Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1979
This was my 8th visit to Reading. The line-up was a predictable mix of new wave and heavy rock. It was also a year of line-up changes. Two of the main bands who were billed to play: Thin Lizzy and The Ramones did not appear. Thin Lizzy pulled out at a few days notice due to Gary Moore’s departure from the band. Lizzy were replaced by Scorpions and The Ramones by Nils Lofgren. Both of these changes were major disappointments. The weather wasn’t bad and the event was well-attended, but didn’t sell out. My recollections of the weekend are below:
Friday line-up: Bite the Pillow, The Jags, Punishment of Luxury, Doll by Doll, The Cure, Wilko Johnson, Motorhead, The Tourists, The Police.
Friday was the “new wave” day. I watched all of the bands from Punilux onwards. Highlights were The Cure who impressed me even though the only song I had heard before was “Killing an Arab”, and Wilko and Motorhead, both acts going down a storm with the crowd, who preferred their rock heavier and more traditional. The Police were riding on the crest of a wave of success, and were amazing, Sting had the crowd in the palm of his hand, and the entire field sang along to the hits. It was great to witness a band at their peak.
The Police setlist: Deathwish; Next To You; So Lonely; Truth Hits Everybody; Walking On The Moon; Hole In My Life; Fall Out; Message In A Bottle; The Bed’s Too Big Without You; Peanuts; Roxanne; Can’t Stand Losing You; Landlord; Born In The 60s
Saturday line-up: Root Boy Slim; Fame; The Yachts; Little Bo Bitch (not sure that they played?); The Movies; Bram Tchaikovsky; Gillan; Steve Hackett; Cheap Trick; Inner Circle; Scorpions
We spent much of Saturday enjoying the delights of local hostelries and didn’t venture into the arena until later in the day. To be honest, looking at the line-up now, it was pretty uninspiring. We made it into the festival for Gillan onwards. Gillan seemed to play everywhere at the time, and were always good fun. I’d seen them so many times that I was getting to know the new songs, but I also always looked forward to hearing Purple classics, which they did including ‘Smoke on the Water”. Steve Hackett played “I Know What I Like” which prompted a mass crowd singalong. The highlight was Cheap Trick with crazy antics from Rick Nielson and an exquisite performance by Robin Zander. A video of their performance that night is on YouTube. You can find “I Want You To Want Me” here, a bit rough, but still amazing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTLEYcO2VnE
For the encore Cheap Trick were joined onstage by Dave Edmunds and Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs for a rendition of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”. Classic 😄
Inner Circle’s reggae rhythms went down well. Scorpions were great (I really liked “Loving You Sunday Morning” at the time), but we were disappointed that we weren’t seeing Lizzy who had become a Reading favourite and were massive at the time.
Sunday line-up: The Cobbers; Terra Nova; Speedometers; Zaine Griff; Wild Horses; The Members; Molly Hatchett; Climax Blues Band; Nils Lofgren; Peter Gabriel; Whitesnake.
Sunday highlights for me were The Members who were in the charts with “Sounds of the Suburbs” and got a mixed reaction from the crowds with some people liking them, and others lobbing cans, and Peter Gabriel who started with “Biko” and played classic solo tracks like “Moribund The Burgermeister”, “Solsbury Hill” and “Here Comes The Flood”. Phil Collins joined Gabriel for the end of his set for “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”. Whitesnake closed the evening and were worthy headliners (although they weren’t billed as so, with Peter Gabriel and non-showers The Ramones having shared top billing in the pre-festival publicity). They started with an amazing new song “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” which set the tone for the evening. Ian Paice had just joined on drums and Whitesnake now had three former Purple members (Coverdale, Lord and Paice).
Whitesnake setlist: Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues; Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City; Steal Away; Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick; Mistreated; Soldier Of Fortune; Love Hunter; Breakdown; Whitesnake Boogie.
An enjoyable Reading weekend, if not one of the strongest line-ups.
Archive for the ‘Steve Hackett’ Category
Steve Hackett Genesis Extended Tour York Barbican 26th October 2014
Support from Mostly Autumn (Acoustic)
The success of Steve Hackett’s Genesis Revisited project has grown over the past couple of years. He started with a few classic Genesis songs, playing in smaller venues, but the tour soon developed to a full blown Genesis set, playing in theatres up and down the country, including sold out concerts at Hammersmith Apollo and the Royal Albert Hall. Hackett is now touring with “Genesis Extended” a new show which includes many of the classic songs from the early to mid -’70s era.
