Steve Hackett – Live Archive 70s Newcastle (Camino CAMCD23X)

Live Archive 70s Newcastle (Camino CAMCD23X)

Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle, England – October 26th, 1979

(75:39):  Please Don’t Touch, Tigermoth, Every Day, The Steppes, Narnia, The Red Flower of Tai Chi, Sentimental Institution, Star Of Sirius, Spectral Mornings, Clocks.  Bonus tracks, Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – October 30th, 1979:  Ace Of Wands, Hands Of The Priestess, Racing In A

Steve Hackett’s touring as a solo artists was not extensive in the two years after leaving Genesis.  He toured for a couple weeks in October 1978 for Please Don’t Touch.  The second solo album Spectral Mornings was issued in May 1979 and was followed with several short tours of Europe and England including an appearance at the Reading Festival that August.

Live Archive 70s Newcastle is a one disc supplement to the Live Archives boxset released by Hackett’s own Camino records in 2001.  It was issued, according the Hackett’s own liner notes:  “This gig from the Shearer line-up was recorded at Newcastle City Hall on 26th October 1979. Great drum kit, great audience and a great noise!  This show, we thought, had a unique energy, redolent of the time and was well worth preserving for this release.  Also included are three tracks from the Hammersmith Odeon show on 30th October 1978.  De-buzzed, de-clicked, de-hissed – generally rescued for your added listening pleasure.”

The ten song Newcastle set is sourced from an excellent soundboard recording cleaned up for release.  It is a bit flat compared to official releases, but still very enjoyable and certainly is superior compared to bootlegs.  It is also not clear if Newcastle is complete. 

The usual set for concerts on this tour included several more songs including “The Virgin & The Gypsy” from the latest album and an acoustic interlude with “Horizons.”  However, it seems that an audience tape also circulates for this gig with the exact same ten songs in sequence, so it could be complete.

The tape begins with “Please Don’t Touch” from his second solo album (and the first since leaving Genesis).  The tune was originally demoed for Wind & Wuthering but was rejected and the band’s decision was justified.  With “Wot Gorilla?” and “…In That Quiet Earth” the album didn’t need another schizophrenic instrumental.  But on a solo album it defines what is special about Hackett as an artist. 

Two songs from new new album Spectral Mornings follow.  “Tigermoth” utilizes his Roland GR-500 Guitar Synthesizer for a majestic effect, and the tune is followed by “Every Day,” one of his more pop-oriented tunes with vocals from Peter Hicks.

Hackett makes a risky move by including two unreleased songs in the set.  Both “The Steppes” and “Sentimental Institution” would be included on Defector which would come out the following summer.  Both are very close to their final arrangement and “The Steppes” in particular fits the style of the older songs beautifully.

The final three songs on the disc come from the Hammersmith Odeon show five days after Newcastle.  Unlike the other show, which has an audience tape, no tape has ever circulated for this one so having these three are a nice bonus. 

The sound quality is more clear than Newcastle and none of these songs were played in the other show.  It is notable for having a rare live version of “Hands Of The Priestess.”  The studio version on Voyage Of The Acolyte is divided into two parts, but live it is performed as one.

The disc is enclosed in single sleeve that fits inside the Archives box.  It went out of print and hasn’t been reissued and it looks like it won’t be.  Copies of the physical disc might be found on ebay or other such sites.  It is available for download through iTunes’ UK store, US store and iTunes’ other stores.   

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