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Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisEven though Genesis sold the most records and scored the bulk of its radio airplay throughout the 1980s and early '90s, the most esteemed period amongst hardcore fans remains the group's progressive rock roots dating back to the early 1970s. Those where the days when Peter Gabriel ruled the roost, Phil Collins was planted behind the drums, Tony Banks sat at the keys and Mike Rutherford switched between bass and dueling it out with fellow guitarist Steve Hackett.
Given that acclaimed period and his respected run with the group from 1971-1977, it's only fitting to find Hackett hitting the road on the "Genesis Revisited" tour, tackling tunes from his two solo records bearing the same name with a five piece backing band and singer Nad Sylvan (who was truly dynamic vocally, but sometimes too over the top theatrically). During the second of two sold out shows at suburban Chicagoland's gloriously restored and absolutely gorgeous Arcada Theatre, that whole cast brought core faithful back to the old days, but in doing so, confirmed Genesis' earliest explorations are still playing a major part in the ongoing prog rock revival.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer showed off his meticulously maintained chops right off the bat with a brilliant recreation of the complicated "Watcher Of The Skies" and the equally compelling "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight." From there, he took to the group's magnum opus album "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" to deliver "Fly On A Windshield," "Broadway Melody Of 1974" and "The Lamia" in all of their delightfully strange, imaginative glory. In fact, the two-and-a-half-hour evening continued to dig deep with diversity, spanning the more acoustically-minded contemplative piece "Horizons" through the dramatic crescendos of "Afterglow" (all accompanied by dramatic lighting patterns reminiscent of the group's glory days, but on a smaller budget).
Yet it was Hackett and company's second half of the show that truly showed off their remarkable mastery of this cerebral material, spanning an extremely rare performance of "The Fountain Of Salmacis" through staple jams like "Dance On A Volcano," "Supper's Ready" and "Firth Of Fifth." By the time the epic closer "Los Endos" came around, there probably wasn't a single person in the cult-like crowd who wasn't yearning for a full-fledged classic line-up reunion, and considering Gabriel's staunchly committed to his solo career and Collins is essentially retired, Hackett's interpretations surely provided the most satisfaction they'll ever experience.
Thankfully though, those who missed the show need not fear as Hackett will release the double DVD/triple CD set "Genesis Revisited- Live At Hammersmith" (InsideOutMusic) on October 29. And for those looking for more like-minded shows at the Arcada Theatre, the current line-up includes Burton Cummings (of The Guess Who) with The Zombies on Friday, September 27 and UFO on Saturday, October 19 with all the details on those and many more at www.oshows.com.
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