One orchestral manoeuvre that really works.
Odd thing about this band-orchestra lark. Sometimes the former totally overpower the latter. Occasionally, the latter end up subsuming the former. Getting the balance right is so tough that few manage to do so. Thankfully, Steve Hackett has mastered the challenge.
It helps, of course, that the Genesis material which makes up much of the evening lends itself to such an approach. Dance On A Volcano, Firth Of Fifth and the alliance of ...In That Quiet Earth and Afterglow benefit from the extra texture and colour the 41-piece Heart Of England Philharmonic Orchestra add.
You can tell all the musicians onstage are comfortable with one another. The band might be up front while the orchestra sit at the back, but there’s no artistic divide, and this gives everything a new freshness. Interestingly, two of Hackett’s solo songs are among the highlights, with Shadow Of The Hierophant and Serpentine Song proving so effective it seems a shame that the performance didn’t include more from this part of the guitar master’s career.
But it’s the timeless Supper’s Ready that’s really raised to another level. The heavy passages are accentuated, while the melodic delicacy sounds more poised; if you wanted one song to represent what a band and orchestra can achieve in complete unison, then this is it.
In perfect harmony: Steve Hackett with the Heart Of England Philharmonic.