Steve Hackett Brings the “Genesis” of Prog Rock to Kansas City

Steve Hackett and his band performing in Kansas City. Photo by Josh Chaikin

Steve Hackett, the legendary former Genesis guitarist, took center stage in Kansas City at the Uptown Theater, performing an array of songs from both his illustrious solo career and the classic Genesis album ‘Foxtrot’. The concert, epitomizing the “Genesis” of prog rock, was strategically split into two sets; initially spotlighting Hackett’s solo material before delving into the entirety of ‘Foxtrot’, captivating the audience with a masterful rendition including the epic 23-minute “Supper’s Ready” to close out the second set.

With the Uptown Theater as the chosen venue, this memorable event not only highlighted Steve Hackett’s unparalleled talent but also featured an ensemble of accomplished musicians, including Roger King on keyboards, Rob Townsend on saxophone and other brass instruments, Nad Sylvan on lead vocals, Jonas Reingold on bass, and Craig Blundell, underscoring the diverse and rich sound that defined the evening.

Steve Hackett’s performance in Kansas City kicked off with a setlist that delved into his rich solo career, captivating the audience with a blend of technical mastery and musical diversity. The first set kicked off with “People of the Smoke” from Steve’s latest album, “The Circus and the Nightwhale”. Anyone not in the know would be forgiven for thinking it was decades older. Steve’s guitar prowess was on full display, and set the tone for the evening very quickly. The set would highlight various points of Steve’s solo career, with fan-favorites like “Shadow of the Heirophant,” “The Devil’s Cathedral” and “A Tower Struck Down”.

When a musician has a storied solo career, and a long history with an iconic band, it can be difficult to find a way to strike a balance between the two song catalogs; Steve’s choice of splitting them into sets worked well, and the audience was loving every minute of it.

Nad Sylvan’s vocals, drawing comparisons to Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, added a layer of authenticity to the performance. The band, consisting of Roger King, Rob Townsend, Nad Sylvan, Jonas Reingold, and Craig Blundell, provided unwavering support, ensuring each song resonated with the audience just as powerfully as it did fifty years ago. This performance, a testament to Hackett’s dedication to his roots.

For those who were unable to make the performance, and those who would want to relive it, will be happy to know that a recording of the concert, if not the Kansas City performance, was captured in the Foxtrot At Fifty + Hackett Highlights: Live in Brighton, released on September 15, 2023. This event, and its recorded counterpart, underscores the timeless nature of classic rock and the enduring talent of Steve Hackett and his bandmates. It serves as a poignant reminder of the innovative spirit that continues to resonate within the genre, inviting both long-standing fans and new listeners to explore the layers of musical evolution and mastery encapsulated in the legacy of Steve Hackett’s illustrious career.

Any connoisseur of the genre would be hard-pressed not to attend Steve’s performance. And though initially the venue was only 1/3 full minutes before showtime, not long after the band started playing, the venue filled in nicely. There are worse ways to spend a week night than with a music legend.

Words and Photos by Josh Chaikin

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