Foxtrot At Fifty – Steve Hackett Tour To Celebrate Iconic Album
Hot on the heels of his most successful solo tour ever, Steve Hackett announces his Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited – Foxtrot at Fifty + Hackett Highlights tour for 2022. The tour will mark the 50th anniversary of the legendary Genesis album Foxtrot which, in 1972, was pivotal in establishing the band as a major force in British rock.
Tickets are available from 10am on Friday 10th December via myticket.co.uk.
Guitarist Steve Hackett joined Genesis in 1971, making his band debut on the Nursery Cryme album which enjoyed a greater commercial success in Europe than the UK. After extensive touring, the band were encouraged, by audience reactions, to further experiment with ever longer compositions and develop their ability to incorporate strong narratives. This, in turn, allowed frontman Peter Gabriel more opportunity to indulge in the theatrics which helped to raise the band’s profile.
“50 years of Foxtrot! I think Foxtrot was a terrific achievement for Genesis at that time,” says Steve Hackett. “I think there is not one weak track on the album, they all have their strong points and I’m really looking forward to doing the whole album live, in its entirety, plus there’ll be some extra Genesis surprises and solo favourites.”
The album was recorded at the same time that Genesis was touring the Nursery Cryme album, a very busy time, says Steve. “We were touring in Italy and the album wasn’t quite finished. We were gigging a lot in those days and, in order to finish that album off, I still had some guitar overdubs to do. I flew back whilst the others came back via road, because I needed to put the finishing touches to the album. I think it came out really strongly.”
Foxtrot was critically acclaimed and became the first Genesis album to make the UK album charts. The first track, the sci-fi influenced Watcher of the Skies became a fan favourite and perennial live set opener. “There aren’t too many songs based on science fiction but Watcher Of The Skies was, indeed, was initially based on Arthur C Clarke’s story Childhood’s End. The Watcher was a character that was borrowed from that.”
The opening chords to Watcher, in some ways, defined the band’s distinctive sound as they made their breakthrough. “When you’re using certain tools, the mellotron colours of mellotron violins, mellotron brass and mellotron flutes, which were the favourites at that time, they’re very characterful sounds. They characterised the music that followed and today, I sometimes use those colours in addition to other sounds as well. By the time you’ve finished doing that the thing comes out somewhere between big-band and orchestral, there’s an aspect of that. Mellotron brass is a brutal sound! It’s a big band playing every note and it’s recorded very hard and you get distortion with that which is why it’s the more aggressive side of progressive stuff.
“Watcher Of The Skies’ best suite was, I feel, as a live number, It would sound mighty, live, because it had the wide dynamics that are harder on record. There have been many recorded versions of it and I’ve tried to preserve that as much as possible, so I’m looking forward to that coming out of the box again, a very strong introduction.”
Much of Steve’s guitar contribution to Genesis’ work was to provide continuity links in some of the longer pieces.
“At times I would come up with something and other people would come up with ideas that I would interpret on guitar. It very often goes down to solo guitar, acoustic, 12-string or electric, a number of guitar textures. Guitar-based tunes for Genesis weren’t always obviously guitar-based tunes. I like to think that, by the time you’ve got three people chiming away on 12-strings, or something that sounds like 12-strings, it starts to sound a little bit like keyboard – or a cross between a harp and a harpsichord orchestra. Sometimes we put a 12-string through a Leslie cabinet or two and on Timetable I had guitar going through two Leslie cabinets, a lovely chime-y sound that worked well with piano, so those tone colours that were rich and sympathetic to each other are part and parcel of what characterised the early band’s sound.
Get ‘Em Out By Friday was a cutting slice of social comment about concrete tower blocks replacing aging slums, driven not by concern for communities but by the greed of developers while Hackett was the lead writer of Can-Utility and the Coastliners, featuring some particularly strong musical ideas. “There’s lots of forgotten gems in there, lots of little bits that really sound terrific, fantastic bits of instrumental and wonderful vignettes by Pete, there’s a lot to be proud of. I’m really looking forward to doing it next year. I have played, in recent years, Get ’Em Out By Friday and Can-Utility And The Coastliners and they both went down very well.”
