Thursday, July 08, 2010

Steve Hackett with Renaissance, The Mod Club, July 7, 2010

Steve HackettOn Tuesday morning my coworker D popped her head around the wall and said “Do you like Steve Hackett?”

Okay, first of all, I’m a girl so most people would never make that assumption. D, however, hears my stereo on occasion and knows what I like (quite a mix). So then she says “Do you want two free tickets to his show tomorrow?”


Okay, the Boy had mentioned Mr Hackett and Renaissance were coming to town, and I was excited to see him, but I hadn’t heard anything since then – so I emailed the Boy and he said no, he didn’t manage to get tix, so of course we should take them! And so we did. D, you rock.

So last night we went out to the Mod Club (the show was initially going to be at the Queen Elizabeth theatre, I can only guess as to why the venue was changed, maybe ticket sales? Maybe insurance cost?). Stood outside and waited for the doors to open while being serenaded by passing Spain fans (World Cup, don’t you know). 7pm, doors opened, and we all streamed in. We stopped to buy swag (a Hackett shirt for me and a Renaissance shirt for the boy) and picked our spot.

The Mod Club is a great venue for a show btw, small enough to feel intimate but large enough to accommodate a pretty good crowd. Rather than be at the stage, I wanted to have a good view of everyone so we went upstairs to the balcony, which kind of wraps around the left side of the room. This meant we were situated right above the stage. Excellent view. I’d called ahead to be sure cameras were allowed – as long as they were of the point-and-shoot variety they were allowed. I was prepared.

At 8pm exactly (gotta love promptness) Renaissance appeared. Now, I have to admit, they’re not really my kind of band, very hippy – which is fine and all, but not something I’d go out of my way for. That said, they were excellent, proficient and entertaining. The band has a new lineup of course, the only two originals were Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford. The Boy is far more familiar with them than I am of course, and he was over the moon. Annie’s got an amazing voice, and the whole band performed well. I recognized a couple of pieces (Things I Don’t Understand and Mother Russia) and enjoyed the ones I didn’t (which was most of the show). A great set, they played for just slightly over an hour.

Then came the wait for Steve Hackett. Which wasn’t that long, because at 9:30 exactly (again, is this promptness a prog thing?) Steve Hackett and crew came out and started with Mechanical Bride, accompanied by an epileptic light show, which calmed itself down as they slid into Every Day. This was an amazing show! I’m trying to remember everything they played, but I’m having trouble – I was unfamiliar with some of the set, so bear with me. I remember hearing (and not completely in this order):

(btw, I didn’t record any of those linked videos, some other lovely people put ’em up on YouTube…)

And I’m pretty sure I’m missing at least two or three pieces in there. The man is a guitar god, I must say. I love how he doesn’t have a ‘guitar face’ – you know the one, the one the hair band guys get when they’re playing a solo. This man is a professional; he makes it all look so easy. He took to a stool for a couple of pieces in the middle, putting talc on his hands to help his fingers zip along the strings and pull his siren song from them. Gary O’Toole’s voice seems made for this music, and I kept being drawn to watching him behind his kit, he looked like he was having so much fun.

To be honest, they all did – Steve and Rob Townsend sent each other playful waves between licks, and Steve, Nick Beggs and Amanda Lehmann shared a few moments of synchronized neck-swinging. Roger King seemed pretty sedate, but anyone that talented is surely allowed to be! Overall, they really seemed to be a bunch of friends who just decided it would be a lark to come to Toronto in the middle of a heat wave and mess around on a stage, it was awesome. I even got a wave and a thumbs-up from Gary at the end of the first set, and he gave one to the Boy at the end of the night.

So yes, what an awesome show. The good pix I took of the show are up on my Flickr page, go check them out! Oh, and if you happen to know the actual setlist, I’d love it if you’d share it with me!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome - would have loved to have gone to this one :)