“Recorded in Paris, London and New York in 2009/2010, Live Rails captures the full Steve Hackett Electric Band at their best.” Taken directly from the media copy and I would be inclined to agree. Intriguing & complex symphonic prog played by a tight band of musicians. Man, this is good stuff!
Hackett mixes it up a bit with several selections from his superior last album, Out of the Tunnels Mouth. He stews them together with excellent songs from throughout his career. These newer songs glide right between the older, like “Emerald and Ash,” with its lush, dreamy harmonies and “Ghost in the Glass,” that includes a fab sax solo by Rob Townsend. Those sound perfectly fine with the band’s flawless execution of “Ace of Wands” and the absolutely gorgeous classic “Spectral Mornings.”
Steve Hackett is at the top of his game here. He has improved (if that’s at all possible) since his days with classic progressive rockers Genesis. He has not only become a better singer, but an even better guitarist; learning to shred impeccably and taking his tapping technique to a higher level. Many may not realize that Steve was among the first in rock to develop the tapping of the fret style that many metallers use today.
Disc 2 introduces many Genesis classics that Hackett helped make famous like “Los Endos” and “Firth of Fifth,” though the band still has time to play a few more new songs in “Sleepers” and “Still Waters.” I share Hackett’s confidence in the 2009 release Out of the Tunnels Mouth. As I alluded before, it is a masterpiece. I wish that more time could have been allotted to some the first four classic solo albums however. Nothing from 1978’s Please Don’t Touch and only one song off Steve’s highly acclaimed premiere solo album, Voyage of the Acolyte? A song like “Narnia” or “Star of Sirius” would sound incredible played by this band.
Hackett is among the best currently making progressive rock music today. This is astounding, for he has been doing it over 40 years! This live set is an excellent representation of the talents of this amazing individual and the group of musicians he has chosen to convey it. Man, this is good stuff!!
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on August 11th, 2011