I recently saw Steve Hackett live in Glasgow. I guess this is around the 12th time I have see Steve Hackett: my first being in 1981 or so on the Spectral Mornings tour at Glasgow Apollo (a fine venue sadly missed).

Steve Hackett is one of rocks ‘perfect musicians’ and has all the attributes I admire in an artist. He’s innovative, he works hard, he has  a true mastery of his instrument, he has no fear of trying new things. And he has a lot of humility. He humbly plays and engages with the audience who view him with the utmost respect and admiration.

Odd, since I am a keyboard player, you would think? Nah. I think anyone who continues to work at and perfect their art (or indeed any specialist subject) deserves much credit and praise.

And he caters to his audience too. He is very well aware that a lot of the prog fan base like early Genesis (ie during his time/Peter Gabriel’s time.

Rather than bury the past he proudly embraces his past and mixes this with his current and ongoing work. He and his band (including the awesome Nick Beggs on bass) play Genesis songs with extreme precision, accuracy and gives the audience what they want from his Genesis time.

That authenticity is great cos, goodness knows, there are enough Genesis tribute bands out there and unfortunately dreadful Genesis clones and derivatives out there.

He continues to write great new material and innovate with new forms, textures and sounds. The mark of a true pioneer. As a song writer he has such an ear for melody, arrangements and dynamics in a song. Its always intriguing and exciting to see what he does next.  

l cant stand predictability in music: I mean what’s the point? Why churn out the same songs and style all your life.

As an artist if you are not gonna try something new and try to be original then why bother? Lets get some more surprises into music……. just like Steve Hackett does.

It’s not all about guitar histrionics either. He knows what the guitar can add in every song: he keeps the guitar out of the way when it is time and unleashes its power bringing it to the front when it needs to be. Total class.

He demonstrates such an important attribute in a band. No egos, no, prima donnas: just play what the song demands.

Shadow of Hierophant is an excellent example of a song which, on the surface, is a very simple but Steve Hackett piles on the dynamics throughout the song reaching a magnificent crescendo with a power that mostly orchestras can achieved but that few bands can achieve.

And Nick Beggs totally rocking playing Taurus bass pedals with his hands while sitting on the floor. Superb.  Kudos to Nick Beggs for making a new type of cool for playing bass pedals with your hands. And, like Hackett being a master of his instruments (bass and chapman stick)

Hackett has clear respect for other artists and is happy with to play/guest with a range of people such as Nick Beggs, Nik Kershaw, Ray Wilson, Roine Stolt, Chris Squire, Carl Palmer, Steve Howe and many more.

Thank goodness for Steve Hackett flying the flag for prog/original and unique rock music. Long may he continue innovating, entertaining and educating us all.

As musicians many of us could learn so much from Steve Hackett in all aspects of our art in songwriting, arrangement, artistry, collaboration, performance, and not least of all humility. Truly inspirational.