Steve Hackett – First Touched Mine (Highland HL505/506)

First Touched Mine (Highland HL505/506)

Olympia Theatre, Paris, France – October 16th, 1978

Disc 1 (42:57):  Land Of A Thousand Autumns, Please Don’t Touch, Racing In A, Ace Of Wands (the latter part), Carry On Up The Vicarage, Ace Of Wands, Hands Of The Priestess (part I, II), Icarus Ascending, Narnia

Disc 2 (41:49):  Acoustic solo (Black Light / Blood On The Rooftop / Horizons), Kim, A Tower Struck Down, Spectral Mornings, band introduction, Star Of Sirius, Shadow Of The Hierophant, Clocks

Steve Hackett spent most of 1977 writing and recording Please Don’t Touch.  This was his second solo effort and first since leaving Genesis released in May 1978.  His initial foray into live perforumace was very tentative and consisted of a handful of dates in October of that year, starting with three in Scandinavia.  

The Olympia Theatre show in Paris is his fourth concert.  It is a good to very good audience recording but with some distance from the stage.  There are several cuts between songs, a tape crinkle 1:41 in “Icarus Ascending” and a three second long cut in the beginning of “Kim.”  Otherwise the entire concert is present on the two discs. 

The show starts off with the synthesized soundscape “Land Of A Thousand Autumns” as a prelude before the band come on stage.  The instrumental segues with “Please Don’t Touch” as it does on the new album.  It’s a promising start to the show to display his roots in progressive rock with the instrumentals that were rejected by Genesis. 

Although Genesis could be criticized for rejecting “Please Don’t Touch,” their judgement does have merit.  It sounds very similar to the other instrumentals on the album and would’ve clogged down what is an already schizophrenic piece of work.

After he greets the audience he says that he’s “thinking of a warm place.  This is about a commodity we have very little of in England called sunshine” before introducing “Racing In A.”  The first half of the show is occupied with more contemplative numbers which culminates with the excellent “Hands Of The Priestess (Part I & II).”  Hackett acknowledges how far he’s come by calling that piece “a long way from rock and roll.”

His acoustic solo in the middle contains references to “Blood On The Rooftops” and “Horizons.”  These are the only two Genesis songs incorporated into the set. 

A bit of humor is brought into the set before “A Tower Struck Down” when Hackett introduces his robot friend the optigan.  “some people have dogs, some people keep pets, I have this machine.”  He plays a Russian version of “Knees Up Mother Brown” before the song.  The haunting “Spectral Mornings” the newest song.  It would be released, and give the title to, his next album released in 1979.

The show ends with the ten minute long “Star Of Sirus.”  The encore is “Shadow Of The Hierophant” followed by the newly written “Clocks” that would also, like “Spectral Mornings,” be released the following year.  

First Touched Mine (a very clunky title) is packaged in a double slimline jewel case.  The artwork was designed by D-Structure Artworks who did the work for many of their Genesis and Genesis-related titles.  Highland devoted a lot of attention to the very early Steve Hackett live tape archives with this, their first Hackett release Star Of Sirius (Highland HL050/51#S1) with the October 5th Stockholm and Please Don’t Back Genesis (Highland HL261) October 18th Muzikladen broadcast.  As such, these serve as a good compliment to the Camino Records releases from his own collection. 

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