12 July 2010

GUEST CONCERT REVIEW: Hackett/Renaissance in concert 9 July 2010 Montreal

My thanks to Robert Dansereau for offering to share his thoughts about the recent Renaissance/Steve Hackett tour. He was one of the collaborators involved with the Montreal show, and had a unique opportunity to witness this performance from a much different standpoint than I would have

Anyway, enough preamble...on to the review!

Only one word can describe the concert I had the pleasure to see in Montreal on July 9th, 2010 featuring Renaissance and the electric Steve Hackett band... magical!

From the perfect set list of both bands to the amazing lineup of world-class musicians, that double bill at the Place Des Art in Montreal was one of the greatest "prog" events to hit the city this year!

Renaissance was simply superb, Annie Haslam was in fine shape and her voice was simply heavenly. Annie and Michael Dunford have surrounded themselves with splendid musicians, among others Tom Brislin and Rave Tesar on keys and Dave Keyes on bass, and offered a great set that included many classics and and some material from their brand new EP The Mystic and the Muse. Their set list: Prologue, Things I Don't Understand, The Mystic and the Muse, Running Hard, Carpet of the Sun, and for the encore, Mother Russia. They played for about an hour and were rewarded with two enthusiastic standing ovations by the sold-out crowd.

Then on to Steve Hackett. Words can hardly describe how amazing this show was, but I'll try. The band stepped onstage at 9:30 and started with an energetic version of Mechanical Bride, immediately followed by Everyday. I just sat there, marveling at the perfect performance offered by the master. A very high level of energy and an obvious chemistry between the band members, added to the great acoustic of the théâtre Maisonneuve and the impeccable sound offered by their sound engineer, made for a very captivating and especially delightful show. The set included the great Hackett classics like Ace of Wands, The Steppes, Emerald & Ash, Fire on the Moon, Serpentine Song, Spectral Mornings, Sleepers, Still Waters, as well as a few chosen Genesis classics, like a surprising version of Blood on the Rooftops with vocals from Gary O'Toole, an energetic interpretation of Los Endos, and of course, Firth of Fifth in its entirety including the piano intro by Roger King. They concluded the show with a vigorous version of Clocks with a mind-blowing, jaw dropping drum solo by mister O'Toole.

The team was well rounded-off by the zany Nick Beggs, wearing his goofy ponytails and PVC (not leather) dress, who was amazing on the stick and the Rickenbacker bass, the very lovely Amanda Lehmann on guitars and vocals, and Rob Townsend on saxes and flutes.

Both bands kindly came out after the show to sign autographs. This was a phenomenal evening of top-notch progressive rock.

Here are a few pictures taken by Marc Lafontaine and I, of the Hackett show:

Robert Dansereau
July 11th, 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonder why Steve's brother John wasn't there playing flute?
Great to hear Renaissance is still playing ...
I'm pretty sure Annie Haslam did some material with Steve Howe once!