Steve also contributed his classically-inspired solo piece Horizons. “The original version was a rough mix but there was something about it. A rough monitor mix can have things that something more considered won’t necessarily possess. I liked the sound of the rough mix, so we went with that. I’ve played lots of versions of Horizons since and many’s the time I’ve thought it’s probably best on a nylon guitar, rather than a steel guitar, because it’s got lots of classical sensibility. But, it worked on a steel when I did Genesis Revisited II and gave it pretty much the same sound as the original, probably just a bit cleaner.”
The album’s highlight was the 23-minute epic Supper’s Ready which remains a concert favourite and featured on Hackett’s recent Second’s Out tour. “Supper’s Ready was a sojourn, an odyssey and something that goes down very, very well with audiences now.” Hackett adds. “As part of Second’s Out I’ve been playing the whole of that again, it really has stood the test of time.
“We were a young, struggling band at that time. By the time we were doing Foxtrot, the band was becoming more ambitious. We acquired a light show and Peter, as a frontman, was starting to enact more of the narratives, borrowing from all sorts of things, from social comment to pantomime to science fiction.
“Foxtrot is a must for fans of the early Genesis work. It’s difficult when looking back to the mindset of those days but it was extremely broad based and I think it showed the breadth of the band, the number of styles that were being undertaken. Fifty years ago? It doesn’t feel like those ideas are fifty years old because it was-genre defining, rather than following trends. It still sounds current, now.”
The Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited – Foxtrot at Fifty + Hackett Highlights tour also promises more Genesis favourites and highlights from Hackett’s extensive solo catalogue.
Steve Hackett and his touring line-up of Roger King (keyboards), Jonas Reingold (bass, backing vocals), Nad Sylvan (vocals), Rob Townsend (saxophone, flutes, additional keyboards) and Craig Blundell (drums) have recently completed the 31-date Genesis Revisited Seconds Out +More UK tour plus additional European dates. His most successful ever solo tour, most of the dates sold out and received stunning reviews.
“Yes,” says Steve, “very good! We did a bit in Scandinavia, four Scandinavian countries and then we came back for a few days, here. Then we did Monaco and Paris and we’ve just come back from there. With the British dates that we completed, we did 40 shows, this year.”
And the recordings of the Paris show featured heavily in the Seconds Out album of 1977.
“That’s right,” Steve agrees, “we’d recently recorded there, in Paris. It’s fitting that we were back there doing it in Paris, that same show which is, basically, classic! We managed to complete all the dates. We had a tour bubble and everybody was very careful, so we’ve got away without any infections, so far. It’s difficult to be a touring musician, in the full sense of the word, at the moment but I get the feeling that we’ve been doing quite a bit of ducking and diving.”
Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited – Foxtrot at Fifty + Hackett Highlights 2022 tour dates:
Friday 9 September, Swansea, Arena
Saturday 10 September, Cardiff, St David’s Hall
Sunday 11 September, Cambridge, Corn Exchange
Tuesday 13 September, Aylesbury, Waterside
Wednesday 14 September, Torquay, Princess Theatre
Friday 16 September, Portsmouth, Guildhall
Saturday 17 September, Bexhill, De La Warr Pavilion
Sunday 18 September, Birmingham, Symphony Hall
Tuesday 20 September, Hull, City Hall
Thursday 22 September, Gateshead, Sage
Friday 23 September, Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall
Saturday 24 September, York, Barbican
Monday 26 September, Buxton, Opera House
Tuesday 27 September, Grimsby, Auditorium
Wednesday 28 September, Northampton, Derngate
Friday 30 September, Sheffield, City Hall
Saturday 1 October, Manchester, O2 Apollo
Monday 3 October, Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
Tuesday 4 October, Ipswich, Regent Theatre
Wednesday 5 October, Bath, Forum
Friday 7 October, Leicester, De Montfort Hall
Saturday 8 October, Liverpool, Philharmonic
Sunday 9 October, Brighton, Brighton Centre
Tuesday 11 October, Bournemouth, Pavilion
Wednesday 12 October, London, Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith
Tickets for Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited – Foxtrot at Fifty + Hackett Highlights are on sale from 10am on Friday 10th December 2021 and can be purchased from myticket.co.uk