Steve has put together a great band featuring Gary O’Toole on drums, Nad Sylvan on vocals, Roger King on keyboards, Rob Townsend on flute, sax and percussion, and Nick Beggs (ex Kajagoogoo) on bass. There are all excellent musicians and manage to do justice to this formidable back catalogue. They started with Dance on a Volcano and featured gems such as Return of the Giant Hogweed, Fountain of Salmancis, Dancing With the Moonlit Knight and Lilywhite Lilith. My favourites were always going to be The Musical Box, which got the first full standing ovation of the evening, and The Knife. Both dark, moody stories and enduring pieces of rock theatre. The intricate beautiful music of The Musical Box was recreated perfectly as was the swirling, manic dance of The Knife. I was a little nervous that I wasn’t going to enjoy this concert, as I songs like The Musical Box and The Knife hold a special place in my memory, and I feared that they could never be played with the detail and reverence they deserve. However Steve and the band managed to strike the right balance of playing the music perfectly, and setting a mood that matched that of the originals, including some of the theatrical elements that Peter Gabriel so famously pioneered. Much of that was down to the performance of Nad Sylvan who was incredible, and pulled off the impossible. I wasn’t sure how this long-haired blonde guy, dressed in a ruffle shirt and tight black trousers would be able to play the part of Gabriel, and I remained a little unconvinced during the first few songs. However as the performance progressed I started to warm to the guy. He introduced his own performance, his own theatre to the songs, yet also drawing heavily from the mannerisms and style of Gabriel. Little jerky mannequin movements and twisting hand gestures in The Musical Box, a dark dancing figure in The Knife, wildly grabbing the mike and tearing the words out of his throat and an epic performance in old fan favourite Supper’s Ready dressed in a cloak, and with the crowd helping out with vocals (A Flower?). Epic. The red light eyes even returned in Watcher of the Sky. I even sort of enjoyed Supper’s Ready; I always found it too long and a little tedious in the ’70s. Special mention to Nick Beggs, who played bass, and second guitar flawlessly. And there was dry ice. Perfect.
Setlist: Dance on a Volcano; Squonk; Dancing With the Moonlit Knight; Fly on a Windshield; Broadway Melody of 1974; The Return of the Giant Hogweed; The Fountain of Salmacis; The Musical Box; I Know What I Like; Horizons; Firth of Fifth; Lilywhite Lilith; The Knife; Supper’s Ready.
Encore: Watcher of the Skies; Los Endos
Steve Hackett Newcastle City Hall 1979 and 1980
Steve Hackett left Genesis in 1977, somewhat frustrated with the level of input he was having to the band’s album and shows. Steve was composing his own songs, and released his first solo album Voyage of the Acolyte in 1975 while he was still with Genesis. His first post Genesis album was Please Don’t Touch in 1978. In 1979 Steve put together a touring band, consisting of his brother John Hackett on flute, guitar and bass pedals, long-time collaborator keyboardist Nick Magnus, bassist/vocalist Dik Cadbury, drummer John Shearer and vocalist Peter Hicks. I saw Steve in concert at Newcastle City Hall in 1979 when he was promoting the Spectral Mornings album and again in 1980, when he was promoting the Defector album. I remember those gigs as some fine, beautiful music; largely instrumental. It was clear from the concerts just how much Steve had contributed to the Genesis sound. I haven’t been to see Steve Hackett in concert since those days, and I am tempted to go and see him again. He is touring this year with a Genesis Revisited set. He is returning to the 70s Genesis catalogue, playing some of the classic songs which he contributed to. The tour calls at the North East twice, at the Sage Gateshead in May (which is now sold out) and back at the City Hall in October. It must be some years since he has played the City Hall; I think I’ll go along and see him back at that great venue, which needs us to support it to secure its future. Setlist from the 1980 Newcastle gig: Every Day; The Red Flower Of Tachai Blooms Everywhere; Tigermoth; Kim; Time to Get Out; The Steppes; Narnia; Acoustic Set; Sentimental Institution; Jacuzzi; Spectral Mornings; A Tower Struck Down; Clocks – The Angel of Mons; Please Don’t Touch; The Show; It’s Now Or Never; Hercules Unchained