Genesis. It's a really well written album. Dynamically the range is huge. The influences range from sci-fi right back to early music from the 1500s. You've got that great sweep, the great arc from not just the generation before but so much earlier as well. And I think there was an openness in the writing. You've got five writers who are musically very different. Not everyone listens to the same things, and I think the music reflects that. I was very aware of classical music as was Tony and we would have conversations about our favourite composers. Mike Rutherford was very interested in two things in particular, in folk music and Led Zeppelin and I think you see that range of interests on the album.”

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