Steve Hackett – Please Don’t Back Genesis (Highland HL261)

Please Don’t Back Genesis (Highland HL261)

(71:54):  Musikladen, Breman, Germany – October 18th, 1978:  Please Don’t Touch, Racing In A, Ace of Wands, Narnia, Blood On The Rooftops / Horizons, Shadow Of The Hierophant / Clocks

Reading Festival, Reading, England – August 25th, 1979:  Optigan / A Tower Struck Down / Spectral Mornings / Clocks, I Know What I Like

Pavilion de Paris, Paris, France – June 11th, 1979:  Tigermoth

Please Don’t Back Genesis is an early Highland release containing several early Steve Hackett tapes.  After leaving Genesis in late 1977, he spend much of the following year recording his second solo album Please Don’t Touch, which was released in May 1978.

Hackett began live performance in October with shows in Norway, Sweden and France before his first radio broadcast on Musikladen in Bremen, Germany.  Some confusion exists about the actual date.  Highland dates this from May 1975 and the Movement website says this is October 18th.  Hackett, who officially released the Musikladen set eight years after Highland released this, states this was recorded on November 8th, 1978 and broadcast on May 14th, 1979.

Highland use a very good recording of the broadcast as it existed in the mid nineties.  It’s a very sharp mono recording of much of the performance.  Missing from the broadcast are “Optigan” and “Spectral Mornings.”

Any tentativeness from the early shows was gone.  Hackett delivers a very confident and inspired set for the Germany radio audience (and the studio audience present).  At first it sounds very nostalgic because “Please Don’t Touch” sounds exactly what it is:  a Genesis Wind & Wuthering era outtake. 

“Ace Of Wands” from his first solo album Voyage Of The Acolyte sounds fresher.  The acoustic interlude with “Blood On The Rooftops” and the familiar “Horizons” is a nice touch.  But the highlight of the set is “Shadow Of The Hierophant / Clocks.”  Lasting thirteen minutes, it displays Hackett’s virtuosity like no other song in the set.

The second tape in this collection is a fragment from the Reading Festival on August 25th, 1979. Sourced from an excellent radio broadcast, the entire set was released on I Know What I Like (OH Boy 1-9135).  Highland include the latter half of the set with the silliness of the “Optigan,” and early version of “Spectural Mornings” and “Clocks.”

The final track is “Tigermoth” from the June 11th Paris show, about two months before Reading.  It comes from a very good audience recording.

Please Don’t Back Genesis was a good release of it’s time.  There were no good copies of the Musikladen broadcast in circulation and Highland provided that.  The bonus tracks are good filler.  All of the performances are excellent, but with the release of the full Musikladen broadcast, this release is truly irrelevant now. 

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