Steve Hackett with Renaissance, Cleveland 7/1/2010
Ha! Thought you weren’t going to see another concert review for a while, didn’t you? Well think again. I loved Steve Hackett’s performance so much at NEARfest that I couldn’t pass up a chance to see him again. Plus, this time I got the added bonus of the newly reformed Renaissance.
As luck would have it, I had both Tuesday and Thursday off. So I had my choice of catching the show in Chicago or Cleveland. Since I had never been to Cleveland I made a day of it and also checked out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. The $22 admission was no surprise, but for that price I expected more than what I got. Most of what is exhibited isn’t much beyond what is seen at a Hard Rock Café. Plus, for the center of rock history it isn’t very comprehensive. The roots are well covered, but many significant movements are basically ignored. A few words about New Wave in the punk case, Southern rock only in the context of the Allman Brothers, nothing on Disco or electronica, and absolutely no mention of Prog! Les Paul was rightfully honored, but how about others like Bob Moog? His creations are integral to the evolution of the music. Step it up people. This should be the prime repository of all rock history.
I was really looking forward to Renaissance, especially after meeting Annie Haslam last year. She is an absolutely lovely person. It was at that time I also found out that she and Michael were putting the band back together. I am always a little apprehensive when only a couple of originals are involved, but the lineup also includes alumnists Rave Tesar and David J. Keyes. So, it’s a pretty solid version of the group. The show was wonderful. Seeing Annie up there enjoying herself would have been enough, but the band came ready to play. Rave is outstanding on the keys, and Annie still has the pipes. They also played a new song, and it was outstanding! This bodes well for the album due out next year. But again, as good as they were, the best part was sharing in Annie’s joy of it all.
I kind of expected to see Steve do the same show from two weeks ago, but instead of “Mechanical Bride” he opened with “Everyday.” A crowd pleaser for sure, but not nearly the same impact. However, aside from the order, there were no new additions. In fact, he didn’t get as much time at the House of Blues, so there were some tunes I didn’t get to hear again. The real shame in this was the loss of tunes like “Slogans,” where Steve really gets to tear it up and prove he is king of the electric string. Sadly, the acoustic guitar was only represented on “Blood on the rooftops.” The funny thing is that I liked that there was less Genesis. As much of a fanboy as I am, I was there for Hackett music. Honestly, it could be cut even more. Phil, Tony and Mike closed with “Los Endos” long after the “Wind and Wuthering” tour. There are plenty of other options. A version of “Shadow of the Heirophant” could be very cool.
With the omission of “Mechanical Bride” from the set, this meant that three decades of the catalogue went completely ignored. It makes me wonder if there might be some legal issues afoot. The band also didn’t seem as comfortable this time around. There were some hints of technical issues, so perhaps they didn’t get a proper sound check. Anyway, it was still a good show. If I hadn’t been spoiled at NEARfest, I would probably be doing cartwheels. Do not pass up a chance to see this legend in action.