Steve Hackett – Visible Touch ’88 (Siréne-079)


Visible Touch ’88 (Siréne-079)

New Morning, Paris, France – September 19, 1988 

Disc 1:  The Journey/Horizons, Bay Of Kings, A Bed A Chair And A Guitar, Time Lapse At Milton Keynes, Cavalcanti/Bach, Portrait Of A Brazilian Lady, Still Life, Harmonics (aka Bacchus), Notre Dame Des Fleurs, Momentum, Genesis medley:  Cuckoo Cocoon/Blood On The Rooftops/Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers/Hairless Heart, Black Light

Disc 2:  mc, Silver, Troubled Spirit/The Vigil, medley:  Invisible Touch/I Feel Fine/jam/The End Of Day, The Carrot That Killed My Sister (incl. Bourée)/Horizons (cut)

Visible Touch ’88 utilizes a tape source from the final Steve Hackett show on his Momentum tour.  This is the first tape to surface recently and it is an excellent, well balanced, detailed audience recording of a very laid back, funny performance with Hackett struggling with the heat making his guitar go out of tune and dubbing his music, not heavy metal, but “heavy nylon”. 

This follows his time in the short-lived super group GTR with Steve Howe which, despite all expectations, did produce a hit and a successful tour.  Hackett’s artistic interests don’t lie in pop music, however, and this is as far from the 80’s arena rock as one can get.  

This show in Paris is the final of a short two week solo tour of Europe in September, 1988.  Steve had toured the UK and Europe in April and May of this year with his brother John on flute, but was alone on this part so the flute numbers were omitted and “Bacchus” (under the title “Harmonics”), “Unquiet Slumbers/Hairless Heart/Black Light”, “The Vigil” and “End Of The Day” were added to the normal set list. 

Hearing Hackett play solo makes one appreciate the dreamy, etherial quality to early Genesis.  The band were able to thrive artistically after Gabriel left, but suffered when Hackett did.  The music contained is an exercise in baroque style classical guitar.

The majority of the set is composed of his latest album, playing “Cavalcanti” ,”Portrait Of A Brazilian Lady” (“heavy nylon music for heavy seduction”), “A Bed A Chair And A Guitar”, “Bacchus”, “The Vigil”, and the title track.  

In the long introduction to “Silver”, tracked as “mc” on disc 2 on this release, he displays the various timbres and colors the guitar is able to produce before focusing upon the color silver.  “Troubled Spirit/The Vigil” is almost nine minutes long and takes up the most of the second disc.   

At the suggestion of an audience member he plays several bars of the current Genesis hit “Invisible Touch” segued with The Beatles’ “I Feel Fine”.  “The Carrot That Killed My Sister” includes  a reference to “Bourée” (also covered by Jethro Tull and Jimmy Page in various “Heartbreaker” solos).  The tape is sadly cut as he’s going into the second version of “Horizons” of the night.  Judging by the set list of previous gigs this was the end of the show. 

Sirene chose to release this on cdr and did a good job with the overall packaging with the Invisible Touch cover parody and several photos from the correct era on the inside.  The label mistakenly lists “Harmonics”, which was the working title for “Bacchus”, as “Concert For Munich”.  This is a great document and worth having.

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